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WILLIAM NEILL A Retrospective



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INTO AFRICA Frans Lanting's upcoming book showcases the wonders of Africa's wild landscapes and inhabitants Introduction by Wes Pitts Text & Photography By Frans Lanting


RETROSPECTIVE A life exploring the fine art of nature Text & Photography By William Neill


ODE TO MONET Studying the work of celebrated painters can lead you to new ways of seeing photographically Text & Photography By Timothy Wolcott


TRIPODS ARE FOR CLOSERS The foundation of a truly successful photograph is rooted in vision—equipment is almost incidental Text & Photography By Jason Bradley


VIRUNGA ADVENTURE Photographing mountain gorillas in the footsteps of Dian Fossey Text & Photography By Mark Edward Harris


BEHIND THE SHOT Lake Kuril, Kamchatka, Russia Text & Photography By Roie Galitz

2 Outdoor Photographer




THE BIG PICTURE Connecting to the wild within

Text & Photography By Amy Gulick




Text & Photography By Bill Hatcher

DEPARTMENTS 9 12 14 20






On the web at

]Member Galleries


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]Weekly Tips

Share your best photos with the OP community in our online galleries, It’s free to register and participate—join today!

Enter our themed photo challenges each week for a chance to have your image recognized as our Assignment winner.

Discover your next photo destination with our feature articles that highlight epic places for nature photography.

Be inspired by advice and insights into the art and technology of photography from top nature photographers.

Sign up to receive our free “Tip of the Week” newsletter, featuring techniques to improve your photo skills.

4 Outdoor Photographer

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A change of plans to take a rare opportunity yielded memories I will cherish


YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY DESERVES THE FINEST-QUALITY PRINTS Meet the printers that are equally obsessed with color and detail What makes a great photograph? It’s all about the details that artists obsess over— subtleties of composition, light, color and sharpness working in concert to express your ۈȜ˜°"˜Þ >˜œ˜]܈̅ˆÌà "-V>“iÀ>Ã]i˜ÃiÃ>˜`w˜i‡>ÀÌ«Àˆ˜ÌiÀÃ]œvviÀÃ>Vœ“«iÌi system from capture to print, helping you to achieve what you visualized for every image.


anon imagePROGRAF PRO Series printers range from 17” to 60” and are the result of collaboration with professional photographers to design solutions vœÀ“ïVՏœÕÃœ˜‡`i“>˜`«Àˆ˜Ìˆ˜}° Canon understands your attention to detail throughout the creative process, from selecting the ideal lens and camera settings to capture your subject, to perfecting and printing a final photograph that represents the culmination of those artistic

decisions. That’s why they developed the printer that’s equally obsessed. LUCIA PRO 11-COLOR INK SET At the heart of the system is Canon’s LUCIA PRO pigment ink set, with 11 colors plus a Chroma Optimizer for an exceptionally wide and accurate color gamut, enhanced clarity, detailed shadows and an expanded dynamic range. And with dedicated channels for Matte Black and Photo Black inks, there’s never a need to switch

cartridges depending on your paper selection, saving both time and ink in the process. TOTAL CREATIVE CONTROL /œ«ÀiVˆÃiÞw˜i‡Ì՘iiÛiÀÞ>ëiVÌœv your print, Canon’s Print Studio Pro for ˆ“>}i*,",ƂˆÃ>ÜvÌÜ>Ài«Õ}‡ in that works seamlessly with Canon Digital Photo Professional, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom, and «ÀœÛˆ`iÃ>vՏ£È‡LˆÌVœœÀܜÀŽyœÜ >˜`ÜvÌ«Àœœw˜}V>«>LˆˆÌˆið


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For studios that produce prints in volume for clients and galleries, the imagePROGRAF PRO-2000 can “>Ži«Àˆ˜ÌÃÕ«̜Ó{‡ˆ˜V…iÃ܈`i]>˜` with the optional Multifunction Roll System, you can load two types of roll paper at a time—glossy and matte, for example—and switch between them without the interruption of reloading the printer.

And for even larger prints, there’s the imagePROGRAF PRO-4000, which offers the same optional Multifunction Roll System, and can accept papers >Ã܈`i>Ã{{‡ˆ˜V…iÃ]vœÀ…Õ}i i݅ˆLˆÌˆœ˜‡µÕ>ˆÌÞ«…œÌœ}À>«…Ã܈̅ incredible detail. To learn more about Canon’s imagePROGRAF PRO Series printers that have reset the bar for wide-format printing, visit EDITORIAL

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Outdoor Photographer (ISSN: 0890-5304)—Vol. 33 No. 8—is published monthly except bimonthly ,CP(GDD[/CFCXQT/GFKC..%'ZGEWVKXGGFKVQTKCNCPFCFXGTVKUKPIQHÆ‚EGU$TCKPVTGG*KNN 1HÆ‚EG2CTM5WKVG$TCKPVTGG/#2GTKQFKECNU2QUVCIG2CKFCV$QUVQP/# CPFCFFKVKQPCNOCKNKPIQHÆ‚EGU5KPINGEQR[RTKEGt#PPWCNUWDUETKRVKQPKP752QUUGUUKQPU #21(21t%CPCFCtQVJGTHQTGKIPtKPENWFKPIRQUVCIGCPFVCZGU2C[CDNG KP75HWPFU(QTQTFGTUCFFTGUUEJCPIGUCPFCNNQVJGTEWUVQOGTUGTXKEGRJQPGVQNNHTGG   4410. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Outdoor Photographer21$QZ$KI5CPF[ TX 75755-8507. Canada Post Publications Mail Class Agreement No. 1559788. Email us (editorial matters only) or visit our website at Copyright ©2017 by Madavor Media, LLC. No material may be reproduced without written permission. This publication is purchased with the understanding that information presented is from many sources for which there can be no warranty or responsibility by the publisher as to accuracy, originality or completeness. It is sold with the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in renderKPIRTQFWEVGPFQTUGOGPVUQTRTQXKFKPIKPUVTWEVKQPCUCUWDUVKVWVGHQTCRRTQRTKCVGVTCKPKPID[SWCNKÆ‚GF sources. EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS: Outdoor Photographer assumes no responsibility for solicited or unsolicited contributions and materials. We do not accept original transparencies or negatives. Otherwise, insurance for such materials, in transit or in our possession, must be the responsibility of the writer or photographer. Outdoor Photographer does not accept or agree to the conditions and stipulations printed on delivery memos, packing slips and related correspondence as they are presented without prior notice accompanying submission materials. Exceptions to this disclaimer of liability on the part of Outdoor Photographer must be prearranged, executed in writing and signed by both parties prior to the shipment of materials in question. All submissions must be accompanied by a self-adFTGUUGFUVCORGFGPXGNQRG 5#5' YKVJUWHÆ‚EKGPVRQUVCIGVQEQXGTVJGEQUVQHTGVWTP6JGENCUUQH mail and insurance coverage for returns will be determined by the amount provided for on the SASE. SUBSCRIBERS: Any obligation we owe to you, including delivery of your magazine, is contingent upon [QWRTQXKFKPIWUYKVJ[QWTEQTTGEVOCKNKPICFFTGUU+HVJG2QUV1HÆ‚EGPQVKÆ‚GUWUVJCV[QWTOCIC\KPGKU undeliverable, we have no further obligation to you unless we receive a corrected address from you YKVJKPVYQ[GCTUQHVJG2QUV1HÆ‚EGPQVKÆ‚ECVKQPBACK ISSUES are available for one year prior to the EWTTGPVKUUWG6QQTFGTYKVJKPVJG75UGPFRNWURQUVCIGCPFJCPFNKPI %CPCFCRNWU +PVGTPCVKQPCNRNWU HQTGCEJKUUWGVQ$CEM+UUWG&GRVOutdoor Photographer /CIC\KPG$TCKPVTGG*KNN1HÆ‚EG2CTM5WKVG$TCKPVTGG/#QTIQQPNKPGCPFXKUKVVJG G5VQTG0QQTFGTURTQEGUUGFYKVJQWVRTQRGTHWPFUCPFURGEKÆ‚EKUUWGKPHQTOCVKQP Outdoor Photographer is a registered trademark of Madavor Media, LLC. Copyright ©2017 Madavor Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. To Subscribe Or For Subscription Questions: or (800) 283-4410 or email Member, Alliance for Audited Media

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Stephanie Sinclair




Jerry Ghionis

Brooke Shaden


“The power of imaging is never more apparent than when it is used to help those in need”

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 2017 6:00PM SVA THEATRE 333 West 23rd Street, NYC


he Imaging Alliance, in conjunction with Madavor Media, is proud to salute three professional photographers and one student photographer who have used their talents and passions to give back and heighten awareness of important social and cultural issues through the power of imaging. The 3rd annual event will feature presentations by honorees Brooke Shaden, Stephanie Sinclair and Jerry Ghionis followed by a short Q&A from the audience. After the theatre portion of the evening, all in attendance will be invited to a networking cocktail reception in the lobby. In addition, one SVA student, Sophie Brill who has used her photographic skills to create awareness around an important social issue will be honored with the Anthony M. Ruotolo Photojournalism Award.

$25 Admission (Proceeds go to charity)

For all program information, or to become an Imaging Alliance member, please contact Michelle Tramantano at

Anthony M. Ruotolo Photojournalism Award Recipient

Sophie Brill






cover shot

Photographer: Frans Lanting Location: Chobe National Park,

Botswana Equipment: Nikon film camera,

24mm lens Situation: A bull elephant pauses at the edge of a water hole with doves swirling around him and a herd of thirsty kudus on the horizon. I made this image in Chobe National Park, in northern Botswana. Living in the area for an extended period, I was able to return to the same places time and time again, the recipe for unique images. This photograph is one of my personal favorites, not just because of the circumstances, but because of the way that it looks. I was lying flat on the ground at the edge of the waterhole, and this ground-level perspective allowed me to make the elephant appear like a monument in the landscape, a very different perspective than what you’d get from a vehicle. I could have used a telephoto lens to get a close-up of the elephant, but I chose a wide-angle lens because I was more interested in expressing the elephant as part of the landscape. I’m never content with working from a vehicle because it leads to predictable results. For my entire career, I've looked for novel points of view. I like to work one-on-one with animals and prefer to leave the confines of the vehicle, but of course that requires that you're attuned to the animal’s behavior, you have to be very careful, so it's not something I recommend to photographers unless they're very knowledgeable about how to do this safely. –Frans Lanting

Let Outdoor Photographer give you the tools, techniques and inspiration to capture your favorite subjects in a whole new light. Our expert columnists and contributors will inspire you with stunning portfolios, advice and pro techniques to improve your landscape and wildlife photography.


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in this issue

INTO AFRICA Expanding on his successful exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, seen by more than 3 million people, Frans Lanting’s upcoming book showcases the wonders of Africa’s wild landscapes and inhabitants INTRODUCTION BY WES PITTS TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANS LANTING

In his foreword to Frans Lanting’s Into Africa, available this fall from publisher Earth Aware Editions, Wade Davis quotes former National Geographic Director of Photography Thomas Kennedy: “As a chronicler of natural history today, Frans Lanting is a singular, extraordinary talent. He has the mind of a scientist, the heart of a hunter, and the eyes of a poet.” Few photographers enjoy a career as celebrated as Lanting’s, and Outdoor

Photographer has been fortunate to regularly present his work through the years in his recurring column “World View” and in feature articles like this, in which we present a selection of images and excerpts as a preview of his forthcoming monograph. “This book,” describes Lanting in its introduction, “is a mosaic of images and experiences that range from intimate moments with individual animals to insights about precious places—and


commentary about the challenges in ensuring that there is a future for both. Africa is changing fast, but it still retains a glorious primordial abundance of wildlife that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. I hope my stories will find their way into the hearts and minds of people who may be inspired to play a role in making sure that Africa’s natural heritage remains a global treasure for generations to come.”

THE GIFT OF WATER “Great rivers that start as tentative trickles in the highlands of Angola and Zambia nurture fertile floodplains and lush wetlands downstream in the dry interior of southern Africa. They provide precious fresh water for multitudes of wild animals and many millions of people in an otherwise arid part of the continent.”

32 Outdoor Photographer


n this issue, we’re excited to feature preview portfolios from the upcoming books of two longtime Outdoor Photographer contributors, Frans Lanting’s Into Africa, and William Neill – Photographer, a Retrospective, both of which will be available this fall. Into Africa expands upon Frans Lanting’s exhibit of the same name, presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and the National Geographic Society with support from the World Wildlife Fund. In the summer of 2015, we were fortunate to visit the exhibit which, in addition to Lanting’s incredible photography, also featured videos of him working on location in Africa that provide a rare look behind the scenes. In our portfolio feature, we present a selection of images that September 2017 33

represent the primary themes of the upcoming book. In his article “Retrospective,” William Neill reflects upon how his photography has evolved during his career and shares his insights about the process of editing and curating one’s work to select images for projects such as his new book and exhibits like the one on display this past summer at The Ansel Adams Gallery. For photographers who would like to pursue exhibiting their own work in galleries or in publications, Neill offers guidance on developing thematic portfolios with a distinctive style. Professional photographers nearly universally recommend studying the work of artists in other disciplines to help you develop your photographic style. In his article “Ode To Monet,” Timothy Wolcott

reveals the influence of the French impressionist painter on his work. “The study of paintings has impacted my photography greatly,” he explains. “I spend a great deal of time watching the interaction of light with objects as it plays about in various scenes in nature. That has made me slow down and see nature on a much more intimate level.” Also in this issue, Jason Bradley challenges the conventional wisdom to always shoot from a tripod, recommending an approach to photography that's less anchored by equipment choices. “I believe gear and technique are crucially important for a photographer,” Bradley concedes, “but at the same time, they are tools and aren’t what matters in creating a successful image. Therefore, I’m suggesting we start with what matters when I say, ‘Put the tripod down.’” In “Tripods Are For Closers,” Bradley suggests a creative process to “shift in priority from gear and technique to heart and head.” We hope you’ll be inspired by the stunning images and creative guidance in this issue to reflect on your own work and personal style, and create your own portfolios of images that express your unique way of seeing. Use a digital lab to create your own photo book. Find a local venue to exhibit some of your prints. Curating and presenting your photography is an important part of growing as an artist. —Wes Pitts, Editor Questions, comments? Email us at

contributors Frans Lanting has been hailed as one of the great nature photographers of our time. He has documented wildlife and our relationship with nature in environments from the Amazon to Antarctica, portraying wild creatures as ambassadors for the preservation of ecosystems, and has increased worldwide awareness of endangered ecological treasures in the far corners of the Earth.

A resident of the Yosemite National Park area since 1977 and a recipient of the Sierra Club's Ansel Adams Award, which “honors superlative photography that has been used to further conservation causes,” William Neill's award-winning photography has been widely published in books, magazines, and his limited-edition prints have been collected and exhibited in numerous museums and galleries.

12 Outdoor Photographer

Hailing from a family of photography pioneers, Timothy Wolcott began printing images as a 6-year-old in his father’s darkroom. Twice named by the Smithsonian as the “World’s Best Landscape Photographer,” Wolcott’s work can be found in private collections worldwide. He helped to pioneer—and continues to develop—innovations in pigment printing to produce realistic saturation and tonal qualities. Follow us at @outdoorphotographer

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showcase Congratulations to the winners of The American Landscape 2017 Annual Photo Contest. Featured here are the Grand Prize, Second Place and Third Place winners. See all of the w˜>ˆÃÌÃ>ÌœÕÌ`œœÀ«…œÌœ}À>«…iÀ°Vœ“ÉÌ>°


“Kofa Mountains at Dawn” by Long Nguyen Last spring, I visited Kofa National Wildlife Refuge to photograph the desert cactus and mountains. This particular location is famous for abundant teddy bear cholla against the dramatic backdrop of Kofa Mountain. I camped there overnight for Ã՘ÀˆÃi°/…iÃi“œÕ˜Ì>ˆ˜ÃÜiÀiµÕˆÌi“>}ˆV>>Ì̅iwÀÃ̏ˆ}…Ìœv̅i`>Þ]ÕÃÌ܅i˜ ̅iÃ՘ÀœÃi>˜`ň˜i`œ˜̅i`iÃiÀÌyœœÀ°ÌÀˆi`̜«…œÌœ}À>«…̅ˆÃÃVi˜iL>VŽˆÌ since that allows the cholla needles to glow and pop out in the image. This image is a composite of two exposures, one for the sky and one foreground, due to the high dynamic range of the scene. ³ Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L l, Singh-Ray polarizer. Sky Exposure: 1/60 sec., ƒ/22, ISO 100. Foreground Exposure: 1/6 sec. ƒ/22, ISO 100.

14 Outdoor Photographer


Yukon Wildlife • Lightroom Class • Death Valley • Antarctica • Scotland New Zealand • Canadian Rockies • Iceland’s Highlands • Alaska Eagles & Whales Oregon Coast • Acadia • Faroe Islands • Australia • Glacier The Palouse • Patagonia • Iceland Aurora • Grand Canyon • Tanzania Canadian Migration • Norway • Mongolia • And More! +1 917-854-8118 • •



“Secret Garden” by Jennelle Marcereau I had visited this waterfall in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge in the summertime last year and felt as though I stepped into an oasis that only fairies knew about. I returned the following spring after a long winter of plentiful rain and reaped the Li˜iwÌÃœvy՜ÀiÃVi˜Ì}Àii˜vœˆ>}i>˜`…ˆ}…Ü>ÌiÀyœÜ° ³ Sony a7R II, Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM with Metabones adapter. Exposure: 1 sec., ƒ/20, ISO 50.

16 Outdoor Photographer






EXPEDITION PHOTOGRAPHY In 1966 Lars-Eric Lindblad took the first citizen explorers to Antarctica on a mission to see what only scientists and explorers had seen before. Photographers were among them, and have traveled with us ever since. Today, top National Geographic photographers and certified photo instructors are aboard our ships to inspire and assist. Join us to discover the planet’s capitals of wildness, and take your best photos ever. TM

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“A Daytime Full Moon” by Eunice Eunjin Oh After spending some time to take a photo of White Sands National Monument in January 2017, I headed to Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico to see the migration of the sandhill cranes. The weather was still very cold, so I stayed in the car and drove along the Rio Grande River very slowly. The daytime full moon among the winter trees caught my eye as it slowly rose to the sky. I had to pull 18 Outdoor Photographer

out my camera to capture the unusual and wondrous scene. As the cranes prepared to migrate in the passing of winter, I was able to experience the life of imminent spring time as the moon rose with the morning sun. ³ Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM, Hoya circular polarizer, Gitzo tripod, Markins ballhead. Exposure: 1/500 sec., ƒ/8, ISO 200.

new gear & tech

SWEET SPOT FULL-FRAME DSLR Photographers wanting to step up to a full-frame sensor have an excellent new option with the Canon EOS 6D Mark II, which includes several upgrades over its predecessor. The original 6D will remain in the lineup for now, priced at $1,399 for the body only, while the new 6D Mark II has a list price of $1,999 for the body only and is also offered in two kits: with the Canon EF 24-105mm f/3.5-5.6 STM lens for $2,599 or the EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM II for $3,099. Canon has improved several key ëiVˆwV>̈œ˜Ãˆ˜̅i "-È >ÀŽ compared to the original EOS 6D. The 26.2-megapixel full-frame sensor is new, with an increase of 6 megapixels of resolution over the 6D’s 20.2 MP. The 6D Mark II boosts the continuous shooting rate from 4.5 fps in the original 6D to 6.5 fps, and the AF ÃÞÃÌi“vœÀLœÌ…œ«ÌˆV>ۈiÜw˜`iÀ>˜` Live View have also been upgraded. 7…i˜ÕȘ}̅iœ«ÌˆV>ۈiÜw˜`iÀ] you now have a 45-point, all-crosspoint AF system, versus the 11-point, 1 cross-type in the original 6D. When

shooting in Live View, the original 6D relied on contrast-detection AF; the EOS 6D Mark II uses Canon’s Dual Pixel CMOS AF, a sensor-based phasedetection AF system that’s faster and more accurate and enables continuous ÌÀ>VŽˆ˜}vœÀ“œÛˆ˜}ÃÕLiVÌð One spec that may disappoint some is the absence of 4K video. The EOS 6D Mark II is limited to Full HD 1080p video at 60 fps, an improvement from the original 6D’s 30 fps but short of the 4K resolution found in the EOS 5D Mark IV and EOS-1D X Mark II. For the 6D Mark II’s target customer—the advanced amateur photographer— this is probably not a deal breaker, but it’s a somewhat surprising shortcoming considering that 4K video is increasingly common even in cameras priced well below the 6D Mark II. For video sound, the EOS 6D Mark II has a built-in stereo mic and the ability to use external microphones. One common complaint about digital cameras of all makes and models is with the deep and often

20 Outdoor Photographer


“i˜Õð/…i EOS 6D Mark II’s menu navigation viiÃ“œÀiÀiw˜i`]ȓ«ˆwi`>˜` polished compared to those in many cameras we’ve used, and setting up features like exposure bracketing was pleasantly easy and quick. A nice upgrade from the original 6D is the Mark II’s Vari-angle touchscreen LCD, especially when you’re working from a tripod low to the ground. Taking it all together—price, performance, size and handling— the EOS 6D Mark II is an excellent package for outdoor photographers, especially those who primarily shoot landscapes and scenics. The camera’s max continuous shooting of 6.5 fps is perhaps short of what serious wildlife photographers would like, but it’s acceptably fast for most enthusiasts. Though the lack of 4K video may be a turn off for some, if you primarily shoot stills, the Full HD video quality is very good for those occasions when you do want to take movie clips. Contact: Canon,

new gear & tech

70-300MM FOR STILLS & VIDEO While Nikon’s updated 70-300mm for full-frame FX DSLRs, the AF-P NIKKOR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E ED VR]ˆÃÕÃÌψ}…̏ޏ>À}iÀ̅>˜ its predecessor (3.2-inch diameter x 5.7-inch length versus 3.1-inch diameter x 5.6-inch length), at 24 ounces it weighs 2.3 ounces less than the previous model. Improvements include a shorter minimum focusing distance of 3.94 feet (compared to 4.9 feet) and a Vibration Reduction system capable of up to 4.5 stops of correction. It’s also ̅iwÀÃÌvՏ‡vÀ>“iƂ‡*i˜Ã]܅ˆV…`i˜œÌiÃ>˜ƂÃÌi««ˆ˜}“œÌœÀ designed to minimize AF noise, especially advantageous when shooting video. List price: $699. Contact: Nikon,



The latest in the series of “G2” upgrades that Tamron has been making to its most popular lenses is the SP 24-70mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 (Model A032) that can be used with both full-frame and APS-sensor Canon and Nikon DSLRs. When used with APS-sensor cameras, the lens has an equivalent focal range of approximately 36-105mm. Available in Canon and Nikon mount, it includes the latest generation of Tamron's Vibration

œ“«i˜Ã>̈œ˜]«ÀœÛˆ`ˆ˜}Õ«̜wÛiÃ̜«Ãœv image stabilization. It's capable of focusing as close as 15 inches and features a 9-blade, circular aperture. List price: $1,199. Contact: Tamron,

Breakthrough Photography is introducing >˜iÜõÕ>ÀiwÌiÀÃÞÃÌi“ˆ˜̅iˆÀˆ˜iœvÜi‡ Ài}>À`i`wÌiÀÃ>˜`>VViÃÜÀˆið/…i8£ää…œ`iÀ >VVi«ÌÃÃÌ>˜`>À`£ä䓓ÀiVÌ>˜}Տ>ÀwÌiÀÃ>˜` features a “snap-lock” mechanism to securely …œ`̅iwÌiÀˆ˜«>Vi°Ƃœ˜}܈̅̅iX100 …œ`iÀˆÃ̅iVœ“«>˜Þ½ÃwÀÃÌÀiVÌ>˜}Տ>ÀwÌiÀ] the X4 GND, a 2-stop, soft-transition graduated ˜iÕÌÀ>`i˜ÃˆÌÞwÌiÀ̅>Ì̅iVœ“«>˜ÞV>ˆ“à is the “world’s sharpest and most color neutral GND,” made of tempered glass to protect from breakage and scratches, and with multi-resistant (MRC) and nano coatings. List price: $49 (X100 holder); TBA (X4 GND). Contact: Breakthrough Photography,

22 Outdoor Photographer

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new gear & tech

SONY A9: WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM A CAMERA? “You’re basically shooting a movie at 20 fps, when you think about it,” Jason Bradley said, handing us back the Sony a9 after shooting with it for the wÀÃÌ̈“i°7i…>`˜½Ì̅œÕ}…Ì>LœÕÌˆÌ that way, but he was right. Speed has been one of the main contentions in the competition between mirrorless cameras and DSLRs. Early mirrorless systems relied on older contrast-detection autofocus technologies, and were handily beat by the phase-detection systems in cameras with moving mirrors. Sony, one of the prime movers in mirrorless cameras, admitted as much with its /À>˜ÃÕVi˜ÌˆÀÀœÀ/iV…˜œœ}Þ]wÀÃÌ introduced in the a55 and a33 SLT cameras in 2010, which uses a nonmoving pellicle mirror to divert some of the light coming into the lens to a phase-detection AF system. This enabled faster frame rates and quicker, more precise AF than was possible with the contrast-detection AF of the day. -ˆ}˜ˆwV>˜Ì>`Û>˜ViȘ>Õ̜vœVÕà technologies have been made in the last few years. With the introduction of hybrid sensor-based phase-detection AF, the usefulness of the mirror is limited to those who prefer an optical ۈiÜw˜`iÀœÛiÀ>˜iiVÌÀœ˜ˆVœ˜i° The AF system in the Sony a9, the ˜iÜy>}ň«ˆ˜ˆÌÃvՏ‡vÀ>“i“ˆÀÀœÀiÃÃ

line, employs 693 AF points covering approximately 93 percent of the image area and can make up to 60 focus and exposure calculations per second. In use, it’s incredibly fast and precise, and with no shutter blackout and vibration when using the camera’s electronic shutter, the a9 overcomes key disadvantages of mirror-based systems. The a9 has both mechanical and electronic shutters. The electronic shutter is what makes possible the camera’s ability to offer shutter speeds up to an incredible 1/32,000 sec. and to capture 20 fps with AF tracking (5 fps when using the mechanical shutter), and in concert with the sensor’s integrated BIONZ X processor, it’s able to maintain that rate for up to 241 RAW frames or 362 best-quality JPEGs at the camera’s full 24.2-megapixel resolution. That’s where Bradley’s comment resonates. The gradual merging of still and motion capture isn’t an entirely new concept, even in consumer-level cameras. For example, Canon’s EOS-1D X Mark II and EOS 5D Mark IV offer a “4K still frame grab feature,” which allows you to extract an 8.8-megapixel still image from 4K video recordings. What’s different with the a9 is that, while the stillimage frame rate is slower at 20 fps

24 Outdoor Photographer

compared to the 60 fps possible in video capture, the a9 is delivering the sensor’s full resolution—roughly three times the data—in each frame. For landscape and still-life photography, this level of speed isn’t needed, but for wildlife and sports photography, the a9 raises the bar and presents a serious challenge to even the top professional DSLRs. For comparison, Canon’s 20.2-megapixel EOS-1D X Mark II tops out at 16 fps in Live View (14 fps with the optical ۈiÜw˜`iÀ®܅ˆi̅iÓä°n‡“i}>«ˆÝi Nikon D5 can do up to 12 fps or 14 fps in Live View. When using its electronic shutter, the a9 is faster than both, despite the a9’s greater resolution. Another advantage of the a9’s electronic shutter for wildlife photography is the camera’s silent shooting mode. We’ve heard over and over from professional wildlife photographers their frustrations about vÀˆ}…Ìi˜ˆ˜}ÃÕLiVÌÃ܈̅̅iÀ>«ˆ`‡wÀi clicking of their DSLRs. That problem is completely eliminated by the a9’s silent shooting, along with the potential sharpness compromises caused by vibration from moving shutters and mirrors. The only downside to silent shooting, if there is one, is that you might be capturing many more frames than you intended if you’re not paying

close attention. It takes some getting used to, and if you prefer, you can >œÜ̅iV>“iÀ>̜“>Ži>À̈wVˆ> “click” sounds to alert you as each frame is captured. "˜iœLiV̈œ˜̜“ˆÀÀœÀiÃÃV>“iÀ>à with some photographers is their iiVÌÀœ˜ˆVۈiÜw˜`iÀÃ]iëiVˆ>ÞvœÀ long-time photographers who are used ̜̅iV>ÀˆÌÞœvœ«ÌˆV>ۈiÜw˜`iÀð While we won’t deny anyone their preference, we can say that the a9’s EVF is the best we’ve used. It’s bright and refreshes at a rate of 120 fps, for the closest approximation of an œ«ÌˆV>ۈiÜw˜`iÀˆ˜œÕÀiÝ«iÀˆi˜Vi° One advantage of EVFs over optical ۈiÜw˜`iÀÈÃ̅iˆÀ>LˆˆÌÞ̜`ˆÃ«>Þ ̅iV>“iÀ>½Ã“i˜ÕÃvœÀœ˜‡Ì…i‡yÞ >`ÕÃ̓i˜ÌÃ>˜`vœÀˆ“>}i«>ÞL>VŽ without needing to use the back-panel 

]܅ˆV…V>˜Li`ˆvwVՏÌ̜Ãiiˆ˜ certain lighting conditions. Taking it all together leads us back to the question, “What more do you want from a camera?” We’re reaching a point with camera technology, especially for still imaging, where most photographers’ needs are more than adequately met, and with the a9’s 4K video capabilities, even many videographers’. One downside of features like the EVF is that they’re a drain on batteries. Sony has recognized this and introduced a new NP-FZ100 battery for the a9, which it states doubles the life of its previous battery, able to capture up to 480 frames on a single charge, and which can be further extended with an optional grip that can hold two batteries. And the battery itself is small, so carrying a few extras in your bag isn’t terribly burdensome. One other reservation for some about Sony’s E-mount system cameras is a more limited selection of lenses compared to Canon and Nikon. It’s a fair concern for professional photographers, and one that Sony has been aggressively remedying—its premium G Master line of optics for E-mount has grown to include six lenses since its introduction in 2016, most recently adding the FE 100400mm f/4.5–5.6 GM OSS that was introduced alongside the a9. Together with the G Master 1635mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 zooms, and 85mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2.8 primes, plus 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, Sony

has a collection of lenses designed ëiVˆwV>ÞvœÀÕÃi܈̅…ˆ}…‡Ài܏Ṏœ˜ sensors that cover the focal lengths most photographers need. What’s missing at this point is a fast super-tele prime like a 500mm or 600mm f/2.8 and tilt/shift lenses, and while these are specialty optics, we’d be surprised if -œ˜ÞÜ>ؽÌ̅ˆ˜Žˆ˜}>LœÕÌwˆ˜}̅iÃi gaps, if not working on it already. The a9 isn’t inexpensive. At $4,499 for the body only, and G Master

lenses that range from $1,499 for the 100mm f/2.8 to $2,599 for the 70200 f/2.8, you’re in the same ballpark as professional DSLRs and digital medium-format systems. It’s expensive even for Sony’s E-mount system, at $1,800 more than the a7R II. But what you’re getting is the most advanced still camera that Sony has ever made— arguably that any consumer camera maker has released to date. Contact: Sony,

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the big picture

Life Force Connecting to the wild within Text & Photography By Amy Gulick


eighing more than half a ton, a bear named Rocky ambles toward me. He fills my 300mm lens frame. Through the viewfinder, I notice scars on his face and shoulders, and tattered skin on his sides. He’s a fighter, hence his name. And he’s healthy. His distended belly almost scrapes the ground. His enormous head melds into his massive girth. And each paw is bigger than my head. He’s hungry. Fortunately for him—and me —there’s a river full of fish just steps from where he stands and I sit. Other bears give Rocky a wide berth as he charges into the water. Welcome to the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary in Alaska. Established in 1967, the 200-squaremile sanctuary is a protected wildlife habitat and home to the world’s largest congregation of brown bears (Ursus arctos). As many as 144 individual bears have been identified in a single summer. Seventy-four bears have been observed at one time. But bears don’t live in packs like wolves. And from the looks of Rocky’s battle scars, they’re not particularly social animals. So why would 74 bears all gather in the same place at the same time? The same reason we gather at an all-you-can-eat buffet. From early July through mid-August, chum salmon return to McNeil River to spawn. A series of boulders upstream from the mouth creates the McNeil River Falls. The falls produce a salmon traffic jam, providing excellent fishing

opportunities for bears and outstanding viewing experiences for humans. That’s why I’m here, along with nine other lucky Homo sapiens who won four-day viewing permits in a lottery system through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Only 10 people a day are allowed to view the bears. This is wild country and accessible only by seaplane. We camp in our tents and bring our own food. There are no steel fences, bear traps or armed guards keeping watch over us. Something much stronger protects us: respect. At McNeil, the bears come first, and everything we do—eat, sleep, walk and talk—is done with respect to the bears and their home. It works. Since the permit system was enacted in 1973, no bear has ever been killed by visitors who felt threatened, and no human has ever been harmed by a bear. But countless humans have forever been moved by the McNeil bears. There aren’t many places in the world where we can see the age-old scene of predator pursuing prey in a setting devoid of roads, motorized vehicles, crowds of people or—gasp—cell phone coverage. When a 1,200-pound bruin waddles past close enough to hear his breath? When two males spar and roar over a fishing spot? When a mother nurses her cubs a hat’s toss away? Experiences like this trigger something deep within us. That wild part of our DNA, long dormant, awakens from its domesticated slumber.

26 Outdoor Photographer

Places like McNeil River make us feel alive, not because we’re seeking a thrill, but because what we didn’t know we were missing reintroduces itself. Connecting to our true nature makes us whole. At McNeil River, it’s easy to focus on the big furry brown things and little else. But over the course of four days, I pay more attention to the salmon. While people come here to see bears, the bears come here to catch fish. So, if it weren’t for the salmon, we wouldn’t be here. For

$TQYPDGCT(Ursus arctos) and chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)/E0GKN4KXGT5VCVG)COG5CPEVWCT[#NCUMC

salmon to complete their life cycle, they need to get past the falls and spawn. The female chums are ripe with bright orange eggs, and the males fight each other to fertilize them. But many salmon end up in the claws and jaws of bears and don’t pass on their genes to the next generation.

Their lives, however, were not for naught. Rocky faces the falls in solid defiance of the oncoming water tumbling over the boulders and swirling past his legs. The salmon defy gravity as they slip past the big bear and swim upstream. Rocky darts his head into the churning water

and emerges triumphant with a flopping fish. It’s a female, and as the clamp of the bear’s teeth forces the eggs from her body, in that moment her life force is transferred to his. OP Amy Gulick is a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and the author of Salmon in the Trees: Life in Alaska’s Tongass Rain Forest. Learn more about her work at September 2017 27

photo adventure

Ticking Your Photography Bucket List A change of plans to take a rare opportunity yielded memories I will cherish Text & Photography By Bill Hatcher


have two travel modes: places to simply visit and places I want to photograph. And I mean seriously photograph, the main difference being the latter is a place I’m more invested in with a unique story I want to explore. I’m always planning places to visit, and I could easily rattle off a dozen places I want to go. But a vastly more difficult question is if you ask me what’s on my photo bucket list. That list is as changeable as the weather. Serious photographers have dozens of locations to visit and shoot, but we all know it takes more than just a beautiful location to make great photos happen. The perfect photo destination takes research, and you have to be ready for the opportunity to be there at the right time. It’s like waiting for the alignment of the stars: a combination of light, season, weather, people and, of course, your ability to access the location. My photo bucket list is always evolving, and sometimes events align and opportunities I never thought would happen in my lifetime become possible. We all know those moments when a rare opportunity presents itself, and you know in your heart that you have to drop everything to take advantage of the moment. I’ve just returned from one of those trips and managed to tick another item from my photo bucket list. But I should back up a bit. My plans for early summer 2017 were pretty solid. My wife, Melanie, and I were planning to bike a selection of historical European

river corridors. Starting in Munich, Germany, we would follow dirt trails along the Isar River north to its confluence with the Danube River in Passau. From there we would follow the Danube past castles and ancient walled villages downriver through Austria and into Slovakia. We estimated we could cover 700+ kilometers of river before our time was up. This wasn’t strictly a photo trip as much as an introduction to bike travel in Europe along one of its most famous cycleways. Then, in mid-March, news began circulating that the snow pack in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado was hitting epic levels and growing. The spring melt could potentially flood the Dolores River corridor and allow boating opportunities all the way to its confluence with the Colorado River 172 miles downstream. The Dolores River is one of the few multi-day true wilderness rivers in the U.S. The sad irony is that it rarely has enough flow to be boatable. As the weeks passed and more storms pounded the mountains, snowpack increased and a rare release of water from below the McPhee Dam was planned. The flows would be the biggest since 2008, lasting nearly 60 days and possibly exceeding 4,000 cubic feet per second (CFS) at their height. In pre-dam times the lower Dolores River during most years could be depended upon for 55 days of spring runoff for boating, but that had been turned to a trickle in 1984 with the completion, by the Bureau of Reclamation, of a 295-foot tall earthen dam.

28 Outdoor Photographer

Since then, much of the water flowing down the Dolores River is diverted for agricultural use. Excess water behind the dam, called non-allocated water, could be released below the dam during high river flow years, but a severe drought for the past 10 years has meant few releases. The 2017 release would be unlike anything ever witnessed before on the river. Beginning in 2004, stakeholders in the Dolores River water district, including farmers, boaters (who had a right to excess water) and conservation managers such as BLM, Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Nature Conservancy and others, forged new policy to regulate these non-agriculture releases so they might best benefit the health of riparian and fish habitat, as well as allow for ideal flows for boat navigation through the river’s lower canyons. The dam release of 2017 would

be a major test of the collaboration agreed upon by a diverse group of people who don't always view water use the same. For me, the river release was an opportunity of a lifetime. We canceled the Europe bike trip since access to the Danube and Isar Rivers could wait another year or 20. When the release on the Dolores River began in spring, boaters and scientists in the hundreds flocked to the river, boaters to enjoy the water that allowed them access to remote canyons and scientists to collect data and monitor effects of the high flows. As we were packing for our trip, the flows were being reduced. We went light, “backpack style,” as there were a couple of portages around rapids requiring us to carry all our gear and boats. The boats were 30-pound Aire inflatable kayaks—perfect for the flows of 600 CFS and lower we

expected to encounter (and too little water for most rafts to get through the rocky class IV rapids). We planned for 10 days on the river. Our trip started just below the Dolores dam, giving us an incredible 205-mile river trip to the town of Moab, Utah. The most remote and beautiful section of the Dolores River is Slickrock Canyon, a section of the river that cuts through vertical walls of red sandstone hundreds of feet high. Sometimes paddling 30 miles a day, we were able to spend a couple of days exploring this canyon. The most spectacular camp in the canyon is at a bend in the river called the Grotto, a massive alcove carved eons ago by the river. With its huge overhanging roof, it provides natural protection from the rain for river runners as it did for pre-historic inhabitants living and traveling the river.

During the night we camped in the Grotto, I spent hours exploring the ancient foot routes leading from the river to the rim. When it was nearly dark, I discovered a view of the Dolores River where I could see up canyon and down canyon in a single frame. I set my Nikon D810 on my small Gitzo carbon-fiber tripod with a prime 14mm Rokinon lens, a sharp, manual focus lens I enjoy using because it’s much smaller and lighter than the Nikon 14-24mm. My exposure was ƒ/16 at 1.3 seconds. The photo was inspired by the idea of the ephemeral waters that now flow through these canyons and the memories I’ll cherish about this incredible trip down the Dolores River—and my hope that I can return again soon. OP See more of Bill Hatcher’s photography at September 2017 29

favorite places

Courthouse Rock Near Bridgeport, Nebraska Text & Photography By Derrald Farnsworth-Livingston

Location As if lifted from within the earth, a formation of clay, sandstone and volcanic ash known today as Courthouse Rock towers above the open prairie. Lesser known than Chimney Rock a few miles to the west, Courthouse Rock and its little brother, Jail Rock, were nonetheless important and identifiable landmarks for settlers in the early pioneer days. Early travelers on the Oregon, Mormon or Pony Express trails called the rock a “castle” or “capitol” for its resemblance to a large building, before settling on “courthouse.” A remaining symbol of days gone by, Courthouse Rock sits in the panhandle of Nebraska south of the town of Bridgeport. Not far from Highway 88 out of town, a small gravel road leads out to the two bluffs, making them very accessible. Weather Nebraska is generally hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Courthouse Rock

lies in the western part of the state, in a semi-arid climate, which means little rainfall, though this doesn’t exclude the region from powerful storms. On the prairie, the weather can change suddenly, and this tumultuous weather often makes for good images. Regardless of time of year, I recommend long pants as you may run into prickly yucca plants, ticks and the occasional cacti when climbing around Courthouse Rock. Photo Experience I spent a warm August morning at Courthouse Rock looking for a view that would capture the feel of this rocky butte on the prairie. For that perspective, I chose to go wide to include the entire scene—sky, flowers and bluff. Additionally, I utilized a polarizing filter to slightly darken the blue of the sky and add contrast. While I normally espouse the “golden” or “blue” hours for the best times to shoot, this image happened to

30 Outdoor Photographer

be captured later in the morning, when the sun was higher. On this day, the clouds cooperated nicely, and the sunflowers were at their peak, an example that a successful landscape image can be made at any hour. OP To see more of Derrald FarnsworthLivingston’s work, visit his website at

Best Times Each season brings a unique nuance to the landscape. Spring features blooming, VœœÀvՏ܈`yœÜiÀÃ>˜`ÃՓ“iÀ produces amazing storms that frequently reveal a rainbow as ̅iw˜>i° ÕÀˆ˜}̅i>ÕÌՓ˜] trees and prairie grass transition to warmer hues, and in the winter snow is a nice contrast to any landscape. Besides the occasional buzz of a bug or the sound of a slight breeze across

the plains, silence will reign. As such, be prepared for a solitary experience, as this location is off the beaten path. Whenever you ۈÈÌ]LiViÀÌ>ˆ˜̜i˜œÞ̅ï“i to yourself and explore different angles and compositions of the unique Courthouse Rock rising from the plains. Contact: National Park Service, VœÕÀ̅œÕÃiڍ>ˆÚÀœVŽÃ°…Ì“° September 2017 31

INTO AFRICA Expanding on his successful exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, seen by more than three million people, Frans Lanting’s upcoming book showcases the wonders of Africa’s wild landscapes and inhabitants INTRODUCTION BY WES PITTS TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANS LANTING

In his foreword to Frans Lanting’s Into Africa, available this fall from publisher Earth Aware Editions, Wade Davis quotes former National Geographic Director of Photography Thomas Kennedy: “As a chronicler of natural history today, Frans Lanting is a singular, extraordinary talent. He has the mind of a scientist, the heart of a hunter, and the eyes of a poet.” Few photographers enjoy a career as celebrated as Lanting’s, and Outdoor

Photographer has been fortunate to regularly present his work through the years in his recurring column “World View” and in feature articles like this, in which we present a selection of images and excerpts as a preview of his forthcoming monograph. “This book,” describes Lanting in its introduction, “is a mosaic of images and experiences that range from intimate moments with individual animals to insights about precious places—and

32 Outdoor Photographer

commentary about the challenges in ensuring that there is a future for both. Africa is changing fast, but it still retains a glorious primordial abundance of wildlife that is unmatched anywhere else in the world. I hope my stories will find their way into the hearts and minds of people who may be inspired to play a role in making sure that Africa’s natural heritage remains a global treasure for generations to come.”

Hippo River, Zambia, 2004.6JGƃQQFRNCKPUQHVJG.WCPIYC4KXGTUWUVCKPVJGNCTIGUV concentration of hippos in Africa. During the dry season thousands crowd into the few pools deep enough for them to stay submerged and keep cool. We pitched our camp above one of the biggest hippo pools and were serenaded all night by their rhythmic grunts and squeals.


“Great rivers that start as tentative trickles in the highlands of Angola and Zambia nurture fertile floodplains and lush wetlands downstream in the dry interior of southern Africa. They provide precious fresh water for multitudes of wild animals and many millions of people in an otherwise arid part of the continent.” September 2017 33


“Africa’s long history as a hothouse of primate evolution continues to this day. The chimpanzees of Fongoli, in southern Senegal, live in a savanna woodland landscape similar to the habitat where early humans evolved. I went there to document a group of chimps who had been observed making spears to hunt bush babies—an innovation not seen anywhere else. The more we study apes, the more we learn how much their behavior varies from place to place, and a deeper appreciation of ape culture has gained acceptance.”

Chimpanzee, Senegal, 2007. When you work with wild chimps, you can’t hide your intentions. It’s best to be patient and polite. When you’re following them on foot in the forest, you’re on their home turf. Only after we had spent several weeks tracking one group of chimps in southern Senegal did we experience the beginnings of acceptance. In this portrait of a young male you can feel his scrutiny.

34 Outdoor Photographer


“The fabled island of Madagascar once lay at the center of Gondwana, the prehistoric supercontinent that included what are now Africa, South America, Australia, Antarctica and India. When Gondwana began to break apart one hundred sixty million years ago, Madagascar drifted away from Africa into the Indian Ocean. The island became an ark of plants and animals from the age of dinosaurs that survive nowhere else. They were later joined by rafts of newcomers who floated across from Africa. Among those new arrivals were lemurs, early primates who spread through the island. They diversified over time to include tiny mouse lemurs smaller than a human hand as well as giants the size of gorillas.”

Ring-tailed Lemur with Young, Madagascar, 1986. Lemurs are descendants of primitive primates who once ranged across Africa, Europe and North America. Today they occur only in Madagascar, where more than a hundred species have been recognized. Roaming with troops of ring-tailed lemurs, I became engrossed in their daily lives, and watched this baby learn to see the world through its mother’s eyes. September 2017 35


“Vast sandscapes fill the interior plateau of southern Africa. Along the southwest coast of the continent, the sands amass as the enormous dune fields of the Namib Desert. Just to the east lies the Kalahari, a basin of ancient sands stretching more than a thousand miles from South Africa across most of Botswana and north into Angola—the largest continuous expanse of sand in the world.”

Giraffes, Namibia, 2009. A family of giraffes strides through golden grass in Namib-Naukluft National Park. These iconic African animals were absent from nearby NamibRand Nature Reserve, but in an effort to rehabilitate the ecosystem, VJG[YGTGTGKPVTQFWEGF)KTCHHGUCNTGCF[CFCRVGFVQFGUGTVEQPFKVKQPUYGTG released in the reserve and are now thriving.

36 Outdoor Photographer

Cheetah with Cubs, Kenya, 2011. Studies have shown that a small number of cheetah females are so good at raising cubs VJCVYGECPECNNVJGOpUWRGTOQOUq*GTGQPGTGOCTMCDNG UWRGTOQOUECPUHQTRTG[YKVJHQWTQHJGTUKZEWDUtCNNQHYJKEJ survived to independence.


“For many people, their first visit to Africa’s plains elicits a deep emotional response. They feel a visceral connection to our collective past and to the glory of life that still exists here. No wonder these grasslands have become prime destinations for international tourism. My hope is that for developing African nations, they can be a valuable part of their future as well.” OP

Excerpted with permission from Into Africa by Frans Lanting (Earth Aware Editions, 2017, available at bookstores everywhere). An exclusive Collector’s Edition of Into Africa will also be available directly from the Lanting Studio. For more details, contact See more of Frans Lanting’s work at September 2017 37


“And you may ask yourself, well ‌ how did I get here?â€? –Talking Heads, “Once In A Lifetimeâ€? I was talking to someone recently who asked me what kind of photographs I make. I paused for a moment to ponder this basic but critical question, then answered that I specialize in photographing the details of nature. Although I revel in capturing the majestic grand scene when the elements all come together, I prefer focusing on the intimate landscape. Rather than describing the wide scene in front of me, I zoom in tightly, attempting to imbue my images with magic and mystery

by isolating unique details I discover. By creating photographs where the content or orientation isn’t immediately apparent, a magical, mystical feeling may come through. I’d rather make an image that asks a question than answers one; that intrigues and arouses curiosity in the viewer. Many of my “On Landscape� columns published in Outdoor Photographer have shared my thoughts on how best to develop thematic portfolios, a distinctive style and a career as a creative landscape photographer. Perhaps if I share some thoughts and stories about my career, they will help you with your own landscape photography.

FINDING YOUR VOICE Over the years, I’ve gained a sense of myself as a photographer, finding a certain clarity about what inspires me to photograph and what I wish to communicate. Fortunately, this clarity came early in my career. In my college years, I studied the works of landscape masters such as Eliot Porter and Paul Caponigro, who focused more on the details of nature rather than the broad, descriptive view. Just a few

%NQWFTGĆƒGEVKQPUCPF/V/QTCPCVVJG 1ZDQY$GPFQPVJG5PCMG4KXGT)TCPF Teton National Park, Wyoming, 1990. September 2017 39

years after buying my first camera in 1974, I moved to Yosemite and never left. Living in or just outside the park continuously since 1977 has been key to my development as an artist. After a few summers working for the National Park Service, I was hired to be the photographer-in-residence at The Ansel Adams Gallery. I got to know Ansel and attended many of his summer workshop sessions, meeting other world-class photographers such as Ernst Haas, Joel Meyerowitz and Jerry Uelsmann. I started teaching photography to park visitors, taking them for daily “camera walks� in the meadow near the gallery. I learned to make my own color prints, ironically, in Ansel’s black-and-white darkroom. I listened to the photographers I met and explored this famous landscape. Photographers find their voice when they discover what subjects move them most deeply. That passion, that emotion from within is the magic element. An excellent way to concentrate one’s attention is to develop thematic portfolios based on those emotional connections.

The first phase of this development is to see what themes exist in your photographs and which of those are the most promising, and to start editing the images into a portfolio that exemplifies your best work.

CURATING YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY There are two main requirements for an exceptional collection: there must be a coherent theme that moves you and motivates you, and there should be consistent quality. In any situation where you show your work, great images are diluted when average images are included to "fill out" your presentation. Learning to think in themes is an ongoing process that can continue for years or even decades. As you begin to assess the current level of your work, you also learn to maintain that standard of quality using your editing skills and become conscious of ways to improve your future efforts. There’s no set way to do this, so we must learn to trust our own instincts and observations, and listen to the opinions of

40 Outdoor Photographer

*CNH&QOG'NOCPF5WPDGCOU Yosemite National Park, California, 2016.

others we respect. Those instincts depend on how well we feel an image translates our vision, plus the equally subjective process of comparing our images to those of others. With a long-term persistence and commitment to my portfolios, every year I’ve made a few new top level images, slowly building the depth of each theme. The payoff shows in a new book to be released this fall. The photographs are organized by those main themes: an in-depth look at my “Landscapes of the Spirit� work; my recent “Antarctic Dreams� series; a black-and-white portfolio entitled “Meditations in Monochrome�; my “By Nature’s Design� series of patterns in nature imagery; a portfolio of my ICM (intentional camera movement) work called “Impressions of Light�; and last, but not least, a collection of Yosemite photographs I call “Sanctuary in Stone.�

Clearing winter storm, Sentinel Rock, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, 1990.

)KCPVUGSWQKCCPFƂTVTGGKP the fog, Sequoia National Park, California, 1993.


The titles are important because they encapsulate the ideas and passion for each theme, and guide the viewer toward those ideas. More importantly, a theme concept can inform your efforts in the field and subsequent editing sessions. When editing, you not only judge both technical and aesthetic aspects, but you consider whether the photograph adds depth and quality to your chosen theme. Although the Antarctica photographs were made over only a five-day voyage with Luminous Landscape, my other themes are collections created over four decades. My black-and-white images offer an example of where the inspiration began. Although I’ve gravitated to working in color, early on I was more strongly influenced creatively by black-and-white

masters Minor White, Edward and Brett Weston, Wynn Bullock and Paul Caponigro. Seeing the abstract, mysterious and less-literal landscape imagery these photographers often made, I was inspired to strive for the same effect in color. Many years passed as I pursued this goal. Digital technology eventually progressed to the point that allowed for high-quality black-and-white software conversions from digital capture and scans of my color film. When a corporate art project for black-and-white murals was presented to me, I happily dove into the editing and processing of images from my 4x5 film archive. The project led me to expand my initial selections into a full-fledged theme, transforming a long-latent passion for the black-andwhite landscape.

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I recently prepared an exhibit for The Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. The gallery has been showing my prints since 1983, when Ansel himself approved of my representation there. Each exhibition there has taken on a different flavor depending on the curator, the season and what new images I have made. When deciding what to print, I have naturally focused on showing my most creative work, but the final choices are a collaboration between myself and the curator. Each gallery I work with has a different clientele and curatorial focus and knows their customers best. Writing an artist’s statement is an excellent way to give voice to a thematic concept and guide the viewer to understand your point of view, whether for a book, exhibition or online portfolio. Of course, photographs are visual communications and should speak to us directly without verbal definition. However, writing can add important depth to the impact of images for any project. Words matter. Ideas matter. For an exhibit there a few years back, I entitled it “Sanctuary,” and I wrote the following artist’s statement for the exhibition: “The theme of Sanctuary provides the foundation of my exhibit selection. Preserves of nature such as Yosemite offer a sense of protection from outside forces, much as do the walls of a church or temple. From within the protected

Tangle Falls, Jasper National Park, Alberta, Canada, 1995.

walls, the peacefulness and beauty of Nature, its quality of sanctuary, gives comfort and calm. Given this sense of Sanctuary, the creative energies of an individual are given the freedom to express what one feels, to express the connection between the soul and the beauty of Creation. I can’t speak for others but this is what I have experienced.� Although not entirely based on the new book, my Yosemite exhibit was a retrospective drawn from my 40 years living in and next to the park. In writing a statement for the exhibit, I wrote the following words to describe my creative process. September 2017 43

“Seeing and feeling beauty is more vital to me than any resulting imagery. When the key elements of photography—light, composition, and emotion—are before me, I am fully engaged, yet detached, without expectations. The magic of my discoveries— whether the dramatic light of a clearing storm or an intimate detail on the forest floor—recharges my spirit with a sense of wonder. The intensity of the experience makes me feel vibrant and alive, the necessary first step to creating a transcendent image.” I’ve had the good fortune of having my photographs exhibited and published over many years. The first book I illustrated was The Sense of Wonder by nature writer Rachel Carson, published in 1990 by The Nature Company. The success of this book, reprinted in nine editions, led to 10 subsequent books. Flash forward to 2017, and I have a new retrospective book being published by Triplekite Publishing of the United Kingdom. Four decades as

a fine art landscape photographer are represented within. I have been working on the book since the beginning of 2017, but the idea started to come together three years ago, when I contacted Triplekite Publishing. The book of theirs that caught my eye was Iceland, Above & Below by Hans Strand. I could quickly tell from the sample page layouts on their website that I shared the publisher’s sense of book design, specializing in fine art landscape photography, as well as their focus on high-quality reproduction, clean design and large format for their books. The collection, entitled William Neill, Photographer: A Retrospective will feature 151 images, many never before published. Included are images taken with a 35mm film camera from the 1970s and 1980s, through to my current digital captures. A significant number are photographs made with a 4x5 film camera. It is an amazing feeling as I pulled together 40 years of photography, but there is also great tension as we entered the final stretch of

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Morning mist, Yosemite Valley, Yosemite National Park, California, 2013.

the book building process. Writing my essays, used to introduce each theme, was a challenge, requiring I be both concise and poignant. Essays by Art Wolfe and John Weller supplement my writings in the book. With 151 images in six chapters highlighting my themes, I hope that a sense of my artist's journey comes through. Learn to focus on your greatest sources of inspiration. Commit to seeking your own creative vision. Consider what style or themes drive your passion to photograph, and follow that path even if it’s “the long road” to success. Good luck and good light. OP William Neill – Photographer, a Retrospective is available through Triplekite Publishing of the United Kingdom, online or in fine bookstores. For information about William Neill’s photographs, books and workshops, visit



Studying the work of celebrated painters can lead you to new ways of seeing photographically TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY BY TIMOTHY WOLCOTT


efore I began shooting color photography (I had done black-andwhite since I was six years old), I studied the work of painters and viewed hundreds of paintings. I learned how painters create both what they see in front of them and what they want to see, so that you can feel how the work comes from their hearts. The study of paintings has impacted my photography greatly. I spend a great deal of time watching the interaction of light with objects as it plays about in various scenes in nature. That has made me slow down and see nature on a much more intimate level. For this project, I literally focus on the light as it passes over and

across the lily pads. I stalk a composition. I may be wading deep into the water, all the time calling on past experience to predict the passage of the light, waiting patiently for it to hit the perfect spot to create exactly the image that I’m imagining. I was inspired to do this project primarily because I love Monet. My goal was to create work that shows the beauty of ponds: the magic of their quiet serenity. So many people never see it, because they don’t spend the time required to see it. I shot my very first lily image back in early 1986, and this project is still ongoing; it truly feels like it will never be finished because nature is always creating and making new images for me to discover.

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I’ve been following the ponds and waterways of this country for more than 30 years, looking and scouting for new shots. Yet so far, in all that time, I have found only seven ponds that have just the right combination of spring waters, lily pads and trees to make great imagery. That’s partly because the lily pads on these ponds turn colors, because their cold spring water keeps temperatures down so they don't turn brown. They’ll stay around longer and keep turning colors, plus their surfaces reflect the colors of their surroundings. All images were shot in the light of early morning. I’ve learned that the composition and scene you want to create dictates what gear you need to use. That’s why I shoot

Quiet Symphony. This image was created in the Smoky Mountains in 2015. It’s a seven-foot panorama stitched together. I’ve studied Japanese folding screens, and I’ll make one out of this image in the near future. After three hours of waiting, the UQHVNKIJVƂNVGTGFVJTQWIJ the clouds and lightly lit up the lily pads and trees. Phase One IQ280, 500mm lens. Exposure: 1/30 sec., ƒ/20. Panorama composite of seven images.

Festival of Color. This pond looked almost unreal, like a painting. I NQXGFETGCVKPIVJKUKOCIGDGECWUGVJGUQHVGCTN[OQTPKPIUWPƂNVGTGF through a tree and gently lit the colors of the grasses and the lilies. Zone VI 8x10 camera, 450mm lens. Exposure: 2 sec., ƒ/16. September 2017 47

Lavender Pond. This is a unique pond. I’ve been here many times, but this KUVJGƂTUVVKOGVJGRQPFJCFVWTPGFNCXGPFGT+VYCUCXGT[NCVGHCNNCPF+ believe that’s what created the unique colors and feeling on the still waters. Pentax 6x7 film camera, 260mm lens. Exposure: 8 sec., ƒ/18.

with medium format or large format, and why I carry a massive amount of photo gear with me. Typically, I’m carrying two bodies and backs and 10 lenses in a backpack, with two tripods, a ladder and a 500mm lens, which adds up to about 75 to 100 pounds, depending on which tripod I’m using. Having used both color film and digital, I’ve learned that color film has no special advantage over digital except that it teaches you to shoot less and have more purpose when you click the shutter. As it has evolved, I find that digital gives more colors, more accurate colors, more dynamic range and greater resolution. People often say that these images have

the feeling of something unreal or otherworldly, but for me, they make me think of Monet and what he must have felt when he was creating his amazing paintings. Each has its own unique beauty, and each image successfully captures what I intended. In some ways, I like “Quiet Symphony� more than the other two images featured here due to its rarity of being captured as a panorama with a great background of trees. For photographers who are interested in shooting scenes like these, I’d suggest that you spend time simply watching, looking and seeking out what you want to see as your final image. I like to use framing cards to create the composition and watch

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how the light plays on the lilies. I find that the best light for these images is low light. Inspiration is supremely impossible to quantify or break down into a process. Never question what makes your heart race. Always go with your creative senses. Never second-guess what stops you in your tracks. Then, once you’ve found that great composition, take the time to watch it in all kinds of different lights. See what happens. Don’t be satisfied until you know it’s right. OP See more of Timothy Wolcott’s work, including additional images from this series, at You can also follow him on Facebook at Photography and Instagram @ timothywolcottphotography.

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Tripods Are For Closers The foundation of a truly successful photograph is rooted in vision—equipment is almost incidental TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY BY JASON BRADLEY

50 Outdoor Photographer

Have you seen the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross?” It’s a great movie about salesmen and sales culture, and there’s a very memorable line from it. Actor Alec Baldwin makes a cameo to address a room full of burned-out real estate salesmen and set up the plot for the rest of the movie. Baldwin yells at a salesman played by the late Jack Lemmon, who is pouring coffee as Baldwin is trying to make a serious speech. Baldwin scolds him, barking, “Put the coffee down. Coffee is for closers!” Lemmon’s attention, along with that of the rest of the room, is swiftly grabbed, and Baldwin continues by announcing the rules for a new office contest. “First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado…Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired.” Rewards of coffee or anything else were reserved for the closers, salesmen

jj Figure 1. A photographer lines up his shot in the Sacramento River at Mossbrae Falls in northern California.

Figure 2. As the sun goes down in Joshua Tree National Park, a photographer aims to capture the silhouettes of a few hikers off in the distance.

who could hold their own and took their jobs seriously. A “closer” is a sales term. It refers to the kind of salesman who’s skilled in closing the deal, or getting the customer to sign on the dotted line, so to speak. And this brings me to the point of this article: Put the tripod down. Tripods are for closers! Sorry to be so harsh, but it’s necessary, and I do believe such language is for your own good. I’m not just preaching here. This is a demand I put on myself time and time again. The fact is, there are many shoots where I’ve begun by planting my tripod firmly on the ground and played with composition and settings to dial in my exposure. I’d bet you’ve done it, too. Typically, what follows for me is a realization that composition and settings need to be tweaked, and then tweaked again, and then again. Settings are ultimately

changed, tripods are moved, and the saga continues. Plant the tripod slightly to the left or slightly to the right, raise the legs, then lower the legs, and try and try to figure it out as I go. Sometimes figuring it out comes quickly, and sometimes it takes time, but with all the gear it’s certainly more cumbersome than it needs to be—that’s a given. Whatever the case, it’s easy to get caught up in our gear and in our technique, to get lost in settings and dials. We’ve invested in all this stuff, so why not use it, right? I believe gear and technique are crucially important for a photographer; a craftsman must have command of his or her tools. But at the same time, they’re tools and aren’t what matters in creating a successful image. Therefore, I’m suggesting we start with what matters when I say, “Put the tripod down.”

The gear and techniques we rely on are rarely, if ever, the foundation for compelling, thought-provoking work. Photographs that stick with an audience have something to say beyond a “That’s a pretty sunset!” response. Assuming that creating meaningful and thoughtful work beyond the snapshot is the goal, I believe the foundation of a truly successful photograph is rooted in a vision, an idea or a voice—equipment is almost incidental. If I can gain clarity of thought and meaning for an image I want to make, and if I can wield gear and technique in such a way that best expresses that, a rare and magical thing actually happens. The famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once famously said, “It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera…they are made with the eye, heart and head.” September 2017 51

Figure 3. Although the color of the sunset is what sparked my KPVGTGUVVJGƂTUVKOCIGKUOQTG about horizon and lines than color. The second image is a better match to my experience and vision in creating an image that’s about the beautiful sunset colors.

But how does one practice this shift in priority from gear and technique to heart and head? Well, underneath my tonguein-cheek suggestion to put that tripod down, may I further suggest a workflow where we all look at, study and sketch our scenes before we ever attempt to find our spots with a tripod to take an image. THE ART OF LOOKING AND STUDYING

Starting with experience instead of gear is what matters. One of the key reasons I decided to take up nature photography was so I can stay working outdoors. In fact, when I first got the idea, I didn’t know anything about cameras and had no idea what an aperture was, let alone how to set one. Nature photography

provides me with the opportunity to experience nature a deeper way. With the aid of a camera, we have the opportunity to see more than the average person. While a typical outdoor hiker may stop for a few minutes to gaze at something interesting, like a sunset, I’ll often spend hours on a scene studying the topography, hoping to find its most appealing characteristics and hidden features. I’ll analyze where the light is, where shadows are being cast, and where the clouds are, and try and predict where they’re headed as time moves on. I’ll assess high and low angles, which animals are scurrying about, the plant life that’s present, and ultimately see and involve myself in a landscape in a way most people never get to do. I try to

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truly get into the rhythms and pulses of nature. It also makes sense that having a deeper understanding of a thing offers increased potential for interpreting it, for photographing it. I try my best to begin a shoot by first just looking. My goal is to slowly study what’s around me and get a feel for the scene before I decide how to respond to it. As I study a scene, I ask myself questions. Why have I stopped here, and what’s caught my attention now? I need to know if what grabbed me is a color, a texture, a pattern, a shape, a movement or a stillness; is it the light or the shadows, or is it a mixture? What am I interpreting? I need to know, because without answers I’m literally playing with technique I’ve been taught, read about or copied—nothing personal about that. But once I know the answers, I can determine how I use my camera to decipher that thing that grabbed me to begin with. If I know my interest is the color of a beautiful sunset at a beach, I’m not going to take an image that's all sand and little to no sky. I would know to compose my frame where the color was dominating, and any use of sandy beach, or other available elements that a given landscape might provide, would be used to anchor a scene or give it context, if used at all. In the case of Figure 3, the first image shown is focused in a horizon line with nothing particularly interesting in terms of subject matter or meaning. There are nice colors in the image, but attention is drawn to what’s in focus. But I knew, after more looking, studying, asking questions and self-reflection, that it was

Figure 4. 5NQYUJWVVGTURGGFUCUYGTGWUGFHQTVJGĆ‚TUVVYQKOCIGU can support a narrative of softness and movement, and reveal a pattern we can see with our naked eye. Fast shutter speeds, on the other hand, can emphasize textures, detail and sharpness.

the color, and nothing but the color, that compelled me to lift my camera. Where the eye of someone viewing my image landed in the frame was incidental to what I wanted to say. So, in creating the final image, I started playing with slow shutter speeds and panning across the horizon line. The blurred motion removed everything from my frame, leaving only the color and the lines separating the different tones. As we shift our priority from gear and technique to heart and head, how and why we use our gear and technique also shifts. Composition becomes a way of either incorporating elements to support our idea or eliminating them if they don’t. Wide or small apertures become compositional choices to control how we either separate foreground from background or bring them together through narrowing or broadening depth-of-field. Shutter speed becomes not just a way to keep things sharp, but also a tool to emphasize movement when using a slow shutter or to accentuate detail when the shutter is set fast (see Figure 4). Telephoto lenses allow me to constrict spatial relationships, while wide-angle lenses amplify them.

My goal is to use gear, camera and settings not so much as a way for creating a good histogram or correct exposure as much as I use them to support a narrative. As we need an architect and a blueprint before using tools to build a house, we photographers need clearer ideas before using our tools. So before picking up your tripod or, better yet, before looking through your viewfinder, look first with your eyes, head and heart. Try asking yourself what it is you’re shooting and why you’re shooting it. Determine what your image’s subject and meaning are. Develop your vision for your image first, and then you’ll intuitively know if a tripod is even necessary and what your settings should be. SKETCHING

A sketch is a quick and informal rendering of your scene, and will help you determine if what you’re shooting is aligned with what you’re thinking or feeling. It’s a way to proof your idea through your camera. And, truth be told, gaining clarity of subject and narrative doesn’t always magically come to me when I ask myself a series of questions.

Sometimes the answers are mysterious and hidden away and need to be coaxed out. Sketching is a great way to find what you’re looking for. But there are some rules to follow while sketching. First of all, I suggest sketching a scene with little to no regard for the efficiency of your settings and to whether or not you’re creating good exposure or perfect compositions. It doesn’t matter. In fact, I often use my iPhone or a pocket camera, if I remember to bring it. Just know that this is a time that you’re free of your tripod so you can move around, look through one lens from one angle or perspective and then look through another lens. Stand up, sit down, lie down, get closer and then move away. Get a feel for the basic elements of your composition to see if there’s something there to work with. Your goal is to align what’s in your frame to what you’re thinking and feeling. Then and only then are you ready for your tripod and to dial in your camera. Most importantly, if the elements of your frame aren’t coming together, be prepared to adapt by changing your perspective, or even your idea, until they do. Figure 5, for example, shows a bit of September 2017 53

Figure 5. *GTGCTGCHGYKOCIGU KNNWUVTCVKPIO[ƂTUVVYQUMGVEJGUVJCV eventually led me to my third and ƂPCNKOCIG5MGVEJKPICU+IQCNNQYU me to trouble my way through lenses, settings and technique until I discover an image that’s aligned with my vision.

a sketching workflow. My eye was initially captured by a pattern of threading that wove its way in between the fronds of a yucca plant. I first used my Nikon 24-70mm lens and put it inside the plant. The results fell far short of isolating the pattern that caught my eye. So I switched to my 105mm macro lens and opened my aperture to ƒ/2.8 to minimize my depth-of-field so I could blur out the background, and was much happier with the result. Here’s a thought for practicing the sketch. Although I’m mostly self-taught as a photographer, I did take in a couple of semesters at Santa Monica City College once upon a time. One assignment that sticks with me to this day was given to me by my instructor, Mr. Fier, in an Intro to Photography course. We were each told to go into the field with one

roll of film with 36 frames. Each frame we took on that roll was to be of the same subject, and each frame was to be taken from a different angle. At first this assignment seemed like a cinch, and for the first 10 to 15 frames it was. But after I got through that set of “easy” frames, it quickly became clear that I'd have to start using creative parts of my brain to get through the second half of the roll of film. So I began to study my scene and think about all sorts of different ways to see and render what I was shooting. And I tried everything in terms of different perspectives, lenses and techniques, until I started seeing the subject in new and exciting ways. It was a great assignment, as it taught me that if I ever want to make imagery beyond the standard, the easy, the snapshot—if I ever want to make images that are compelling or

54 Outdoor Photographer

thought-provoking—I had to stay with something and get to know it intimately. And since virtually all of us shoot digital these days, we don’t have to worry about wasting film as we go. Sketching is a no-brainer. So, the next time you stroll up to a scene, and before you plant your tripod firmly in front of you, first get familiar with what’s around you. Put that tripod down and study all of the possibilities, see what your scene has to offer you, and seek clarity on what your image’s subject and meaning are through sketching out your ideas. Your gear and your technique almost set themselves when you do—I'd gladly bet a set of steak knives on that. OP See more of Jason Bradley’s work at



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VIRUNGA ADVENTURE Photographing mountain gorillas in the footsteps of Dian Fossey TEXT & PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK EDWARD HARRIS

I timed my first mountain gorilla trekking experience in Rwanda to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 founding of the Karisoke Research Center by Dian Fossey. Many of the principals continuing her conservation efforts gathered at the Volcanoes Safaris Virunga Lodge for the opening of a map room in her name and the unveiling of its permanent exhibition “Explorers and Conservationists of the Virunga Volcanoes." Dr. Tara Stoinski, president and chief scientific officer of The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, summed up the results of the late primatologist’s efforts: “Dian was critical to ensuring the survival of mountain gorillas for generations to come.” While the circumstances surrounding Fossey’s murder in 1985 remain a mystery, the positive results of her efforts to save her beloved gorillas aren’t. Before boarding a Brussels Airlines flight from New York to Kigali via Belgium, I went online and secured an East Africa visa, which covers Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya, filled a prescription for malaria pills, and packed my yellow fever certificate along with my passport. For trekking, I added long pants, long-sleeve shirts and gators to minimize contact with stinging nettles.

Touching down in Rwanda’s capital, I transferred to the Hôtel des Mille Collines, the actual name and location featured in the film “Hotel Rwanda.” The next day I toured the city, which included a sobering visit to The Kigali Genocide Memorial, before heading northwest to the Karisoke Research Center and then onto the Virunga Lodge. FIFTY YEARS LATER: DIAN FOSSEY’S LEGACY

Over the past five decades, the Karisoke Research Center has evolved from two tents Fossey pitched near the forest between Mt. Karisimbi and Mt. Visoke to study gorilla behavior, to a modern two-story building in nearby Musanze used by scientists, trackers and other field staff to research, monitor and protect mountain gorillas. Early on, Fossey came to the conclusion that without positive human interdiction, the subjects of her studies could be extinct within a decade, victims of poaching and farming and cattle herding incursions into their natural habitat, the latter happening soon after Rwanda won independence from Belgium in 1962 and Hutus forced thousands of Tutsi to flee

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into the relative protection of the forests of the Parc National des Volcans (Volcanoes National Park), along with thousands of their Ankole-Watusi cattle. Fifty years later, the mountain gorilla population is nearing between 800 and 900, thanks to the daily protection that is now provided. While some of Fossey’s militant techniques to ward off those who threatened the mountain gorillas can be questioned, her motivation shouldn’t. While meeting anthropologists Louis and Mary Leakey at Olduvai Gorge and observing Jane Goodall’s research methods with chimpanzees at the Gombe Stream Research Centre were pivotal moments in Fossey’s career development, several photographers also played vital roles in her efforts. Wildlife filmmakers Joan and Alan Root from Kenya, who were shooting footage of the mountain gorillas for a documentary, allowed Fossey to camp behind their cabin and took her into the forest to search for gorillas in 1963. She describes the experience in Gorillas in the Mist: “It was their individuality combined with the shyness of their behavior that remained the most captivating impression of this first encounter with the greatest of the great apes.”

Portrait of a silverback gorilla. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/250 sec., Æ’/4.5, ISO 200. September 2017 57

Mealtime. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED @ 32mm. Exposure: 1/100 sec., ƒ/4, ISO 800.

In December 1966, Fossey returned to Africa, this time with the support of Dr. Leakey, to conduct a long-term field project on mountain gorillas. Alan Root traveled with Fossey from Kenya to the Congo, helping her to obtain the necessary permits to work in the Virungas, as well as recruiting porters to carry her supplies and gear to the Kabara meadow and others to help her set up and work with her in the newly established camp. Fossey worked out of a 7-by-10-foot tent in Kabara. Senwekwe, an experienced gorilla tracker who had worked with the

Roots in 1963, taught her much of what she came to know about tracking. By applying the knowledge she had gleaned from George Schaller’s book The Mountain Gorilla: Ecology and Behavior to her own studies and habituation efforts, Fossey identified three gorilla groups on the slopes of Mt. Mikeno on the Congolese side of the Virunga Mountains. At first the gorillas would flee into the omnipresent vegetation as soon as Fossey approached. She wrote in Gorillas in the Mist about her early efforts: “I learned to accept the animals on their own terms and never to push them

58 Outdoor Photographer

beyond the varying levels of tolerance they were willing to give. Any observer is an intruder in the domain of a wild animal and must remember that the rights of that animal supersede human interests.” Over time, Fossey gained their acceptance by at first observing them openly and from a distance, then by imitating their regular activities such as scratching and feeding—in her case chewing celery—and mimicking their contentment vocalizations. She also found “knuckle-walking” rather than being bipedal afforded her greater intimate access. Fossey began to identify the individuals by their unique “noseprints.” In 1967, Fossey moved to the Rwandan side of the Virungas at Karisoke, where she partially habituated four groups of gorillas in 1968. In the same year, National Geographic photographer Bob Campbell came to document her work. At first Fossey saw his presence as an intrusion, but they would eventually become extremely close. His photographs of her working among the mountain gorillas helped change the image of the gorillas from dangerous beasts to gentle beings. They also drew attention to their plight and gave Fossey a certain celebrity status among the general population. Campbell observed that in the course of her years of research, Fossey developed a particularly close bond with a gorilla she named Digit because of a damaged finger on his right hand. His photograph of Digit appeared on posters around the globe. On New Year’s Eve, 1977, Digit was killed by poachers, stabbed multiple times and his head and hands severed. While mourning the death of her friend, Fossey used the incident to gain further support for gorilla conservation, establishing the Digit Fund to raise money for her active conservation and anti-poaching initiatives. The Digit Fund evolved into the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International. IN FOSSEY’S FOOTSTEPS

After getting a much clearer picture of the life and work of Fossey, it was time for me to head to my luxury “base

Above, A view from Virunga Lodge of Volcanoes National Park. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II @ 200mm, Schneider Grad ND filter. Exposure: 1/200 sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 100. Right, A golden monkey in the dark, dense jungle canopy in 7ICPFCoU/ICJKPIC)QTKNNC0CVKQPCN Park. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II. Exposure: 1/160 sec., ƒ/3.5, ISO 800.

camp” and prepare for my next day’s first encounter with one of our closest biological neighbors. Perched high on a ridge, the Virunga Lodge has breathtaking views of twin lakes and the Virunga volcanoes, offering dramatic photo ops when not tracking the gorillas or other wildlife that call these mountains home. After a dinner in The Dian Fossey Map Room hosted by Volcanoes Safaris’ director Praveen Moman, a leading force in East African ecotourism, it was time to set the alarm. Dawn comes early in Africa. Leaving the lodge at 6 a.m. for gorilla tracking in Parc National des Volcans we rendezvous at the ORTPN (Rwandan Office for Tourism and National Parks) headquarters in Kinigi at the park entrance at 7 a.m., where trekkers are divided into groups of eight and assigned a guide to visit one of 10 habituated gorilla clans. Human

access to the 100-square-mile park is limited to 80 visitors a day with arranged-inadvance permits secured for $750. While time on the mountain varies depending on the location of the gorillas, one tightly monitored hour is enforced once contact is made. Since some gorilla families are more elusive and further up the mountain than others, tracking can take a full day, especially in wet and muddy conditions. As we get to within the vicinity of where advance spotters have located our assigned clan on the lower slopes of Mount Visoke, we are told to leave excess

gear in a clearing where our porters will stay while we push on. This means leaving my bag and carrying one camera body with a 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 over my neck, another body with a 70mm-200mm ƒ/2.8 over one shoulder and my 300mm ƒ/2.8 over the other. I have back-up batteries and extra cards in my pockets. We go off trail following our guide and trackers macheting their way through thick brush. Fifteen minutes later, I round a corner and come within 20 feet of a silverback. The official distance you’re required to keep is 27 feet, but in reality September 2017 59

Far above, I used a polarizer to bring out the clouds and water in the afternoon view east from Virunga Lodge. Nikon D800E, AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED @ 24mm, B+W Kasemann HTC Polarizing filter. Exposure: 1/320 sec., ƒ/8, ISO 100. Above, A street scene in southern 7ICPFCEQORQUGFVQFTCYCVVGPVKQPVQVJGJQVGNUKIPYJKNGIKXKPI it context. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II @ 180mm. Exposure: 1/500 sec., ƒ/4, ISO 800. 60 Outdoor Photographer

the mountain gorillas themselves “violate” the rules as they make their way through the thick brush. Soon other members of the group appear. Though I have done my homework, I’m still surprised by the proximity to these noble creatures, so close in fact and in such small clearings that my 300mm is useful only for tight close ups, my go-to lens becoming the 70-200mm. The dense jungle eats up much of the ambient light, making my fast lenses particularly valuable, especially since flash isn’t allowed. Since the Virungas border three countries, Rwanda, Uganda and the Congo, I take a two-hour drive further north to Mount Gahinga Lodge, a short walk to the entrance of Uganda’s Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Part of my first day there is spent wandering through the villages for the opportunity to interact with the locals. The next day is for trekking and tracking for golden monkeys through a bamboo forest. After an hour and a half, we locate them high in the jungle canopy. Where shorter lenses worked with the gorillas, longer lenses are ideal, especially when the monkeys take to the trees. A 500mm with

a tele-extender wouldn’t have been too long for many of the photo ops. The drive back across the Uganda/ Rwanda border, then onto Kigali for my flight home, gives me a chance to reflect not only on the past week but also on the legacy of Dian Fossey. On a late December night in 1985, a machete ended her life but not her life’s work. Perhaps it was a symbol of things to come. The genocide in 1994 took an estimated 800,000 lives. Thankfully, today the country’s denizens identify themselves first as Rwandans, not as Tutsis or Hutus. Their national symbol is the mountain gorilla. It’s a symbol of pride. Fossey, who was laid to rest in the graveyard behind her cabin at Karisoke among her gorilla friends, is a beloved figure in the country. She is recognized as the driving force behind many of the successful conservation efforts taking place today in the region. As she wrote in Gorillas in the Mist: “When you realize the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate on the preservation of the future.” OP

See more of Mark Edward Harris’ work at and on Instagram @ MarkEdwardHarrisPhoto.

A young gorilla in Volcanoes National Park. Nikon D810, AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II @ 200mm. Exposure: 1/250 sec., ƒ/6.3, ISO 200. September 2017 61

behind the shot

Cub’s Play Lake Kuril, Kamchatka, Russia Text & Photography By Roie Galitz


love bears, and bear cubs even more. It doesn’t matter if they’re fluffy polar bear cubs or darker brown bear cubs; they all show wonderful behavior and character. Kamchatka is one of the most remote places on earth, in the far east of Siberia and closer to Alaska than anything else. Lake Kuril is in the southern tip of this peninsula, being the largest salmon spawning site in the entire Eurasian continent. It takes an hour-and-a-half helicopter flight to get there, and I’m fortunate enough to return there every year, guiding unique photography workshops in bear country. We spend four days with these magnificent bears, photographing them catching salmon, fighting and playing with each other. There are no barriers, no human impact and no stress, so we can photograph the bear’s most intimate and natural behaviors in this wild and remote place. We travel with speedboats across the lake to the best salmon fishing areas and spend our time watching and learning about the bears so we can photograph them in the best way possible. A mother bear and her young cub felt really confident and comfortable with our presence and allowed me to get a little closer than the other bears. She always

protected her young cub and watched out for other male bears, as they could try and kill her cub so she would get in heat. Sometimes she wandered a few meters forward to catch a fish, and the little cub was left on his own. And, as children do, the little bear started climbing on the

62 Outdoor Photographer

branches of the washed-away tree as if it were a playground. As I always teach, it’s important to get down to your subject’s eye level. So for this image I was lying flat on the ground to get the best angle possible. The light was soft, thanks to the cloud-covered sky,

³Nikon D800, AF-S NIKKOR 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. Exposure: 1/640 sec., ƒ/5.6, ISO 800.

and created some nice “studio-looking” atmosphere. Some viewers have even mentioned it looks like a painting. I used the Nikon D800 and the Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6, while my other body (Nikon D5 and 500mm f/4) were nearby. I used the lens’ longest focal length of

500mm and the widest aperture for shallow depth of field to isolate the bear from the branches. I chose this specific pose of the bear between the branches, which created a nice framing of the bear, and the bear looking back, which created a nice “conflict” between the body’s direction

and the direction he’s looking. A nice bonus is the little tongue sticking out, emphasizing that childish look. OP See more of Roie Galitz’s work at and follow him on Facebook at September 2017 63

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Never “Dry Clean” Your Lens

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If You Have a Lens Shade, Use It!

Lens shades help to increase contrast and color saturation by blocking stray light from striking the front lens element. If your lens came with a shade, use it! If your lens came with a reversible shade, don’t be lazy—flip it into place before taking pictures. Your photographs will look better… trust us.

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Classes, Tours & Workshops EXPERIENCE & PHOTOGRAPH THE WORLD’S MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES AND WILDLIFE WITH THE SOUTH AMERICAN SPECIALISTS We offer high quality, educational and dreamy photo tours celebrating the diversity of wildlife, native people and their landscape. Experience iconic destinations with nature photographer and acclaimed teacher Ossian Lindholm. Our crafted tours to Argentina, The Galapagos, Chile, Brazil, Italy, Alaska and Tanzania guarantee expert instruction and highly personalized service.

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We’d love to have you join us! Small groups, great locations, 17 years of putting you in the best places at the right times. We’ll take care of your lodging, meals and do all the driving—just come along and enjoy the photography! Capitol Reef Louisiana Bayou Northern Lights Costa Rica

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Fall Splendor in Great Smoky Mountains National Park


October 22-26, 2017 Join award-winning fine art photographer, Charles Needle, at the peak of Fall color in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Photograph a wide variety of subjects: old barns and churches, pastoral scenes with hay bales, rivers/streams & waterfalls, and sunrises in Cades Cove and atop Clingman’s Dome. Learn how to compose intimate landscapes for maximum impact, Impressionistic photography, creative macro, artistic iPhoneography, and exercises to help sharpen your eye and increase awareness of the world around you.


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JOIN THE NATURE WORKSHOPS FOR THE BEST IN COASTAL BROWN BEARS IN 2018! Silver Salmon Creek Lodge in Lake Clark National Park, AK offers the best in Alaska bear photography. Join us for early cubs in June, 2018! The Nature Workshops started offering photography workshops over 20 years ago with a goal to visit the best photo locations with small groups. We started in the US, mostly in National Parks, and now have expanded to some of the best locations of the world. We have recently initiated a workshop concentrating on night photography, in the Everglades. Upcoming trips include several Florida options, Alaska (with coastal brown bears or Denali National Park), Patagonia, Iceland (in summer and winter), the Pantanal in Brazil, Banff & Jasper Parks in the Canadian Rockies, and the best of Autumn in New England (Vermont, New Hampshire & Maine). Join us and become one of our returning alumni! Check our website for all the details. | 618-589-1729 66 Outdoor Photographer

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Margo Pinkerton and Arnie Zann run small, intensive, fun-filled workshops to great locations here and abroad. They encourage you to seek your own vision and improve your artistic skills. With groups limited to 12 participants, you’ll have lots of individual attention, help and daily critiques.

Galápagos Travel Specializing in comprehensive, professionally-led, natural history and photo tours in the Galápagos Islands. In-depth monthly departures on 16 passenger yachts spend either 11 or 15 days fully exploring the islands, including early morning and late afternoon wildlife viewing sessions.

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November 4-5, 2017 Š Phoenix, Arizona September 2017 67

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The Patagonia Specialists These unique photo safaris are timed for the absolute peak windows for photography during the Patagonian spring and autumn. Led by photographer/guide Rex Bryngelson, a full-time resident of Patagonia for over 25 years, these tours go well beyond just the icons of Fitzroy and Torres del Paine to visit several off-the-beaten-path locations not found on any other Patagonia tours. Custom tours for private groups and individuals can also be arranged. Tours to Easter Island, the Atacama Desert and the Falkland Islands also available.

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Santa Fe Workshops returns to one of the world’s friendliest cities, San Miguel de Allende, for our fourteenth season— September 27–November 3. The workshops are week-long and taught by world-renowned photographers including Laurie Klein, Marcela Taboada, Tony Bonanno, Elizabeth Opalenik, Reid Callanan, and Arthur Meyerson. Join us for an unforgettable photographic experience in the beautiful setting of San Miguel de Allende!

Online Photography Courses Learn photography online with the New York Institute of Photography. Our fully-accredited courses will make learning photography fun and easy. Complete your course from anywhere, anytime, at your own pace, with professional photographers working as your mentors every step of the way. And get started for as little as $59.

1-800-583-1736 | September 2017 69

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Strabo PHOTO TOUR COLLECTION The Photo District News education issue, listed Tom Bol as one of the best photo workshop instructors in the country! Travel & learn from Tom as you explore Old Town Prague, the fairy tale village of Cesky Krumlov, an UNESCO World Heritage Site, and beyond. Learn from the best and join Tom Bol in the Czech Republic. Check us out at

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First Light Photo Workshops Leading photo workshops since 1992, Andy Long shares his keen eye for composition and new techniques on all trips. Whether in the field or the room, take home new ideas to bring your photography to the next level. With trip locations from Alaska to Florida and points between along with numerous foreign locations, he will get you to the right place at the right time for images you’ll enjoy for years. Experience his passion and enthusiasm for subjects and participants.

UPCOMING TRIPS Tetons in Fall Acadia / Maine Coast Utah Milky Way Chilkat Eagles Bosque / White Sands | 303-601-2828

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Join Sony Artisan and Getty Images Photographer Don Smith as he guides you to the most scenic locations in the Western U.S. Don has been leading successful workshops for the past 12 years in areas he knows intimately. Classes includes image reviews and workflow. 70 Outdoor Photographer

PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS Exotic Prairie Birds | South Texas Birds | Monument Valley | Alpine Wildflowers Colorado Fall Color | Canyon de Chelly | Bosque del Apache | Custom Workshops

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last frame

Cape Buffalo With Oxpecker While on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, Barbara Fleming was w˜>Þ >Li ̜ V>«ÌÕÀi ̅i ˆ“>}i Åi …>` Lii˜ >ÌÌi“«Ìˆ˜} vœÀ Ìܜ Þi>Àð º>˜Þ elements came together successfully to create this image,” Fleming explains. “Sidelight lit the oxpecker while the buffalo was kept in the shade, and this balance of light was crucial. I wanted a darker pallet for this image and think I got ˆÌ] ܈̅ ̅i VœœÀvՏ œÝ«iVŽiÀ >``ˆ˜} `À>“>°  ܜÀŽi` ̜ V>«ÌÕÀi LœÌ… ÃÕLiVÌà ˆ˜ vœVÕÃ] ܅ˆV… Ü>à ÛiÀÞ `ˆvwVÕÌ Ìœ `œ] >à LœÌ… ÜiÀi “œÛˆ˜} ˆ˜ `ˆvviÀi˜Ì `ˆÀiV̈œ˜Ã and in different focal planes. The position of the vehicle that I was shooting from was also important. I asked my driver to line us up in the path (at a safe distance, of course) of the moving herd as it crossed the road. I was able to shoot out the window, with my camera on a beanbag, as the buffalo moved directly toward us. º>˜Þ Þi>Àà œv Liˆ˜} >ÀœÕ˜` LÕvv>œ ˆ˜ ̅i wi` “>`i LœÌ… “Þ `ÀˆÛiÀ >˜` “i comfortable about allowing the herd to come close. I wouldn’t have attempted that with an older male cape buffalo, for example, as they can be very grumpy! But this was a breeding herd, with calves in the mix, which itself is somewhat risky. “The buffalo in this image is a female. They have more curl to their horns, and I “ÕÃÌ Vœ˜viÃà ̅>Ì «iÀܘ>Þ]  w˜` ̅i“ À>̅iÀ «ÀiÌÌÞt» ³ Nikon D4S, AF-S NIKKOR 500mm F4G ED VR, 1.4x teleconverter, beanbag. Exposure: 1/1600 sec., ƒ/8, ISO 1600. See more of Barbara Fleming’s photography at 72 Outdoor Photographer

Focal Length: 400mm Exposure: F/9 1/2000sec ISO: 200

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