Leaving for Yellowstone 2015 Winter Workshop

In a few minutes time I am leaving for the airport for my first workshop of 2015 – Yellowstone in Winter. I have been looking forward to returning to the United States for some time now and it is very exciting to be headed to Yellowstone in Winter with a small group of participants and passionate photographers. We are looking forward to beautiful and dramatic snow covered landscapes, geothermal features, Bison, Elk and with a little luck even Wolves. We hope to make some iconic images of some of the more well known features, but also venture further afield. We will be using a large private snow-coach so that we can get off the main road and move around the park to some of the better, but harder to reach areas for photography. During our trip we will be utilising accommodation both in and around Yellowstone National Park. We will also be visiting the Grand Tetons and National Elk Refuge. It is going to be very exciting and I am itching to don my warm clothes and step out into the park with my cameras. You can read my packing list for this expedition HERE and my thoughts on traveling with camera equipment and dealing with customs in my article on Carnets – A Passport for your Camera Equipment.Yellowstone Sold OutYellowstone in Winter is only my first stop during my time away from home and at the conclusion of this trip I will be travelling directly to Iceland for my annual Winter Aurora Workshop with Daniel Bergmann (Sold Out). If you are interested in joining us on our 2016 Iceland Frozen North workshop there are still a few places remaining before it will be sold out. At the conclusion of the 2015 winter workshop I have some time allocated for two personal projects (both in Iceland and Svalbard) of which I will have more to say in future posts. We should have good internet access in Yellowstone and I hope to post some updates and photographs from the trip as we progress. See you in Yellowstone in a couple of days.

2015 – Packing for Yellowstone, Iceland and an Arctic Winter

It really is hard to believe that Christmas and New Year have come and gone and that in a few days time we will already be in February. In less than two weeks time I will be flying out of Australia on my first two workshops of the year – Yellowstone Winter Wonderland Experience and Iceland in Winter. I will also be spending time on a new scouting trip to the Arctic in Winter as well as my Arctic Fox project. It is going to be an exciting couple of months.

It has been nearly ten years since I was last in the United States and I am very much looking forward to returning and photographing in a Yellowstone Winter with a small group of great friends and passionate photographers. The Yellowstone workshop is about both wildlife and landscape opportunities and I am really excited about what we may encounter during our time in the park and surrounding areas. We are also visiting the Grand Tetons and National Elk Refuge at the end of our workshop.

After I finish in Yellowstone I am flying directly to Iceland to co-lead my annual 2015 Winter Aurora workshop with Daniel Bergmann. As I have written before Winter is wonderful in Iceland with snow covered landscapes, partially frozen waterfalls and with a little luck we will see and photograph the Aurora Borealis. We are focusing our efforts during this workshop on the landscapes of Southern Iceland and will be visiting many fantastic locations for photography in these areas including ice caves. The 2016 Winter workshop will focus on the Northern landscapes of Iceland. I opened the 2016 workshop for bookings a couple of days ago and there are now only a few places left before we will be sold out.Ice CaveAt the conclusion of the Winter Iceland workshop I am going to travel to Svalbard for a week long scouting expedition to photograph Polar Bears and Reindeer in winter light. This is a very exciting opportunity and I will have more to say about this expedition in a few weeks time.

After completing the Svalbard trip I will fly back to Iceland and spend a week and a half in the extreme northeast of the country photographing Arctic Foxes for my Arctic Fox Project. I will then fly back to Australia at the end of March.Arctic FoxAs is customary I like to do a packing list of what I am planning to take with me on these workshops and for my time away – it helps me make sure I have not forgotten anything. Unlike my 2014 Iceland Winter Workshop I am not heading to Namibia in Africa directly afterward and so can pack only cold weather clothing, leaving the shorts and sandals at home. In fact, given I am spending time in Yellowstone and the Arctic in Winter I will be packing all of my best cold weather clothing. I am expecting temperatures of -20º celsius and below in Yellowstone and Svalbard – Iceland should be a warm bath by comparison. My Sorell Caribou winter boots are currently in storage in Iceland so I intend to purchase a new pair of winter boots in Bozeman before we start our Yellowstone workshop.

In terms of camera gear I am packing the usual gear for this trip including two long lenses for wildlife. As much as I would also like to take my TSE lenses the reality is I simply do not have enough space and already have considerable weight to manage. On top of the below I am also packing the new Lens Coat 600mm F4 Camera backpack which I can use to store the 600mm when not in use. This clever new bag packs flat and takes up almost no room in my luggage.

– 2 x Canon 1DX bodies
– 1 x Canon 16-35mm F4L IS
– 1 x Canon 24-70mm F2.8L IS MK II
– 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MK II
– 1 x Canon 200-400mm F4L IS Lens with inbuilt 1.4X Teleconverter
– 1 x Canon 600mm F4L IS MKII
– 1 x Canon 1.4X MK III Teleconverter
– 1 x LEE Foundation Kit
– 1 x LEE Foundation Kit and Polariser
– 1 x LEE 3 Filter Lens Wrap
– 1 x LEE 3-Stop Soft Graduated ND Filter
– 1 x LEE 3-Stop Hard Graduated Filter
– 1 x LEE 6-Stop Little Stopper Neutral Density Filter
– LEE Adapter Rings for 77mm and 82mm
– 1 x Canon Drop-in Circular Polariser
– 1 x Leica Ultra-vid 10×42 HD Binoculars
 .
Gura Gear Chobe (Carry on Luggage)
– 1 x Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina
– 1 x Apple laptop charger
– 1 x Thunderbolt 1 TB external portable hard drive
– 1 x  USB CF card reader
– 1 x Sunglasses and sunglasses case
– 1 x Astell & Kern Hi-Rez Portable Audio Player
– 1 x Astell & Kern Charging Cable
– 1 x Inner Ear Stage Two Driver Headphones
.
Etcetera Case #1 (Inside Chobe)
– 1 x Canon 1-Series camera charger
– 2 x Power Adapters
– 2 x Canon1DX spare Batteries
 .
North Face Rolling Thunder Duffle (Checked Luggage)
– 1 x Lens Coat 600mm Backpack
– 1 x Arćteryx Atom LT Hoody
– 1 x Arćteryx Atom LT Vest
– 1 x Arćteryx Cerres 850 Down Filled Jacket
– 1 x Arćteryx Kappa Pants
– 1 x Arćteryx Alpha SV Goretex Pro Bibs
– 1 x Arćteryx Alpha SV Goretex Jacket (Because at some point it will rain in Iceland)
– 1 x Arćteryx Gamma Pants
– 1 x Norona Svalbard Pants
– 1 x Devold Expedition Thermal Long Johns
– 2 x Devold Expedition Thermal Tops
– 1 x Scarpa Hiking Boots
– 1 x Shirt
– 2 x T-Shirts
– 1 x Jobu Deluxe Gimbal Head with Dovetail Base
– 1 x Petzl Headlamp
– 1 x Heat Company Heat 3 Cold Weather Gloves
– 1 x Really Right Stuff TVC24L Carbon Fibre Tripod with RRS Levelling Base
– 1 x Really Right Stuff Set Tripod Spikes and fitting Alan-key
– Personal Items
 .
Etcetera Case #2 (Inside North Face Duffle)
– 1 x Arctic Butterfly Sensor Cleaner
– 1 x Filter Wrench
– 1 x Zeiss Cleaning Fluid and Lens Cleaning Tissue
– 1 x Micro Fibre Lens Cloth
– 1 x Rocket Blower with Hepa-Filter
.
If you are considering purchasing any of the above camera equipment for your own photography please consider doing so by clicking through this B&H Photo Link. This affiliate link helps me pay for some of the the costs of running this website.

2014 A Retrospective and What’s in Store for 2015?

As has become a tradition for me I like to do a “What’s in Store” post here on my blog for the coming year as well as reflect back, and wrap up the year that was. 2014 was a huge year for me both with destinations visited, sheer number of international miles travelled as well as competition results. 2014 also marked the year I finally visited Africa and completed the seven continents. I have no idea how many actual miles I covered in 2014 in total, how many aeroplanes I boarded, how many times I went through airport security or how many tens of hours I spent waiting around in airports for connecting flights, but it was a lot – an awful lot. I wish I was better at taking advantage of layover time to catch up on email and office work but the reality is I am usually in a semi-vegitative state from jet lag and in no fit state to focus on any actual work. The positive flip side being I have such a love and passion of photography in the Polar regions that I could not ever imagine doing anything else. Airport layovers are therefore nothing more than an unfortunate means to a much loved end. 2015 will certainly have its fair share of flights and layovers and I am trying to work through as much office work as possible in the next few days before I board the next plane.

Over the course of this year I published my favourite twelve photographs here on my blog. Please be sure to check them out and let me know what you thought. I don’t think I have an overall favourite this year, although I definitely have a soft spot for this photograph of the giant sand dune and ghost forest I photographed in Namibia early this year. To those of you who have emailed me asking if and when I will be offering a future Namibia workshop the answer is unfortunately not in 2015 as I have too many other commitments. However, I am tentatively planning a future workshop for early April 2016 and will have more to say on this at a later date.

Ghost Forest

In competition terms, 2014 was my biggest year yet and winning the 2014 Canon APPA Professional Science, Nature and Environment photographer of the year as well as the highest scoring print in this category was a massive honour and thrill that I am still buzzing from. To pick this award up after already winning the Science, Nature and Environment category at the Victorian State Awards as well as 2014 Epson Professional Creative Photographer of the Year, Highest Scoring Print of the Year and overall win for Epson 2014 Professional Victorian Photographer of the Year was just about the perfect result and I quite honestly couldn’t be more thrilled. It was all topped off with wining the 2014 Travel Photographer of the Year in the Wild and Vibrant category a couple of weeks ago; which was just about the perfect news to receive on returning from Antarctica. It was a fantastic year and I have been really humbled by the results – thank you.

Australian Professional Photography Awards: Science, Environment and Nature Category Winner 2014
Australian Professional Photography Awards: Science, Environment and Nature Category Winner 2014

2014 was also my biggest year yet for workshops and expeditions. The year kicked off with an ‘almost’ local two week New Zealand South Island workshop which included helicopter time over the spectacular southern Alps. We visited Milford Sound, Queenstown, Kaikoura, Mount Cook and a great many other off the beaten track locations during the workshop and were treated to some fantastic weather and light (Read the Trip Report). New Zealand is a country made for photography and it is always fantastic to return to this wonderful country. Below is a short snippet of raw video from the workshop.NZVideoDaniel Bergmann and I then ran our annual Winter Iceland workshop (Read the Trip Report) that included destinations in both the north and south of the Island. Iceland in winter is an incredible experience and this workshop provided us with wonderful opportunities in a snow covered landscape. I then backed up Iceland in Winter by flying straight to Africa for two back-to-back Namibia overland Safaris (Read the Trip Reports). Namibia was a truly amazing experience and its ancient landscapes are ideally suited to the intrepid landscape photographer – even if it is hot!

After a short break, I then returned to Iceland for the Summer season and lead two back-to-back Ultimate Summer workshops that saw us circumnavigate the Island twice and photograph a great many of Iceland’s incredible locations (Read the Trip Report). I never tire of returning to Iceland and eagerly look forward to each return visit. The 2015 Iceland Highlands workshop is sold out, but I will soon be announcing the 2016 schedule for those of you who would like to get the drop on securing an early place. Just drop me an email to register your interest – no obligation at this point.

After Iceland I led a two week expedition that departed from Isafjord in the north of Iceland and sailed across the Denmark Strait to Greenland and Svalbard ‘The Jewels of the Arctic‘. During the expedition we explored and photographed many of Greenland’s incredible mountain lined fjords, rugged landscapes and arctic tundra slopes before we sailed across the Greenland sea to Svalbard (Read the Trip Report). Greenland has some of the most amazing geology of any place I have ever visited and in combination with gigantic icebergs it offers unique opportunities for photography.

In November I travelled to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island and Antarctica for a twenty one day expedition that saw us photographing in some of the world’s best locations for wildlife. We sailed from Ushuaia aboard our expedition ship stopping at several places in the Falklands along the way. We then spent several days in South Georgia before sailing to Antarctica. I have really been enjoying seeing the fantastic photographs being shared on social media taken by all who participated on this expedition – and although I suffered quite badly from sea sickness during this voyage it really was remarkable.  I hope to post a trip report as well as more photographs over the coming weeks. In the meantime, this was a photograph I made at Grytviken in South Georgia Island of a very curious baby Elephant Seal. The photograph was taken with a Canon EOS 1DX with a 16-35mm F4L IS lens and an Aquatech Underwater Sport Housing with wide-angle dome port. My sincere thanks to Aquatech for their support with equipment for this expedition. Baby Elephant Seal

At the conclusion of this expedition I travelled with friends to the Argentinian side of Patagonia to spend some time hiking in the back country and relaxing before I led one final expedition for the year to the Antarctic Peninsula. This was the second time I have been to Patagonia; although it was the first time I have visited the Argentinian side. Last year I spent a week on the Chilean side of Patagonia and it was interesting to experience the difference between the two areas.  In terms of sheer impact, I have to say I prefer the Argentinean side; although both are spectacular and both are equally exposed to ferocious winds. Patagonia is a wild place and you have never truly experienced the power and ferocity of Nature’s winds until you have travelled and hiked in this area of the world. I took the opportunity to put down my cameras whilst in Patagonia and although I made a few photographs I really took the opportunity to have some down time and just share the experience with good friends. I really needed time to recharge my batteries before the final Antarctic expedition and Patagonia was the perfect experience.

The final expedition to Antarctica proved about as perfect an experience as one could hope for in terms of weather. This was the first time I can recall visiting Antarctica and not loosing any time or landings due to wind and weather. Although I prefer moody, dark and overcast skies for my photography it was nice to see some blue sky and visit a few new locations during this trip. This photograph of the old whaling ship ‘The Governor’ was taken at Enterprise Island and is a good example of the kind of weather we experienced. This was the first time I have visited Enterprise Island but it will most certainly be on the hit list for future expeditions.The GovernorAll up I led a total of nine separate international workshops and expeditions in 2014 spread across more than ten countries (not including some local private workshops to the Great Ocean Road as well as one-on-one Print workshops). A brief count tallies up more than thirty international plane rides and more than thirty thousand exposures (wish they were all keepers!) and a lot more than thirty hours of lost sleep. It was a fantastic 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 photographers – thank you.

2015 is shaping up to be an even bigger year than 2014 in terms of both miles and locations and I am really excited about whats in store. In February I will lead a sold out trip to Yellowstone in Winter. Yellowstone in winter has long been on my wish list and I am very excited to be travelling to the USA again with such a small group of fantastic friends and photographers. We are looking forward to photographing Bison, Elk, incredible snow covered landscapes and with a little luck perhaps even Wolves and Lynx.

Yellowstone Sold OutIn March I will lead my annual Winter Aurora workshop to Iceland (Sold Out) with my good friend Daniel Bergmann. We have a  slightly different itinerary in store to last year and will be visiting both the south east and south west coasts during this workshop. At the conclusion of this trip I am going to fly over to Svalbard and spend some time in the backcountry via snowmobile photographing Polar Bears and Arctic Fox in winter. I will then fly back to Iceland to continue my Arctic Fox project in the north of the country. I hope to share a lot more of this project over the coming year as I continue to assemble the images but you can get a preview on my website in the Arctic Fox Project.Arctic Fox AttackIn May I am going to make the short hop across to the South Island of New Zealand to co-lead a Masterclass workshop with friend Phillip Bartlett. The South Island of New Zealand is breathtaking and was made for landscape and Nature photography. We have some really exciting locations lined up for this trip that include helicopter access into the remote back country. Click on the image below for a video preview of whats in store.

new-zealand-2015-soldout

In July I will head back to Svalbard to lead my Wild Polar Bears expedition (Sold Out) from Longyearbyen up to the permanent pack ice. At the conclusion of this trip I am flying to Iceland where Daniel and I will lead our Iceland Highlands expedition (Sold Out). We both then return to Svalbard for our Kingdom of the Ice Bear expedition. Untitled Film Works will be joining us on this expedition and will be producing a short film of our experiences as we photograph the King of the Arctic. This will be the second film Untitled Film works will have shot and produced for me and I am looking forward to working with them again. You can watch the first Polar Photography Experience movie by clicking on the image below.polar-experience-videoKingdomoftheIceBear2015In November I will travel to the Falkland Islands (our departure point) with Norwegian friend Ole Jorgen for a dedicated fifteen day photographic expedition to South Georgia Island. Unlike the expedition I led this year which also took in Antarctica this new expedition will focus solely on the wilds of South Georgia Island. We have secured a permit for a much longer stay than usual and will instead have ten full days of photography in this incredible location. We intend to explore many of the more rarely visited and out of the way locations as well as some of the major highlights. It is sure to be an absolute wildlife fiesta. There are currently only two places remaining on this expedition before it will be sold out. KingPenguinsAt the conclusion of the South Georgia expedition I will remain in the Falkland Islands for a one week extension to photograph at two of the worlds best hot spots for Birds – Sea Lion Island and Saunders Island. This will be a very small group of photographers and we will move between the islands via small charter plane. The Falklands is a world class location for photographing Albatross as well as King Penguins and Rock Hopper Penguins and I am looking forward to returning to this remarkable area.

I then have one final expedition to Antarctica for the year that will take me right through until Christmas and wrap up 2015. Its going to be a very busy and hectic year and I am keen to get make a start in Yellowstone in just a few weeks time.

In other projects, I am also aiming to finalise and publish my book ‘Extreme Latitude’ early next year. This long overdue project has been sitting ‘mostly’ finished on my hard drive for the last couple of years and it is time to pull it all together and complete it.

A final sneak peak into 2016 for those of you who have managed to read this far: I will be announcing at some stage next year a unique once in a lifetime expedition to travel deep into Antarctica via snow plane and snow mobile to live, camp and photograph with the mighty Emperor Penguins. The expedition will likely be early November 2016 and be strictly limited to a very small number of photographers. I will have more to say about this opportunity next year.

Lastly, I want to wish all of you a very safe and happy New Year and may 2015 be one of amazing light and experiences for all of you.

Yellowstone Winter Wonderland Photography Experience 2015 – SOLD OUT

Over the last few months I have been planning a new photographic trip to Yellowstone National Park in Winter in February 2015 of next year. The intention of this trip is to spend ten days photographing the geothermal landscapes of Yellowstone as well as any wildlife we may encounter during the winter time. We hope to encounter Bison, Elk, Wolves and Fox but as wildlife is always an unknown we shall see what we find and encounter. Yellowstone is a major tourist attraction in the USA which means it attracts millions of visitors a year during the summer months. Of far greater interest to me photographically speaking is the freezing cold and peaceful winter time. During the winter months the temperature can plummet as low as -40 Celsius, the landscape becomes blanketed in snow and there are far less tourists. The chance to create really beautiful and dramatic winter landscape and wildlife images is our draw card this time of year.

Of course winter photography in Yellowstone is nothing new and photographers have been braving the cold at the site of this slumbering super volcano for years.  We hope to make some iconic images of some of the more well known features, but also venture further afield. We will be using a large private snow-coach so that we can get off the main road and move around the park to some of the better, but harder to reach areas for photography. During our trip we will be utilising accommodation both in and around Yellowstone National Park. We will also be visiting the Grand Tetons and National Elk Refuge. We have a local professional guide for the duration of the trip that specialises in Yellowstone and in capturing some its more elusive wildlife on video. With their expertise we have high hopes of some incredible wildlife encounters during our time in the park. I was planning to open the trip for bookings here on my blog a week or so ago, but due to the initial email responses from those who had previously expressed an interest the trip is already sold out (sold out in just twenty minutes). It is too early for me say if I will be repeating this trip again in 2016 and beyond but if you were one of those who missed out on 2015 I will be contacting you with first option on any future trip into Yellowstone.Yellowstone Sold Out

A small teaser and heads up for those of you who scrolled down : I will shortly be announcing another new workshop to the Lofoten Islands in Winter in March 2016 that will follow on directly from my Iceland Winter workshop (trip still to be announced). If you would like to get the drop on this new winter trip then please just drop me an email with your expression of interest and I will let you know as soon as I am ready to start taking bookings.