Don’t groan! I’ll try to be brief. I had some time to kill the other week so I decided to spend a couple of days of it in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. I have no idea why I chose Vilnius; maybe I closed my eyes and landed my finger on a map of Europe. But it easily entertained a short trip. It’s a beautiful, if small, city with resplendent architecture from several periods and the colourful rendering typical of buildings in Central and Eastern Europe.
I am a nature photographer. The implication being that the bulk of my work concentrates on documenting and working with the natural world around me. Now one can make the claim that human beings are very much a natural part of the environment. But over time, our uniqueness as a species and our unique way of life has created a strong distinction between ourselves and the natural world which we inhabit (and so often destroy in the process). My work as a professional photographer means that I usually find myself far from civilization and in rather remote locations, working with subjects that are either natural landscapes or wildlife. Once in a while, I get the opportunity to visit places that are very much the embodiment of human society and history like the Mayan Pyramids in the Yucatan, ancient Greek cities in Greece, or Roman ruins in Turkey.
We are once again excited to announce our upcoming workshops later this year and this time we have a few surprises! In addition to the regularly conducted Colorado Fall Colors Workshops, we are adding two more workshops – Jordan Photography Workshop and Death Valley National Park Workshop! Please read below for the full schedule of these workshops and if you would like to participate, please sign up sooner than later, since they fill up pretty quickly.
As the wheels of the land rover cracked across the dry crust of the Namibian soil I gazed across the plains ahead. It was July in Namibia and the dry season was in full swing. Arriving from the lush Zambezi river my thoughts were filled with the verdant wetland smell of damp bush and water reeds, Etosha, as I was to discover, is an altogether different beast. Approaching the centrepiece of the park one sees a vast salt pan surrounded by grasslands covered in bone-white sand. The closer you come to the centre the farther you can see on all sides, beyond the painted pale shrubbery into the smoky veil of the veld. Etosha does not rise before you, it expands.
It is no secret that I love using ultra wide-angle lenses for my landscape photography. I was especially excited when I received the new Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art lens just before I departed for my winter Iceland workshop. It has an amazing 122-degree angle of view at 12mm. Many photographers have a difficult time using ultra wide-angle lenses correctly when composing a scene. Why? The simple answer is that they do not get close enough to their subject.
Utah has never been high on my list of places to visit. Having grown up in an arid, dusty landscape (northern Pakistan), I always gravitated towards greenery and the ocean. A couple of things happened that gradually changed that sentiment. First, as my interest in landscape photography grew, I kept encountering striking images out of Utah (and the Colorado Plateau in general). Then, along came an HBO series called “Westworld”. Shot primarily in that part of the country, the show opened my eyes to some truly stunning high-desert, Mars-red, weirdness-popping out-of-the-Earth scenery. Finally, a flight from Denver to Southern California on a crisp day with clear views of this otherworldly landscape below, provided the push I needed to mobilize and visit this place.
Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan. Contrary to some negative media depictions, it is a clean, beautiful and well-planned city nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. I was born and raised there. I left at the age of 20, when I immigrated to the US. Like all displaced people, my place of birth has a special place in my heart and I try to visit as often as I can.
As I write, I’m looking back on my 36 years as a professional photographer with fondness and gratitude. I chose this profession because I wanted to travel and earn a living while doing so. It’s been an amazing three and a half decades and I’m still excited every time I walk out the door camera in hand. I’m looking forward to the next three decades! I travel in anticipation of serendipitous gifts; the unknown encounter. My camera is my passport to the world – a world I would not have known without that camera.
A few weeks ago, I visited Casa Mila, also known as La Pedrera in Barcelona Spain, which in 1984 was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO. It was the last civil work designed by renowned architect Antoni Gaudi, who was the best-known practitioner of Catalan Modernism. When visiting La Pedrera, I walked onto the stepped roof called “the garden of warriors”; called so because of the chimneys which appear to protect the sky lights, and discovered to my disappointment that due to the size of the crowd and the presence of a fence, I wouldn’t be able to photograph the entire architecture of the roof in a single shot.
This article will very likely be my last one for 2016 here at Photography Life due to an enormous workload I’m under right now preparing images and writing text for five photography related e-books I have planned for 2017. I’d like to extend a special ‘thank you’ to Photography Life reader, Waldemar Seybold, for writing a comment on my most recent Photography Life article which became the creative spark for this posting. This article will give you a sneak peak at 18 images that represent a very small sampling of the photographs that I’ve been working on for one of my planned e-books – photography in New Zealand. All are examples of ‘shooting in the moment’.