Global Arctic Photographer of the Year Special Guest Judge

Late last year I was fortunate to win the 2015 Global Arctic Photographer of the Year and have subsequently been invited as special Guest Judge for the 2016 Awards. The only downside to being a judge of course is that I cant enter the awards this year! That said, I am very honoured to have been asked to judge and very much looking forward to judging this years competition. The standard of work in this competition is incredibly high and in many ways is the bench mark for how high the bar is set for Nature photographers. I cant wait to see the amazing photographs entered into the 2016 competition!

The purpose of the Global Arctic Awards – 2016 contest is to show the magnificence of the diverse North and Arctic world through photography. The contestants works represent the beautiful variety of northern nature and wildlife, depict the peculiarities of the “icy” world of the Arctic, and narrate unforgettable photo stories about the culture, life and centuries-old customs of the Northern minorities . Through the prism of photographic lenses the coldest, deeply frozen Earth regions, covered with ice and snow, will appear in a new perspective.Svalbard-9725-EditGlobalArctic2016

Greenland East Coast 2017 Expedition Announcement – Extremely Limited Availability

As some of you are already aware in September and October of next year (2017), Daniel Bergmann and I are conducting two back-to-back landscape photography expeditions to the Scoresby Sund fjord system on the remote East Coast of Greenland. I have been meaning to formally announce both of these expeditions here on my blog for many months now, but have had so little studio time this year that I have just not been able to get around to it. Now, with a few sea days downtime between the Falkland Islands and South Georgia Island I have been able to get all the details online and post up the trip from the ships satellite internet connection.

A few words on Greenland: Home to some of the most extraordinary geology to be found on earth, the red and orange glacial scarred landscape of Greenland stands in stark contrast to the electric blue icebergs that carve off its many glaciers and drift slowly down its precipitous fjords. It is a remote land of untamed and unbridled beauty that is rarely visited and even less rarely photographed. It is an incredible place to inspire the imagination and fuel your photographic desires._H9P15170-EditThe landscape and geology of the East Coast of Greenland is both stunning and extraordinary. Photographing this incredible landscape under soft golden Arctic light is our main objective. In fact, our entire expedition has been planned around us being on location at the best time of year for soft golden light. We will also see and photograph incredible castellated icebergs that have calved off the many glaciers of Greenland. Dramatic glaciers, plunging cliffs and beautiful drift ice formations will be present as well.Greenland DawnThese expeditions have been more than two years in the planning and have been structured to provide the very best possible opportunities to photograph the incredible landscapes of the remote East Coast of Greenland in the Scoresbysund fjord system. With the sun low in the sky and at an oblique angle, late September and early October are the ideal times to photograph this region of the Arctic. Working during the best light of the day we will maximize our time for photography with daily shore excursions with plenty of time to scout, setup and photograph under the midnight sun.Greenland IcebergThe photographic opportunities in the Scoresbysund fjord system are limitless and we intend to take maximum advantage of our time in this area. We will use zodiacs to make daily shore excursions for contemplative landscape photography as well as utilize zodiacs for iceberg photography as we cruise amongst the icebergs and brash ice.Red Island SunriseThe Scoresbysund fjord system is home to some of the most incredible iceberg formations to be found anywhere in the world. As a result of the constant thawing and freezing of the glaciers there is an abundance of icebergs of infinite variety to be found drifting in the fjord system. Many of the icebergs are heavily castellated with electric blue cracks and fractures that are a photographers dream come true. The juxtaposition of these natural sculptures against the orange and red rock scarred landscape is not only awe inspiring in its primordial nature but completely unique. Nowhere else in the world can this combination and beauty be found on such a scale. In photographic terms the landscapes of the Scoresbysund fjord system are virgin ground. Very few expeditions venture into this area of Greenland and even fewer carry photographers.GreenlandAlthough our ship for these expeditions is capable of carrying up to 33 people, the maximum number of participants on these two expeditions has been capped at eighteen. By limiting the number of participants on the ship we ensure sufficient room for photography equipment, shooting positions and zodiac photography for all participants without having to compromise. It also allows us to offer many single rooms without the need for additional cost.

If you are excited by the idea of traveling to the remote East Coast of Greenland to photograph the incredible landscapes of this country with a small group of dedicated and passionate photographers now is the time to secure one of the few remaining places. Due to the initial registrations and bookings there are already only three places remaining on the first expedition and only one place on the second before both expeditions will be completley sold out. Full details including dates, costs and a detailed PDF itinerary can be downloaded from my website at www.jholko.com.

Digital Trends – Feature Interview with Polar Photographer Joshua Holko

Two days ago I returned to Punta Arenas at the bottom of South America from my expedition to photograph the world’s largest Emperor Penguin colony at Gould Bay in a very remote part of Antarctica. To date this trip represents the most complicated, most logistically difficult, and most weather dependant (as well as highest cost) trip I have ever undertaken. This was an absolutely life changing experience that I will have a full report on when I return home around the middle of December. In the meantime, I have uploaded a couple of video snippets I shot during the expedition that will give you some insight into what the expedition was like. Just click on the images below to play the videos.emperorsexpeditionvideo1emperorsexpeditionvideo2I also wanted to share a recent interview I did with Digital Trends on Polar Photography, my thoughts on wildlife photography and global warming. My thanks to Bill Schiffner at Digital Trends for the interview.

During the 2016 PhotoPlus show in New York City, Digital Trends sat down with the winner of the 2015 Global Arctic Photographer of the Year award, Joshua Holko, and talked to him about how he got into photographing polar bears in the Arctic and penguins of the Antarctic (far treks from his home in warmer Australia), the effects of global warming, and his methods. Holko runs photography workshops and expeditions to some of the world’s wildest and remotest regions in both the Arctic and Antarctic.digitaltrends2016You can read the full interview online: Digital Trends Interview with Joshua Holko

Tomorrow I am leaving South America and flying to the Falkland Islands where I will board our ship Polar Pioneer for my last expedition of the year to South Georgia Island and Antarctica – Photographers First Light. I am looking forward to sharing this expedition with all aboard and special invitees the Canon Collective. Having Canon Australia aboard for this expedition is going to be a fantastic boon for all aboard. Canon are providing access to a wide range of some of the latest professional camera equipment (including Canon EOS 1DX Mark II and 5D MKIV cameras and a wide range of Professional L series lenses) for our exclusive use in the field during the expedition. I will have no internet for the next few weeks so this will be my last planned update until I return in early December. See you in time for Christmas.

Antarctica Emperor Penguin Bound

This will be my last blog post for the next ten days or so as I just received word that after significant delays a weather window has finally opened up for our Emperor Penguin group flight to base camp at Union Glacier in Antarctica. As soon as I finish up this post I am headed to the airport for the four hour flight down to the blue ice and the deep interior of Antarctica. From basecamp at Union Glacier its another four an a half hour flight in a smaller twin otter aircraft out to the remote sea ice and the largest Emperor Penguin colony in the world.

I am really excited to be heading back to the interior of Antarctica. This rarely visited part of the continent is one of incredible beauty that very people ever get to see and experience. The bonus of photographing Emperor Penguins with a very small group (there are just five of us in total) is the icing on the very sweet cake. It has been five years since I first dreamt up the idea of taking a small group on a dedicated photographic expedition to Antarctica’s largest Emperor colony and a full three years since I first began planning this expedition. It has also been a full year since I conducted my scouting trip to the interior in preparation for this expedition. To finally be departing with a such a small dedicated group of passionate photographers is both thrilling and exciting.

A few words on logistics for this expedition as to date this trip represents the most complicated, most difficult, and most weather dependant (as well as highest cost) trip I have ever undertaken. Our flight from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier and basecamp in Antarctica is on a Russian Ilyushin aircraft. This massive cargo plane is still fitted with its jump seats (for passengers) but is also used to ferry all of the equipment needed for the expedition to Basecamp. On arrival at Union Glacier we will land on a naturally occurring blue ice runway. From our Basecamp at Union Glacier we will spend a day or so acclimatizing (temperatures at basecamp vary between -10 and -30 Celsius in the summer) and preparing our equipment before we take a smaller dedicated twin-otter aircraft on another four and half hour flight to our advance camp at Gould bay and the largest Emperor Penguin colony in the world. This camp puts us in one of the most isolated and remote locations anywhere on the planet so everything we might need in case of any eventuality or emergency has to be carried in with us. And of course, on departure, we take everything with us (even human waste) so absolutely nothing is left behind. We will spend approximately a week camping and photographing at the colony before we pack and up and reverse engineer our way back to South America.

Being this remotely isolated in Antarctica means there is no internet or cell coverage so the next update should be late November all going well. Image below of our plane having just landed on the ice at Union Glacier from last years 2015 scouting trip.AntarcticaUnionGlacier2015-2155-EditWhat about a Future Expedition? Some of you have already emailed me and asked if I will run this expedition again in the future. The answer at this stage is I am investigating the possibility of a second expedition in November 2018 that would combine the Emperor Penguin expedition with an optional extension for landscape photography into the interior via snow mobiles (I also scouted this last year) with the possibility of a further extension visit to the South Pole.  I will post more on this should I be able to pull it all together around the middle of next year. In the meantime, if you want to be amongst the first to be notified of updates to this future expedition then its best to just register your interest with me now via email. There is no obligation at this point. Emperors-6

Iceland Winter the Frozen North Workshop 2017 SOLD OUT

The 2017 Iceland Winter Workshop ‘The Frozen North‘, with Daniel Bergmann is now sold out. If you missed out on a place you can still register to go onto the wait list. The workshop will run from the 23rd of February until the 5th of March 2017 and will focus on the incredible frozen northern landscapes of Iceland as well as the Aurora Borealis. We will be travelling in an Icelandic Super Jeep (modified 4-wheel drive) so that we can get off the main bitumen road and into the more interesting areas for photography and experience the true splendour of Iceland in Winter. In winter, the northern landscapes are covered in snow and the light is often soft and ethereal. There are fantastic opportunities to create wonderful images of the winter landscape.On the way to the End of the World - AntarcticaIf you missed out on a place but would like to travel an photograph in Iceland on a dedicated workshop with like minded individuals you can still register your interest to go onto the wait list by dropping me an email. You can visit the Iceland Portfolio on my website at www.jholko.com for more images of Iceland.