These are some of my personal favourite photographs from throughout the 2012 calendar year – one for each month. Higher resolution versions of these photographs can be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com. Click a Photo for additional exif information on what camera and lens were used as well as additional exposure and ISO setting information. None of my photographs are HDR (High Dynamic Range) or composite images. All photographs are captured from single exposures in the field; often with the use of graduated neutral density filters. Most of my photographs are processed in Adobe Lightroom.
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December 2012 – Ice Sanctuary
The photograph of the month for December is from Wilhemina Bay in Antarctica. Some of the most beautiful and unusual icebergs we encountered on my last expedition to Antarctica were found in both the Gerlache Strait and Wilhemnia Bay. This particular photograph was taken in Wilhemina Bay as we slowly cruised the area looking for icebergs. We were fortunate to encounter more or less continual snow fall with dark brooding skies during much of our time in these areas which proved simply wonderful for photography. I will be heading back to both Wilhemina Bay and the Gerlache Strait on my November 2013 Antarctic Expedition with my good friend Daniel Bergmann. There are still a few places available on this expedition if you would like to join me.
November 2012 – Chamonix
Very occasionally a situation presents itself where I can make a photograph I am really pleased with from the side of the road, or some other easily accessible location. More often than that not however I have to travel, walk and hike to get the image I am after – Nature rarely serves up the scene on a platter; you have to get out there and hunt for it.
Whilst in France a couple of months ago I was able to make a photograph that was under the most civilised of circumstances. I was fortunate to get a room with a rear balcony at my hotel in Chamonix and immediately noted the wonderful view across the mountain range and the angle of the setting sun. Tired from driving all day my wife and I unpacked, opened a bottle of Burgundy, tore a piece off a fresh baguette with some cheese and pulled up a couple of deck chairs to watch the sunset over the alps. As we sipped our wine the light continued to get better and better so I scurried inside, grabbed my camera, tripod and cable release and set it up next to my deck chair. With the sun setting and cable release in hand I clicked the shutter between drinks and nibbles. Looking back on it I cant recall a more civilised photography session and as such this photograph of the Alps from Chamonix is my photograph of the month for November.
October 2012 – Of Fire and Brimstone
I had an opportunity to return to Hveravellir in August this year during my 2012 Iceland Workshop. This was an unplanned treat for those on the trip as the area is very remote and getting there (and back) is somewhat logistically difficult. However, we had deliberately left our itinerary very open on this expedition to enable us to take full advantage of the prevailing weather and light and it just so happened that we ended up in Hveravellir an hour or so before sunrise. The conditions were very different from my previous visit however and consisted of a fiery sunrise that has resulted in a very different image to my previous photograph. This new image of the geothermal pool at Hveravellir titled “Of Fire and Brimstone” is my photograph of the month for October. A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my main website at www.jholko.com in the Iceland II Portfolio.
September 2012 – Moon Beams
The photo of the month for September is from my recent Iceland workshop and was taken at the black sand beaches near the Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon around 11pm at night. This wondrous natural landscape never ceases to disappoint and is one of those amazing locations that seems to produce great photographs even when the sky isn’t exploding in a fireball of pinks and reds. Ice that carves off the Vatnajokull glacier is washed out to sea through a narrow channel where the tide then deposits it on the beach. The area is constantly changing and is never the same from day-to-day as the ice comes and goes in a myriad of shapes and sizes. This location is a personal favourite of mine and I am very much looking forward to visiting it again on my Winter workshops in March next year.
August 2012 – Room with a View
I have just returned from my 2012 Iceland expedition and am currently recovering from jet lag after the more than 34 hours of travel and layovers (including 4 plane rides) from Iceland to Australia. This was an extremely successful trip and it was wonderful to again be photographing under the midnight sun in the spectacular Icelandic landscape. I shot over 3000 frames on this trip and plan to start the extensive editing and processing over the coming weeks. In the meantime, this particular photograph for me summarises the Iceland rural landscape along the main Highway One ring road.
July 2012 – Iceland Pastels
With my Paris, Venice and Iceland trip looming in a few days I have been pre-occupied with last minute arrangements at home and have managed to once again let time slip away from updating the photo of the month for July. This particular photograph is one of my favourites from Iceland and was taken in the Fjallabak nature reserve during my 2012 Summer expedition. It was also one of my entries in the 2012 APPA Australian Professional Photography Awards and was awarded with a Silver award in the Landscape Non-composite category. A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com under Iceland.
June 2012 – Black Dawn
Time has really slipped away from me over the last few weeks and I realised this evening that I am already a week late updating my photo of the month for June. This photograph of the Andes Mountain range near Ushuaia in South America was taken from the deck of the Ocean Nova ship as we cruised up the Beagle Channel on our way to the Drake Passage and Antarctica. It is somewhat ironic for me that my favourite photograph of this mountain range should be taken from the deck of a rolling ship with a 300mm lens rather than the chartered helicopter I spent a dedicated hour shooting from with wide angle lenses. It just illustrates how you don’t have to use a wide angle lens from a helicopter to get an evocative shot of a mountain range. The Andes is a spectacular snow capped mountain range with precipitous and towering peaks with countless rugged and jagged ridges that is evocative of a more primordial earth. Being able to see it up close and personal from a helicopter with the door off was really a very special experience. Being able to photograph it from the deck of a ship as it cruised slowly past was equally satisfying. A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com under South America. This photograph was awarded with a Silver award at the 2012 APPA Australian Professional Photography Awards.
May 2012 – HMAS Penguin Pool
I have a strong fascination with icebergs and glaciers and have been privileged to have seen a good many during the course of my travels in the last few years. From the base of Mount Cook, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers in the South Island of New Zealand to Europe’s largest and mighty Vatnojokull glacier and stunning Jokulsarlon glacial lagoon and black sand beaches in Iceland, to the countless glaciers that dot the Antarctic peninsula and that multitude of icebergs that lie festooned in the myriad of bays and iceberg graveyards that make up the great white continent. I have witnessed and photographed icebergs in a dizzying array of forms and states under a wide variety of light and weather. Many of them have been spectacular and beautiful and all have been unique creations and sculptures of nature. This particular iceberg however, rates as the most unusual I have yet had the pleasure to photograph. An iceberg I have christened ‘HMAS Penguin Pool’ and one that is my photograph of the month for May 2012.
April 2012 – Brewing Storm
I was fortunate during this trip to the Great Ocean Road to have some dramatic light on the evening of my arrival, as well as some truly beautiful pre-dawn glow on the final morning before departure. As a landscape photographer, I am always chasing dramatic light in order to create photographs that are unique, powerful and expressive. Whether it is through curtains of rain or stormy clouds, I seek out that special light that usually lasts for only a few seconds. And, it is not often I am fortunate enough to experience dramatic storm-light in combination with sunset, a combination that is truly magical and quite rare. This photograph of the sea stack at London Bridge was taken a few minutes before sunrise as a storm approached on the horizon.
March 2012 – Fortress
I have a penchant for icebergs, the more wild, rugged and castellated the better. This iceberg, roughly the size of a sports stadium and around six stories high in the Gerlache Strait in Antarctica rates as the most spectacular I have ever encountered and is a very worthy candidate for the March Photograph of the Month. I shot this with the Canon 17mm TSE lens on my 1DS MKIII from the deck of Ocean Nova. Additional information on the making of this photograph is available on my blog HERE. A higher resolution version of this photograph can also be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com under Antarctica. In addition, A 20 x 30 inch Fine Art Limited Edition Print printed on Moab Somerset Museum Rag paper will also be on display at my new exhibition in Brighton which opens next month at Source Photographica.
February 2012 – Adrift in Snowstorm II
I have updated the photograph of the month for February with one of my favourite landscape / wildlife images from my expedition to Antarctica late last year. This photograph of penguins adrift on an iceberg was taken during overcast conditions and very heavy snow fall from the deck of our ship the Ocean Nova. What particularly appeals to me about this photograph is the placement of the penguins in their environment. There is a vastness and emptiness that speaks to me about the struggle to live in such an open exposed environment. A higher resolution version of this photograph can also be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com
January 2012 – On the Way to the End of the World
I rarely include people in my landscape photography; but on this occasion I felt the inclusion of the zodiac really helped give a sense of scale to the ice as well as adding drama to the scene with all of the photographers looking in the same direction – as if they can see something that hasn’t quite come into view yet for the rest of us. For me this photograph epitomises the wonderful experience I had during my 2011 Antarctica expedition. It captures and conveys the feeling of what it is like to shoot from zodiac amongst the ice under dramatic Antarctic skies.