Outdoor Photographer Magazine – Antarctica: Planes, Planes & More Planes

Outdoor Photographer magazine are running a multi-issue (six + issues) feature on the expedition I am leading this November to South Georgia Island and Antarctica with Andy Biggs.  It is now less than two weeks until I will be leaving for this expedition and a blog post on packing and equipment will follow shortly. I will also be announcing a brand new sponsor in the next few days that will be helping to support this expedition with some equipment that is going to make for some very exciting photographic possibilities – stay tuned for that announcement.outdoorphotographer2014This series of feature articles is sponsored by my good friends and manufactures of my preffered camera bags – Gura Gear. The fifth part of the new series is featured in the brand new November 2014 issue. Subsequent issues will include what leads on from South Georgia and Antactica and then at the conclusion of the expedition there will be an issue reporting on our experiences along with a number of photographs taken during the expedition. You can click on the image below to Download a Larger Version of the second article.  Be sure to Subscribe to Outdoor Photographer magazine for the follow up issues. Subscriptions are available in single issue or multi-issue in Print, iPad, Zinio and more. Just choose your favourite reading medium, subscribe and enjoy. The South Georgia and Antarctica expedition is sold out, but I will soon be announcing a future expedition to both the Weddell Sea and South Georgia Island in 2016. If you are interested in joining us please Contact Me with your expression of interest.


Testimonial from Chris Roberts – Iceland Ultimate Summer Workshop 2014

 “Hi Josh, Just wanted to say thanks again for a terrific couple of weeks in Iceland this July, it really was a fabulous experience, with another handful of people falling in love with Iceland, I’m sure. The efforts that you make to maximise the weather and light, and location are exceptional.  I’m really happy with many of my images, and am already looking forward to coming back!” Christine RobertsSuper Moon Rising at Landmannalaugar IcelandYou can read the 2014 Iceland Ultimate Summer Workshop trip report online HERE. All of the workshops I am leading to Iceland next year (2015) are already sold out; but if you are interested in travelling and photographing in Iceland Daniel Bergmann and I will soon be announcing our schedule for 2016 which will include a Winter expedition in March and two Autumn expeditions in late August and September. The winter expedition will focus on the South East coast and frozen North of Iceland. The Autumn trips will focus on the Highlands and on the North and Northwest fjords respectively. We are not yet ready to start taking bookings for these workshops but if you would like to be amongst the first to be notified when bookings are open you can email me to register your interest. No obligation at this point. If you are considering travelling to Iceland on a workshop for the first time be sure to read my Top Ten Tips for choosing your next workshop.


Jewels of the Arctic 2014 Expedition Report

In late August 2014 I led a ship based polar photography expedition from Isafjord in the north of Iceland to the remote east coast of Greenland and west coast of Svalbard – The Jewels of the Arctic. During this expedition we sailed across the Denmark Strait from Iceland and explored and photographed the wild and remote fjords of Greenland and stunning glacial landscapes of Svalbard. We saw and photographed giant icebergs, precipitous mountains that plunge hundreds of metres into the sea, majestic wildlife and much more. We encountered Arctic pack ice and spent many hours photographing from ship, shore and zodiac under the midnight Arctic sun. Greenland IcebergThis trip report is going to be a little different to those I have written up in the past. Rather than recount just the highlights and main experiences I am instead going to post the day-by-day reports that are handed out to participants at the end of each day. At the conclusion of every day of the expedition the staff and crew compile a report of our activities for the day as well as our upcoming plans for the following day. The intention of these daily reports is not only to keep everyone on the expedition up to date but also to provide a record at the end of trip for participants to take home. These reports give a wonderful insight into ship board life and the many experiences over the course of the expedition. They cover a lot more than just the photography (in fact they are not really meant to be photography based, and are focused on life aboard ship and in the Arctic) and include information about the ships position, weather, wildlife encounters, our daily itinerary and even a few Russian language tips in good faith to our crew. The Trip Daily Reports can be downloaded as a complete PDF file HERE.

FracturedAs with all polar expeditions we encountered a variety of weather that included a remarkably calm and flat Denmark Strait and Greenland sea crossing. Both of these stretches of water are quite notorious and can be as rough as the Drake Passage (that thin stretch of water between South America and Antarctica). Thankfully we were fortunate to experience calm seas for the duration of our expedition, which really maximised our photography – both on ship and on zodiac. I lost count of the number of zodiac excursions during the fourteen days we were in the Arctic but they included many, many hours cruising amongst gigantic icebergs and dramatic mountain scenery.

Greenland DawnI am still sorting through and editing the many thousands of photographs I made during this expedition. These few  images I have had the time to process since returning are just a small sample of the sort of incredible scenery we encountered during our two weeks in Greenland and Svalbard. The Organ Pipes in GreenlandGreenland in particular is a landscape photographers paradise and remains for me one of the most geologically amazing locations I have ever visited. No where else have I ever seen such amazing and precipitous mountain formations or such incredible glacial scaring across the face of the landscape. The fjords are lined with magnificent orange and yellow mountains  that are a wonderful counterpoint to the gigantic icebergs that drift slowly through the fjords. As the glaciers continue to thin and recede the newly uncovered landscape offers amazingly varied opportunities for photography. The glaciology of the Arctic is truly something to behold and even though the glaciers are sadly in full retreat at an incredibly alarming rate the opportunities for photography remain boundless. The high Arctic is an incredibly special place to visit and photograph and it was as always an absolute privilege and pleasure to share it with all aboard our ship.

Ice and GlacierI am looking forward to returning next year to Svalbard to lead two dedicated expeditions to photograph Polar Bears north of Svalbard at the edge of the permanent pack ice. These two expeditions will be using much smaller twelve person ships which will enable us to get down to eye level with wild Polar Bears. Both of these expeditions are already sold out, but if you would like to be amongst the first to be notified when the 2016 trips are open for bookings please just drop me an email.

Untitled Film Works to Film Kingdom of the Ice Bear Expedition

Last year I commissioned Untitled Film Works to travel with me to the Arctic to create a short movie of what it was like to be on a photographic expedition in Greenland and Svalbard with a group of dedicated and passionate photographers (In case you missed it you can watch it HERE). The resulting movie was released early this year and spread quickly across the internet. It was a huge amount of fun and we received a large amount of email corresponedence complimenting us on the video. Ultimately, it achieved what I hoped it would – it gave an insight into what it was like to travel on a dedicated polar photography expedition in the Arctic.

Now, I am very excited to announce and share that Untitled Film Works have been commissioned for a second movie and will accompany myself, Daniel Bergmann and ten keen and passionate photographers on our Kingdom of the Ice Bear Expedition north of Svalbard in August next year. During this expedition we plan to photograph and film wild Polar Bears living and hunting in their natural environment on the permanent pack ice under the spectacular midnight sun. We also hope to film many other Arctic species including Walrus, Arctic Fox, Whales and more. We will produce a second short movie and then release it toward the end of next year. The movie will be made freely available as before.Polar Bear

The movie will be shot on a combination of a 6K RED Epic Dragon Cinema Camera as well as several Canon EOS 1DC Cinema cameras. It is my hope that this movie will help raise awareness for not only global warming, but also more specificially, the plight of the Polar Bear as the sea ice continues to thin under its feet. KingdomoftheIceBear2015

Our Kingdom of the Ice Bear Expedition is now almost sold out (only one place remaining). If you are interested in joining us or have any questions about the expedition please just drop me an email.

Apple Thunderbolt Upgrade with Legacy Firewire Computers

I ran into quite a nasty little ‘gotcha’ experience with the upgrade path from Firewire to Thunderbolt last night that I think is worth sharing for anyone who might be considering purchasing a new Thunderbolt device and owns and uses legacy Mac computers with Firewire800 ports.

In my studio I am currently running an 8-core 2010 ‘Big Iron’ Mac Pro Server as my main photography editing and printing machine. It has 64 Gigabytes of RAM and is loaded up with a super quick OWC SSD Card as well as four internal hard drives in a RAID10 Array. Its a very quick machine and not really in need of an upgrade any time soon. I had also been running an external Drobo Pro with 8 x 1TB drives in it connected via Firewire800. The sole purpose of the Drobo was a daily back-up of the internal Mac Pro RAID10 Array. Its the old belt suspenders and a piece of string and this set-up has worked well now for years.

In preparation for a new Thunderbolt Mac Pro next year (which has no firewire800 ports) I purchased one of the new Promise Pegasus2 R4 Thunderbolt2 Disk Attached Storage (DAS) Chassis and loaded it up with 4 Western Digital Red Hard Drives in a RAID10.  I also purchased a Thunderbolt to Firewire 800 adapter from Apple to enable me to connect the new Promise DAS directly to the Mac Pro’s Firewire800 port. And that is where I hit a major roadblock.

As it turns out the Apple Thunderbolt to Firewire800 adapter is a one way adapter only. That is, you can connect it to the Thunderbolt port of a new Thunderbolt equipped Apple Mac and use it to connect to a legacy Firewire800 device (like a hard drive). However, you cannot connect a Thunderbolt device (such as the Promise Pegasus2 R4) to a Firewire800 Apple Mac with this adapter. It will not work. The reason it will not work is the adapter is designed to create a Thunderbolt port for a non-Thunderbolt equipped Firewire device. It cannot create a Firewire port for a Thunderbolt device and thats a very important distinction.

According to the description on Apple’s website:ThunderboltNow it does say ‘Connect your Thunderbolt equipped Mac to a Firewire device’. I just assumed (incorrectly) that you could therefore connect a Thunderbolt device to a Firewire equipped Mac; which is not the case. It is a fairly easy assumption to make as the text does not say it cannot be done and adapters usually work both ways.

This left me in some what of a quandary as I really did not want to shell out more than six thousand dollars for the new Mac Pro just yet. I simply wanted to bed in the new Thunderbolt storage array so that when I did upgrade to the new Mac Pro at some stage next year I was ready to go with Thunderbolt storage that was tested and bedded down. What to do?

The good news is that there is a solution; although it is not very elegant and does require you to own some sort of Thunderbolt equipped Mac in addition to your Firewire equipped Mac. Thankfully I have a new MacBook Pro that has several Thunderbolt ports that I use when travelling. Step one is to connect the Thunderbolt storage device (in my case the Promise Pegasus2 R4) to the Thunderbolt equipped Mac with a standard Thunderbolt cable. Step two is to connect the Thunderbolt equipped Mac to the Firewire equipped Mac and start the Firewire equipped Mac in ‘Target Disk Mode’. In order to do this you will need a Firewire 800 cable and a Firewire to Thunderbolt Adapter available from the Apple store. Once started in Target Disk Mode the Firewire800 equipped Mac Pro will then show up as a mounted disk on the Thunderbolt equipped Mac Pro and you can then copy the files from the Firewire equipped Mac Pro to the Thunderbolt Pegasus2 DAS. It is not the cleanest solution, but it works and it is quite fast (Firewire800 speed is the limitation).