Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas to those of you that celebrate Christmas and a happy holiday season to those of you that celebrate other holidays.  I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and gets to spend lots of time with family and friends, and like me, sets aside the camera for a day or two (or twelve in my case!).

An indian paintbrush below a layer of snow and ice

In celebration of the holiday time, I'm showing off one of my favourite 'winter' images -- a photograph of an indian paintbrush poking out through fresh snow and ice after an early season snowfall in August one year in the Canadian Rockies.  I woke up one morning at Mosquito Lake campground in the backcountry of Banff National Park and found myself in a foot of fresh snow. As I hiked through it later that morning, I noticed the snow slowly caving in on the biggest, brightest flowers that were close to the surface, occasionally producing beautiful ice-framed flowers for me to photograph. 

Happy holidays again everyone! 

John

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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Photos from the Vault - Hitting the Road!

As many of you prepare to hit the road for the holiday season fast approaching, I thought I'd share a photograph from the vault of 'the open road' -- the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park after a fresh snowfall.  Hope you enjoy it!

Mount Temple and the Icefields Parkway, Banff National Park

Happy Holidays and safe travels everyone!

John

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Photo of the Day - Bull Moose

Kananaskis Country has once again been good to me this fall/winter in my annual search for big bull moose to photograph.  I photographed this guy in Peter Lougheed Provincial Park after a fresh snowfall.

Big bull moose in fresh snow in Kananaskis Country

Happy shooting!

John

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Monday, December 13, 2010

2011 Wildlife Photography Tours and Workshops

For those of you that have always dreamed of going on an amazing photo tour or workshop to photograph wildlife, I've now released the initial lineup of my 2011 wildlife photography tours and workshops.  Come and join me to photograph spirit bears, humpback whales, orcas, wild wolves, grizzlies, sea otters, and more in a variety of locations.  I'll be leading trips to the Great Bear Rainforest, the Inside Passage, the Canadian Rockies, and the Bugaboo Mountains in 2011 and you can check out all the new offerings on my Canadian Wildlife Photography Tours website.

A bull orca fin rises up out of the water at sunset on the B.C. West Coast

Here's a brief summary of what's on tap for 2011:

The first one coming up is the wildlife photography workshop in Jasper in February and I've currently got three openings left for it, so let me know if you want to come join me for five days of tracking wolves and photographing winter wildlife in gorgeous Jasper National Park.

Happy shooting everyone!

John

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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Books for Christmas Presents!

If you're stuck for cool gift ideas for Christmas this year, think about purchasing one of more of my coffee table photography books as great last-minute (does December 7th count as last minute?) presents.  They're 34% off on Chapters-Indigo's website right now for orders within North America (next day shipping) and they're all signed by me!
The first carbon-neutral coffee table photo book ever published in Canada!

All of my books are printed on FSC-Certified paper which includes a percentage of recycled content, and my latest book, The Canadian Rockies: Banff, Jasper & Beyond was the first carbon-neutral coffee table photography book to be published in Canada!  I purchased carbon offsets to offset all of the production and shipping costs of the book, as well as offsets to offset all of my travel in 2009 to create the book...and where did that offset money go?  Into wind power projects in Ontario and Alberta!

So I would love it if you supported my efforts in protecting the environment by purchasing one or more of my books and giving them away as Christmas presents.
My Canadian bestseller, Wildlife of the Canadian Rockies

You can also buy bulk off of me directly if you want a box of books to give away at a camera club or Christmas party or whatever.
More than 11,000 copies sold worldwide!

Thanks everyone, happy shooting!

John

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Photo of the Day - Wild Wolf

On one of my first jaunts out looking for wolves this fall, I lucked out almost immediately and ran into an entire family walking down a side valley towards the road.

Wild wolf photo

I remained in my vehicle (wolves act much more naturally if you stay in your car than if you get out and try to approach them) and shot this off a window-sill beanbag with my 500mm lens and 1D Mk IV camera body at ISO3200, 1/800th of a second (to freeze the action as she walked towards me) and f4.  This was one of the first shots in the series as I scrambled to get a shot before the wolf crossed the road in front of me.  The entire encounter with all five wolves was over in less than three minutes, yet I managed to snap off 125 images of four of the wolves!  Of those 125, it looks like about 8 are keepers, including at least 1 of each wolf (which make me all warm and fuzzy inside, ha-ha!).

For any of you in the Calgary-Banff-Canmore area in February, you can hear all about some of my most amazing encounters with wild wolves (and grizzlies) and hear how I've managed to buck the trend and make a living at wildlife photography without photographing game farm animals (I still don't get how photographing an animal that lives in a cage and gets led around by a trainer is fun and/or wildlife photography?!!) at my talk, Tall Tales, Long Lenses: Bears, Wolves and a Million Bucks on Friday, February 19th as part of the Exposure Photography Festival.

This should be an evening worth attending (if I do say so myself!) even for those of you that think you've heard all of my stories and all of my business advice.  I'll be showing off a lot of new images and telling stories even my wife hasn't heard before.

Happy shooting!

John

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

SNAP! October 2011 Weekend Workshop

I'm pleased to announce that my partnership with Darwin Wiggett and Samantha Chrysanthou in SNAP! Nature Photography Workshops and Seminars is continuing into 2011 and we're excited to let you know about our newest workshop, the SNAP! October 2011 Weekend Workshop at Baker Creek in beautiful Banff National Park!

We had participants come from across North America this past October to hear my bad jokes, see Sam's infamous puffy orange coat, and watch Darwin gorge on the amazing food at Baker Creek.  But seriously, we had a fantastic time with this year's participants and got to shoot at world-renowned locales like Lake Louise, Herbert Lake, Johnston Canyon, Bow Lake, and Emerald Lake, all while enjoying the gourmet food and amazing accommodations at Baker Creek Chalets near Lake Louise.

It was a workshop to remember and we're hoping that you can join us for next year's 2011 version.  You can read all about the workshop and itinerary on our SNAP! site.  And to encourage you to sign up early, we're offering up some pretty sweet prizes:  the 1st person to sign up for the workshop is going to receive a $250 gift certificate from The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta and the 7th person to sign up is going to get a free 20-image portfolio review from Darwin, Sam, and myself!  So what are you waiting for?  Sign up now!

I also promised that we'd have a look at some of this year's Harvest Moon 2010 images, so Darwin has posted a selection of the best of the workshop on his website, while I've posted some entries from our 'Opposites Attract' assignment, which was a one-day assignment to try to capture an image composition that featured two or more elements that were opposites (smooth vs rough, sharp vs soft, moving vs still, etc).

SNAP! Nature Photography Harvest Moon Workshop - Opposites Attract

Baker Creek © Dan Wotton

Baker Creek Chalets - Our Winning Image © Eric Bartlett

Small Tree © Karen Ho Fatt

Baker Creek © Lee Sacrey

Johnston Canyon Lower Falls © Nicole Norris

Kicking Horse River © Sandy Pokorny

Icefields Parkway © Andy Lee

Black and White © Richard Fenster

Hope you enjoy the images! Please don't hesitate to contact us for further details on our SNAP! nature photography workshops or seminars at snapphotoseminars@gmail.com

Happy shooting!

John

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Inspired by Others: Dan Wotton

I was sitting in my office last week doing what I do (surfing sports scores and ignoring my dog's pleas to play) when an email arrived from a fellow photographer, Dan Wotton.  Dan took the SNAP! nature photography workshop with myself, Darwin Wiggett and Sam Chrysanthou in October this year and was one of many participants that I thought did beautiful work during the workshop (some of which you'll get to see in the coming days as we release our 2011 SNAP! workshop information and show off images from 2010).

Anyways, Dan is a dentist by day, an aspiring nature photographer by, uh, day, too!  When his email arrived, he mentioned that he had been out shooting a few weeks beforehand and he attached this image from a shoot he'd done in black and white near Kamloops, British Columbia.

Macro black-and-white photo of a maple leaf © Dan Wotton

I loved the photo and asked Dan if I could show it here on the blog, as I was really inspired by it.  It's touched off this brand new feature in the blog all about who and what has inspired me along my path to becoming a professional photographer.  So in coming weeks and months I'm going to be sharing with you the photographers that inspired me early in my career, the ones that continue to inspire me today, and the amateur photographers like Dan that occasionally send me shots that knock my socks off.  So feel free to send in a photo or two if you think you have something that will inspire me!

Happy shooting, and watch for the big SNAP! 2011 announcement in the next few days.

John

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