Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Meanwhile, to celebrate Earth Day, the ILCP (Int'l League of Conservation Photographers) has created an exhibit of images they call the Top 40 Nature Photos of All Time. See the pictures here.
It is an impressive collection - including (full disclosure) some that I voted for. In my view, of course, a few of the pictures chosen don't rise anywhere near the level of "Top 40"... but that speaks only to the irrational nature of judging art: what could be more subjective?
Monday, April 19, 2010
Almost daily, I am asked to provide pictures for free to non-profits and other groups. Over the years, I have often obliged these requests, although they take time and effort, because I want my images to help save the animals and landscapes I photograph. Recently, however, the volume of these requests has increased dramatically and I have been forced to rethink this. I now send out the following letter in response to such requests. Harsh, perhaps, but the letter makes the necessary points:
As you may imagine, as a provider of high-quality imagery of rarely-photographed subjects worldwide, I am often asked to donate pictures at no cost to conservation groups and non-profits. The truth is, I get FAR more requests for this type of use than from paying clients. This is unsustainable.
Although I often donate images for worthy causes and projects, and have throughout my career, I feel it is important that anyone that requests free pictures know several key points:
- 90% of my work is self-financed.
For these reasons, I must insist on a $100 service fee for ANY unpaid picture request. This barely covers our time and overhead for scanning, delivering, and tracking images. Simply said, if your budget can’t absorb even this nominal charge, then you need to re-think your budget. Pictures have value.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
The site is: Silky Sifaka
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Having said that, in India last month I had one of those exhilarating experiences that reminds me simultaneously of why I enjoy what I do, and that...well, stuff happens.
I was following primates in a remote reserve in Assam, when my Indian guide turned towards me with wide eyes and whispered forcefully: "hati, hati!" Hati is Assamese for elephant, and when one is coming towards you in the forest, it pays to go elsewhere.
I have seen loads of elephants before, but always from the relative safety of a vehicle. By contrast, seeing an elephant while on foot is a sure-fire reminder of how puny we truly are. I managed to get a couple quick shots of this approaching female and then happily retreated. It is imperfect, perhaps, but to me carries all the heart-pounding excitement of that moment. Driving to the airport may be more dangerous, but it is never this exciting...
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
To find out more, go to ARKIVE.
Photographers have a significant role to play in the conservation of vanishing species, especially animals whose stories are rarely, if ever, told. Case in point : this little shrimp -- confined to a single tidepool, on a single island in the mid-Atlantic -- had never been photographed before, and gave conservationists a vital tool in trying to protect it. A simple picture but an important one, which gives me considerable satisfaction.
This is a big subject , one that I will return to in future. I simply want to encourage photographers to go beyond shooting the same handful of popular well-known animals - and start looking for animals whose stories are still untold. There is almost certainly an endangered species in your neighborhood; if you can get the best pictures ever taken of that animal - obscure or familiar - you could make a real impact in ensuring its survival. That is photography's special power.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Now I like Oprah as much as the next guy, but although she is a fine actress, here she always seems to be reading a script, not talking about something for which she has passion - or knowledge. Does Discovery think we can't understand a refined British accent like Attenborough's? Few narrators have his sense of timing, or enthusiasm, but Oprah doesn't even come close.
( By the way, they did the same thing with "PLANET EARTH" a few years ago, replacing Attenborough with Sigourney Weaver. Great in Alien, but dull as dishwater as a narrator.)
Anyhow, I managed to find a copy of the British version of Planet Earth on DVD, and will wait for the British version of LIFE as well.
OK, rant over.
After a coup that left this poor nation in political chaos, loggers took advantage of the turmoil to move into national parks and extract valuable timber - especially the precious Rosewood tree.
I spent a week following endangered primates in this remote area, and came across this illegal logging camp where rosewood trees had been cut down - inside the boundaries of Marojejy National Park, one of the last refuges for the Silky Sifaka.
Read about the latest here:
Rosewood Logging Update
Friday, April 2, 2010
I started this blog with the best of intentions several months ago... just before heading overseas for three months of continuous, largely internet-less travel. Now I am home, and hoping to make this a regular part of my day: a chance to talk about pictures, projects and issues. Wish me luck.
The trick will be making this different from my Picture of the Month feature:
There I usually tell a story behind a recent photo. I hope you'll still go look there now every month : I will make note of when that picture changes here.
Other news? I have dedicated the next two weeks to catching up on editing many months of unedited digital files. This is all too easy to put off when the schedule gets busy, but now is the perfect time...
Finally, because every photography related blog has to have a photograph, let me add one here :
I was delighted to have my Darwin's Fox appear in the March National Geographic. I have been concentrating for some time on little-known endangered species, and few are more deserving of the name that this fox -- of which there may be less than 250 left on Earth. Shot in the wild in southern Chile in early 2009.