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 April 2020 comes from my Finland workshop in September last year. It has also been a while since I have posted a landscape photograph as my image of the month. Taken very early on a still morning with rising fog by the side of a placid lake near our cabin this photograph epitomises for me the peace, tranquility and silent beauty of the Finland forest in Autumn. This photograph really works for me on an emotive level. The soft distant trees in combination with the still lake and contrasting reeds gives a strong sense of peace and tranquility.
The photograph of the month for March 2020 comes from my recent expedition to the Ross Sea region of Antarctica (Read the Trip Report). The photograph was actually taken at Enderby Island in the Sub Antarctica islands on our way to the Ross Sea and is of a very rare and highly endangered Yellow-eyed penguin. I watched this penguin for a long time in trying to figure out how I wanted to photograph it and what it was I wanted to try and say about the Penguin and its environment. In the end, I opted for a very shallow depth of field with a 400mm f2.8 lens that really put emphasis on the striking yellow eye but still maintained a sense of the environment in which the penguins live. It is estimated that there are now fewer than 8000 pairs of Yellow-eyed Penguins left in the world; making them the worlds most endangered penguin.
This photograph of a Pallas Cat stalking in the snow was made in Mongolia last November 2019. It was only possible due to a number of different circumstances which conspired in my favour – it was at the end of the day nearly pure serendipity. Firstly, my guide and I found the cat not long before sunset, just as the light was becoming optimal. We had been searching the lunar-like landscape all day in search of a cat and had found only tracks. Then with less than an hour before dark we discovered this cat. I asked my guide to go around the cat and to approach its position slowly from behind. I then went and lay down in front of the cat some hundred metres or so away. I was wearing full winter camouflage clothing and once I was lying down in the snow was virtually invisible. The cat had no idea I was there until it was less than 20 metres away.
The photograph of the month for January 2020 comes from my recent trip to Mongolia in winter (Read the trip Report) to photograph the rare and elusive Pallas Cat. Known affectionately as the ‘Grumpy Cat’; this Pallas cat did indeed seem quite moody when I took its photograph in the late afternoon winter light. It was a very deliberate creative decision to frame this photograph with angled back light as I wanted both the benefit of the golden rim light on the fur of the cat, but also to retain all of the detail in the cat and not send it to silhouette. It seems even when the light is at its most stunning the Pallas cat is still grumpy…