Departing for Namibia Desert Fire Safari 2018

The couple of weeks I have had to unpack, catch up and repack since I returned from the Nature Festival in Finland has quickly come and gone and very early tomorrow I am heading back to the airport to start the trek over to Africa for my 2018 Namibia Desert Fire Safari. It has been two years since I was last in Africa and I am very much looking forward to returning to the oldest desert in the world and the fantastic and diverse opportunities that Namibia always presents.On this safari we are going to visiting the ghost town of Kolmonskop, the giant sand dues of Sossusvlei (and of course the iconic Deadvlei), the spectacular skeleton coast and the wildlife rich region of Etosha. On top of this we have many other stop off locations planned along our journey. This year we will be kicking off our safari by flying down to Luderitz from the capital city of Windhoek. Flying saves us two days on the road and gives us even more time for photography in the field.This safari is a combination of both landscape and wildlife and as such I am packing both wide angle and super-telephoto lenses. All of this will pack into my F-Stop Lightroom Roller which I will use to get the equipment through the transit stage of my travels. I will then re-pack it on location into my F-stop backpack.

F- Stop Lightroom Roller Camera Bag:

  • 2 x Canon EOS 1DX MKII
  • 2 X Canon EOS 1DX MKII Spare Batteries
  • 1 x Canon 16-35mm F4L
  • 1 x Canon 24mm F3.5L TSE
  • 1 x Canon 24-70mm F4L IS
  • 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MKII (I am unsure if I will upgrade to the MKIII at this stage)
  • 1 x Canon 400mm F2.8L IS MKII
  • 1 x Canon 1.4 TC MKIII Teleconverter

In my checked luggage I am bringing the following:

  • 1 x Sachtler Flowtech Carbon Fire Tripod (the new model I have absolutely fallen in love with)
  • 1 x Arca Swiss Geared Tripod head
  • 1 x Canon 1DX MKII Battery Charger and Lens Cleaning Kit

Why No Canon Mirrorless R? 

I will have more to say about the new Canon mirrorless camera (and many of the other new cameras recently announced) in a new series of posts I am calling ‘Master the Craft’. I hope to publish the first of this new series while I am on the road.

Post Script – An update on the torn lateral tendon in my right elbow for those of you who kindly emailed me to see how it is progressing.  After very intensive physiotherapy over the last few months I have turned the corner and can again lift my camera without pain and discomfort. I am hopeful that this Namibia safari will be the first trip since Antarctica last year that I can work freely without pain in my right arm.

See you in Africa!

Photo of the Month August 2018 – Skeleton Coast Namibia

I returned home to Australia very early this morning from my Svalbard Polar Bear expedition (trip report coming soon). With jet lag already hitting hard I decided to take the opportunity and do a quick blog update with the photograph of the month for August 2018 – An aerial photograph of the Skeleton Coast in Namibia. It was taken during a ‘doors off’ helicopter photography session over the golden dunes just after sunrise. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this sort of photography over the desert is the incredible light found both in the morning and evening. With the sun at a low angle in the sky the shapes, shadows and textures of the dunes are emphasised as they glow with soft light.

I will be returning to Namibia in a couple of months for my bi-annual workshop and we will again be taking up the helicopter both morning and evening for plenty of ‘doors off’ aerial photography. If you are interested in joining us there are just two places remaining before the experience will be sold out.

Namibia Desert Fire Safari 2018 – Last Two Places Left

In October this year I am leading my bi-annual safari to the gigantic sand desert of Namibia. At this stage there are now just two places remaining before the workshop will be sold out. Namibia is an epic world class location for both landscape and wildlife photography and best of all.. we are going to be doing both on this trip! We will be spending time at the ghost town of Kolmonskop, the giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the iconic salt pans of Deadvlei and the wildlife rich region of Etosha. If you are interested in joining us please drop me an email at info@jholko.com to secure your place. A full PDF itinerary can be downloaded HERE.

Namibia October 2018 Desert Fire Safari – Two Place Availability

In October this year I am leading my semi-annual (every two years only) workshop to the immense and wondrous deserts of Namibia. Dates: October 6th – October 18th 2018 – Only Two Places Remaining before it will be sold out. On the South Western Coast of Africa, where the icy Atlantic ocean meets the world’s oldest desert lies a place that is known for its landscapes as much as the Serengeti is known for its abundant wildlife. The unique combination of desert, grassland and cold ocean current form a one-of-a-kind terrain found only here. For this reason landscape photographers from all over the world journey to the Namibia Desert to try and capture its ethereal beauty.

In this captivating region of Namibia lies a maze of mountainous valleys that look like they were carpeted from slope to slope by ivory coloured grass, criss-crossed by ancient riverbeds and dotted with a collection of photogenic acacia trees. The final unique touch is added by the large snake like dunes that rise from the grasslands like the roof of some subterranean world. These stark and compelling landscapes are something to behold with the human eye, but when it’s sweeping meadows, barren mountains and blood red dunes are captured and transformed into a two dimensional image, it becomes obvious why this place is so beautifully addictive to photographers.The goal of this safari is to photograph the breathtaking desert landscapes and wildlife of Namibia. We have complete flexibility to stop to take photographs at any time along the way with plenty of room for gear and equipment – so bring what you need! This safari has been designed to a good balance between flexibility, photographic opportunities and comfortable accommodations.This new safari has been custom tailored and tweaked to take in the very best of Namibia and includes such iconic areas as the mystical Deadvlei, the ghost town of Kolmanskop and the Dune landscapes of Sossusvlei. We will also visit Etosha at the best possible time for wildlife. We also have opportunities for photography flights from helicopter over the spectacular Skeleton Coast. We have even arranged an internal flight to minimise driving time!This exclusive safari is for a strictly limited number of just 10 participants (only two places remaining) plus leader and guide and is dedicated to the photography of desert landscapes and the wildlife of Namibia. You can download a complete PDF itinerary HERE.To get an idea of the sort of photographs you can make on this workshop check out the Namibia Portfolio page on my website and the article f11 Magazine published on my Namibia work. If you are keen to join and secure one of the last two places please drop me an email at info@jholko.com to secure your place.

 

Upcoming and Future Workshops and Expeditions Update 2018

It has been a long time between drinks for a major update on upcoming workshops and expeditions – things have just been very busy! Now that I have wrapped up the big VAPS convention in Warrnambool in Victoria though I have a bit more time and wanted to bring everyone up to date with what is coming up soon, in the future and what is in the early planning stages. Some of the workshops and expeditions I have not as yet formally announced, but all are included below for the coming 2018 / 2019 year:

Polar Bears of Svalbard – July 25th to August 4th 2018 – SOLD OUT

In July this year I am leading my annual expedition to Svalbard to photograph Polar Bears living and hunting on the pack ice. This expedition is sold out, but I will be running this trip again in 2019 – Please see below for further details.

Namibia – Desert Fire Safari – October 6th – October 18th –  3 Places

In October I am leading my semi-annual safari to the desert landscape of Namibia. Namibia is an extraordinary country with some of the best landscape and wildlife to be found anywhere in Africa and the goal of this safari is to photograph the breathtaking desert landscapes and wildlife of Namibia. If you are interested in joining us and securing one of the last remaining places you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE. To get an idea of the sort of photographs you can make on this workshop be sure to check out my Namibia Portfolio.

On the South Western Coast of Africa, where the icy Atlantic ocean meets the world’s oldest desert lies a place that is known for its landscapes as much as the Serengeti is known for its abundant wildlife. The unique combination of desert, grassland and cold ocean current form a one-of-a-kind terrain found only here. For this reason landscape photographers from all over the world journey to the Namibia Desert to try and capture its ethereal beauty.

In this captivating region of Namibia lies a maze of mountainous valleys that look like they were carpeted from slope to slope by ivory colored grass, criss-crossed by ancient riverbeds and dotted with a collection of photogenic acacia trees. The final unique touch is added by the large snake like dunes that rise from the grasslands like the roof of some subterranean world. These stark and compelling landscapes are something to behold with the human eye, but when it’s sweeping meadows, barren mountains and blood red dunes are captured and transformed into a two dimensional image, it becomes obvious why this place is so beautifully addictive to photographers.

The Emperors Expedition – November 18th – November 26th – 1 Place Only

The Emperor Penguin is the world’s largest and heaviest Penguin. It lives in some of the most remote and most inaccessible areas in Antarctica. The Emperor has long been one of the most desired subjects for wildlife photographers and is considered by many to be the ultimate Polar survivor. Every year expeditions try and reach the remote Emperor Penguin rookeries by ship but most fail due to sea ice and weather conditions.

With the Emperor Penguins living so far south on the sea ice this expedition will be utilizing a privately chartered transport jet to access our first base camp at Union Glacier deep in Antarctica. We will then utilize a privately chartered Twin-Otter aircraft to take us to the remote Emperor Penguin colony where we will establish a field camp for the duration of our expedition. This expedition has been more than two years in the planning and has been designed to provide the very best possible opportunities to Photograph Emperor Penguins in their natural environment. By using chartered planes we can avoid the problems and uncertainty associated with ship based expeditions not being able to reach the colony due to sea ice conditions.

This exclusive opportunity to camp, photograph and live with Emperor Penguins is for a strictly limited number of just 8 photographers plus leader and expedition staff. The expedition is dedicated to the photography of the world’s largest Penguin – The Mighty Emperor.

The main activity of this expedition is Emperor Penguin photography. However, you will also be able to take guided walks in the local area across the sea ice and take advantage of the spectacular landscape. Other wildlife that we may photograph includes Antarctic petrels, snow petrels, Weddell seals and leopard seals. A dedicated guide will accompany us and share their knowledge of this majestic wildlife during the course of this expedition.

If you are excited by the idea of traveling to the edge of the permanent pack ice to photograph Emperor Penguins in their natural environment with a small group of dedicated photographers now is the time to secure your place. Places are extremely limited and once they are spoken for that’s it.

If you are interested in joining us and securing the last remaining place you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE. To get an idea of the sort of photographs you can make on this expedition be sure to check out my Emperor Penguin Portfolio.Finland – February 1st to February 10th 2019 – 1 Place Only

In February 2017 I travelled to Finland in winter on a scouting trip and in early 2019 will now offer this as both a Wildlife and landscape workshop. Although our workshop is primarily based in Kuusamo, will actually begin in Kajanni in the north of Finland where we will be working from private hides in an effort to photograph Wolves, Wolverine and Golden eagles.

During our time in Kuusamo we will be based in a scientific research station which is basic, but comfortable and clean. Located a short drive from the majority of our primary shooting locations we will have access to areas that will provide us fantastic wildlife and landscape opportunities. If we are lucky and blessed with clear skies, we will be able to witness the Aurora Beorealis and the magic of the Northern Lights as they flicker across the night skies. During February, the days are short with sunrise at approximately 8:55am and sunset around 3:30pm. Given our northern location, the sun will be low in the sky providing soft, magnificent light conditions, for all day photography.

The main activity of this workshop is wildlife photography. However, you will also be able to take advantage of the spectacular winter landscape. A dedicated local guide will accompany us and share their knowledge of the area and wildlife we may encounter during the workshop. This exclusive opportunity to photograph the wildlife and landscapes of northern Finland in Winter is for a strictly limited number of just 6 photographers plus leader and guide – with only two places remaining before it will be sold out.

If you are interested in joining us and securing the last remaining place you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE.Arctic Fox – February 22nd to February 28th 2019 – 2 Places

This is a unique and specialized opportunity to photograph wild Arctic Foxes in the remote north-west of Iceland during winter. This exclusive expedition is open to just five photographers (only two places remaining) who will travel to the remote Arctic peninsula in the Hornstrandir Nature reserve to photograph what is perhaps Nature’s greatest survivor – The Arctic Fox.

Arctic Foxes are unfortunately hunted and shot across most of Iceland making them extremely shy and difficult to find (and even more difficult to photograph). In the remote north-west however the Arctic Foxes are protected inside the Hornstrandir Nature Reserve and can be more easily approached and photographed.

This photography expedition will last for 7 days (6 nights). We will be staying in a small remote cabin that is rustic, but functional and clean. During our stay in the cabin we will have a dedicated staff member to clean and prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner for us (all included). However, this expedition is all about photography and we will be putting in long hours in the field in order to ensure we give ourselves the best possible opportunities to photograph the Arctic Fox. With luck, we may also see and photograph the spectacular Northern lights.

The cabin we will be using for the duration of the expedition is privately owned and is in the process of being restored. Facilities include shared bathroom, toilet and shower as well as a kitchen with hot and cold water, a communal eating area and lounge. There is even an outdoor sauna available for use. Bedrooms are a shared bunk bed arrangement. The cabin is heated with both a hydronic heating system and a log fire.

If you are interested in joining us and securing the last remaining place you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE. To get an idea of the sort of photographs you can make on this expedition be sure to check out my Arctic Fox PortfolioSvalbard in Winter by Snow Mobile – March 18th to March 23rd 2019 – SOLD OUT

In March of 2019 I am leading a sold out invitation only expedition to Svalbard to photograph winter landscape by snowmobile.

Svalbard in Winter – March 26th to April 3rd 2019 – SOLD OUT

In late March of 2019 I will lead my annual winter expedition north of Svalbard in search of Polar Bears, Walrus, Arctic Fox and dramatic winter landscape.

Great Ocean Road and Tasmania I – May 10th to May 21st 2019 – SOLD OUT

In May of 2019 I will co-lead a brand new workshop to the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania with professional Photographer and friend Phillip Bartlett. This workshop is sold out. Details on the second workshop are included below.

Great Ocean Road and Tasmania II – June 1st to June 12th 2019 –  3 Places

Due to initial demand Phillip and I will be running a second workshop to the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania.  The workshop is strictly limited to no more than six photographers and has been designed to provide the very best photographic experience in some of the best locations across the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania. It is for photographers looking for a fantastic experience who want to be in the right place at the right time – when the light is at its absolute best.

This photography workshop will last for twelve days (eleven nights). We will be staying in high quality accommodation with private rooms and bathrooms for each person at each location. Breakfast and dinners will usually be held either at our hotels or nearby restaurants. However, this workshop is all about photography and we will be putting in some long hours in the field in order to ensure we give ourselves the best possible opportunities to capture dramatic and powerful photographs. We may take food and drink with us into the field in some areas to ensure we are in position and ready to photograph during the best light of the day. In May we will have sunrise at approximately 7:00am and sunset around 5:30pm giving us plenty of time for photography. We will be working in the style of professional landscape photographers and as such we will be most active during the early mornings and late evenings. Our transportation for the duration of the workshop will be in large, comfortable 4-Wheel Drive vehicles (three participants per vehicle plus one guide driver). Each vehicle has sufficient space for our luggage and camera equipment.

If you are interested in joining us and securing one of the last remaining places you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE.

Svalbard the High Arctic – July 13th to July 22nd 2019 – 6 Places

The High Arctic is a place to inspire the imagination. Nowhere is it more accessible than the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, located deep within the Arctic Circle. Nowhere else can the Polar Bear be seen more reliably in its natural habitat, and photographing these magnificent animals and the dramatic polar landscape will be our main objective. We will also search for walrus and the other wildlife of the region. Dramatic glaciers, plunging cliffs and beautiful drift ice formations will all be present as well.

This expedition has been designed to provide the very best possible opportunities to Photograph Polar Bears in their natural environment. With the reduction in Arctic sea ice the Polar Bears in Svalbard are dwindling in number and the number of years left to photograph them is unfortunately limited. June and July is the ideal time to photograph Polar Bears north of Svalbard due to the dwindling sea ice around the archipelago. This exclusive expedition is for a strictly limited number of just 12 participants plus leader and is dedicated to the photography of the High Arctic.

Our intention is to sail directly north from the small town of Longyearbyen in Svalbard to approximately 80o degrees north, to the very edge of the permanent pack ice. At our northerly most point we will likely be less than 600 miles from the North Pole and depending on the sea ice we may get even closer. We will be using the ice hardened expedition ship M.S Freya that will enable us to skirt the edge of the pack ice searching for and photographing landscape and Polar Bears. M.S Freya is widely regarded as one of the best ships in the Arctic for Photography. With low-lying decks we can photograph at eye level with wild Polar Bears and other wildlife. Our expedition ship is also equipped with sufficient zodiacs (2 x Zodiac MKV models) and crew for all photographers to be shooting simultaneously with plenty of room to spare for camera equipment – So bring what you need!

If you are excited by the idea of traveling to the edge of the permanent pack ice to photograph dramatic polar landscapes and Polar Bears in their natural environment with a small group of dedicated photographers now is the time to secure your place. The remaining places are very limited and once they are spoken for that’s it. On this expedition we will also likely photograph Walrus, Seals, Whales, Arctic Foxes and the many Arctic sea birds including the rare and angelic Ivory Gull.

If you are interested in joining us and securing one of the last remaining places you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE. To get an idea of the sort of photographs you can make on this expedition be sure to check out my Svalbard Portfolio

Mystical Faroes – August 8th to August 16th 2019 – 3 Places

In August I am running a one time only workshop to the Faroe Islands. The Faroe Islands are comprised of eighteen small rugged and rocky islands located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, approximately halfway between Scotland and Iceland. The island’s position is unique and is the frame for breathtaking views; beautiful mountains, majestic fjords, dramatic sea cliffs; all in all a photographers paradise. The islands have a rich bird life, Including the largest colony of storm petrels in the world and over 305 bird species including Razor Bills and Atlantic Puffins.

This workshop is for dedicated landscape photographers who are willing to work for their images. A small group of participants (maximum of 6 plus leaders) guarantees a more personal and intimate experience than bigger tours can provide.

If you are interested in joining us and securing one of the last remaining places you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE.

Greenland I & II – September 4th to September 11th 2019 – 3 Places

September 11th to September 18th 2019 –  4 Places

In early September Daniel Bergmann and I will run two back-to-back expeditions to the remote east coast of Greenland.

Greenland is an incredible place to inspire the imagination and fuel your photographic desires. 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.

We have chosen early to mid-September for our expeditions. This is the time of year when we can expect the Arctic vegetation to be in autumn colours and it’s also the time for soft golden light and potentially more interesting cloudscapes than during the summer, when it’s quite common to have just blue sky.

Our expeditions will take place in the Scoresbysund fjord system in Eastern Greenland, which is the largest and most spectacular fjord system on the planet. We’ll fly from Iceland to Constable Point where we’ll board the expedition schooner Donna Wood, which will be our home for 7 nights while we explore the fjords and circumnavigate Milne Land. We’ll then fly back to Iceland on the eight day.

Living on board the traditional sailing ship Donna Wood for seven amazing days is an experience in itself. It’s a perfect ship for exploring Scoresbysund. It’s small size allows us to navigate shallow bays and this beautiful two mast oak ship also acts as a strong photographic subject amongst large icebergs and towering mountains. The group size will be limited to just 11 participants plus the two leaders.

We will be photographing from the ship as we cruise the fjords but will also be making numerous landings where we’ll photograph from the coastlines or do walks on the Arctic tundra. We’ll also use the two Zodiacs on board to cruise among grounded icebergs, such as at Rødeø (Red Island).

If you are interested in joining us and securing one of the remaining places you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE. To get an idea of the sort of photographs you can make on this expedition be sure to check out my Greenland Portfolio

Antarctica The Ross Sea – January 10th to February 8th 2020

A sneak peak into 2020! The year is going to kick off with an extended expedition to the very rarely visited Ross Sea region of Antarctica!

Antarctica is miraculous; a remote, white continent of stark and beautiful desolation. For Nature photographers, Antarctica is without doubt the gold standard against which all other photography destinations are measured. Nowhere else on earth offers such incredible landscape and wildlife in such a pristine and remote environment. Best of all, our Ross Sea expedition will take us to some of the most spectacular and least visited areas of Antarctica. For photographers the Ross Sea is nothing short of virgin territory.

This expedition to Antarctica is a co-operation between Joshua Holko (Wild Nature Photo Travel) and Heritage Expeditions. The expedition is for a strictly limited number of 50 participants plus photography guides and expedition leader. We are utilizing the ice hardened expedition ship Spirit of Enderby with a highly experienced crew so that we can get as close as possible to giant icebergs for the best photographs. Our expedition ship is equipped with sufficient zodiacs and crew for all photographers to be shooting simultaneously with plenty of room to spare for camera equipment. So bring what you need!

The Ross Sea region of Antarctica is one of the most remote places on Planet Earth and one of the most fascinating places in the continent’s human history. With shipping restricted by impenetrable pack ice to just two brief months each austral summer, few people have ever visited this strange and beautiful territory, with opportunities for non- scientific personnel limited to a handful of tourist expedition ships. This expedition voyage is on its own fully equipped and ice-strengthened ship, crewed by some of the most experienced officers and sailors in the world and staffed by some of the most passionate and knowledgeable Guides. This is a unique opportunity to experience nature on a scale so grand there are no words to describe it.

We invite you to join us on a 30 day photography expedition to the Ross Sea, Antarctica in January 2020. Get ready for the ultimate Antarctica Ross Sea Expedition! If you are interested in joining us and securing one of the remaining places you can download a complete itinerary with costings and all details HERE.

There are numerous other things in the early planning stages for 2020 and beyond and I will have more details over the coming months as things are firmed up. Stay tuned..