When I started getting serious about photography my goal was simple. Take pictures that my friends and family would ooh and aah over. We all want people to respond positively to our work and there are a number of photo critiquing web sites that cater to this desire. Camera clubs around the world hold photo competitions and there is no shortage of major competitions such as NANPA’s Showcase and Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International. Displaying our photos on our web site or photo site like flickr is another way of putting our work in the public eye. Many of us display our work in local galleries and others try to gain recognition (and maybe a few dollars) through microstock agencies such as Dreamstime. Continue reading →
Storytelling and the ability to share one’s expeditions and discoveries are key elements to exploration. During the expeditions of early explorers, like Columbus and James Cook, paintings and drawings captured moments of discovery and hardships. An expedition artist was always brought along to document the journey. Once photography was invented, expedition photographers were brought to photograph these moments of discovery along with the daily life during the journey.
When I think of the seminal work of an expedition photographer, I recall Frank Hurley’s images from Shackleton’s Endurance Expedition in 1914. Through his images, one can get a sense of the desolation of being trapped in the ice and feel the cramped living quarters of the ship during the day-to-day operation. These images bring the story to life and allow for a deeper connection than words alone. Once trapped in the ice, the images become more compelling as he continued to photograph the ship being crushed by the ice and life on the ice once the ship went down. Photographs, like the early paintings, capture the intangible while bringing you into the moment.
Fortunately, I have not photographed the aforementioned hardships, but I have been able to document oceanographic research expeditions around the world, particularly in the Arctic. Photography has come a long way and is now accessible to everyone and, for that reason, plays an even more important role in our expeditions and storytelling. As an explorer and expedition photographer, I am acutely aware that followers of my expeditions expect to see compelling images.
We now have the ability to bring people sitting on their couches along on the journey in real time. Through blogging and social media, viewers can experience expeditions in the most remote corners of the world through both still images and video, getting a sense of place as exploration happens. Because of this technology, we end up with an unedited version that captures moments and raw emotions rather than, as the explorer and photographer, we remember it once we are home. I think this is extremely powerful.
As a photographer, my camera is always with me on an expedition to catch that unexpected moment, but also to capture the everyday. Moments from an icicle hanging from a ship railing, to the first glimpse of sea ice when steaming north in the Arctic Ocean, to the science being conducted on board. All are documented in an effort to record the journey and share these precious moments from remote corners of the world.
The expedition artists and photographers of the past set the bar high for present day expedition photographers. Their compelling images have inspired me to document cutting-edge research expeditions of the present in an effort to share what science is doing to understand questions like climate change, ocean acidification and overfishing.
Gaelin Rosenwaks is a marine scientist, photographer and filmmaker. She founded her company, Global Ocean Exploration, to share her passion for ocean exploration, the marine world and its conservation through film, photography and writing. She now participates and conducts expeditions in every ocean to alert the public not only to the challenges facing the oceans, but also to what science is doing to understand these changes.
Gaelin is a US Coast Guard Licensed Captain, and a Fellow of both the Royal Geographical Society and the Explorers Club where she serves on the Conservation Committee. Gaelin has published articles in scientific journals, newspapers and magazines. She has also appeared as a scientific consultant and angler on the National Geographic Channel Series, Fish Warrior. More of Gaelin’s work can be found at www.globaloceanexploration.com
And to follow the latest, her twitter and instagram @gaelinGOExplore
This Birding Life is a new monthly column by NANPA Member Budd Titlow.
WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGAN: Making the Snow Come Alive!
Images and Story by Budd Titlow
I’ll never forget the day the snow came alive beneath my feet.
It was a Sunday morning in February just after sunrise and I was heading up into the mountains for a day of cross-country skiing. The previous day’s blizzard had dumped more than a foot of snow on Colorado’s high country. But the morning air was surprisingly pleasant—almost balmy—considering it was midwinter and the nearby sign read: Guanella Pass Summit—Elevation 11,699 Feet. Continue reading →
A wonderful mix of sharply chiseled mountains, glistening lakes and sparkling waterfalls can be found in Glacier National Park in northern Montana. The spectacular scenery of this sprawling million-acre park is a landscape photographer’s paradise. Add in the black bears, grizzlies, mountain bighorn sheep and snow-white mountain goats that make Glacier their home, and you have all the ingredients for a great photo trip. Continue reading →
A simple on-camera stereo microphone is a great starting point to record audio for your videos.
In this month’s column From Photography to Filmmaking, we will take our last look at the audio side of filmmaking, something that is totally new to most photographers. In the last few articles, we have looked at the conceptual side of audio, how to think about using audio to complement your visuals, and even used one of my short films as an example of how I created the adudio for that film. Today, we will take a brief look at the techincal equipment that I am recommending for someone just starting to record audio for the video projects.
I want to start with a quick note on the microphones that are built in to your DSLR. These microphones are surprisingly good under perfect conditions, however as soon as there is even a hint of wind things start to go bad quickly. Also, the in camera microphones tend to be of fairly low quality and since they are built in to your camera, they offer zero flexibility in placement. In short, please don’t rely on your in camera microphones. If you are serious about creating videos, invest a few hundred dollars and buy yourself a good microphone. Continue reading →
How do you photograph an animal so elusive that the biologists studying them have never even seen the species themselves? The answer is simple: SLR camera traps. Photographing wildlife with a camera trap seems easy in concept. Place a camera trap in the wilderness, let it sit there, and have it take amazing pictures while you relax at home. This isn’t quite the case. One of the hardest parts about camera trap photography is getting your set-up to work like you want it to. The camera and flashes have to be ready to take a picture at a moment’s notice, but it also needs to conserve batteries enough to last for an extended period of time. And then everything has to be safe in a serious down drench. Continue reading →
The landscape of the Colorado Plateau is ephemeral, a changeling, although to beings with short life spans this land seems immutable, a constant. But in canyon country stunning changes can occur in a single afternoon, altering the course of a stream, stranding a waterfall, even creating a new unheralded cascade. Thus, it has always been in Havasupai, named for the people of the blue-green water.
Havasupai, the mythic side canyon hidden well to the west of the South Rim summer mayhem and adjoining Grand Canyon National Park, has always been near the top of my favorite locations to photograph. I’ve been lucky to shoot this desert Shangri-la a dozen times since the late 70’s, with a progression of cameras from 4×5 to 67 Pentax to a variety of digital formats. For years I blithely assumed that the interwoven terraces of travertine below each of the three great waterfalls, Havasu, Navajo, and Mooney, would always be there to compose as one of the most artistic foregrounds imaginable. Continue reading →
This Birding Life is a new monthly column by NANPA Member Budd Titlow.
SAGE GROUSE – Happy Hour on the High Plains
Image and Story By Budd Titlow
Sometimes Mother Nature provides a perfect microcosm of human life.
Many years ago, I was invited to observe an annual ritual that had all the elements of happy hour at your favorite neighborhood bar. Totally full of themselves, the males were strutting around in tight circles with their hairless chests puffed out. As they walked, they repeatedly made burping and belching sounds while aggressively posturing toward any other males that came too close to their domains. Meanwhile, all of the females skittered demurely in, out, around, and through all of the absurdly displaying males—acting as if the showboats didn’t exist.
Rather than watching patrons in a dark, after-work bar, I was driving along a Colorado high mountain sagebrush prairie at sunrise next to a “lek,” which is, appropriately enough, the Swedish word for “play.” And the clientele I was observing were chicken-sized wild birds known as sage grouse.
The largest grouse in North America, sage grouse live on the high plains of the American West—at elevations of four thousand to nine thousand feet—including populations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Nevada, Utah, eastern California, and western Colorado.
Like many wildlife mating rituals, the “dancing” of the male sage grouse around a lek is all about influencing female choice. Leks are circular open areas in dense stands of sagebrush where sage grouse have been performing every February through April for eons. Here, male sage grouse spend their time puffing out their large colorful breast sacs and proudly displaying their sharply pointed tail feathers while aggressively defending their territories—leaping high in the air with feet and spurs fully extended and striking out at their nearest competitors for feminine attention.
While the female sage grouse pretend that they don’t notice, in the end, only the males with the showiest exhibitions—typically less than 5 percent of those trying—mate with all the females. After a few hours, the losing males skulk off to recoup their grouse-hood in hopes of faring better when the next day’s dances begin.
Because they tend to be such show-offs, sage grouse are the subject of many tales—both tall and otherwise—told far and wide in the high plateaus of their Rocky Mountain homeland. Many western riders swear that sage grouse sit hidden in their sagebrush hollows secretly plotting the precise moment to burst up with wings beating wildly askew in front of horses galloping across the open range. The result of this supposed comic plotting is of course that the horses rear up, violently tossing their hooves and manes wildly and summarily flinging their riders—derrieres first—into the nearest clumps of sagebrush.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now lists the sage grouse as a “candidate species” for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. The primary reason for the decline of this species is the wholesale loss of its high plains habitat throughout much of its native range.
A Professional Wetland Scientist (Emeritus) and Wildlife Biologist, Budd Titlow is also an international/national award-winning nature photographer and a widely-published writer/author. Throughout his career, Budd has shared his love of photography and nature by presenting seminars, workshops, and field trips Nationwide. He has also authored four books: BIRD BRAINS – Inside the Strange Minds of Our Fine Feathered Friends (ISBN 978-0-7627-8755-5), SEASHELLS – Jewels from the Ocean (ISBN 978-0-7603-2593-3), ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK- Beyond Trail Ridge (ISBN 0-942394-22-4), and ENVIRONMENTAL SUPERHEROES: Now Climate Change Needs A New One (In Press). Budd’s work is featured on his web site (www.buddtitlow.com).
A Bio Blitz is a short (usually one-day), intense team effort to discover as many different life forms as possible in one location. This often involves researchers and the general public working together to identify as many species as possible in a 24-hour period. To date, I have photographed over 45 Bio Blitzes from California to Maine and have done four with National Geographic.
For me, the Bio Blitz compasses all that I want to communicate to my audience about conservation and biodiversity and is a wonderful way to communicate with students and their parents about science! Depending on where they live, young people might get a chance to try their hand at species identification, photography, wildlife sketching, writing about nature, or the discovery of the natural history of their area. No two Bio Blitzes will be the same, as each one will be a reflection of the local environment. It is an opportunity for youth to not only enhance their appreciation of the environment through photography, art and exploration, but also to engage in true citizen science. This can be done through the iNaturalist Mobile Application, which makes use of the Encyclopedia of Life’s Species Collections, allowing participants to document species and upload their observations to a collective map that is available freely online.
Danita Delimont is a photo agent representing worldwide travel, nature and culture from 300 globally based photographers. She is CEO and founder of Danita Delimont Stock Photography. Danita brings more than 25 years of experience in licensing stock images to a broad base of editorial, travel and advertising clients. Owning and evolving a specialist library on her own terms—and being able to make sound decisions based on her experience in the industry—has been a win-win for anyone working with Danita. She received the prestigious Jane Kinne Picture Professional of the Year Award in 2009 by the American Society of Picture Professionals (ASPP), and NANPA honored her with a Fellows Award in 2007. Danita has served as a judge in various photo competitions and as a guest instructor at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography and Seattle Central Community College. The agency website is www.DanitaDelimont.com.
Do you have a “day” job? What do you do?
Yes, I do! In addition to working with photographers and clients worldwide through my stock agency, I also have many image partners in different global markets. We offer them our image content (and vice versa in some cases). By doing this, we reach customers who might never know us otherwise. Our international agents license the images in their time zones, in their languages and at price points appropriate for their parts of the world. While the U.S. market is huge because there are so many people here, other countries have far fewer “eyes” that will see the work. Rates vary with circulation numbers.
On any given day I converse with photographers, colleagues and clients in many different countries on a myriad of topics. The internet and Skype capabilities without question have made the photo industry a global market. Today, for instance, I’ve talked to people in Brazil, Poland, Germany, France, Japan, Korea and Australia, not to mention the United States. Every day is different, and in-between it all, I’m editing thousands of incoming low-res submissions and reviewing way too many contracts. (They take forever.) I also interact with my staff to make sure that everything gets done in a timely manner and we’re on top of things. I travel to trade shows and conferences throughout the year, so I’m thankful for my capable staff who keep everything organized and under control. I couldn’t do it without them.
How have you been involved in NANPA?
I served on the Foundation Board for nine years and was grateful for the mentorship and experience of Jane Kinne throughout. Raising money for the student programs has never been easy, but we did our best. I think keeping the photo blinds program alive was especially significant. So many photographers can now shoot in the blinds located on national wildlife refuges throughout the country and get up close with the animals.
I’ve presented material at different programs over the years, usually in the capacity of a photo agent. In San Diego this year, I presented a program on the Advance Your Business Pro Day that covered the realities of licensing images in 2015 and how (and why) the different licensing models have changed so much over the last few years. Flexibility is key in this business.
I was honored to judge the 2014 Showcase competition and delighted to see so many fantastic images from NANPA members. Because judging for that competition is blind and there are other judges, it was fun to see what the overall winning pictures turned out to be.
Over the years I’ve written various articles for Currents, based on the stock industry and the role I’ve played or offering advice on how photographers can be better organized, license their work, etc.
I’ve also reviewed portfolios at every Summit since 1999 in San Diego. That was a turning point in my life. It was then that I resigned from working with Wolfgang Kaehler, a worldwide travel and nature photographer, after 18 years and began the path I am on now.
What was it about the work you’ve done with NANPA that held your interest?
Working with like-minded people is always inspiring. Because I’ve had a home office for more than 35 years (!), it’s important to get out of the office and gather with industry colleagues on all levels. Working with ASPP (national president 2000-2001 and West Coast president for many years) and DMLA (formerly known as PACA, now called the Digital Media Licensing Association), as well as NANPA, has given me a wider perspective on the overall industry and how we all need to work together in as much harmony as possible. Working for Wolfgang prior to starting my agency gave me the photographer’s perspective and an understanding, from a business perspective, of what it takes to travel the world and be a successful photographer.
What are the highlights thus far of what you have done for NANPA?
I think sharing my agency knowledge with members is one thing that I’m especially proud of. Since I work for myself, no one can fire me. This has freed me up to speak openly and let people know what’s really going on out there in the world of stock photography.
How long have you been a NANPA member?
I’m a charter member. I knew when NANPA was first established that it would be a great organization to be a part of.
Do you have a goal as it pertains to NANPA ?
My goal is to continue sharing my knowledge on whatever level I can. Getting information on licensing stock images isn’t so easy for photographers these days. It’s also tough to know why images sell as they do and how to price them for different kinds of uses. This is the information that I can help with. We can always learn something new. Maybe I’ll become a photographer someday, but I doubt it. I know the composition, I can see the light, but I just don’t have the patience to take the time to learn how to handle a camera. To sit in the bush waiting for wildlife would probably drive me crazy, too! I was a Girl Scout and spent years camping in national parks with my family and wandering the trails. “I love to go a-wandering. Along the mountain track….” That’s me!