Self Isolation Freedom Day!

Today is Freedom Day! After fourteen days of self isolation after my return from the East Coast of Greenland I can finally emerge from my home office and makeshift bedroom and enjoy the newly imposed restrictions here in Australia – fate it seems is not without a sense of irony. Freedom day includes a photograph I made in September last year by the shores of a placid lake near the cabin we were using on my Finland workshop. With a soft fog slowly rising at dawn and perfectly still waters the scene was set for some wonderful landscape imagery. Finland in Autumn has quickly become one of my top favourite destinations for both wildlife and landscape photography.

The photograph was taken hand held with the Canon EOS 1DX MK2 with the Canon 16-35mm at ISO800 f11 at 1/500th of a second. I will be returning to Finland in September this year (provided the world returns to some sense of normality) to lead another workshop to this amazing location for Wolves, Wolverine and Bears (only two places remaining).

Self Isolation Day Fourteen – Big Brown Bear

Day fourteen of mandatory self isolation (freedom tomorrow!) includes a photograph I made in September last year of a large adult male Brown Bear emerging from the forest on the Finland / Russia Border. I had actually positioned myself in a small portable ground level hide along a game trail where I had seen wolves the evening before in the hope they would come back (they did just before dark). I had not expected this large fellow to come wandering out of the forest! The bear came within just a dozen feet of my hide on his way past which gave me a great opportunity to photograph him with the beautiful soft grasses in the foreground.

The photograph was taken from a small ground level portable hide, hand held with the Canon EOS 1DX MK2 with the Canon 600mm f4L IS MK3 at ISO1600 f5.6 at 1/400th of a second. I will be returning to Finland in September this year to lead another workshop to this amazing location for Wolves, Wolverine and Bears (only two places remaining).

Self Isolation Day Thirteen – Snowy Owl in Snowfall

Day thirteen of mandatory self isolation (Just the rest of today and tomorrow to go!) includes a photograph I made on my last Snowy Owl workshop in January this year (Read the Trip Report). 2020 was a low snow year for our workshop and we had to very much work around the little snow we had. We were fortunate to have one day with light snow fall; which was I felt our most productive and successful day. This photograph works for me both because of the added dimension of the falling snow, but also because of the soft grey trees in the background.

The photograph was taken hand held with the Canon EOS 1DX MK2 with the Canon 400mm f2.8L IS MK3 at ISO400 f5.6 at 1/1000th of a second.

Iceberg in Antarctica

Self Isolation Day Twelve – Namibia Ghost Town

Day twelve of mandatory self isolation (not long to go now!) includes a photograph I made on my workshop to Namibia in 2019. Taken at the ghost town of Kolmonskop I chose this particular side of the building as the low angle of sun was throwing beautiful warm light into the room and across the sand. Kolmonskop is one of my favourite places in Namibia for landscape photography. The sand filled buildings and cracked and weathered pastel paint make for a wonderful combination. The key to photographing in this location is to pay extra special attention the light and which buildings and rooms are receiving light. Kolmonskop tends to be quite a dreary and solemn place making it perhaps more critical than usual to pay extra special attention to the angle and play of light across the subject.

The photograph was taken tripod mounted with the Canon EOS 1DX MK2 with the Canon 24mm f.35L TSE MK2 w/ Canon 1.4 TC for an effective focal length of approximately 35mm.

Self Isolation Day Eleven – White Wolf in Finland

Day eleven of mandatory self isolation (getting closer to freedom) includes a photograph I made in September last year of a young white Wolf on the Russia / Finland border. Photographed from a ground level hide this photograph is a great example of when it is completely ok (in fact preferred) to place the subject right in the middle of the frame. When making these sort of split second framing decisions on where to place the subject in the frame I am watching carefully how the animal is positioning itself.  Almost always you want to make sure the animal is looking into the frame and not out of the frame. That is, you want to avoid large amounts of negative space in your frame. In cases such as this photograph where the Wolf is looking directly at the photographer it is usually an acceptable (and frequently preferred) option to place the subject dead centre in the frame.

The photograph was taken hand held with the Canon EOS 1DX MK2 with the Canon 600mm f4L IS MK2.  Camera Settings: ISO800 f5.6 1/320th of a second. I will be leading another workshop to this part of northern Finland in October this year (provided the world recovers from the Chinese Wuhan COVID-19 pandemic) for a small group of just six photographers (only two places remaining). Although this workshop is dedicated to the photography of Wolves, Wolverine and Bears it should be noted that there are also many really superb landscape opportunities.