I have updated the Photo of the Month for April with a photograph from the Jokulsarlon Glacial Lagoon in Iceland. A higher resolution version of this photograph is also available on my Portfolio website at www.jholko.com
I have been able to align the planets today and confirm a trip to New Zealand for ten days in June this year. I had originally planned on July but other work and office commitments necessitated pulling the trip forward by a few weeks. It will be almost two years to the day since I was last in the South Island of New Zealand and I am very much looking forward to going back – it has been far too long between visits. At this stage I have no real itinerary as yet – just a loose idea in my head of places I want to visit for photography. I will endeavour to put together some sort of plan and itinerary over the coming weeks to ensure I maximise my time there.
Based on my last trip to New Zealand in 2009 I will definitely be taking my entire photographic kit with me as there are wonderful landscape photographic opportunities in New Zealand regardless of lens focal length or camera. I will be moving from location to location in a rental 4WD so weight and bulk will not be too much of an issue. In any case, I prefer to have all of my lenses available even if some of them may actually get little or no use. On my last trip to New Zealand I left my 300mm F2.8L IS lens at home and although I was able to make do with my 70-200mm F2.8L IS with 1.4X Extender I would have preferred to have the 300mm when photographing the Whales and Sea Lions at Kaikoura.
Two definite ‘must-visit’ locations for this trip will be Fox Glacier – which is probably my favourite part of the South Island and the famous Moeraki boulders. The Moeraki Boulders are a number of huge spherical stones, found strewn along a stretch of Koekohe Beach near Moeraki, a small settlement just south of Hampden on New Zealand’s Otago coast. The boulders weigh several tonnes and are up to three metres in diameter. I have not visited this part of New Zealand before nor photographed the boulders so am very much looking forward to this part of the trip. Once I work out exactly where I am going and what my plans are I will post an itinerary of the locations I intend to visit.
Cloudless skies at sunrise and sunset are not my preferred atmospheric conditions for Landscape photography. In general, I prefer overcast skies (Nature’s Soft Box); or at least some puffy or windswept clouds to pick up the colour of dawn and dusk and add an extra dimension. My weekend shoot at Cape Schank provided only clear skies; which although not ideal for interest in the sky did provide some lovely ethereal golden light, giving the basalt rocks an otherworld alien quality.
I managed to sneak away late yesterday on the eve of the long weekend for both sunset and sunrise the following morning (this morning) down at Cape Schank and the Mornington Peninsula. Cape Schank is a fabulous location for landscape photography – certainly one of the best parts of the Mornington Peninsula and is an area I intend to spend more time photographing this year. The weather can be wild on this part of the coast as the point fronts the waters of Bass Strait and is exposed to the full fury of the South’s weather. The wind was howling when I arrived an hour or so before sunset yesterday; which made keeping my lenses free of salt spray quite challenging. However, conditions this morning were ideal with nary a breath of wind, a low tide and some lovely gold light. The basalt rock formations of Cape Schank have a dimensionality that is primordial in nature; which when combined with great and/or interesting light makes for an other worldly alien landscape.
Source Photographica have a scan of the four page photographic spread ‘Land of Fire and Ice’ from the current edition of the Australian wilderness magazine Wild. This spread includes photographs from my Iceland expedition last year as well as photographs that are part of the exhibition opening next month in Brighton.
I’m a bit late this month – but have updated the Photo of the Month for March with a photograph from Landmannalaugar in Iceland. Just click on the image on the right hand side for a larger version. A high resolution version is also on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com in the Iceland section.
Moab have added a brief blog post to their website on my upcoming exhibition – printed entirely on my favourite new paper – Somerset Museum Rag paper.
Somerset Museum Rag is the newest paper by the acclaimed St Cuthberts Mill in England, who over a decade ago helped create an entire industry when it launched Somerset Enhanced Velvet – one of the first papers used for fine art digital imaging.
Somerset Museum Rag is a pioneer in its own right while remaining true to its history. It combines an archival 100% cotton heavyweight paper with a smooth surface, sensuous to the touch while durable to everyday handling, with the latest in coating technologies to produce deep, rich blacks with an unparalleled color gamut to make a vibrant image pop to life.
In addition to the inkjet-coated version, the original, uncoated Somerset papers continue to be one of the top papers used by artists worldwide for nearly every form of printmaking.
Source Photographica have announced their new April exhibition – consisting of photographs from five contemporary photographers (myself included). Several of the photographs from my Iceland collection will form part of this exhibition – a sort of preview before my own solo exhibition at Source Photographica in the coming months. Each of the Limited Edition prints on display has been printed on museum quality Moab Somerset Museum Rag paper exclusively by me using archival pigment inks. The exhibition opens April 7th and will run in Melbourne until the 21st of April. Please visit the Source Photographica website for further details.
Antarctica is now less than nine months away and I am already starting to seriously think about what to take with me in the way of equipment as well as how to plan for the trip. Outside of the obvious must take items such as warm clothes, layers of goretex, dramamine, ipod, camera gear and gigabytes of storage just how does one plan for such a trip?
Logistically just getting to Antarctica from Melbourne Australia is no small feat. Getting there involves a flight to Sydney to catch a connecting plane to Buenos Aires in South America (around 20 hours of flying). From Buenos Aires one catches another flight to Ushuaia at the very bottom tip of South America – a roughly three and a half hour flight. From Ushuaia its two days steam aboard an Antarctica cruise ship across one of the roughest stretches of water in the world – the notorious Drake Passage. Add all that up and its a whopping 72+ hour journey not including airport waiting around time and layovers. With waiting around time its well over 80 hours. And that is just way to much time to be on the move. Of course it would be possible to get some sleep amongst all of that travel – but I don’t much like the idea of trying to get over jet lag on a ship being tossed about in huge seas. Especially not when finally arriving in Antarctica sleep is going to be hard to come by with so much to see and photograph. I learned somewhat the hard way on my travels to Iceland last year the value of layover time to rest and recuperate – I wont underestimate its importance again.
In order to make this a manageable endeavour I am going to stay a few days in Buenos Aires and meet up with my friend Martyn with whom I photographed in Iceland last year. A few days in B/A should help break up the trip and provide a little time to soak up some local atmosphere and explore some photographic possibilities. This will be my first time to South America and I am looking forward to it very much.
After three days in Buenos Aires Martyn and I are flying to Ushuaia where we will spend another couple of days exploring the small town and local surroundings before we board the ship for Antarctica. I am hoping that all of this additional time will be sufficient to overcome any jet lag and inevitable travel weariness, since we will be spending huge amounts of time awake once in Antarctica. In fact, sleep will most definitely not be on my agenda whilst we are cruising the Antarctic shoreline, so it is of paramount importance to arrive rested and ready to photograph for long periods of time during the long Antarctic twilight hours.
I have read voraciously and watched as many documentaries as I can get my hands on about photography in Antarctica. I like to research my travel destinations extensively before I arrive so that upon arrival I know where to go and what to do. This time however, much is out of my hands as we will be cruising along the peninsula with occasional zodiac landings when possible. And that makes things very difficult to formulate a plan. Unlike Iceland where I could plan to go and photograph Dettifoss and spend time there in Antarctica the target is moving. Or rather I will be moving past the target. To this end I believe the best approach is going to be to take and heed the advice of photographers who have gone before me. Listening to what they took with them in the way of cameras and lenses and what did and didn’t work for them is probably going to be the most valuable advice for a successful expedition. This is something I am curently researching and will continue to do so up until I leave in November.
The return trip post Antarctica will see a rapid departure from Ushuaia lunchtime the day we dock for Buenos Aires. I will them have to spend a couple of days in B/A waiting for a connecting flight to Sydney and then back onto Melbourne and home.I feel very privileged to be visiting one of the earth’s last true wild places. It has been a boy hood dream to visit Antarctica and it should be quite the adventure. I cant wait…