Mountain of Fury – Ushuaia South America

One of the real joys of ship based photography is to stand on the ship’s deck with a camera and watch (and photograph) the scene slowly roll past as you cruise along. Many of my best photographs from Antarctica were made this way – including ‘Penguins Adrift in Snow Storm‘ which was recently featured as photograph of the day on National Geographic’s website. Unlike land based photography, shooting from ship requires absolutely no strenuous walking or hiking (and obviously no tripod) – except perhaps to the bar for the odd drink or the occasional shore excursion via zodiac. All that is really required is a little patience and perhaps a decent pair of sea legs if the swell is up to help keep your balance. Even then, it is amazing how easy it is to brace yourself against the ship to create a stable shooting platform. In point of fact, shooting from ship is actually far easier than helicopter.

During my last Antarctica expedition my good friend Martyn and I spent a lot of time shooting side-by-side as we cruised slowly up the Beagle Channel toward the Drake Passage and Antarctica. Flanked by the Andes mountain range the scenery was truly spectacular with jagged mountain peaks, swirling clouds and dramatic light. Conveniently our trip departed late afternoon from Ushuaia (as most trips do) and we were fortunate to be treated to some lovely dramatic and moody light. As a photographer who searches for the dramatic and portentous this was truly food for the soul and I can vividly recall dashing from one side of the ship to the other with a huge grin on my face in an effort to drink it all in.

Although I had chartered a helicopter with one of the other people on the trip to fly over the Andes mountains the day before; ironically I actually ended up prefering those images I shot from the deck of the ship. One of my favourites being this photograph which is highly evocative of the jagged and precipitous peaks that comprise the Andes Mountains and the dramatic clouds that are constantly swirling around the peaks and summits.A higher resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my website in the South America Portfolio. I am looking forward to cruising up the Beagle Channel again next year on my next Antarctica Expedition with my co-leader Daniel Bergmann and I will most definitely be out on deck armed with cameras as we sail slowly past the spectacular Andes Mountains on our way to the last great frontier – Antarctica.

National Geographic Photo of the Day

It is always a pleasant surprise when a photograph is picked up and featured by National Geographic magazine so I was very pleased this morning to find that one of my favourite images from my last Antarctica Expedition was featured as the photo of the day on the 6th of November over at National Geographic’s website. This photograph was also amongst the editors favourite picks in September this year and was the photograph I chose to use to feature the Antarctica Expedition I am co-leading with my good friend  Daniel Bergmann in November next year. This is the 3rd time I have had my photography featured over at National Geographic’s website. The previous two photographs Blue Berg and Highway to Hell were both taken during my 2010 Iceland trip. A high resolution version of this newly featured image can be downloaded as a desktop wallpaper HERE. This photograph is also available as a 20 x 30″ Fine Art Print on Moab Somerset Museum Rag paper in a limited edition of ten (there are only three remaining in the edition).

If you would like to take photographs like this there are still a few spaces remaining on my Antarctica expedition next year for anyone who would like to join me. Just pop over to my website at www.jholko.com where you can register online for a booking form.

The Jewels of the Arctic Expedition – Availability Update

Just a quick update on the availability of remaining places for the Jewels of the Arctic expedition I am co-leading with Daniel Bergmann in August next year. If you are interested in grabbing one of the remaining places and would like more information you can download a detailed itinerary and information PDF HERE.

AVAILABILITY

  • Triple Share Male (SOLD OUT)
  • Triple Share Female – 2 Places Available
  • Twin Share Male (SOLD OUT)
  • Twin Share Female (SOLD OUT)
  • Twin Private Male – 3 Cabins Available
  • Twin Private Female – 3 Cabins Available
  • Mini-Suite – Only 1 Suite  Available
  • Captains Cabin – 1 Cabin Available

This dedicated photographic expedition departs on the 5th of August 2013 and docks on the 18th of August. The trip will set sail from Longyearbyen in Svalbard and will be taking in the very best of Spitsbergen and Greenland before docking in Isafjordur in Iceland. A connecting flight will then take you to Keflavik International airport for connecting flights home.

This expedition will combine the very best of Spitsbergen and Greenland with a taste of Iceland and has been structured to provide the best possible photographic opportunities. Spitsbergen’s rugged northwest coast comprises mountains, tundra and fjords. Greenland’s remote east coast shows off the immensity of the icecap, fantastic icebergs and massive granite spires rising over 1000 metres above the fjords.

This expedition offers a complete Arctic experience for photography: tundra walks amidst reindeer and exquisite dwarf vegetation, zodiac cruises  near calving glacier fronts, hikes to breathtaking mountain vistas and warm welcomes into indigenous communities. We will likely see and photograph Polar Bears, Reindeer, Arctic Foxes, Walrus, Glaciers, icebergs and more. It is going to be a truly spectacular photographic trip for a very limited number of photographers aboard an ice hardened expedition class ship.

The expedition is for a strictly limited number of 50 participants plus leaders and expedition guide. Whilst many trips to the Arctic take 100+ tourists this expedition is capped at a maximum of 50 dedicated photographers in order to ensure the best possible experience and photographic opportunities. We will be using an ice hardened expedition ship with a highly experienced crew in order to ensure we can get as close as possible to big ice and place you in the best locations for making photographs. Our expedition ship the ‘Polar Pioneer’ is equipped with sufficient zodiacs and crew for all photographers to be shooting simultaneously with plenty of room to spare for camera equipment.

Travel Photographer of the Year Finalists 2012

Finalists for Travel Photographer of the Year (TPOTY) have been announced and I am very honoured to be included amongst the list of finalists names. It is particularly pleasing to see a few other Australian photographers also amongst the finalists – some familiar names and also some new ones. This is the first time I have entered Travel Photographer of the Year and I did so after reading that the finals are judged on actual prints rather than digital images online. I am a big proponent for judging prints over digital images. There is something magical about a truly beautifully crafted fine art print that no digital jpeg can ever match. I know many photgraphers that dont print their own work or even have it printed at a lab for that matter. Personally however, I really don’t feel like I have produced anything until such time as I actually make a print. I come from a film background and photography has always been about the printed image for me. Competitions that judge prints are becoming a rare commodity these days so I was keen to support TPOTY if for no other reason than they are helping keep the craft of print making alive. I am looking forward to making the print I need to submit by the end of this month on my favourite paper Moab Somerset Museum Rag and to seeing the photographs from the other finalists when the winners are announced later this year.

The finalist images will be exhibited at the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) in Kensington, London, England in summer 2013. The exhibition will open with a private view in June 2013. Doors will open to the public two days later, closing in mid-August 2013. The exhibition will be free to enter and I am hoping to stop past on my way through London before my Summer Iceland and Arctic Workshops.

This image from Antarctica ‘Ice Sanctuary’ was not my entry – but I wanted to share a similar image from my last Antarctica expedition in 2011. A high resolution version of this photograph can be seen on my website at www.jholko.com in the Antarctica portfolio. What was my finalist image? You will have to wait and see…..Footnote: I have become very selective about which photographic competitions I choose to enter these days. Competitions are springing up all over the web on a daily basis and many of them have horrendous terms and conditions that see the photographer signing away all their rights to their images. If you are entering competitions do yourself a big favour and read the fine print. Even competitions that are sponsored by major corporate giants are being found guilty of creating ‘rights-grab’ competitions that see the photographer ending up with no rights to their own images. Make sure the competition you enter protects your rights as a photographer.

Only 600 Miles to the North Pole!

A couple of days ago I received an email from someone interested in joining my new expedition to the Arctic in August next year – The Jewels of the Arctic. As a parent of young kids one of the questions about the trip really made me smile and after some back and forth email I just had to ask if it was ok to share it on my blog. The question at its heart is actually a very good one – ‘How far will we be from the North Pole?‘. The interested party clearly also saw the humour in the circumstance of the question and kindly agreed to let me share the relevant correspondence here on my blog. Enjoy.

Dear Josh,

I would very much like to join you on the Jewels of the Arctic trip next August but I just have a few questions if thats ok. I see that the trip finishes in Iceland which is fantastic as I have not been there before either. How long would you recommend I stay? And can you please give me some ideas of things I should see?

Will you be giving advice on what equipment to bring? I only have a Rebel and two zoom lenses for it but plan on getting a longer lens before we leave.

And I feel silly for asking this, but my kids want to know how far we will be from the North Pole as they would like me to personally deliver their Christmas wish lists to Santa Clause. Last year they did not get the new bikes they asked for and they think the mail man might never have made it to his house.

Thanks Josh.

I couldn’t let an opportunity to add to the humour slide by…

Dear XXXXX,

Thank you for your email and interest in the Jewels of the Arctic trip next August. I have attached some additional information on the expedition for your reading and made some comments below about Iceland and equipment

<Snipped out the extensive Iceland and equipment text>

In terms of view of how close we will be to the the North Pole: At our most northerly position we will be only 600 miles from the Pole; although much is dependant upon the prevailing ice. We will see and photograph grazing Reindeer on this expedition as well as Polar Bears and other wildlife. Whilst I cannot guarantee Rudolph or his helpers will be amongst the Reindeer I feel quite sure that at least one of the available Reindeer will be able to deliver your children’s letters to Santa in time for Christmas (I am under similar instructions from my own kids). I believe the standard Reindeer courier cost is a small bag of carrots. Please let me know if you’re children would be happy to have their letters delivered by Reindeer and I will endeavour to make the necessary arrangements.

Kind Regards,

I was certainly wondering at this point if I was going to hear back – but I did. And after a few more swapped emails the interested party has joined the expedition and we have agreed to package up our Christmas letters and send together. If anyone else would like their Christmas letters delivered by Reindeer please let me know.