PHOTO OF THE MONTH 2022

These are some of my personal favorite 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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SEPTEMBER 2022

The photograph of the month for September 2022 comes from my recent June 2022 workshop in South Africa (Read the Trip Report) and is of three back-lit Impalas in rising fog at sunrise. Photographed from one of the private luxury hides at the game reserve, this photograph was simply a case of the right place, right time. It was pure serendipity that the Impala was positioned so perfectly in the frame with the sun burning off the morning fog. In many ways, this is probably my favorite photograph from this workshop as it is highly evocative of early mornings in Africa at this time of the year.

AUGUST 2022

The photograph of the month for August 2022 comes from my recent workshop in Zululand South Africa (Read the Trip Report) and is of a large male Elephant taken from one of our many nighttime hide sessions. Shot with the Canon RF 14-35mm lens at 14mm at just 1/8th of a second (handheld); this is a photograph that likely would not have been possible before the advent of the Canon RF system. The combination of IBIS and lens Image Stabilisation meant it was possible to shoot at slow enough a shutter speed to blur the water dripping from the mouth of the Elephant. The scene was lit by two tungsten lights on either side of the watering hole. The elephant was so close to the hide that even at 14mm it was full frame on the EOS R3.

JULY 2022

The photograph of the month for July 2022 comes from my recent workshop in Zululand in South Africa (Read the Trip Report). Photographed from the ‘lagoon-hide’, early in the morning when there was still a gentle fog rising and the light was soft and ethereal. This was a photograph I had envisioned when I first saw the potential perch for a bird. It was my hope that I could frame the bird looking into the frame. When the Pied-Kingfisher first landed, it was facing the wrong way (I still photographed it), but had to wait for the moment when the bird turned, looked into the frame, and provided the right gesture to complete the frame.

JUNE 2022

The photograph of the month for June 2022 comes from my recent Africa workshop (trip report coming next few days) and is of a Cape Buffalo at night. Photographed from one of the private overnight ground-level reflection hides on the game reserve around 1am in the morning. Although the scene is artificially lit by two floods, light levels are still extremely low and required a combination of high ISO (ISO 6400) and slow shutter speed (1/20th of a second – handheld). The reflection of the Cape Buffalo is obviously the star of the image, but what also appeals to me is the simplicity of the frame. This sort of clean background and reflection is only possible at night and is enabled solely by the cleverly designed hide.

May 2022

The photograph of the month for May 2022 comes from my Winter expedition to photograph Arctic Fox in the Hornstrandir Nature reserve in the far north of Iceland (Read the Trip Report) earlier this year. We were fortunate that conditions this year were absolutely superb for photography with a heavy blanket of snow-draped across the landscape and heavy snowfall and blizzards on many days. These sort of conditions are my favorite to photograph in and are really conducive to powerful and evocative image making. With blowing snow and snow sticking to the fox this particular photograph captures the drama of the winter storm for me and tells the story of the harsh conditions these animals endure during the long winter months.

April 2022

The photograph of the month for February 2022 comes from my very recent expedition to the north of Iceland to photograph the Arctic Fox in winter (trip report coming very soon – tomorrow I hope!). We were extremely fortunate this year to not only have a fantastic covering of snow on the ground but also to have falling and blowing snow on almost every day of our expedition.

In this photograph, I wanted to use the wonderful shapes in the windswept foreground snow to help frame the fox in the context of its surroundings. It is, in my experience, a rare combination to find both wildlife and sculptured and textured snow. The added drama and impact of the blizzard caps off a wonderful moment with this blue morph Arctic fox.

February 2022

The photograph of the month for February 2022 comes from my 2019 expedition to Iceland to photograph Arctic Fox in Winter. This rare moment of two blue-morph Arctic foxes interacting and playing/fighting in the snow was one of the many wonderful encounters we experienced during our stay in the Nature reserve. Arctic Foxes are common in this area as they are protected from hunting. Arctic Foxes are typically solitary animals; interactions are rare and usually only occur during the mating season. Even then, the coming together of two foxes is usually only a brief moment at best.

January 2022

The photograph of the month for January 2022 comes from my last visit to Finland in the Autumn of 2021 (Read the Trip Report). Photographed from private hide during some of the first snows of the season, it consists of the entire wolf pack together. This is a photograph I have been attempting to get for some years now as it is quite uncommon for the pack to come together in the open like this. The addition of the fresh snow adds that magical quality that makes it a very special moment.