Live-Books Ambassador

A couple of months ago, whilst I was in Iceland on my summer photography workshop I was contacted by liveBooks and asked if I would be interested in joining their new Ambassador program. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with liveBooks, this USA based company specialises custom designed and pre-designed website templates for photographers. They are widely regarded by many as the industry standard for portfolio websites for professional photographers around the world and it is with great pleasure I join their Ambassador program. My own liveBooks website can be seen at Professional photographers need to stand out from the crowd and liveBooks have had a major hand in helping me grow my own business. I have been a liveBooks customer for more than eight years now (I was actually the first Australian photographer to sign up) and during this time have been continually developing and updating my website and blog. I have seen the company change hands and continue to grow with both new template and custom options (My own site at now has quite a lot of custom flash programming for the workshop section of my website) as well as additional offerings such as Blogs and Video pages. During this time I have also seen many other prominent photographers choose liveBooks as their website of choice – both for the clean slick look and for the user friendly back end for managing images. One of the key factors that originally drew me to liveBooks was the time-saving back end support they offer. My time is very limited when it comes to allocating time for website maintenance and anything that saves me time and effort is a major plus. There are some very well known names amongst liveBooks list of clientele and if you are considering a move to a new web design or in setting up your first photography website it is well worth checking out their list of clients, example websites as well as their extensive range of template websites and custom designs.Being an Ambassador for a company that has lead and continues to lead the industry in photography websites for photographers is an honour and I am very much looking forward to working with the team at liveBooks on some new projects over the coming year. I have several personal projects I am currently working on at present including a book on Polar and Sub Polar Photography, as well as an exciting project I will undertake in Iceland late next March (more to come on this soon). liveBooks will be assisting me with making these projects a reality and I am looking forward very much to the release of these projects.

Edit – The observant amongst you may have noticed that I have been a little slack of late in updating my photo of the month here on my blog. I did have the best intentions to update the photo of the month whilst I was in the Arctic but the little down time I did have between workshops and expeditions was spent catching up on email correspondence. This photograph of a large female Polar Bear is my photograph of the month for August (Yes – September is coming soon!) and was taken at approximately 80º North of Svalbard at the edge of the pack ice around midnight. We were fortunate to come across this bear on a fresh seal kill and we spent a couple of hours making photographs of this incredible animal. This particular image was shot with the Canon EOS 1DX and the new Canon 200-400mm F4L IS lens with inbuilt 1.4 Teleconverter and was actually shot through the open porthole of my cabin window on M.S Origo. M.S Origo is a wonderful ship for polar photography – with operable portholes that are only 60cm above the pack ice it provides the perfect vantage point for photographing these incredible animals. You can see a higher resolution version of this photograph on my Live-Books website at

By way of full disclosure: I have always paid for all my liveBooks services out my own hard earned money – that includes my original website design, blog design and yearly hosting costs, plus all the custom work I have engaged them to complete. As an Ambassador I am entitled to a number of benefits with liveBooks that I negotiate on an as needs basis.

New Zealand South Island – February 2014 Exclusive Photography Workshop

A few months ago I posted that I was very pleased to be joining forces with professional New Zealand Nature Photographer Phillip Bartlett for a future workshop in the South Island of New Zealand. There has been significant interest in a photography workshop in the South Island of New Zealand and Phillip and I are very pleased to now be offering a dedicated workshop for a small exclusive group of photographers in February next year.

Our workshop will take us on a photographic journey into ‘Middle Earth’ – The spectacular South Island of New Zealand. The South Island of New Zealand is home to some of the most spectacular scenery and landscapes in the world. It is no co-incidence that Peter Jackson chose the South Island of New Zealand to film the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings movies. Perhaps nowhere else in the world can one see and photograph precipitous alpine mountains plunging into temperate rain forest and wild ocean beaches in so short a space. New Zealand is home to an incredibly diverse range of subject matter in a small island. Glaciers, waterfalls, spectacular valleys, imposing mountain ranges and black pebble beaches. It is an island of ever changing weather and spectacular light conditions. It is a country made for photography.
This workshop is about photography and lots of it. There will be no formal classroom sessions or lectures and no formal instruction. Rather, we will work side by side, sharing our knowledge, vision, philosophy and experience together in the field.  We want everyone to make great photographs so the emphasis is on being out in the field when the light is best. We will be on hand for any advice or instruction and we will work together as a team. There will be opportunities for image processing instruction in Adobe Lightroom as well as image reviews at the end of a days shooting. This workshop is for dedicated landscape and nature photographers who are willing to work for their images. With a small group of photographers (just nine in total) we can gurantee a more personal and intimate experience than bigger tours can provide. We will be travelling in large 4-wheel drive vehicles to give us plenty of space for camera equipment and gear. So bring what you need!
This photography tour will last for twelve days (eleven nights). We will be staying in good hotels and guest houses that are functional and clean. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all included. However, this workshop tour is all about photography and we will be putting in long hours in the field in order to ensure we get the best possible light for photography. We may take food and drink with us into the field to ensure we are in the right locations to get the best possible light.  Also included in the tour is a private chartered helicopter ride with the doors removed for photography over the spectacular Southern Alps. Flying in a small mountain helicopter with the doors removed for photography over the snow capped mountains and glaciers of the Southern Alps is a breathtaking experience and promises to be a real highlight of the tour. We have also included a privately chartered boat in the small fishing village of Kaikoura for photography in the bay of Dusky Dolphins as they leap from the water whilst majestic Albatross follow along hoping for a free meal. If we are lucky we may even encounter Sperm whales cruising off the continental shelf and Sea Lions basking in the sunshine on the coast.
The workshop will run from February the 15th 2014 – until February 26th 2014. Due to prior expressions of interest and bookings there are only 3 places remaining on this workshop before it will be sold out. A detailed itinerary can be downloaded HERE. If the idea of travelling with a small group of dedicated photographers through the South Island of New Zealand appeals to you then please contact me at if you would like additional information or to register for your place. Bookings are taken on a first come, first served basis and once all positions are filled thats it. To get an idea of the spectacular scenery we will encounter and photograph Phillip and I have put together a short video. Just click on the image below to view the video. New Zealand.

X-Rite Photo Webinar : Processing Images with Ice and Snow

Earlier this year I did a free Webinar with X-Rite and Nik Software on how I process photographs with Ice and Snow. The webinar covered my own personal workflow for working with images that contain snow and Ice to really get the most from them. I discussed my use of the X-Rite Colour Checker Passport as well as how I implement the Nik Software Plug ins into my workflow. You can download a copy of the Webinar directly from X-Rite’s archives HERE.

I will be doing a follow up Webinar with X-Rite and Moab paper on processing ice and snow images later this month on the 25th of September at 7pm EDT. In this new Webinar I will give more examples of how I utilise the colour checker passport in my workflow and how I process my own photographs to really maximise the texture and tone in the ice and snow. I will also talk briefly about printing images with ice and snow and the importance of paper selection to match the photograph. You can Register Online and the Webinar is free. Due to bandwidth limitations between Australia and the USA I will be pre-recording the Webinar, but will be online during its presentation to answer any questions or queries.

Edit – In case you have stumbled across this page with a search – you can view an archive of the webinar HERE

2013 APPA – Australian Professional Photography Awards

The 2013 APPA Australian Professional Photography Awards have come and gone for another year. This was the third time I have entered the APPA awards and it was the first time I have had to do so remotely. I was in Greenland leading a fourteen day photography expedition during the entry process so had to select my images and have prints made before the updated 2013 rules where published and before entries were officially open. My thanks to Kim at the National AIPP office for looking after and entering my prints in my absence. This was also the first time I entered the Science, Environment and Nature Category in lieu of the Landscape category. This was an interesting experiment in that the criteria for judging is very different to the Landscape Category. Pretty much anything goes these days in terms of what is and isn’t allowed when it comes to Photoshop work in the landscape category. Extensive use of textures and multi-image composites are the norm rather than the exception which has seen the boundaries of this category somewhat blur between Landscape, Fine Art and Illustrative. The Science, Nature and Environment category on the other hand has far more rigid rules on post production and as a result I felt this category would perhaps be more appropriate to my general minimalist post production techniques. This year I chose to enter four images from Antarctica that I felt conveyed a feeling of wildlife in the landscape in brooding overcast conditions. I was fortunate to receive a Silver Award and three Bronze Awards (all of which fell one point short of Silver) for the four prints I entered. All four prints were made on Moab’s Exhibition Lustre paper.

This year also marked my 2nd year as a full member of the AIPP which meant I was finally able to receive my Associateship status. An Associateship is awarded to full members of the AIPP who accrue 5 or more points within 4 consecutive years at the APPA awards. I had actually accrued sufficient points for this award in my first year of APPA entry but had to wait for the mandatory two year period to elapse before I could receive the award (which I did last night at the APPA dinner). My current APPA points total sits just a few points away now from a Master of Photography award and I look forward to the challenge of banking these last few points in my fourth year of entry at the 2014 APPA awards next year. 

Gura Gear Monarch: Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland

It has been just over a week since I returned from two months photography in Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland and I am still very much catching up on sleep and recovering from jet lag. After two months in the Arctic with no real darkness under the midnight sun it is taking me some time to readjust my body clock to regular working hours. The high Arctic is an incredible place in summer for photography, but the continual sunlight and lack of darkness takes its toll in terms of trying to sleep between zodiac and shore landings.

If you a regular reader of my blog you will know that I took the Gura Gear Monarch Bataflae 32L with me to Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland as my primary camera bag for this two month period. At its most northerly position the Monarch and I reached approximately 81º North in the pack ice above Svalbard where we had some incredible encounters and experiences with Polar Bears hunting on the pack ice. Photographing Polar Bears hunting seals on the pack ice rates as one of the most incredible photographic experiences I have been fortunate to have and I am looking forward to sharing many of the photographs I made during my time in Svalbard over the coming weeks and months. I will also have more to say in future posts about the incredible landscape to be found in Greenland – A country of truly extraordinary geology.

During the two months I was in Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland I made more than 18,000 photographs and at present am still sorting, key wording and editing them down to a more manageable number. I have done a quick pass through the photographs and  have uploaded a few of my initial favourites to my primary portfolio website at A higher resolution version of this photograph of a large female Polar Bear staring into her reflection at the edge of the pack ice can be seen on my website in the Svalbard Portfolio.The Monarch is now winging its way back to Gura Gear headquarters in the United States in preparation for its next journey and adventure having now travelled to Kenya in Africa with Andy Biggs and Iceland, Svalbard and Greenland with myself.  Be sure to keep an eye on the Gura Gear website for future updates on its whereabouts as it makes its way around the globe with other pro photographers to some of the world’s most amazing photographic locations.