Jun 27 2012

Southwest Workshop
Participants’ Gallery

In June I like to head to the Southwestern United States. The heat of the desert hasn’t quite yet got to the point where it is painful. Moab and Kanab, Utah are close to magnificent national parks. After the wet spring in the Northwest, it is nice to travel to a warm location, and this area offers a completely unique environment. Spectacular land formations and lots of hidden canyons can be found in Arches, Capitol Reef and Canyonlands National Parks to name a few. The Southwest certainly has a lot to offer, and we explored a small corner of it in my latest workshop. Take a look at the wonderful shots my fellow photographers got!

Adam Sabow: “It was a fantastic time – already can’t wait to plan the next one!”

Alan Sund: “We had a great trip to Moab! The participants were great – many (like me) were back from prior trips, and knew we were in store for a wonderful workshop. Art and Jay were their usual selves, always supportive but also determined to help each of us grow in our photographic abilities – and all the prep-work done by your Seattle crew made it all work smoothly. I can’t wait to find another workshop to sign up for in the near future.”


Jun 26 2012

ICPA Exhibit Opens at the Burke Museum

Photo by Peter Mather
CARIBOU CROSSING
Photo by Peter Mather

International Conservation Photography Awards

2012 Exhibit

Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture

June 30 – November 25, 2012
The Burke Museum will once again exhibit the winners of the International Conservation Photography Awards, a biennial juried competition initiated in 1997 by acclaimed local nature photographer, Art Wolfe.
Over 75 photos were chosen from more than 1500 images submitted by amateur and professional photographers from across the globe. The photographs are conservation-focused, chosen in categories such as Wildlife, Landscape, Underwater, and Community at Risk, which focuses on environmental threats to urban areas. Capturing beautiful moments in the natural world, the photos connect us to the tiniest of creatures and enormous environmental changes. The competition and its award-winning photos inspire, educate, and encourage us all to consider our impacts on the world’s natural resources.
A panel of five judges selected winning photographs in each of the nine categories. The winning photographs will be announced on Opening Day, June 30. Four of the honored photographers will speak about their work, photographic techniques, and passion for conservation on the hour between 11 am and 2 pm on June 30. Judges from the panel will offer visitors guided tours of the exhibit. Check the Burke Museum’s website for a full schedule and details.
For the first time, the Burke and the International Conservation Photography Awards will also collaborate to create a traveling exhibit, which will include the top 25 first- and second-place winners.
The 2012 International Conservation Photography Awards exhibit is organized by the Burke Museum in partnership with the ICP Awards. The exhibit is sponsored by 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, with support from Kym Aughtry, Hugh and Jane Ferguson Foundation, The Mountaineers Foundation, Carl Skoog Memorial Fund, U.S. Bancorp Foundation, and the Peg & Ric Young Foundation.

ICP Awards sponsors: Art 4 Vision Foundation, Art Wolfe, The Bullitt Foundation, Canon, Epson, Getty Images, Museum Quality Framing, Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, Robert P. Rotella Foundation, and the Washington Environmental Council.
High resolution images available, contact burkepr@uw.edu.
Photo: Caribou Crossing. Photo by Peter Mather. Dalton Highway, Prudhoe Bay Alaska, June 29, 2010.

Link to this release: http://www.burkemuseum.org/info/press_browse/2012_ICP_awards_exhibit

Galleries of the winning photographs will be viewable on June 30. Visit ICPA Website.


Jun 22 2012

What’s in Art’s Bag?

This is a question I get asked all the time, “What sort of equipment do you use?” The answer is usually less than you would expect. In general I shoot with Canon’s new 5D Mark III camera, depending on what Jay Goodrich has to say about the 1Dx, that may change in the near future. Digital technology has far surpassed what film was ever capable of and has completely changed the game for what one can shoot in the field.

Where ISO 50 was the norm with film, I am shooting up to ISO 1600 without reservations now and that number will only go up in time. The ability to confirm “you got it” immediately after the shot, zooming in to ensure critical focus, evaluating the histogram for exposure, means that today I shoot far less than I would have in the past. I can shoot half a dozen frames, know I got what I wanted and move on. With slides I may have shot a couple of roles of a single subject before I was satisfied that at least one of the images in the batch would satisfy me later – and later could be several months before I knew what I had.

I have shot the majority of my images with just 2 lenses over the years. Both are “L” series lenses, Canon’s professional designation, the 16-35 f2.8 L II and the 70-200 f4 L IS. If I could have only 2 lenses going forward I’d be happy with these, they have served me well for a long time now. I’ll use extension tubes for macro work with the 70-200 and add in a 1.4x extender for additional reach when I need it as well. These are my workhorses and they are always in my bag regardless of where I’m headed.

On occasion I’ll pack a long lens, which one has varied over the years from the 800mm to the 600mm and now the 500mm. Why the change? Try packing around an 800mm prime lens that could double as a rocket booster on the space shuttle and ask me that question again.

I’ll also bring a fish eye lens, the 15mm f2.8, for special effects, just to mix things up a bit – but it’s not a lens I would rely on daily by any means.

Lately I have been carrying a 24-105 f4 L IS as a walk around lens, shooting in crowded markets, portraits, architecture and while I may have dismissed this ‘middle range’ in the past I find myself reaching for it more and more these days.

In addition, I carry a light weight, sturdy carbon fiber tripod. I like Gitzo’s GT3541XLS Carbon Fiber Tripod.  They make a fine product and it is light enough that I won’t hesitate to bring it wherever I’m going. I am using a Kirk BH-1 ballhead mounted to a flat plate (no center column). Here is what I feel most important about a tripod – purchase a tripod that is just a little too heavy and you won’t use it. Purchase one with a wobbly center column and you’re better off without it. So spend a little more money up front and you won’t have to do it again for many years. Mirror lock up and a cable release are also a part of the stabilization equation.

Then there are the miscellaneous bits and pieces. An intervelometer for shooting long exposures and stars, circular polarizers for all lenses, a couple of 2-stop, hard step graduated neutral density filters, extra batteries for the camera and intervelometer, hex wrenches, and lens cleaning cloths. Simple, lightweight, and effective for me to travel the world.


Jun 20 2012

Terra Sacra Time Lapses
Sean White
Guest Columnist

As I write this, my film Terra Sacra Time Lapses is just passing 100,000 combined views on YouTube and Vimeo and continuing to spread to all corners of the planet. The six-minute short is a compilation of my favourite time lapse sequences photographed during assignments and personal travels between 2006-2012 on seven continents in 24 countries. I’m super thrilled by the overwhelmingly positive feedback but equally humbled and gratified by the many comments which praise the beauty of our Sacred Earth. This was the ultimate goal… To inspire a deepened appreciation for the world around us.

Influenced heavily by Art Wolfe’s vision to care for the planet and it’s diversity, I created Terra Sacra Time Lapses as a a means of sharing the intangible magic I’ve been so blessed to experience on these journeys to famous and remote places.

By far, most of the shots in the film were photographed during the making of “Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge” – truly a dream assignment for any filmmaker.

Art and Sean in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

I started experimenting with DSLR time lapse photography during the very FIRST episode shoot with Art in Utah back in October 2005. The technique involves using a DSLR camera and a remote interval timer to capture a series of images that can be processed into a time lapse video. Since the resolution and image quality of each individual frame from a DSLR (up to 5,000+ pixels) is many time greater than a single frame of high definition video (only 1920×1080 pixels), you can zoom and pan within the image without sacrificing pixels. The image QUALITY (colour range, low light sensitivity) from a DSLR is also greater than most professional video cameras. I immediately was blow-away by the creative potential of this new tool and would make a point of shooting these shots as often as possible. I could setup a time lapse with the 5D and use our production video cameras to continue filming all the other elements for the show. The time lapses would eventually become a signature look for the series and often be used as visual transitions between the scenes in each episode. I also employed these techniques on assignments for other television series for National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel, and personal travels.

As romantic as it sounds to travel with Art for three years and film 26 episodes of the beloved TV series all around the world, it wasn’t always easy!

Here’s five of my worst moments:

• bluff charged and nearly trampled by a camera-shy male elephant in Kenya

The angry male elephant preparing to charge


• nearly run-over by our bush pilot the very next day as he pushed the comfortable boundaries of delaying his take-off for a dramatic shot (Art scolded him for almost killing his cameraman)

In the path of the Cessna traveling at over 100 mph just before take-off


• careening off a highway in La Paz, Bolivia, after a tire separated from the axel (we suspect thieves stole the lug nuts!)

The get-away tire in La Paz, Bolivia


• dodging a massive anaconda dropping out of the trees while cruising the Pantanal in Brazil.
• losing all my clothes to a nun in Peru after a horrendous case of “mistaken luggage identity” (my bag eventually got delivered by dug-out canoe a week later to our filming camp in the Amazon jungle)

On the flip side, here’s five of my favourite highlights:
• being swooped by the 10-foot wingspans of Andean condors after a steep four-hour hike in Patagonia, Argentina.
• that Cessna that almost killed me… I got to fly it from Kenya to Lake Natron in Tanzania (the rest of the crew slept in the back!)
• seeing Antarctica. Period.

Filming penguins in Antarctica


• sleeping on the sand beneath the most amazing star scape ever while en route from Timbuktu to Arouane (Mali) to film a caravan of camels in the middle of the Sahara
• photographing bengal tigers in India by elephant back. These felines are the most awesome creatures I’ve ever seen in the wild!

Thank you Art, again, for hiring me as the cinematographer for this amazing series and providing the great memories and adventures I’ll cherish for a lifetime… Hopefully Terra Sacra Time Lapses will echo the spirit of your mission and serve as a lasting showcase of our Sacred Earth.

Sean F. White

Locations:
Shot-by-shot breakdown of each location in the film >>HERE

Technical Notes:
Most of the time lapses were shot with a Canon EOS 5D digital SLR at the maximum resolution using a TC-80N3 intervalometer. A few shots were taken with a Canon 7D and Canon 5D mk II.
All images are single manual exposures, no HDR composites.
Original full resolution images were colour corrected and processed in 16-bit in Adobe Bridge using Camera Raw and exported as JPEG sequences at maximum quality. The rendered JPEG sets were then opened in Quicktime Pro as image sequences and exported at their native full resolution (up to 5K) as Quicktime movies at 23.98 fps with the Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) codec. The ProRes 422 (HQ) files were then edited in Final Cut Pro 7.0.3 on a ProRes 422 (HQ) timeline at 23.98. The master file is ProRes 422 (HQ) 1920 x 1080.
Selected time lapse sequences were also processed using Adobe Bridge and LRTimelapse to smoothen aperture flicker apparent in some shots with large depth-of-field.

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All photos by John Greengo for Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge

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