Wrapping up Australia and Packing for the Ultimate Puffins of Iceland Workshop

Yesterday I wrapped up a private workshop to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria with a week long extension around Tasmania. Both the Great Ocean Road and Tasmania offer some of Australia’s most spectacular landscapes across a wide diversity of topography. The Great Ocean road is known for its impressive and towering sandstone sea cliffs and sea stacks and Tasmania for its World Heritage forests, mountains and spectacular granite strewn beaches. Both locations make for outstanding photographic sojourns and I hope to share more images from this workshop over the coming months. The photograph below of London Bridge at sunrise is just a small sample of what is on offer in this part of the world. I had hoped to have some more time to process a few more images from both this trip and my prior New Zealand South Island Masterclass but I have run out of time (I will have full trip report on this Masterclass in the coming weeks) and tomorrow I am heading back to the airport to start the long trek to Iceland for my Ultimate Puffin workshop with Daniel Bergmann.The Iceland Puffin workshop is entirely focused on bird photography and as such my equipment for this workshop predominantly consists of  longer lenses with the 600mm F4L IS MKII and 300mm F2.8L IS MKII  being my main weapons of choice. Two Canon EOS 1DX MKII  bodies will suffice as my cameras for this workshop. I am also taking a wide angle for close up images as well as my 85mm F1.2L MKII for some shallow depth of field work.

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag (Carry on Luggage)

– 2 x Canon EOS 1DX MKII bodies
– 1 x Canon 16-35mm F4L Lens
– 1 x Canon 85mm F1.2L IS MK II Lens
– 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L MKII IS Lens
– 1 x Canon 300mm F2.8L MKII IS Lens
– 1 x Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens
Gura Gear Chobe (Carry on Luggage)
– 1 x Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina (I plan to upgrade this to the new 13″ model early next year)
– 1 x Apple laptop charger
– 2 x USB 3 2TB external portable Sandisk SSD Drives
– 1 x  Thunderbolt CFast card reader and CF card Reader
– 1 x Sunglasses and sunglasses case
– 1 x Leica Ultra-vid 10×42 HD Binoculars
– 1 x iPad Pro 9.7″ Tablet

See you in the Iceland!

New Zealand South Island Experience and Victoria’s Great Ocean Road

In a few short days I am heading back to New Zealand for a workshop tour of the magnificent South Island with my friend Phillip Bartlett and our group of participants. The South Island of New Zealand is an incredible part of the world and boasts spectacular mountain alps which run down the spine of this amazing country. These mountains plunge almost straight into the sea on both sides of the country. It is the only place in the world I know of where alpine mountains plunge straight into temperate forest that directly hugs such a rugged and wild coastline. I was in the South Island of New Zealand only a few weeks ago completing a week long commercial assignment and I very pleased to be returning again so soon. On this trip we will be circumnavigating the South Island and taking in the best of its many iconic locations as well as visiting some of its hidden treasures and lesser known areas. We will be chartering a helicopter with doors removed for photography over the alps and enjoying a private boat charter for playful Dusky Dolphins and Sea Lions off the coast of Kaikoura. If you want to get an idea of what this tour is going to be like be sure to watch the short tester video below.

Packing for this trip is somewhat of a challenge for me as I am quite keen to take my newly acquired Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII Lens (why own it if you don’t intend to carry it) as well as the 200-400mm F4L Lens – for both Sea Lions, Dusky Dolphins and Albatross in and around Kaikoura. I plan to carry these two lenses to both Iceland and Namibia in March this year so this trip to New Zealand is an ideal opportunity to see how they travel together on international flights. These two lenses add up to a not insignificant amount of weight, but perhaps of more immediate concern is the sheer bulk and space they require inside the camera bag. With both of these lenses in my Gura Gear camera bags there is little room for much else. Nevertheless it never ceases to amaze me just how much gear can be squeezed into the Bataflae 32L bag. So, after some trial packing I will be carrying the following on this trip: (I know this is a ridiculous amount of equipment but I am a person who prefers to carry it and not need it rather than need it and not have it.) Just as a side addendum to this; I used to think I carried a lot of equipment, but then I worked with a video guy last year in the Arctic who redefined what it meant to carry a lot of gear!)

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

  • Canon EOS 1DX
  • Canon EOS 1DS MKIII
  • Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII (Lens hood goes in the checked luggage bag)
  • Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MKII
  • Canon 24-70mm F2.8L MKII
  • Canon 24mm F3.5L TSE MKII
  • Canon 17mm F4L TSE
  • Canon 1.4 TC MKIII
  • LEE Filter System including Graduated ND filters and Polariser
  • Cable Release and other accessories

Gura Gear Chobe Camera Bag

  • 15″ MacBook Pro, back-up hard drive, card reader and accessories
  • Canon 200-400mm F4L IS with inbuilt 1.4 TC (incredibly this does fit in the Chobe!)

North Face Rolling Thunder Duffle *

  • Clothes and Personal Items
  • Really Right Stuff Tripod, BallHead and Jobu Gimbal Mount

* I really like the North Face Rolling Thunder Duffle as a travel bag. It is extraordinarily tough and copes very well with the rigours and violence that checked luggage is exposed to (I really have no idea what baggage handlers do behind the scenes but I am sure it involves some sort of contact sport with people’s luggage). The only downside to this bag is it weighs eleven pounds or five kilograms empty. On flights with a 20 kilogram luggage limit that is one quarter of the limit before you start putting things like clothes in it. Thankfully many of the airlines I travel with these days have more reasonable 25 to 30 kilogram luggage limits and I can usually get close enough to these limits to avoid excess luggage charges.

Victoria – The Great Ocean Road

Just before I depart for New Zealand later this week I will be leading a private three day trip down Victoria’s spectacular Great Ocean Road. The Great Ocean Road is home to some iconic Victorian scenery including the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge, The Wreck Coast and more. It has been nearly a year since I last photographed this part of Victoria and I am looking forward to spending a few days in the field in my home state and sharing these amazing locations with my first time visitors. I am offering further one-on-one private workshops here in Victoria by appointment and based around my existing travel schedule both this year and next for anyone who would like to experience the best of this part of Victoria. Please contact me to discuss timing, cost and availability if you are coming to Australia in the near future.

Australian Geographic Desk Diary 2014

The 2014 Australian Geographic Magazine desk diary was released a few days ago. Featuring photography from many different artists,  the diary is a week to a page, hard cover, spiral bound with a ribbon marker. Photographs are taken from around Australia and Antarctica and feature classic Australian landscapes, flora and fauna. The 2014 diary includes more than ten of my own photographs from Australia and Antarctica and can be ordered online from Australian Geographic.

Whats in Josh’s Gura Gear Bataflae 32L?

In part two of the new Gura Gear Bataflae series of videos we have a look at just what I pack in my camera bag for both international travel and local landscape photography. Depending on where I am travelling and what I am shooting I occasionally swap lenses in and out of this collection. As you will see, you can fit quite a bit of gear in a  Bataflae 32L! I actually discovered another tele-converter in the bag on top of all the other equipment when I was repacking the bag after we finished filming. Just click on the image to watch the video via You Tube. I hope you enjoy. You can order the Gura Gear Bataflae cameras bags directly from Gura Gear.

2013: Whats in Store?

As has become somewhat traditional on my blog I like to do a post toward the end of each year that looks forward to whats in store for the coming year. Its a good opportunity for me to ready myself mentally for the year ahead and to also close off the previous year. 2013 is shaping up to be very busy with a significant number of workshops and expeditions that I am very much looking forward to. Although I very much choose to specialise in the Polar and sub-Polar regions (which remain my focus) I do have a new exploratory trip planned for 2013 into China. More on this below.

In March I will be co-leading two back-to-back Winter Aurora workshops to Iceland with my good friends Andy Biggs and Daniel Bergmann. These workshops are going to focus on the coastal regions of Iceland including the Snæfellsnes Peninsula, the mighty sea stacks at Vik and the spectacular Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. We are looking forward to frozen waterfalls, glaciers, icebergs and with a little luck the Aurora (Northern Lights). We are going to be in Iceland at the peak of the eleven year solar cycle which should mean some intense solar activity. Fingers crossed for clear skies and blazing Aurora!In May I will be headed to the remote Xinjiang province in China with my good friend and fellow photographer Antony Watson on an exploratory expedition to the Gobi Desert, Tian Shan mountain range, Kanas Lake and Kanasi. This investigative trip is the culmination of over a year of logistical arrangements and I hope will open up some incredibly beautiful and remote wilderness for a future expedition workshop to this region.

In July I will be headed back to Iceland to lead a summer workshop with Daniel Bergmann into the Highland Regions. We will be travelling into Landmannalaugar; which is one of my favourite locations in Iceland as well as visiting the mighty Dettifoss and Selfoss waterfalls and the iconic Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon. Normally inaccessible in Winter, the Highlands of Iceland are a very special place and simply incredible for photography.In August I will fly from Iceland to Oslo and Longyearbyen for a personal expedition to Svalbard to photograph Polar Bears and Walrus before I return to Longyearbyen to lead two back to back expeditions to Svalbard, Greenland and Iceland – The Jewels of the Arctic. The first of these expeditions will be co-led with Daniel Bergmann and the second co-led with Australian Grand Master of Photography Peter Eastway. Abraham Joffe’s award winning film and production company ‘Untitled Film Works‘ has been secured to join us on the second expedition and will be producing a video of the trip which I hope to share freely here on my blog late next year.In November I am travelling to Ushuaia in South America and will lead an expedition to Antarctica and the Falkland Islands with Daniel Bergmann. This 15 day / 14 night expedition was more than eight months in the planning and is something I am very much looking forward to. We have been able to arrange access into areas normally off limits that are dedicated to Science which is going to provide us with some really unique opportunities. We are travelling early in the season which should give us the best possible opportunities for spectacular icebergs, dramatic weather and great light.In late November I will travel to Patagonia with my friend Martyn Lucas on a personal trip to photograph the spectacular Torres Del Pine and surrounding landscape. Patagonia boasts some of the most dramatic landscapes on Earth with precipitous mountains, jagged granite spires and enormous glaciers. During our time in this area we plan to hike up to the Torres and bivouac to give ourselves the best opportunity for great light. This will be my first visit to Patagonia and will fulfil a life-long ambition to photograph in this spectacular area.

I will then return home to spend Christmas my family. All up, I will be away from my studio for around 4-5 months in total next year which means I am not going to be offering much in the way of printing workshops or Lightroom instruction in 2013. If you are already booked in for one-on-one Lightroom and Fine Art Printing then those dates stand as I will be in Australia during these times.

To those of you who are travelling with me on one (or more) of these trips I am very much looking forward to spending time shooting together. It is going to be a very exciting year for photography. Roll on 2013!