2011 was a big year for my photography. I travelled to many wild and wonderful locations throughout the year including Tasmania, the South Island of New Zealand (I never get tired of New Zealand’s amazing landscapes), Antarctica; which was a life long ambition and an absolutely amazing experience, and many more places throughout Australia. I met and made some great new friends in Antarctica and this trip to the bottom of the world was most defiantly the photographic travel highlight of 2011 for me.
I was extremely honoured to be appointed as Australia’s first and only Moab Master photographer by Moab and Legion paper in the USA. I took out a Gold award at APPA (The Australian Professional Photography Awards) with my very first print in this competition and won three Silvers with my other three prints. I won the 2011 World Extreme Environment Photography Peoples Choice Award, made the cover of F11 Magazine (and feature article), won a spotlight Portfolio award in the prestigious American magazine B&W + Color, won a Portfolio award in the highly regarded Silvershotz journal and had my some of my work featured by National Geographic as ‘Travel Photograph of the Week’. I was also published in numerous other publications including one of my favourite outdoor magazines ‘Wild‘. I was featured on Canon Australia’s EOS1 Wall as a Pro Judge, interviewed for the EOS Pro website and was a semi finalist in the Windland Smith Rice Awards. I also opened (although I was in Antarctica for the actual physical opening) my new exhibition ‘Colours of Iceland’ at the Wilderness Gallery at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. This exhibition features a room of 20+ 20×30 inch prints from my 2010 trip to Iceland. I feel like I accomplished quite a lot last year and ticked a lot off my goal list. I am however currently way behind on my image editing and processing from my recent Antarctica shoot; which has already left me feeling somewhat behind the eight ball to kick off 2012 – plenty of work ahead of me.
2012 is shaping up to a very busy year with a lot of travel including some time in France, Italy (Venice), London and Iceland (I am particularly looking forward to my workshop in Iceland in July/August); plus more time in the South Island of New Zealand and Tasmania in the next few weeks. I have a new exhibition opening early in the year in Melbourne and my current exhibition at the Wilderness Gallery at Cradle Mountain will continue on for most of 2012. I have a lot of printing to do in the next couple of months to prepare for my Melbourne exhibition at Source Photographica and I am currently selecting images to include in the exhibition. Although I said this last year, I do intend to try and spend more time photographing down the Great Ocean Road in my home state of Victoria. This location is world class and even though it quite literally is in my backyard (just a few hours drive) it has been much neglected by me – a situation I intend to remedy in 2012.
My travel plans seem to extend deeper and further every year and even though we are only at the beginning of 2012 I have extensive plans either underway or already in place for 2013. I will be leading another workshop to Iceland in July/August 2013 (I will be releasing details in the next few weeks on this trip for those who have already registered their interest) and then heading over to Svarlbad with my friend Daniel Bergmann to photograph the Polar Bears for a couple of weeks. I have already blanked out two weeks in my calendar for the South Island of New Zealand in April 2014 with my friend Martyn – seems a long way off still; but I guess it will be here before we know it. 2014 is also the year I hope to finally make it to Africa with my good friend Andy Biggs and tick the last of the seven continents. Amongst all of this I plan to try and get to Moab and Death Valley in the States – assuming time, finances and the planets all align.
In terms of photographic equipment – The Canon 1DX will no doubt find its way into my camera bag in the first quarter of 2012; but I admit to secretly hoping Canon announce a new monster mega pixel camera to ‘really’ replace my venerable (but still amazing) 1DS MKIII. The 1DX should be a phenomenal low light and wildlife camera; but given the majority of my shooting is long exposure and tripod based its application in my photography will be somewhat limited. I have decided to sell either my Canon 1Ds MKIII or MKIV in the next few weeks to make room for the 1DX. I only purchased the MKIV for Antarctica and although it is truly an excellent and remarkable camera I prefer the 1DS MKIII for landscape because its full frame (the difference in resolution is kind of irrelevant as what the MKIV gives up in resolution it makes up for in pixel quality). I am somewhat undecided on which to sell at the moment. I think I am just having a hard time coming to terms with the realisation that it probably is the 1DS MKIII that should be retired at this point. The trick will be minimising down time by selling the 1DS MKIII just as the 1DX turns up so that I am not without a full frame camera for more than a few days.
I admit to yearning for a Leica S2 after shooting with one in Antarctica (it really produces a stunning file), but I just can’t come to grips with the limited lens selection and economics of ownership of a complete package at this point in time. As per my Antarctica Debrief post I intend to keep a close eye on Leica’s support for the S2. I spent some time looking into an Alpa STC and Cambo technical camera before I left for Antarctica in November last year and have not yet ruled one out as an option with a Phase One back. However, the industry feels to me like it is in somewhat of a state of suspended animation at the moment with high pixel count 30+ mega pixel DSLR’s on the horizon (but not yet officially announced) and I would like see some files from these new cameras before I make a decision. Other than the 1DX I really have no idea what else might make it into my camera bag this year. Speaking of camera bags – the new Gura Gear 22 litre Kiboko is likely to be added to my camera bag collection this year – specifically for short hikes from the car when I don’t want to schlepp my big fully loaded Kiboko (You can never have too many camera bags!)
I am also hoping to make a couple of exciting announcement regarding equipment manufacturers in 2012. More to come on this later.
Lastly, I am overdue with updating some of the other pages on my site/s and I hope to make some time over the coming months to bring my blog (and website at www.jholko.com) up to date.
Oh.. and before I forget – I have finally updated the photo of the month for January 2012. 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.