Major Workshop / Expedition Update 2017 / 2018

With August almost behind us (just where is the year going?) I felt it time for an update on workshops and expeditions for the remainder of 2017 and into 2018 (with a sneak peak into 2019).

In a little under two weeks time I will be heading north to Greenland for two back-to-back expeditions to the remote east coast of Greenland. These expeditions into the remote and wild Scoresby Sund fjord system have been in planning for more than two years now and I am really looking forward to setting sail from Constable Point in Greenland to start our photographic expedition. Both of these expeditions have long been sold out, but I will be returning to Greenland in 2019 and will have more details on that expedition later this year.After I finish in Greenland I am heading down to Antarctica for my White Nature expedition. Timed as the first of the season we have planned our expedition to take advantage of dramatic and variable weather as well as giant icebergs and lots of snow and ice. I have been travelling to Antarctica annually for many years now and have found early November to consistently offer the best photographic experience for all aboard. I recently published a full guide on how to choose the right photographic expedition to Antartica and it can be downloaded for free HERE. This expedition is sold out.

2018 will kick off with sold out expeditions to Lofoten for Winter landscapes and Iceland for Arctic Fox in winter. My last workshop to Lofoten was in 2016 and I am looking forward to returning to this incredible archipelago. The rising and precipitous mountains that climb directly out of the sea and the rugged coastal landscapes make for a photographers paradise. And of course, the chance of Aurora Borealis (northern lights) only sweetens the pot and adds that magic element to what is one of the most picturesque places I have ever been fortunate to visit and photograph.My annual expedition to photograph Arctic Fox in winter in the remote and wild Hornstrandir reserve in Iceland has also long been sold out (Read the 2017 Expedition Report). I will be returning to Iceland in 2019 for this expedition and am now taking expressions of interest from those interested in photographing this incredible survivor. I will have full details including dates and costs for 2019 soon.After Iceland I will travel to Svalbard to lead a winter expedition north of Longyearbyen in search of polar bears and dramatic winter landscapes. Svalbard in winter is an absolutely breathtaking location. With newly formed sea ice, snow and ice covered mountains and chance encounters with the worlds largest land predator in a stunning white environment this expedition rates as one of my absolute all time favourites (Be sure to check out the Expedition Trip Report from March this year). At this stage there are still a few places remaining before the expedition will be sold out. If you are interested in joining us and exploring the winter white wonderland of this Arctic archipelago you can register your interest by dropping me an email. The remaining places are filled strictly on a first come, first served basis. To get an idea of what winter is like in Svalbard be sure to check out the new Ghosts of the Arctic short film by clicking on the image below.In late April / Early May I will lead my annual New Zealand South Island Masterclass workshop. This will be the last year I offer the South Island workshop as I plan to switch gears in 2019 with a brand new Van Diemens Land Tasmania Landscape workshop that will also include an optional extension to the Great Ocean Road in Victoria Australia (more details on this to come at a future date). The New Zealand South Island Masterclass has been an eagerly anticipated workshop over the last few years. For the final year my co-leader Phillip and I are including even more helicopter time over the spectacular southern alps with doors off photography to enable us all to capture some truly stunning imagery. Strictly limited to just six participants there are now only a few places remaining before the workshop will be sold out. Earlier this year, Daniel Bergmann and I completed a brand new workshop to photograph Atlantic Puffins and other Arctic birds at several different locations in Iceland that included the remote northern Grimsey Island, inside the Arctic circle. (Read the trip Report). The workshop was a great success and as such we have decided to offer a new workshop in May next year that will take us back to Grimsey Island to photograph both the wildlife and incredible landscape of this remote island. As well as Grimsey Island we will also spend time in Myvatn in the north of Iceland – One of the best places in the world to photograph Arctic birds. Grimsey Island in particular is one of the most spectacular locations I have visited in Iceland with towering cliffs that rise hundreds of feet out of the ocean and incredible basalt columns. It is a wild and primordial landscape that is rarely visited and even less rarely photographed. If you are interested in photographing the loveable and comical Atlantic Puffin and other Arctic bird species this workshop is not to be missed. Only two places remaining before the workshop will be sold out.In July I will return to Svalbard for my annual summer Polar Bear expedition. This expedition has been designed from the ground up 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 now extremely limited. Late July and August are the ideal times to photograph Polar Bears north of Svalbard due to the dwindling ice around the archipelago. On this expedition we will be carrying a naturalist/biologist who specialises in locating Polar Bears and an expedition leader and captain who have years of experience in placing us in the ideal position to make the best photographs. Their expertise will allow us to approach the king of the Arctic as closely and safely as possible and make incredible photographs under the spectacular midnight sun. To get an idea of what this workshop entails be sure to read the 2016 trip reportIn October I will return to the gigantic sand dunes of Namibia for a new Desert Fire Safari. This will be my fourth visit to Namibia to photograph the ancient sand dunes of the worlds largest and oldest desert. It is the perfect juxtaposition to my usual polar landscape and wildlife photography and offers an alternate landscape of extremes. Our workshop will sea us visit the giant red sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the eerie ghost town of Kolmonskop as well as the relentless Skeleton coast and the Etosha wildlife reserve. Places are now limited. For more information please send me an email.Finally in November 2018 I will return to the sea ice of Gould Bay in Antarctica for my Emperor Penguin expedition (Read the 2016 Expedition Report). There are plenty of species the world over that are much harder to find than Emperor Penguins.  To my knowledge however, none is as difficult or as expensive to reach as the Emperor Penguin; and thats the conundrum of Emperor Penguin photography. We know exactly where they are located, we just cant get to them without great difficulty and significant expense. Living on the sea ice in remote and difficult to reach areas of Antarctica the Emperor Penguin is therefore as difficult to reach as the enigmatic snow leopard is to locate in the wilds of its mountainous territories. This expedition will see us fly to Union Glacier deep in the Interior of Antarctica where we will set up our base camp before we take smaller twin otter aircraft out to the sea ice for our advance camp where we will live with the Emperor Penguins during our time on the sea ice. Strictly limited to just eight photographers there is only one place remaining before the expedition will be sold out (Read the 2016 Expedition Report).Peaking into 2019 I will be leading a brand new workshop to the north of Finland in February in search of Golden Eagles, Hawk Owls, Wolves and wolverine (full details coming very soon). The workshop is going to include a significant amount of photography from private hides and will afford opportunities to photograph rare species not often seen and even less often photographed. I am not quite ready to start taking bookings for this new workshop but you are welcome to register your interest by dropping me an email.

A final sneak peak into 2019 includes a new workshop to photograph the landscapes of Van Diemens land (Tasmania) with an optional extension to the Great Ocean road in Victoria Australia. More details to come soon….

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 2017 South Island Masterclass Workshop

It is hard to believe that in just a few days I will be leaving Australia again and making the short hop across the pond to the South Island of New Zealand for my sold out 2017 Masterclass workshop (it really does feel like I just arrived home from winter in the Arctic). Much of what I was hoping to accomplish in terms of post production, printing and office work before I left for New Zealand is  still residing in my inbox; where it will now stay until sometime in June when I return from my Puffin Workshop in Iceland (after I finish in New Zealand I will guide a small private tour through Tasmania before I head straight to Iceland). I have found time to process and print a few of my favourite images from Svalbard this winter, but I have only just begun to scratch the surface.

As is traditional, I like to post a packing post of what equipment I am planning to carry and use during the workshop. For my Masterclass workshop this year I have decided to travel super light (first time for everything!) and only take a very limited selection of equipment. This particular workshop is solely about landscape photography so there is little need for big heavy telephoto lenses or high speed cameras. Truth be told, I am actually really looking forward to travelling with such a  light load for a change (I will have plenty of heavier equipment when I head back to Iceland for the Puffins).

For New Zealand I have decided to take both my tilt and shift lenses (17mm and 24mm) instead of  a wide angle zoom. I have found in recent times I prefer the movements of the tilt/shift lenses to the flexibility of a zoom lens when I am working from tripod. It is a trade off I find acceptable when I am predominately working with landscape on a tripod. Although we have quite a bit of aerial photography from helicopter planned for this workshop experience has shown me that 24-70mm is usually a better focal length than 16-35mm for this sort of work.

My camera bag for this trip is actually a small non-dedicated backpack that I can easily accomodate my equipment in and still have room for filters, a rain jacket and accessories.

Camera Backpack (Carry on Luggage)

– 1 x Canon EOS 5DSR body with two spare batteries and RRS L Bracket
– 1 x Canon 17mm TSE Lens
– 1 x Canon 24mm TSE lens
– 1 x Canon 24-70mm F2.8L IS MKII Lens
– 1 x Canon 70-200mm F2.8L IS MK II Lens
– 1 x Canon 104 Teleconverter MKIII
– 1 x LEE Filter Kit includes: Graduated ND and ND Filters / Holder and Accessories
Gura Gear Chobe (Carry on Luggage)
– 1 x Apple MacBook Pro 15″ Retina
– 1 x Apple laptop charger
– 2 x Sandisk Extreme 2TB SSD Drives
– 1 x  USB CF card reader
– 1 x Sunglasses and sunglasses case
– 1 x iPad Pro 9.7″ Tablet
Tripod (checked Luggage)
– 1 x RRS 3-Series Tripod
– 1 x Arca Swiss D4 Geared Tripod Head

There is one other important piece of documentation I will be taking with me on this expedition and that is an Australian Customs Declaration form. If you are travelling internationally from Australia you can read about the benefit arming yourself with this documentation HERE.

For the astute readers amongst you; you may have picked up that after I finish in the South Island I will be running a private trip to Tasmania. This Tasmania trip will be something I am offering in May 2019 for a small group of just six photographers. The workshop will take in iconic areas such as the Cradle Mountain National Park, Freycinet National Park, The Wild West Coast and much more. I will have more details later this year – but you are welcome to register your interest to be amongst the first to be notified when details are finalised (no obligation at this point). See you in New Zealand!


Book Review: Simply Peter Dombrovskis

My third book review for 2015 is Simply Peter Dombrovskis. If you are a landscape or Nature photographer and you are not familiar with the work of Peter Dombrovskis you should take some time out of your day at your first opportunity and research his work. Peter is undoubtedly Tasmania’s most well known and most celebrated landscape photographer and is regarded by many (myself included) as an icon of Australian photography. He came to fame and prominence in 1982-1983 when one of his photographs ‘Morning Mist, Rock Island Bend‘ (undoubtedly his most recognisable and celebrated photograph) was used as the lead image in the campaign that successfully prevented the damning of the Franklin River.RockIslandBendMorning Mist, Rock Island Bend – Peter Dombrovskis

Peter Dombrovskis was born in Wiesbaden, Germany in 1945 of Latvian parents. He emigrated to Australia in 1950 with his mother Adele and started taking photographs in the 1960’s. He was strongly influenced by Lithuanian-Australian pioneer, conservationist and photographer Olegas Truchanas, who became a source of inspiration. He was equally influenced by landscape photographers of mid-century America such as Ansel Adams, Edward and Brett Weston and Eliot Porter and glimpses of these photographers styles can be seen in Peter’s own imagery. Sadly Peter passed away in 1996 while photographing in the Western Arthur Range in southwest Tasmania and this new book is in many ways a retrospective of his finest images. From the inside dust jacket:

This rare book. an exhibition of photographs by Peter Dombrovskis. The presence of sixty of his unique images, beautifully reproduced in full color on premium grade Real Art paper manufacturer from sustainable plantation forests, totally chlorine free.simplyPeter photographed in large format film and the quality of his images is superbly reproduced throughout this new book. The eye takes great pleasure in the reproduction of even the finest details in each photograph. Simply Peter Dombrovskis is much more than just a collection of Peter’s best work however; it is also a wonderful visual insight into the Tasmanian landscape and wilderness. If you have been fortunate to travel and photograph in Tasmania you will know exactly what I mean. If you have not yet photographed in Tasmania then do yourself a favour and bump this spectacular location up your to do list (I will be offering a Tasmania workshop in the near future).

If I had to gripe about any aspect of Simply Peter Dombrovskis it would be the shelf price. At $190 Australian dollars this is not an inexpensive book to purchase. However, the quality of the reproductions is first rate and this is in many ways the definitive collection of images from the significant body of work Peter amassed during his lifetime. The book has been produced without compromising quality and is superbly presented. I suspect the imagery will be enjoyed long after the price is forgotten.

Presentation: Simply Peter Dombrovskis is hardbound in black linen with a smart, clean dust jacket that is simple and elegant. The paper is a medium to heavy weight semi-gloss lustre that oozes quality. Although I personally prefer art papers to lustre papers the choice of paper in Simply Peter Dombrovskis is well chosen and appropriate for the imagery. Most of the included photographs are printed with a white paper border to help frame and contain the image and keep the eye from running off the page. There are a few full bleed images included and I felt these detracted from the rest of the presentation. Each photograph is elegantly titled at the bottom of the page along with the location of where the photograph was taken. There is an elegance to the presentation of the images in this book that resonants with me and I very much enjoyed the overall presentation.

Print Quality: The 2014 Canon APPA Gold awards book I reviewed earlier this year is the gold standard in print quality that surpasses anything I have yet seen from an offset printer. Simply Peter Dombrovskis is almost on a par, with deep rich colours that are the closest you are likely to get to the original prints. The quality of the printing is superb and does full justice to the photographs. Just as an aside: If you are visiting Tasmania, be sure to stop into the Wilderness Gallery at Cradle Mountain where prints of Peter’s work are on display in a retrospective exhibition.

Conclusion: Simply Peter Dombrovskis  is a solid four star presentation of some of Peter’s best photography and I recommend that you strongly consider adding this book to your photographic library.  **** You should own this book and consider it an important part of your photography library.

Footnote: Simply Peter Dombrovskis is already out sold out of its initial print run making this book a very noteworthy addition to any collector’s library if you are able to obtain one.

My personal thanks to Gail for the very kind and thoughtful gift of this book.

Extraordinary Vision Magazine : Photographing in Extreme Latitudes

The magazine business is a constantly changing and evolving organism. With the rise of e-readers, iPads and tablet devices the era of the ‘Digital Magazine’ has most definitely arrived. The true potential of digital magazines is just starting to be explored with a range of new offerings that are starting to leverage the full and previously untapped potential of digital interactivity. One such magazine is ‘Extraordinary Vision‘. Available exclusively for the iPad, Extraordinary Vision is a free magazine that features interactive content for both professional and amateur photographers alike. The current issue features one my photographs on the cover from the Jökulsárlón glacial lagoon in Iceland as well as a feature article on Photography in Extreme Latitudes. Did I mention its Free?