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Photographing an Arctic Winter 2015
Dec 18, 2014
After a wonderful and successful photo expedition into the Arctic Circle of Norway in March 2014 in which 3 images won acclaim at this years Australian Professional Photography Awards, I've again decided to head North in search of the ultimate winter photography locations with Iceland again on the radar. The plan this time is to travel a month earlier in February in order to shoot the ice caves under the Vatnajokull Glacier with the help of a guide from Extreme Iceland. I'm also again crossing my fingers for some Aurora Borealis action but I won't hold my breath. Negotiating a volatile Icelandic winter will be an interesting and challenging proposition in every way, but potentially far more exciting and fruitful in terms of photography.
Dec 13, 2014
With all the hype and controversy surrounding the reported and unconfirmed sale of Australian Peter Lik’s Antelope Canyon image ‘Phantom’ for a world record $7.8 million Australian dollars, I couldn’t help but share my 2 cents worth on the subject both as a Landscape Photographer and as someone who has shot many times in the stunning American West and several times in both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons in Arizona. In my early photographic days I drew enormous inspiration from Peter Lik’s works, his photography is beautiful and his galleries are a lesson in how to present images in their best possible light, both literally and metaphorically. As far as I know he still has a gallery in Noosa, Australia but his other 14 or so are in America with 3 or 4 in Las Vegas alone. He is a true Australian success story and has tapped into predominantly an American market with his epic Panoramic landscapes. Peter is a Master Photographer with both the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) and Professional Photographers America (PPA) and is also a master in self promotion and while many of us choose a different approach I’m certainly not about to criticise him just because he’s exuberant and outgoing and displays a genuine passion for what he does. I draw inspiration and motivation from people with a passion for something, whatever it may be. There is an enormous amount of work and dedication that goes into producing these landscape photos, so good luck to him. Check out his You Tube channel to check out shooting landscapes Peter Lik style.
It looks to me as if ' Phantom ' was photographed in the upper section of Antelope which is the easier of the two sections for access and is just a short 4wd trip along a dry sandy creek bed and walk straight in access. This type of vertical light beam photo is only possible in mid-summer when the sun is high in the sky and the light filters through a very narrow gap in the canyon around 30 metres or so above your head. The trick to nailing the shot is a combination of luck, good planning and an understanding of light and exposure. In fact I travelled to the US in July 2009 specifically to photograph this place and with the help of my expert Navajo photographer guide Mylo Fowler I was able to collect some images that portray just what an extraordinary location this really is. Mylo has an intimate knowledge of the slot canyons of Arizona and knew when and where the light was best and believe me when I say that timing is critical and you only get one chance when shooting these type of images. Make no mistake, this place is unlike anywhere else, but unfortunately these days the upper canyon for me is just too busy and a little cliche so I avoid it. A guide is your only option for people free photography if that’s what you want.
The mostly preferred option for photographers is the lower canyon which is less crowded and thanks to ladders being installed several years ago a lot easier to gain access to. It really is a very interesting place and displays fantastic reflected light depending on the time of year and time of day. Winter will produce more pinks and purples but no light beams as opposed to summer which will yield oranges and yellows and some interesting beams. The lower canyon is a little infamous and some consider it dangerous because of the risk of flash flooding. In 1997 11 tourists were swept to their deaths by a flash flood in Lower Antelope Canyon.
Below is one of the images I shot in Upper Antelope on the 31st of July, 2009.
The image is titled ' Free Spirit '