I have just published Episode #68 of my Wild Nature Photography Podcast. In this episode, I discuss my thoughts on judging photographic competitions from the judge’s perspective. Includes some retrospective thoughts on judging a major international photographic contest and tips you can employ in your photographic competition entries.
Workshop and Expedition Availability Update 2023
An update on the availability of workshops and expeditions this year. Currently, there are only three trips this year with open availability. For 2024 and onward, please visit my website at www.johlko.com/workshops
Zululand Africa – May 20th – May 29th 2023 – 2 Places Available Only
This is the workshop for you if you have ever wanted to photograph African wildlife from eye level. We will use custom-designed hides and a brand-new safari vehicle designed specifically for eye-level photography. Full details of this workshop: https://jholko.com/workshops/zululand-africa-ground-level-wildlife-masterclass Please contact me for information on last-minute places.
Wild Wolves of the Taiga Forest Finland – September 10th – September 18th, 2023 – 3 Places Available
If you have ever wanted to photograph wild Wolves, Wolverine and Brown Bears in the beautiful Boreal forest, this is the workshop for you. There is also an optional extension for both Eagle Owl and Golden Eagle from comfortable custom-designed hides. Full details on this workshop: https://jholko.com/workshops/wild-wolves-of-the-taiga-forest-in-finland
Antarctica Return to the White Continent – December 8th – December 20th 2023 – Limited cabin types available
A full dedicated charter to the Antarctic Peninsula for wildlife and spectacular ice and snow-covered landscapes. This charter only takes a maximum of 40 people, which means it’s the smallest number of people on any commercial ship in Antarctica. That means we will all land at the same time. Our days will be optimised around photography. That means you will be out late and early when the light is at its best and not dragged back to the ship because of inflexible meal times. Full details on this once-in-a-lifetime expedition are available here: https://jholko.com/workshops/antarctica-return-to-the-white-continent
Ellesmere Island Expedition Update Part Four 2023 – Final Update
As I noted in Part Three of this saga, as I did not partake in the Ellesmere expedition, I cannot write a full trip report of the team’s experience in the field. However, I noted I would update with a final post once I could catch up with the group and hear more about their experiences on Ellesmere. The group did return to Grise Fjord as planned late in the evening of March 15 and flew back to Resolute Bay, where they overnighted. They arrived in Ottawa a couple of days ago, the first chance I had to catch up with them for a quick text debrief.
Reports were temperatures during the expedition were reasonably warm, initially around -20º Celsius, before becoming much colder around the -35º Celsius mark. Likewise, the journey began with little wind, gradually increasing throughout the expedition with what was noted as a ‘significant wind chill’ later in the trip. Temperatures did drop below -50º Celsius. The team managed to get as far north as camp two. Canadian North’s inexcusable delays and subsequent mismanagement of plane weight limits and luggage allowances dashed the hope of getting further north. Although Camp two is a reasonable distance from Grise Fjord, it is still at least a day’s travel away from our planned objective and two full days away from Eureka Sound (a known wolf hot spot). There had been recent wolf sittings around camp three, and reliable intel meant that was the group’s best chance to find and photograph the Arctic wolf.
With the expedition cut short and not time to make camp three without turning around the following day, it was fortuitous that the Inuit guides found a Musk Ox carcass (a recent wolf kill) near camp two. The carcass was surrounded by fresh wolf prints, making it the ideal place to build a base to wait for the wolves and search the surrounding area.
The wolves remained elusive during the team’s field time despite the setting and Musk Ox carcass. I suspect the wolves came in at night during the dark hours to feed on the remains.
Although the team had some excellent wildlife photographic encounters with the Arctic fox, Ptarmigan and Musk Ox, they did not have any direct encounters with the white Arctic wolf. The local guides located many fresh prints, and many hours were spent searching the area, but the wolves remained true to their name – ghosts of the Arctic.
Featured Photographer – The New Big Five Book
I am excited to announce that the new Big Five book, released on April 4th, 2023, will feature some of my photography in the Polar Bear chapter. For those unaware, the New Big Five is a global photography project for endangered wildlife.
THE NEW BIG 5 (Earth Aware Editions; April 4, 2023) brings together more than 165 of the world’s most outstanding wildlife photographers, conservationists, and advocates in a mission not only to celebrate the beauty of the animal world but to raise awareness of the crucial issues facing the world’s wildlife, including habitat loss, the illegal wildlife trade, pollution, and climate change.
The New Big 5 is a global call to action sounded by some of the foremost conservationists on Earth. The book contains 226 majestic portraits and creative photos of creatures in their natural habitats from 146 globally renowned photographers, including Joshua Holko, Ami Vitale, Marsel van Oosten, Paul Nicklen, Steve McCurry, Karine Aigner, Brian Skerry, Frans Lanting, Marina Cano, Beverly Joubert, Gurcharan Roopra, Thomas Mangelsen, Lucas Bustamante, Suzi Eszterhas, Paul Hilton, Cristina Mittermeier, Gael R. Vande weghe, Daisy Gilardini, Steve Winter, Qiang Zhang, Art Wolfe, Shannon Wild, Will Burrard-Lucas, David Lloyd, Sergey Gorshkov, Jonathan and Angela Scott, Thomas Vijayan, Tony Wu, and many more.
As well as chapters focusing on each of the New Big 5, the book contains an extensive section on other Endangered species from land, sea and sky, all listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Critically Endangered, Endangered or Vulnerable, including rhinos, cheetahs, giraffes, monkeys, pangolins, snow leopards, bears, frogs, insects, birds, turtles, sharks and whales.
The book also features essays from leading conservationists, including Jane Goodall, Paula Kahumbu (CEO/Founder, Wildlife Direct), Tara Stoinski (CEO, Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund), Krista Wright (Executive Director, Polar Bears International), Anish Andheria (CEO, Wildlife Conservation Trust), Moreangels Mbizah (Executive Director, Wildlife Conservation Action), Dominique Gonçalves (Manager, Elephant Ecology Project at Gorongosa National Park), and Wes Sechrest (CEO, Re:wild).
The New Big Five can be ordered online HERE.
Polar Bears and Landscapes of East Greenland 2025 SOLD OUT 2024 Open!
My 2025 expedition to eastern Greenland to photograph Polar Bears and Ice Landscapes is now sold out – thank you. This expedition will see us based in camps out on the sea ice with local Inuit guides who will assist us in finding Polar Bears and other Arctic wildlife. Due to the increased interest in workshops and expeditions to the East Coast of Greenland, I am offering this trip in March of 2024 next year – only three places remain. Full details are now on my website at www.jholko.com/workshops.