These are some of my personal favourite photographs from throughout each calendar year – one for each month. Higher resolution versions of all of these photographs can be seen on my portfolio website at www.jholko.com. None of my photographs are HDR (High Dynamic Range) or composite images. All photographs are captured from single exposures in the field. The majority of my photographs are processed in Adobe Lightroom.
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The photograph of the month for May 2019 is from my recent Svalbard Snow Mobile Expedition (Read the Trip Report). One of the greatest joys for me of photography in the Arctic in winter is the monochromatic colour palette (along with the driving snow). The combination of a muted monochromatic palette with fresh wind blown snow on the fur of the Reindeer (with its perfect antlers) is highly evocative. This is a very simple, yet very elegant photograph that tells a great story about the environment the animal lives in.
The photograph of the month for April 2019 comes from my January scouting trip to northern Canada to photograph the majestic Snowy Owl in winter. This was my first trip to Canada (long overdue) and my first time photographing this magnificent bird. During my time in this part of Canada I spent the better part of two weeks searching for and photographing Snowy Owls. This particular photograph of a large female beautifully perched on a snow drift in a soft fog was taken during a severe cold snap with temperatures down around -30ºCelsius. I actually spotted the Owl from the side of the road and was able to approach relatively closely to where it was perched and then position myself to frame the shot with the included grass for balance. These sort of cold temperatures can be difficult to work in but the results can be absolutely stunning for those willing to make the effort.
The photograph of the month for March 2019 comes from my Winter Arctic expedition last year aboard M.S Origo and is of the full moon rising above the snow draped mountains of Svalbard. Photographed from the back deck of our expedition ship with friends Vincent Munier, Daniel Bergmann and Chris Wahl we stood out on the rear deck waiting for the moon to rise above the mountains for a couple of hours. I recall the temperature around -20ºC and near perfect clear skies. I thought we had calculated the time and position the moon would rise perfectly, but as it turned out we had forgotten to take into account the mountains and so with our patience almost at an end and no moon in sight we had just about given up and gone inside for a warm drink. Thanks to Chris for staying outside for a cigarette and coming to get us quickly when he saw the moon starting make an appearance behind the mountains. Who says nothing good comes from smoking!
The photograph of the month for February 2019 is from my 2018 private snow mobile expedition to photograph Polar Bears on the frozen sea ice in Svalbard. Some of you may recall from my trip report, I travelled around 3000km on snow mobile over a period of three-weeks last year in search of Polar Bears on the sea ice. During that time I was able to find just one Polar Bar – this one. Fortunately for me he was nestled nicely in amongst some pressure ridge ice.
The first photograph of the month of January for 2019 comes from my November expedition last year to photograph the Emperor Penguins on the sea ice at Gould Bay in Antarctica. Taken on our last evening, sometime around midnight under the midnight sun. We were fortunate that we had some beautiful soft atmospherics and clouds that worked wonderfully with the golden light backlight. I really wish I could share the print, as the print really makes the photograph come alive a wonderful etherealness that the jpeg just cant match.