A Mountain Oasis

I’ve been on about a half-dozen nature photography trips so far, and I’ve stayed in a range of ecolodges; none of them has been what you would call fancy, but all have been perfectly adequate—as long as you bring a sense of flexibility and good humor. There was a memorable one in Peru where one wall of your bedroom was wide-open to the jungle, and you never knew what kind of critters might visit while you slept. And one in Ecuador where the hardware that was holding up the bathroom sink was so rusted that it broke, and the sink fell off the wall while I was using it.

Shortly after our arrival at Itororó.

Ecolodge Itororó—the lodge where the Glenn Bartley workshop portion of the Brazil trip started—was fairly basic and yet pretty sweet, in my view. From the small city of Nova Friburgo you take a paved road that turns into a dirt road and becomes increasingly steep and bumpy, until you reach an altitude of about 4,000 feet, where a few small buildings sit in a secluded area. That’s Itororó.

There’s a main cabin that consists of a small dining room and a kitchen; the sleeping rooms are in various buildings that have been Read more

10 Online Resources for Nature Photographers

If you’re looking to get better at nature photography, there’s an amazing universe of internet resources available—many of them free. Case in point: I subscribe to a weekly e-newsletter from the respected photographer Art Wolfe, and about a week ago, the email carried an announcement of an upcoming online critique session he’s offering. Next Monday, Nov. 27, from 9 a.m. to noon Pacific time, he’ll be looking at user-submitted images and talking about what he thinks works in each one, what doesn’t, and how the image might be tweaked in Lightroom or Photoshop to maximize its potential. Anyone is welcome to watch, and he’s doing this for free.

(I won’t be able to watch it live, as I do have a day job! But I paid 19 bucks—very reasonable, in my mind—in order to watch it later on my own time. From the website, I can’t quite tell if that $19 “watch it later” option is still being offered, but you should take a look.)

I don’t know if I’ll submit an image in hopes that Art will critique it. It’s not required. And to me it doesn’t matter—I know I’ll get a lot out of it just by listening to him critique other people’s images. It’s a great way to learn.

It got me thinking about how many other internet resources are available for photographers who want to learn. Below are 10 of my favorites: Read more

A Dispatch of Sorts from the Bering Sea

I’m pretty pumped to see my name on the home page of NatureScapes, a really respected business that caters to nature photographers. I wrote an article for them about a little-known wildlife hotspot—St. Paul Island, Alaska—and the piece was published on Friday.

NatureScapes offers photography workshops, sells photography gear, and offers articles, discussion forums, and other resources for photographers. I first took a NatureScapes trip about a year and a half ago, a workshop in Costa Rica. (The trip apparently has become enormously popular; it’s sold out for 2018 and 2019, but I see that they have openings in 2020, for those of you who plan way far ahead….) I loved the experience, and I met several photographers I still keep in touch with. One of them is Lee Anne Haynes Russell, who lives in Tennessee, and who talked me into signing up for another NatureScapes trip: the one to St. Paul Island, in the Bering Sea.

The trip took place this past July. I went into it with a little skepticism, and ended up having a terrific time. And that’s in spite of chilly temperatures, fog, dorm-like accommodations, cafeteria food three times a day, delayed luggage, and delayed flights. Anyway, I write about it in the article that you can see here.

By the way, I kept a pretty detailed journal on the St. Paul Island trip, and I’m thinking about posting an abbreviated version of that journal here on my blog over the next couple of weeks. I realize that not everyone may find it interesting, but it might be a good reference for anyone who’s planning a trip to St. Paul and wants to get a feel for what the experience will be like.