Nature Photography In the Spirit of Full Disclosure

A very similar opinion piece to this was originally penned by Andrew Parkinson. With apologies to Andrew, I do not recall where it was originally published, but I agreed so strongly with the sentiment that I took a copy of the article at the time I read it; which I revised and updated with my own thoughts below in relation to the genre of Nature photography.

I have always considered myself a ‘full disclosure’ photographer; someone who puts honesty and integrity before ego, authenticity before falsehood and ethics before photographs. It is not a particularly complicated process, I just tell the truth about my photography and my photographs are an accurate depiction of Nature and what I experienced at the time. When a viewer stands in front of one of my photographs they can know in their heart that what they are looking at is an accurate depiction of Nature. This might sound somewhat lofty to some, but as a Nature photographer, I believe in my heart that I have a responsibility to accurately depict Nature and that my viewer should not be deceived. They have a right to the truth and to know (and expect) that the photograph they are viewing accurately depicts the truth of the moment.

Like all digital images, my RAW files require some optimisation prior to publication. Usually this optimisation involves little more than setting a white and black point, tweaking shadows and highlights, subtle white balance adjustment, some capture sharpening and perhaps a small contrast or saturation adjustment. Other than the above, nothing is added or taken away – save the odd dust spot (I do crop). There is absolutely no use of compositing in my photography. There is no HDR and no Focus Stacking. If you see a photograph of mine that looks like the depth of field was impossible – I did it with a tilt shift lens in camera. I will walk over and pick up the stick that is in the way of my photograph and remove it. I wont clone it out after the fact. I will reposition myself to to improve my background, but I wont drop a new background in during post production. I learned the craft of photography shooting 35mm chrome transparencies. If I was a third of a stop out in my exposure the slide went in the trash; so I learned very early on to get it right in camera; and to this day my mantra is quite simply to get it right in camera. If the light was no good or the wildlife did not co-operate then thats just part of the process and I will try again another day. I don’t feel the need to process and publish a photograph just because it was the best I could do on any given day. It is the process of being out in the field and trying to capture a great photograph that is important to me. The process is as important as the end result and I have to have had a great day out in the field even if I didn’t make a great photograph. Nature photography is after all about being out in Nature. It is certainly not about creating a work of fiction in the computer and peddling it to the masses as a Nature photograph. This process is not Nature photography. It is quite simply digital compositing.

My intention is always to maintain the integrity of both the original capture and importantly the original experience. The act of processing is simply a finishing touch on an authentic end product. This is what is known as ‘photography’.

However, it is fair to say that these somewhat prosaic values are not shared by all image makers. For some, it seems the original RAW file is nothing more than raw ingredients. It is part of the cake waiting to be baked, a mere brushstroke in the direction of the finished masterpiece. For some, there are no rules about what can or cannot be done. If their imagination can conceive it, then creating it seems to be the status quo. Never, it seems is this dubious approach more prevalent than in the peculiar and murky world of fine art photography. And never have I seen it so badly abused as the pages of social media. Fine art photography it seems has become a dumping ground of convenience for images that are excessively post produced and that have long since left the realm of reality. 

Of course, it goes without saying that it is none of my dam business what other photographers do (or do not do) with their photographs, but in our rapidly evolving world I often look on with more than bemused interest at many of the trends that ebb and flow in our photographic space. With the popularity of digital photography sky rocketing, we are increasingly bombarded with a plethora of images so unreal that they have long since left the realm of photography. For lack of a better term they have entered the loose arena of digital composited art. Overworked images with radioactive saturation and hyper-realistic contrast are produced en-mass and sold to the world as Nature images; which they most certainly are not. Quite honestly, nothing irks me more than when one of these images turns up somewhere in a high profile Nature competition and is subsequently gushed over by the seemingly oblivious judges who must clearly be ignorant to the reality of Nature.  Sometimes it really does feel like its the blind leading the blind out there…

One has to only scroll through the pages of social media to witness the level of absurdity that is applauded, the falsehood that goes unnoticed and the rather spurious invention that is praised. In a world largely ignorant to the duplicity of the desperate, my critical eye has grown tired of this nonsense. More so, now than ever before the natural world is dependant upon the honesty of photographers to produce an authentic rendition of what they saw. We need to inspire with reality, and not distract with deception. Oh, I can hear the naysayers now; ‘but its my artistic vision!’ What nonsense. If it was truly artistic vision and expression there would also be accompanying full disclosure and they’re rarely if ever is. Instead, the photographer sits quietly in the shadows; lapping up social media likes and comments through the disingenuous artefact.

I believe strongly that we should reward the photographer for their skill and ability to capture the photograph in the field. Not reward them for being a software expert in post production. A great photograph doesn’t need much post production! It is already a great photograph!

Of course it isn’t easy; It takes commitment, skill, dedication and passion to produce emotional and powerful Nature photographs in camera. Many photographers simply are not willing to make this commitment and seek instead a quick path to glory through the crucible of post production.

When it comes to wildlife photography, “Fine Art’ and “Social Media” it seems are most concerned only with the apex species (the gallery walls are no place for even a Pallas cat). The gallery wall images when viewed without receipt, often seem mundane and banal; badly lit, badly executed and totally lacking emotion. It might be a bear or it might be a lion; it might be wild or it might be captive; the audience will likely never know. The magic does not occur in the field (where it should) – rather this is where the RAW materials are mined. Instead the wizardry occurs on the screen of a computer, and the photographer is reduced to nothing more than a composer as the artifice is orchestrated. Multiple images can be merged, miraculous anomalies will happen with the light and the sky really is no limit. It is here that the final images rise like a phoenix from the embers of mediocrity. For me, these images are a lie. They are an unrealistic fantasy composed of exaggeration, invention, manipulation and deceit. They are sold to the public under the disingenuous guise of reality. And when someone dare call out the photographer for their falsehood they are cast down amidst cries of personal artistic expression. The truth is, the photographer was caught out and has run for refuge into that safe haven of ‘creative vision’.

When these undisclosed creations are used to market workshops they are at their most insidious. They’re intent to deceive is laid bare by those in the know. Workshop participants will never capture these images, despite their hopes and dreams. They were sold a lie. They were tricked and deceived and that is unacceptable to me and it should be unacceptable to them and to you.

I believe it is important to clarify that my thoughts and opinion relate solely to the genre of Nature photography. However, my comments also apply to landscape photography when it falls into the Nature category and they certainly apply to all wildlife Nature photography. Commercial photography, professional portraiture and other such genres work to a very different set of principles. Again, I want to credit Andrew Parkinson for so eloquently penning his original piece and thank him for inspiring me to pay homage to it with my own ideals.

With thanks to Chris Wahl for the photograph below from this years expedition to photograph Arctic Fox in the north-west of Iceland. This particular female fox is one I have been photographing since 2016. Over the last four years I have built trust with this fox to the point she will now come to within just a few feet of me,  lie down in the snow, curl up and go to sleep. She is now toward the end of her life and this is probably her last winter.  I will miss her dearly and pray I may see her again for one more season next year.

Arctic Fox 2020

Canon EOS 1DX MK3 Auto Focus Results in Winter Blizzard

Late yesterday I wrapped up my 2020 expedition to photograph Arctic Fox in the Hornstrandir Nature reserve in the north-west of Iceland. This year we had an absolute abundance of snow and some fantastic conditions (full trip report coming soon) with strong winds that created a really dramatic environment for photography. The conditions this year were in fact the best I can recall in recent years. Next years expedition is a couple of weeks earlier than this year which should promise similar conditions with deep, soft snow that makes for superb backgrounds for this tenacious little predator.

This years expedition was also the first chance for me to truly test the Canon EOS 1DX MK3’s auto focus system in the field (in winter). Conditions were absolutely ideal for testing this past week with strong wind and blizzard conditions that were perfect for torture testing the cameras autofocus. Visibility was often near zero and the air was literally full of blowing snow. During our shooting sessions we had to frequently clean the front lens elements from blowing snow. With temperatures hovering around -6º Celsius the cameras were frequently covered in snow and frozen. Despite the difficult conditions the 1DX MK3 auto focus proved truly superb. I was consistently and reliably able to obtain focus lock and tracking in white out blizzard conditions where focus would previously have been all but impossible (or at best extremely unreliable). The new tracking system (when set to Case 2 for these type of conditions) provided an extremely high keeper rate; even in the heaviest blowing snow blizzard conditions. I doubt there could have been more difficult conditions for any camera to auto focus and in comparisons between my own findings and those shooting Sony A9 MKII cameras we found the results comparable in terms of the cameras ability to lock and track focus. If there are any differences between either cameras ability to lock and track focus in these sort of conditions they are a quibble. The differences however between the 1DX MK3 and other DSLR cameras ability to lock and track focus are huge. The 1DX MK3 represents nothing short a significant quantum leap in auto focus capability for DSLR cameras. Of course, you can also lock up the mirror on the 1DX MK3 and expand the focus points further and add eye tracking on top of head tracking for even better performance. The video below gives you some idea of the conditions I was testing the cameras autofocus.

Iceberg in Antarctica

Departing for Arctic Winter Expeditions with Canon EOS 1DX MK3 Cameras

My brief time at home in Australia has come and gone and in a few minutes I am heading back to the airport to start the trek back north to north-western Iceland for my sold out Winter Arctic Fox workshop and subsequent sold Polar Bears and Musk Ox expeditions to the East Coast of Greenland in Winter. If you are interested in photographing Arctic Fox in a beautiful winter setting drop me an email for further details on the 2021 expedition – flyer below. The north-west of Iceland is the definitive place to photograph Arctic Fox in a beautiful, quiet and secluded setting.

My equipment for these expeditions will be quite familiar to those of you who regularly follow my blog with the exception that I have now sold  both my Canon EOS 1DX MK2 cameras and have purchased two new Canon EOS 1DX MK3 bodies. Although I have previously tested the new 1DX MK3 cameras autofocus system (HERE) and its noise performance (HERE), I am really looking forward to putting these cameras through real world use in the Arctic winter.  There really is no substitute for being out in the field with a camera to test real world performance. I am packing the 400mm f2.8 specifically for the Arctic Foxes and the 600mm f4 specifically for the Polar Bears on the East Coast of Greenland. I had toyed with also packing my Canon Mirrorless R, but in the end decided I just was very unlikely to even pick it up with two 1DX MK3’s always at the ready.

2 x Canon EOS 1DX MK3 Bodies w/ 2 spare batteries

1 x Canon 16-35mm F4L IS

1 x Canon 24-70mm F4L IS

1 x Canon 70-200mm f2.8L IS MK3

1 x Canon 400mm F2.8L IS MK3

1 x Canon 600mm F4L IS MK3

1 x Canon 1.4 TC MK3

All of the above fits in my Gura Gear camera backpack with the exception of the 400mm f2.8 which fits nicely in my Gura Gear Chobe laptop bag. See you in Iceland!

Wildlife Photographic Magazine Cover Shot Article January / February 2020

The 2020 January / February issue of Wildlife Photographic magazine includes one of my photographs of an Arctic Fox on the cover as well as an article I wrote on arctic fox photography and my three year project ‘Melrakki’. This is the second time I have been published in Wildlife Photographic and the second time I have been fortunate to score the cover shot! (the last edition was on Polar Bear Photography). The magazine can be found in the Apple App Store: HERE Clicking the link will automatically determine the type of device you are on (IOS or Android), send you to the appropriate store to download the WP app. and best of all activate a free 3-month subscription! Links must be used before 2020-03-31.

 

 

2019 A Retrospective and 2020 Whats in Store?

As is tradition on my blog, every year I do a “What’s in Store” post for the new year as well as reflect back, and wrap up the year that was (its a great way for me to keep a record of my travels and photography and also helps me prepare for the coming year). 2019 was a frantic year and when I look back at all the destinations and all of the photography its actually hard to reconcile that it all happened in a single year. It was a year that included many superb photographic destinations and some really incredible experiences (Cuba and Mongolia were an incredible way to finish the year).

In equipment terms 2019 was relatively quiet for me with no major changes to my camera body line-up; although I did update several lenses including the 600mm f4L IS MKII to the MKIII version and the 400mm f2.8L IS MKII to the MKIII. I had not planned to update either lens, but the significant weight savings (and redistribution of that weight) offered in the new MKIII versions was too much for me to resist. This year I did supplement my two Canon EOS 1DX MKII’s with a mirrorless EOS R for my landscape photography. I really feel that the mirrorless offering from Canon is just fine for landscape and general work, but falls well short of my needs as a wildlife tool. Of course, we are now staring down the barrel of the new Canon EOS 1DX MKIII and I expect to take delivery of this new camera early in the new year.

My gear pick for the 2019 year (I always choose something I actually own) is the Canon 600mm F4L IS MKIII. The new MKIII offers very considerable weight savings over the MKII. Perhaps more importantly though is the way in which the weight has been redistributed with the bulk of the weight now at the rear of the lens. This makes the entire lens much easier to handhold for extended periods. 2019 will be very interesting in the equipment arena.  As above, I expect to take delivery of the new Canon EOS 1DX MK3 early in the new year. I think it is safe to say that I expect the majority of new lenses Canon releases in 2019 to be in RF mount only. We are also likely to see a new mirrorless camera from Canon – either a replacement for the EOS R, or a higher specification machine. I suspect we will get a high mega pixel mirrorless offering.

Last year I am gave the nod to Inherit the Dust by Nick Brandt for my book pick of the year. For 2019 I am giving the guernsey to Vincent Munier’s  Tibet. Vincent has continued to produce absolutely superb imagery that is subtle, yet powerful. His photographs are highly emotional and Tibet contains some beautiful work that will be enjoyed across countless viewings. I definitely recommend you check it out and consider adding it to your library. Over the course of this year I also published my own favourite twelve photographs here on my blog. Please be sure to check them out and let me know what you thought.

In competition terms, 2019 was a great year for me with the overall win as the Victorian Nature Photographer of the Year. This was the third year in a row I have taken out either the Documentary or Nature category. I was also a finalist in the 2019 Documentary and Landscape categories as well we being a finalist  in the AIPP Australian Professional Photography Awards – Nature Photographer of the Year.  As I have written before I have stopped entering competitions that judge only the digital image and instead have focused my efforts only on print competitions.

2019 was also another massive year for me both with destinations visited and the huge number of international miles travelled. The year kicked off in mid January with a winter scouting trip for Snowy Owls to Canada (Read the Trip Report).  This scouting trip proved extremely fruitful with fantastic photographic opportunities of these magnificent owls in a winter setting. As a result of this scouting trip I will be leading a sold out workshop to this part of Canada early 2019 (I am actually leaving for Canada December 28th).

At the completion of my Canada trip I had a few days at home before I made my way up to Finland for my winter wildlife workshop (Read the Trip Report). Winter in Finland is an absolutely wonderful time of year to visit and photograph in this region of Scandinavia. On this workshop we had really fantastic encounters with Golden Eagle, Otters, White-tailed Eagles, and more. One afternoon alone we spent several hours photographing wild Otters as they played and fished in the partially frozen lake. This was a shoot none of us are likely to quickly forget as it was extremely cold with temperatures hovering around -35ºC as we lay on the frozen lake.  We also took advantage of the snow covered landscape.

From Finland I travelled to Iceland to lead my annual expedition to photograph Arctic Fox on the north-west peninsula in Winter (Read the Trip Report).  This was the third time I have taken a small group with me into the nature reserve as this is an area very near and dear to my heart. During the expedition the participants made between ten and twenty thousand plus photographs per person which gives you a really good idea of just how many incredible opportunities and encounters with Arctic Foxes we experienced during our time in the Nature reserve. Many of our encounters lasted several hours and on multiple occasions we had the luxury of choosing our backgrounds and angle of view for our photographs.

From Iceland I travelled north to Svalbard for both a small group snow mobile expedition to photograph Polar Bears and other wildlife on the sea ice in Winter (Read the Trip Report) and to subsequently lead my annual winter workshop in search of Polar Bears, Arctic Fox, Reindeer and dramatic Arctic landscapes (Read the Trip Report). For the Snow Mobile expedition we spent around a week exploring the archipelago of Svalbard in winter via snow mobile in temperatures as low as -30º Celsius in search of Polar Bears. As well as our encounters with Polar Bears we also photographed Arctic Fox and Reindeer.

From Svalbard I travelled much closer to home and lead two back to back workshops to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria and onto Tasmania (Read the Trip Reports). Both of these workshops were structured to provide outstanding and varied opportunities for landscape photography as well as the opportunity to see and experience the wild coastal region of the Great Ocean Road and World Heritage Wilderness areas of Tasmania. Both of these locations offer world class landscape opportunities, yet both remain relatively unknown on the world stage (at least for now). We photographed the fantastically varied landscape of these two locations and also enjoyed the fantastic fresh food and produce both of these locations are well known for. To those of you who have enquired about future Tasmania workshops – the short answer is ‘yes’, but not in the next couple of years.

After Australia I returned to Svalbard for my yearly expedition north of Longyearbyen to photograph Polar Bears living and hunting on the sea ice (Read the Trip Report). With our small group of just twelve photographers and our ice hardened expedition class ship we were perfectly prepared for ten days of Arctic photography under the midnight sun and it turned out to be an absolute gem of an expedition. July and August are just a fantastic time of the year to visit Svalbard. With twenty four hours of daylight (the sun never sets this time of year) the opportunities for photography are literally non-stop and we took advantage on many occasions to photograph late into the evening and early hours of the morning. This was the first time I witnessed an actual Polar Bear kill and it was incredibly exciting. The stalk and kill happened right in front of our ship as we were parked alongside a large ice-flow. It was a magical moment rarely witnessed and even less rarely photographed.

After a short break I travelled to the Faroe Islands (Read the Trip Report) where I led my first landscape workshop to this wonderful series of remote islands. The Faroe Islands offer some of the most rugged and beautiful sea cliffs I have been fortunate to experience and photograph. During this workshop we explored many of the islands and hiked many kilometres as we explored the region. We also took the opportunity on several occasions to photograph Puffins along the cliff edges. 

From the Faroe Islands I returned to Australia to re-equip before I returned to Iceland where I led two back-to-back expeditions to the East Coast of Greenland with Daniel Bergmann (Read the Trip Reports). For these two expeditions we flew by private charter flight from Reykjavik in Iceland to Constable Point on the East Coast of Greenland where we boarded our sailing ship, the Donna Wood. For both our expeditions we chose to sail north to the rugged and scenic Bjørneøer Islands (Bear Islands) where we made landings at both sunset and sunrise for contemplative landscape photography. Along the way we photographed many of the gigantic icebergs that drift as giant sentinels silently through the fjord system. For our landings in this area we were blessed with a magnificent iceberg with a full arch that was grounded against a stunning mountainous backdrop and we spent many hours in this location with the late afternoon and early evening light. The landscape topography in these islands is a landscape photographers paradise with beautiful boulders and stunning back drops in every direction. The East coast of Greenland remains, in my experience, one of the most incredible locations on earth for landscape photography. I will be returning to the East Coast of Greenland in both Winter and Summer 2020 and 2021. Look for  more details on my website at www.jholko.com

From Greenland I travelled to Finland for my October 2019 Wolverines and Wolves of Finland workshop. This workshop was dedicated to the photography of Wolves, Wolverines and Bears. I arrived a week early to pre-scout many of the locations I wanted us to try to photograph in order to ascertain which hides (and in what locations) were having the most activity and at what time of the day. By pre scouting I ensured we had the best possible opportunities with the most action for our time in this beautiful part of Finland. This was well worth the effort and time as everyone who participated in this trip came away with a spectacular portfolio of photographs. In particular, we had absolutely outstanding opportunities with a wild wolf pack and I will be sharing some of these photographs over the coming months both here on my blog and in the Finland portfolio on my website.

After Finland I travelled to Camaguey in Cuba to open my new exhibition ‘Antipodas’ with friend Paul Murray.  Thanks to Paul’s and our curator Juan Carlos’s extensive preparations the opening was a smash success and the the exhibition has now moved into its next phase and location in Santiago de Cuba. From Santiago de Cuba the exhibition will move to Havana before it concludes late February 2020. This was my first visit to Cuba and I found it a fascinating melting pot of cultures and an absolute street photographers paradise.

I then wrapped up the year with a personal trip to Mongolia to photograph the Pallas Cat (Read the Scouting Report). This was most likely the most difficult shooting of my career with extreme cold and many hours and days spent searching for this elusive wild cat. During the two plus weeks I spent searching the vast lunar-like landscape of Mongolia in winter I had less than half a dozen photographic opportunities with the Pallas Cat. Nevertheless, I was able to capture some photographs that I am extremely happy with and I will be sharing them online here over the coming months.

All up I led a total of twelve separate international workshops and expeditions in 2019  spread across the globe (not including personal work such as my trip to Cuba and Mongolia as well as one-on-one Print workshops). A quick count tallies up well over sixty plane segments and over sixty thousand exposures (not all keepers unfortunately!) It was a fantastic (although frenetic) year and I just want to thank all of you who I was fortunate to meet, travel and photograph with throughout the year. It was real privilege to share in such remarkable destinations with so many fantastic passionate photographers – thank you.

2020 is ready to get underway and I am really excited about whats in store. In late December I will be returning to Canada to lead my sold out workshop to photograph Snowy Owls in winter. This workshop has long been sold out, but there are still a couple of spaces left for 2021 if you are keen to join me to photograph this beautifully majestic owl in a winter setting.

From Canada I return to Australia for just a few days before I leave for the South Island of New Zealand where we will depart on my thirty day sold out Antarctica Ross Sea Expedition. During this expedition we will also be visiting some of the sub-Antarctic islands including Snares Island (home to the Snares penguin) and MacQuarrie Island. This will be my first visit to the Ross Sea region of Antarctica and I am really excited about what opportunities we will have during this expedition. In particular, it is my hope that we may encounter and have the opportunity to photograph Emperor  Penguins on icebergs!

After the Ross Sea I will have a few days at home before I head north for Iceland and my annual Arctic Fox expedition to the Hornstradir Nature reserve. For this expedition we will be staying in a small remote cabin that is rustic, but functional and clean and we will have up to 10 hours of good light during the day with which to photograph the Arctic foxes. With luck, we may also see and photograph the spectacular Northern lights. The 2020 expedition has long been sold out, but there are still a few places on the 2021 expedition – just drop me a note to register your interest.

From Iceland I will travel directly to the east coast of Greenland to lead two brand new SOLD OUT expeditions via snow mobile for both Polar Bear and Musk Oxen in a stunning winter setting. I have been utilising snow mobiles in Winter in the Arctic for quite a few years now and have found the opportunities afforded by exploring via snow mobile to be truly unique and very special. This year I am moving my operations for Snow mobile from Svalbard to Greenland specifically to take advantage of the opportunity to photograph Musk Ox in winter.  Due to the continued expressions of interest I will likely have a similar offering for 2021 – details to come soon.

At the conclusion of the snow mobile expeditions I will lead my SOLD OUT annual winter ship expedition in Svalbard in search of Polar Bears, Arctic Fox, Reindeer and Arctic landscapes. The main focus of this expedition will be Arctic winter light, landscape and wildlife. In April the light conditions in Svalbard are magical. The 2020 expedition is long sold out and places are already limited for the 2021 expedition. If you would like more information or would like to reserve one of the remaining places for 2021 please drop me an email at any time.

After I finish the winter season in the Arctic I will have a few weeks break back in Australia before I head back north for my midnight sun Summer Svalbard expedition. We will depart from the small town of Longyearbyen and sail up to the edge of the permanent pack ice where we will spend our time searching for and photographing the king of the Arctic. With 24 hour daylight under the midnight sun we will have hours and hours of light for photography.  Whilst Polar Bears and other wildlife are the main attraction on an expedition such as this it needs to be said that the landscape opportunities in Svalbard are nothing short of breathtaking. Soaring bird cliffs, plunging glaciers and dramatic mountainous scenery means there is quite literally something for every photographer. If you have never been to Svalbard you should absolutely put it on your bucket list. There are still a few places available if you would like to join us.

From Svalbard I will return to Australia for a brief respite before I head to Russia for my first expedition to Wrangle Island. I am really excited about the opportunity to travel and photograph in Wrangle Island. Reports from expeditions earlier this year included sightings of up to fifty Polar Bears on several expeditions.  I will be offering Wrangle Island again in 2021 from August 16th until August 30th 2021 and details will be on my website very soon. Drop me an email for further details or to register your interest.

After I complete Wrangle Island I will head back to Australia and onto Greenland where I will lead a ship based expedition to Scoresby Sund on the East coast of Greenland.  This expedition is a ‘fly-in, sail out’ trip that will depart from Reykjavik via charter plane and land at Constable Point in Greenland. Flying to Greenland saves us two days sailing across open ocean and means we have more time for exploration and photography. We will then sail back to Iceland at the conclusion of our expedition. This 2020 expedition has long been sold out, but there are still a few places available on the 2021 expedition. Be sure to check out the Adobe Spark presentation HERE.  Just drop me an email to register your interest. You can check out a portfolio of photographs from Greenland on my website at www.jholko.com

After Greenland I will return to northern Finland to lead my new workshop for Wolverine and Wolves in a fiery Autumn setting. I first scouted this trip in Autumn two years ago and found it to be an absolutely superb time of the year for both Wildlife and Landscape photography in Northern Finland. At this time of year the Wolverines and Wolves are active and the bears have not yet begun to hibernate. Additionally the Autumn colour is in full swing which makes for outstanding backgrounds. This workshop is for a small group of just five photographers – only two places remaining before it will be sold out.

 In November I will again return to Union Glacier, deep in Antarctica to lead a sold out expedition to photograph Emperor Penguins. This will be my fifth expedition to Gould Bay and it remains one of the most amazing and incredible experiences I have had anywhere on earth.  I was last in Gould Bay back in 2018 (Read the Trip Report) and next years expedition will be my fifth sojourn to Union Glacier and the remote sea ice at Gould Bay. This is a region of Antarctica that is extremely remote and that is home to one of the largest Emperor Penguin colonies in Antarctica.  It is an absolutely incredible place to visit and photograph these remarkable birds. Due to rising costs this may well be my last expedition to the sea ice of Gould Bay.

And finally to round out the 2020 year I will return to Mongolia in December to lead a small group of just five photographers on an exploratory expedition in search of the enigmatic Snow Leopard.

For those of you that have managed to make it this and would like a hint of what else is further down the track: I am working on a new expedition to South Georgia in October of 2021. At this time of year there will be heaps of snow to photograph the King Penguins, the Elephant Seals will be fighting and importantly the pesky and ferocious fur seals will not yet have arrived en mass. I am not quite ready to start taking bookings as yet, but you can pre-register (no obligation) now if you want to secure a place.

Lastly and certainly not least, I want to wish all of you a very safe and happy New Year and may 2020 be one of amazing light and experiences for all of you. See you in the New Year!