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SCENIC WILDLIFE TRAVEL SPORTS outdoorphotographer.com

For The
Common Good

 Jack Dykinga
Begin With Curiosity
 Justin Black
Call Attention
To A Cause
+ Aerial Views To
TECHNIQUE Inform Conservation
 Macro Photos
For Species

September 2016
Exceptional Images
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Images by: Max Seigal, Stephen Oachs

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The role of photography in conservation
Text & Photography By Justin Black

An interview with celebrated nature
photographer and 2017 NANPA Lifetime
Achievement award winner Jack Dykinga
By David Leland Hyde / Photography By Jack Dykinga


Taking an aerial view for conservation data
Text & Photography By Christopher Boyer


Approaches to macro photography that
highlight the unseen world around us
Text & Photography By Clay Bolt

Explore the incredible geographic diversity
32 40 in the land of the long white cloud
Text & Photography By James Kay

Creative expression in the age of Photoshop
Text & Photography By Jason Bradley

2 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com More On Next Page


20 Tech Tips
Contact Print
Text & Photography By
George D. Lepp & Kathryn Vincent Lepp

22 The Big Picture

Changing Perspectives
By Amy Gulick


7 Cover Shot
10 In This Issue
12 Showcase
16 In Focus
24 Favorite Places
72 64
Classes, Tours & Workshops
Last Frame

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6 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

cover shot

Photographer: Christopher Boyer

Location: Red Rock River in southwest
Montanas Centennial Valley.
Equipment: Canon EOS 10D, Canon
EF 28-135mm /3.5-5.6 IS USM,
1957 Cessna.
Situation: The curves of a free-flow-
ing river are one of the most beautiful
shapes found in nature. Both predict-
able and chaotic, theyre the physical
manifestation of complex mathematical
relationships governing expenditure and
conservation of energy as moving water
carves its path. The math is rigid enough
that the curves, wavelengths and ampli-
tudes of the Gulf Stream meandering
through the cold Atlantic water mirror
those of tiny meltwater rivulets flowing
across the icy surface of glaciers.
My desire to communicate the com-
plexity and context of landscape pro-
cesses with simple, compelling imagery
drew me into aerial photography. There
are brilliant words and equations to
describe the principles of river process,
but their grace and beauty encourage us
to understand them.
This photograph was taken on a June
morning after the glory light had faded,
as I flew southbound over the eastern
edge of the Lima Reservoir. Shooting
obliquely towards the sun while my wing
shaded the camera, the river leapt out of
the partially shaded valley. The reservoir
hadnt filled to capacity, so the adjacent
floodplain is a clean surface of last years
river-borne sediments with a sparse cov-
ering of algae and new plants.
Christopher Boyer

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 7


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8 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

in this issue
A common theme in the biographies of
many of the most accomplished and cele- Approaches to
macro photog
brated outdoor photographers is that their that highlight
unseen world
work is driven not only by their personal
t is hard for me to
anyone wouldnt be

aesthetic in the pursuit of artful images of the smaller creature

share our world. Sinc
a child, I have been
spellbound byobs

nature, but the potential power of those with, reallyinsects, reptile

amphibians. They live all a
us, carrying on lives that ar

images to raise public awareness and prised of the stuff of scien

films, all wrapped up in a
the most wondrous, deligh
developed forms that one

reframe views on matters of conservation. Some of the best travels th

have been on my hands and knees, carefully peering
into the leaf litter in my backyard, like an observant
giant flipping open the lid to an uncharted universe.
In this issue, we feature the work of several I would have never dreamt that this innate passion
would one day turn into a career. Over the years,
as a natural history and conservation photographer,

such photographers. Ive had the privilege of working with some of the
worlds leading conservation organizations. Much
of my time is spent dreaming up new ways to use
my photography to convince others to take care of

Jack Dykinga was recently selected by these important creatures before they are lost forever
to the great void of extinction. There are different
approaches to conservation photography, and the
tactic that Ive used most often, or attempted to
the North American Nature Photography utilize, anyway, is the production of creative macro
photography that surprises viewers, and hopefully
fills them with enough joy or wonder that they

Association (NANPA) to receive its 2017 begin to advocate for the protection of these pre-
cious creatures.
What follows is a selection of a few of my favor-
ite subjects and images from the past few years,

Lifetime Achievement In Nature Photog- with insight into why and how I made each photo.
While some subjects are from far-flung places, I
caution against falling into the trap of thinking one

raphy Award, joining a short list of artists must travel to distant lands to find subjects worth
documenting. I can say without reservation that no
species have enchanted me more than those I have
had the opportunity to interact with on a regular

who have made significant contributions basis in the streams, fields and forests near my own
home. In fact, I would encourage anyone who is
interested in becoming a conservation photographer The common eastern
to begin in his or her own community. As Robert bumblebee (Bombus

to nature photography for at least 20 years. Michael Pyle has written, What is the extinction
of a condor, to a child who has never seen a wren?
So it goes for all of us, no matter the age.
impatiens) is a species that
appears to be expanding its
range while some others are
in decline. Photographed in
We congratulate Dykinga and are pleased 46 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com
Madison, Wisconsin.

to present in this issue his interview with

David Leland Hyde, Enduring Images. In
their conversation, Dykinga touches on a wide range of topics, and northern Wyoming, where I will locate and photograph
from popular inclinations in nature photography today to what 145 high-elevation ice patches scattered through the Teton,
inspires him personally. For him, it starts with questions like, Gros Ventre, Hoback and Wind River mountain ranges. The
Why do saguaro cactus arms droop? With this inquisitive images, which he provided to Dr. Craig Lee at the Institute of
approach to his subjects, Dykinga is able to create images that Arctic and Alpine Research, are used by INSTAAR to prioritize
tell a more informed story. The whole idea of the portfolio their efforts. My work has allowed me to become a full-time
was not only to show photographs that have conservation value, student and chronicler of a changing planet, says Boyer. At
because I was in the new Sonoran Desert National Monument, a time when language about how we integrate our cultural and
but to share how the cactus adapt to the harsh environment. It ecological systems is marked by shrill exaggeration, I feel that
all begins with curiosity. photographs present important quantitative and ethical principles
That same curiosity has guided Clay Bolt since he was a boy, with quiet, irrefutable dignity.
with a particular interest in little creatures like the rusty-patched The leap from being a nature photographer to a conser-
bumble bee, the subject of his recent film, A Ghost In The vation photographer is arguably as simple as a personal reali-
Making. In the opening scene, Bolt observes, We humans zation. In his article, Critical Exposure, Justin Black recalls
defend the things we value, but how can we care about some- the place he was photographing that would ultimately change
thing we barely know? The film explores the decline of bee the course of his work. What I wouldnt know until a year later
populations, focusing on the native bees of North America and was that this moment would mark a major turning point in my
the rusty-patched bumble bee in particular. As of this writing, life: I had just become a conservation photographer. A former
A Ghost In The Making has helped propel to over 100,000 executive director of the International League of Conservation
signatures a Change.org petition to add the rusty-patched to Photographers, Black worked for and was inspired by Galen
the list of Endangered Species. Bolts article in this issue, Big Rowell, and has dedicated his career to making images that can
Dreams For The Little Things, provides an introduction to the be used to further conservation efforts, contributing to a wide
macro photography techniques he uses to present his subjects range of organizations. Sometimes, Black considers, the
in the context of the environments on which they depend. Its simple willingness of professional photographers to turn their
notable that Bolt was also recently honored by NANPA, being lenses toward a conservation issue can be the story that calls
selected to serve as its current president. attention to the cause.
Christopher Boyers photography informs conservation Wes Pitts, Editor
science through another type of flying. The view from his four-
seat 1957 Cessna Taildragger gives Boyer the ability to collect The New OutdoorPhotographer.com
data for use in research that would be extremely difficult, if not Weve recently launched a completely updated website, with
impossible, to get on foot or by other means. In the introduction improved organization, larger images and a mobile-friendly
of his article, Help From Above, Boyer sets the scene of one design that you can enjoy on your computer, tablet or mobile
such project: My GPS displays a tortuous path through some of phone. Additional refinements and new features are coming
the highest, most remote and most beautiful terrain in Montana soon. Check out the new site and let us know what you think!

Questions, comments? Email us at editors@outdoorphotographer.com.

10 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

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12 Outdoor Photogr
By Jack Dykinga
Short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), swimming near Isla Las Animas, Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur, Mexico, a CONANP protected area.
Jack Dykinga

Nikon D800E, AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm /4.5-5.6D ED. Exposure: 1/100 sec., /8, ISO 1600.
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14 Outdoor Photographer
By Jack Dykinga
Humpback whale, with fluke marked with barnacle attachments, in the warm light of sunset, Sea of Cortez, Baja California Sur, Mexico, a CONANP protected area.
Nikon D800E, AF VR Zoom-NIKKOR 80-400mm /4.5-5.6D ED. Exposure: 1/640 sec., /10, ISO 500.
Jack Dykinga
SEL14TC 1.4x

FE 70-200mm /2.8 GM OSS G Master

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18 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

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outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 19

tech tips

Contact Print
Birds On Strike On The Up
And Up What You See Is
What You Want
Text & Photography By George D. Lepp
& Kathryn Vincent Lepp

Birds On Strike and refuge around them. In addition, we

Like you,
ou we like to watch and photograph have applied the UV-reflecting appliques
birds inn ur backyard, so we encourage available from a local company, Window-
them wi h feeders. But too many are
the Alert (WindowAlert.com). These are
crash g into our windows; often they
crashing not unattractive and have helped reduce
fly away, but sometimes they fall to the encounters at our windows.
ground and die. Do you have any words Nonetheless, birds still hit the glass
of wisdom about how to minimize these occasionally, especially on cloudy days. LEFT: She lived! A dove that
sad happenings? Usually they fly away, but sometimes struck Lepps window left a
B. Slater they fall, stunned or unconscious. Long strong impression, so much so
that he was moved to photograph
Seminar Participant ago we learned through observation and
the glass in bright morning light.
non-intervention that an unconscious bird A black card held back from the
A co ng to the unabashedly pro-bird on the ground will nearly always die. window blocked reflections of
an ation the American Bird Con- So when a bird hits the ground, we act the landscape while allowing
servancy (bird lovers of the Americas quickly to reach it before a predator does. sufficient light to illuminate the
ee the intelligent and informative One of us retrieves the bird and one of dusty imprint of the birds
website abcBirds.org), window strikes us fetches the hospital cage, a standard impact. It ended well; after an
kill about 1 billion birds each year in the wire birdcage with a removable top. We overnight stay in the hospital
U.S., and the majority occur at residences put the bird in the cage, bring it inside cage at the Lepp Bird B&B, the
and shorter structures. The ABC web- out of the hot sun or snow and keep our dove recovered from the collision
site reports on products the organization distance. Most recover within a half hour, and flew off on its own. Canon
EOS 5DS R, Canon EF 100mm
has tested and found to be effective in but one dove recently spent the night and
/2.8L Macro IS USM. Exposure:
deterring strikes in both residential and stayed for breakfast. When they resume 1/180 sec., /11, ISO 400.
commercial buildings. The problem with activity, and especially if theyre reacting
many of the easily applied solutions is to the cage and/or our proximity, we take
that they look terrible and obstruct the the cage outside, remove the roof, and
very views we covet. cheer them on their way. Over the last 10 windows, but also by destroying natural
At our home, which has large windows years, at least 90 percent of the uncon- habitat, erecting wind turbines as clean
overlooking an unfenced yard and open scious or motionless birds weve handled energy alternatives, spraying pesticides,
space, we do our best to attract birds by in this way have recovered sufficiently and inserting millions of domestic and
creating favorable habitat through land- to fly. Sometimes theyre scolding us as feral cats into the environment. This last
scaping and bird feeders. We found that they go. The most ferocious was a tiny factor alone is responsible for the loss of
bird feeders placed at optimal viewing female rufous hummingbird, whereas two to three billion wild birds each year
distance for us, about 10 feet away, gener- some species, such as pine siskins, are in the United States, or nearly three times
ated many strikes. Often these encounters so docile they must be scooped from the as many as killed by window strikes (as
were precipitated by raptors as a hunting cage and encouraged to leave our hands. researched by the American Bird Conser-
strategy. Wed hear the dreaded thunk So, thats what we do. We hesitated vancy), and theres an easy solution. Keep
against the window, run to the rescue and to put this out there, because were well your cats indoors, everyone.
catch a Coopers or sharp-shinned hawk aware of the many opinions, informed and
in the act of retrieving a stunned flicker otherwise, folks hold about feeding wild On The Up And Up
or songbird from the deck. We essentially birds or interfering with Mother Nature. Im exccitt d about the total solar eclipse in
eliminated these kinds of events by mov- Unfortunately, humans are jeopardiz- Auguustt of 2017. However, since I live in
ing the feeders 30 feet from the house ing bird species not only by construct- the Plain
P s, totality will occur at midday.
and planting evergreen trees for cover ing homes and buildings with walls of Do you
yo have any tips on how I can take

20 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

pictures with my tripod while pointing the the camera, sit in a comfy chair and safely high demand, so Im hoping it will be
camera straight up? watch the whole process take place while available in pro models sometime before
M. Anderson controlling the camera from my Apple the sun goes dark. If your camera has
Tulsa, Oklahoma iPad. Alternativelyor simultaneous- WiFi, it likely also offers an app to allow
lyIll use the EOS-1D X Mark II with you to control it via smartphone or tab-
The 20 7 solar eclipse will pass with a second CamRanger and iPad to capture let; otherwise, turn to the manufacturers
taliity along the central line within a 4K video progression of the eclipse, accessory or a specialty transmitter, such
50 miles north of where I live in Bend, so I have both a high-resolution moving as the CamRanger.
Fortunately, the time here will record of the phenomenon and the ability
be around 10 a.m., but that still puts the to extract still frames from the 4K video. Whatat ou See Is What You Want
camera at a pretty steep angle. The answer Ill use a solar filter on the lens during the I like to iew my pictures either in photo
to this problem for me, and for you, is brightest exposures, but this shouldnt be bookss or
o hanging on the walls. I prepare
remote control. needed for the moment of full totality. images f r photo books in the application
My current camera of choice for ulti- Now is the time to assemble your wire- of the company as JPEG format and send
mate resolution is the 50-megapixel less equipment and to master the tech- for printing through the Internet. For large
Canon EOS 5DS R, and it doesnt have nology youll need for successful pho- prints, I save in a TIFF format at 200 dpi
built-in WiFi. So Ill attach a CamRanger tography of the eclipse. Some cameras and take the file to the printing company
(camranger.com) wireless transmitter to have built-in WiFi, and the feature is in (Contd on page 63)

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 21

the big picture

Changing Perspectives
A publishers mission to conserve wild places
By Amy Gulick

n 2003, Helen Cherullo, publisher
of Mountaineers Books, was
about to release Arctic National
Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of Life
and Land. The large-format pho-
tography book by then-unknown
photographer Subhankar Banerjee
chronicled the lives of wildlife and
people in all four seasons in the Alas-
kan refuge.
Just prior to the books publication,
Cherullo received an urgent request
for an advance copy from the Alaska
Wilderness League, a conservation
organization that advocates for wild
lands. The group showed the book to
a U.S. senator, who then used it in a
debate about opening the refuge to
oil development. The book provided
evidence that wildlife and people rely
on the refuge year round. The sub-
sequent vote to allow development
failed to pass.
Shortly thereafter, the Smithso-
nian National Museum of Natural
History in Washington, D.C., con-
tacted Banerjee. He was informed
that his photographic exhibit of the
arctic refuge, which had been slated
to display in a prominent location of
the museum, was being moved to a
less-visible location and stripped of
meaningful content.
Suddenly, this quiet little book

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: Seasons of
Life and Land by photographer Subhankar
Banerjee documents the wildlife and
Subhankar Banerjee

native peoples of this Alaskan landscape.

The book launched the creation of Braided
River, a publisher of large-format
photography books featuring threatened
wild lands in western North America.

22 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

and unknown photographer were cata- Continent, Sage Spirit and The Last Polar cant be displayed on a desk, coffee table
pulted into the national spotlight, says Bear. The overall theme of each centers or book shelf, and doesnt have the same
Cherullo. We had been struggling to around the importance of conserving nat- first impression or lasting impact.
attract media to the topic at hand, and urally functioning ecosystems for the People still look to photographs as a
nothing happened until it became a con- benefit of both wildlife and people. source of inspiration, she says. A pho-
troversy over freedom of speech. The cornerstone of each Braided River tography book is a work of art, a curated
The media firestorm caught the atten- project is a large-format photography experience that allows the story to unfold
tion of the California Academy of Sci- book. But its just the beginning of a so you can imagine yourself in a place
ences and a private foundation. Together, multi-year strategic partnership that uses or situation.
they recreated the exhibit with its original the book as a foundation to launch addi- Since photographs drive each proj-
natural history content, donated 10,000 tional forms of communicating the story ect, Cherullo views the photographers
copies of the book to libraries, and made and expanding the audienceexhibits, as ambassadors for the places theyve
possible five traveling exhibits and a lec- lectures, websites and more. spent years documenting.
ture tour with Banerjee. Braided River is not a traditional pub- Passionate photographers can tell the
When the dust settled, Cherullo lishing company, says Cherullo. Our story best and make people care, she
realized that the collaborative efforts overarching goal is not to sell books, says. Capture the heart, and the mind
of passionate photographers, strategic but rather to change perspectives and will follow. OP
conservation organizations and generous encourage advocacy. We do this through
philanthropists could change perspec- the power of photographs that connect to To learn more about Braided River, go
tives on how wild lands are viewed. She the imagination and spirit. to braidedriver.org.
went on to create Braided River, a non- In the age of instant Internet communi-
profit organization and the conservation cations, why spend the time and resources Amy Gulick is a founding fellow of
imprint of Mountaineers Books. to produce books that can be years in the the International League of Conserva-
With a geographic focus on wild public making? Cherullo explains that a physical tion Photographers and the author of
lands in western North America, Braided book is timeless and facilitates a conver- the Braided River book Salmon in the
River has produced 17 visual story proj- sation when handed to a decision maker. Trees: Life in Alaskas Tongass Rain
ects since 2003, including Crown of the An electronic book or digital document Forest. Visit amygulick.com.

Mike Briner, Photographer
The US National Park Service celebrates its 100th year of stewardship of our National Parks.
Photographers like Mike Briner encourage conservation efforts by capturing the beauty
of these protected lands.

Im always inspired by the awesome panoramas of the Great Smokey Mountains
Park. For this autumn shot, I chose my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and 24-105mm
lens with a B+W Ksemann HTC Polarizer on front. At double the light transmission of
other Pols, the HTC really enhanced the fall foliage colors and brought out detail in the fog.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 23


Glacier National Park, Montana

Since the stormy skies

werent bright, I skipped a
neutral-density filter and used
a Hoya circular polarizer to
increase my exposure for a
smooth, silky flow. I tried sev-
eral settings, and 13 seconds
seemed to work well. The winds
were stirring up the skies adding
nice sky drama. This particular
composition and capture with
Grinnell Point rising above was
a favorite from this trip.

The park is open year round.
I like to come to the park later in
the tourism season when there
are less people and more crit-
ters. Most of the visitors in late
September are photographers
seeking wildlife, primarily grizzly
LOCATION Approaching Many Glacier, one quite a challenge keeping the bears. Good fun, but thats a
Glacier National Park is can see the falls from the road at lens clean from spray early in the different tale. However, I have
located in northwestern Mon- the junction with the hotel. The season. I wanted to get a good seen both black and grizzly
tana along the spine of the falls tumble 70 feet over several wide shot of the broadest part bears near the falls, so one must
Rocky Mountains and the shelves soon after leaving Swift- always be aware. OP
of the falls, which is challeng-
Canadian border. The park is a current Lake. Access is easy: ing as there isnt much room for
wildlife and landscape shoot- Its a short hike from the hotel Contact: Many Glacier, Glacier
good tripod placement along the
ers Disneyland, with thrills and to stand near the varied shelves National Park, nps.gov/glac/
chasm. I set my tripod up risk-
wows around every corner. Its of the falls. It doesnt get much planyourvisit/manyglacier.htm.
ily on the edge. I used a Nikon
stunning beauty has drawn me better than that.
D800 and a 24-70mm /2.8 lens See more of Philip Kuntzs
back for the past six years.
Swiftcurrent Falls is located WEATHER at 28mm for this shot. The gusts work: flickr.com/photos/phils-
in the Many Glacier area of the Many Glacier is right up made it dicey with the rig often pixels, 500px.com/nwvisions,
park. To reach Many Glacier, turn against the eastern side of the wanting to go for a swim. facebook.com/philip.kuntz.
left off of Highway 89 at Babb, Continental Divide. High winds
Montana. The 12 miles from the and quick thunderstorms are

Essential Gear
junction to Many Glacier are a frequent occurrence. One
spectacularthe area is often should dress accordingly,
compared to the Swiss Alps. including protection for ones
The historic Many Glacier gear. Layering is recommended A smart waterproof outer
Hotel and Swiftcurrent Inn pro- as it can be hot one moment layer for capricious weather, th
vide wonderful rooms and din- and briskly cold the next. Patagonia Torrentshell for me
ing. The campground is large, Winter leaves late and arrives (12.1 ounces) and women (10.6
but fills up fast, so arriving no early, often in September. The ounces) is lightweight and stuff
later than early afternoon is rec- mercurial weather is part of the into its own hand pocket, with
ommended. Many Glacier is one experience when visiting Glacier a loop to clip it to a carabiner.
of the most-visited parts of the National Park. Details like the microfleece-line
park, with majestic mountains, neck enhance both comfort an
many lakes, entertaining wildlife, PHOTO EXPERIENCE weather protection. List price:
horseback rides, boat tours on During past visits I had taken $129. Contact: Patagonia,
two lakes and spectacular hikes. many shots of the falls. It can be patagonia.com.

24 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

26 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com
This image was made on behalf of Chesapeake Bay Foundation on the
ILCP Chesapeake RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) and has
also been used as an annual report cover by the Land Trust Alliance.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 27

D own beneath the legs of my
tripod, in the frigid, rushing
flow of Bishop Creeks middle
fork, my bare feet were turning
bright pink and trying to decide whether
throbbing in pain or going numb was the
lesser of two evils. I didnt care much,
though, because I was living within an
idyllic scene at 11,000 feet in Californias
Sierra Nevada: fragile and elegant alpine
wildflowers, shooting stars, bloomed
beneath the cascade of Moonlight Falls,
with the warm alpenglow of dawn illu-
minating the faces of Picture Peak and
Mt. Haeckel in the background. If John
Denver thought West Virginia was almost
heaven, surely this was the real thing.
What I wouldnt know until a year later
was that this moment would mark a major
turning point in my life: I had just become
a conservation photographer.
Photography and conservation go hand
in hand. Virtually since the first wet-col-
lodion process plates of wild landscapes
were produced, photographs have been
used to protect nature. In 1864, prints by
Carleton Watkins were used to convince
Congress and President Abraham Lincoln
to preserve Yosemite Valley for posterity.
His photographs were considered cred-
ible documentary records, confirming
for easterners the stories of this sublime
western landscape. While Watkins and
his contemporary William Henry Jackson
were no doubt inspired by the beauty of
were first and foremost commercial pho- This picture was presented to Congressman Howard Buck McKeon of California, who ended up
tographers rather than active advocates co-sponsoring The Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act. I like to think that my
for conservation. Their photographs were picture helped open Buck McKeons eyes and heart just a little.
used to promote westward migration,
development and resource extraction at
least as much as to inspire conservation. with the establishment of Kings Canyon Sierra Club in 1971, bears his name.
The concept of the photographer as National Park in 1940. In the 1960s, During the 1950s and 60s, color pho-
deliberate conservation communicator Adams played a critical role in stopping tographers Philip Hyde and Eliot Porter
is a 20th-century invention. During the Disneys plans to develop a massive ski rose to acclaim as major contributors to
1930s, Ansel Adams undertook what may resort at Mineral King, a glacial basin in the Sierra Clubs battle books, cre-
have been the worlds first deliberately the midst of Sequoia National Park. He ated by David Brower, the conservation
conceived conservation photography also deserves partial credit for the preser- groups maverick executive director. In
project, bringing to public attention the vation of over 100 million acres of Alas- the process, Porter experienced a transfor-
spectacular wilderness of the Kings Can- kan wilderness, among numerous other mation from passive conservationist into
yon region with the aim of protecting this conservation achievements. As Adams is an impassioned activist for wilderness. In
Sierra Nevada wilderness from develop- almost certainly the most effective con- 1970, while serving on the clubs board
ment and damming. He brought his prints servation photographer of all time, its of directors, he wrote, It has been said
and Stetson hat to Washington to lobby fitting that the first award explicitly for that wildness is a luxury, a commodity
Congress in an all-out effort that ended conservation photography, created by the that man will be forced to dispense with

28 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

as his occupancy of the earth approaches My entry into the world of conservation communications projects. Whether at the
saturation. If this happens, he is finished. photography came in 1999, when I went local, regional, national or international
Wilderness must be preserved; it is a spir- to work for Galen, a master at merging level, images are critical to informing
itual necessity. the power of photographs and words in the public, reaching hearts and changing
These collaborations and other con- the effort to preserve wild places, wildlife minds. Nothing can deliver a conservation
servation initiatives of the 1950s, 60s and threatened cultures. Ever since, I have message more quickly or broadly than a
and 70s played a vital role in inform- actively pursued opportunities to apply photograph, in part because photographs
ing the conservationist ethics of Galen my own photography and advocacy to transcend language. Every conservation
Rowell, Jack Dykinga, Frans Lanting, conservation initiatives and, in the pro- organization has a website in need of
Carr Clifton and others who have con- cess, have identified a number of ways that great visuals, and many produce books,
tributed significantly to the success of we as photographers can have an impact. magazines, annual reports, videos and
important conservation campaigns and Perhaps the most straightforward other communications tools. Among the
have in turn inspired countless others method is the contribution of exist- non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
around the world. ing images to illustrate conservation that have applied my stock photographs to
their campaigns are Conservation Interna-
tional, WWF, The Sierra Club, Panthera,
This image shows upturned and eroded bristlecone pine roots in an area of the White Mountains tion Association.
near the Patriarch Grove that received wilderness designation under the Eastern Sierra and Northern More and more, however, NGOs are
San Gabriel Wild Heritage Act. It was used by the Wilderness Society to highlight the beauty and de recognizing the value of commissioning
facto wilderness status of the White Mountains.
original photography to support their cam-
paigns, in part due to the demonstrated
success of a model created by the Inter-
national League of Conservation Photog-
raphers (ILCP). ILCP works with NGOs
to identify the sorts of photographic cov-
erage that would be most beneficial to a
given campaign and makes the connec-
tion between the NGO and a photogra-
pher, or a team of photographers, chosen
from among their global fellowship, who
would be optimally suited to produce the
needed material.
One such ILCP project resulted in a
conservation achievement of which Im
immensely proud. The Flathead River,
flowing from southeastern British Colum-
bia into Montana and onward to the Snake
and Columbia Rivers, was threatened by
the impending development of a moun-
tain-top-removal coal mine within the
Flathead Valley in Canada, and a group
of Canadian NGOs recruited ILCP to
organize a team to quickly produce cov-
erage of this pristine headwaters region
and important wildlife corridor. Several
ILCP photographers contributed to the
project, each with a specific assignment.
For example, Roy Toft covered moose,
deer and other ungulates; Michael Ready
covered the underwater riparian habitat
of trout and aquatic life; Matthias Breiter
covered predators, such as mountain lions
and grizzly bears. My assignment was the
landscape of the watershed.
The resulting images were distributed
to various NGO partners and put into

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 29

action. One of my images of the Flat- Peninsula that it had recently succeeded placewas defined by wilderness in
head River, for example, was published in protecting within a conservancy the the mountains on either side of the val-
as a half-page section opener in The Van- size of Manhattan Island. Exploring the ley. Regardless of whether a visitor to
couver Sun newspaper, the first time the swamp, which was accessible only by the area actually set foot in wilderness,
threats facing the valley received signifi- canoe or kayak, was like traveling back in anyone driving up Highway 395 through
cant coverage in the regionally important time, as it looked as it would have when Bishop and on to the eastern entrance of
news outlet. With the help of our cover- Captain John Smith sent an exploratory Yosemite and beyond would spend hours
age, the coal mine was stopped, and the party through the area in 1607. looking up at designated wilderness in the
British Columbia government banned Sometimes, the simple willingness of Sierra and at de facto wilderness in the
mining and drilling in the 400,000-acre professional photographers to turn their Inyo and White Mountains. The place is
Flathead River Basin. lenses toward a conservation issue can be unique and exceptional in many ways,
Another memorable ILCP team project the story that calls attention to the cause. and in the interest of local communities
had us covering threats to the health of the When ILCP brought a large team of 30 and visitors alike, we wanted its wilder-
largest estuary in the United States for photographers from all over the world to ness character protected for the benefit of
the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF). Mexicos Yucatn Peninsula for a project future generations.
With the Chesapeake watershed spanning covering essentially the entire ecosystem The most memorable meeting was with
64,000 square miles and parts of six states from above and below ground, at sea and Howard Buck McKeon, then the rep-
plus the District of Columbia, the partici- from the air, the response of the Mexican resentative for Californias 25th district,
pating photographers were spread far and media was tremendous. A press confer- which at the time was Californias largest
wide, and my assignment had me driving ence at which most of the photographers district geographically, including much of
inland to photograph the landscape of the were present, held at the World Wilder- the Eastern Sierra and stretching south and
watershed as well as agricultural pollu- ness Congress in the city of Merida, was west as far as Santa Clarita. The bulk of
tion near the Appalachian headwaters of broadcast on Mexican television, and the the voters were closer to Los Angeles than
the Potomac and Shenandoah rivers. The boost to Mexicos relatively young con- to Bishop, and McKeon had not seemed
Chesapeake Bay Foundation has made servation movement was palpable. particularly inclined to pay much atten-
widespread use of the images in their Of course, photographs as objets tion to environmentalists. During the short
communications for several years, and dart can also be used to raise money meeting, he seemed to listen politely but
ILCP produced an exhibit of large prints for conservation campaigns. For exam- reluctantly to what we had to say.
for CBF, which was first displayed in the ple, during Visionary Wilds recent Then, I presented the congressman
grand foyer of the Russell Senate Office ship-based expeditions in the Galapa- with a framed print of Moonlight Falls
Building on Capitol Hill. gos Islands, Lanting, Tom Mangelsen, on Bishop Creek. Did you know that this
Of course, conservation photographers Art Wolfe, Tui De Roy and I organized is in your district, Congressman? I asked.
more often tackle their projects alone, two charity auctions of our fine prints, Buck McKeons jaw hit the floor. Hed
such as when The Nature Conservancy photo books and other items, raising over never realized that his district might lay
commissioned me to photograph Dragon $40,000 in the process to fund conser- claim to a place so beautiful. Years later, I
Run, a large and surprisingly pristine vation research by the Charles Darwin was pleasantly surprised to learn that Con-
cypress swamp on Virginias Middle Foundation. The funds are specifically gressman McKeon had collaborated with
targeted to support research into the Senator Barbara Boxer to pass the 2008
health and sustainability of habitat sup- Eastern Sierra and Northern San Gabriel
OPPOSITE, TOP: THE FLATHEAD RIVER, porting the giant Galapagos tortoises, as Wild Heritage Act, protecting almost half
SOUTHEASTERN BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA. well as threatened land birds, such as the a million acres of wilderness in Mono,
The Flathead flows from a pristine, stunning Vermilion Flycatcher. Inyo and Los Angeles counties, including
undeveloped valley in the Rocky Mountains. This brings me to the event that, for me, the proposed areas in the Eastern Sierra
This picture was used as a half-page section drove home the power of photography as and White Mountains.
opener in The Vancouver Sun, illustrating an
a conservation tool. In 2004, a year after Mind you, as with any conservation
article on the significance of the watershed
I made the picture at Moonlight Falls, I campaign, there were many people who
and the threat posed by a proposed mountain-
top removal coal mine. was invited by The Wilderness Society to put in a lot of hard work, blood, sweat
join a small group of fellow businesspeo- and tears, so I dont for a moment believe
OPPOSITE, BOTTOM: JOE-PYE WEED IN HEALTHY ple from the small Owens Valley town of that my picture made it all happen, but
RIPARIAN HABITAT IN THE HEADWATERS OF THE Bishop, California, to lobby members of Id like to think that a simple photograph
NORTH RIVER (CHESAPEAKE BAY WATERSHED), Congress in support of a proposed wil- capturing the sublime beauty of a real
JUST INSIDE THE BOUNDARY OF GEORGE derness expansion in the adjacent Sierra moment in wilderness may have helped
Nevada and White Mountains. open a certain congressmans eyes and
This photo was made during an assignment to Our argument was economic: The local mind to the value of protecting wild places
cover the Chesapeake Bay watershed areas economy was largely tourism-based, in their natural state. OP

that flow to the Shenandoah and Potomac and the local backcountry and view-
Rivers, on ILCPs Chesapeake RAVE on behalf of shed enjoyed by visitors and locals See more of Justin Blacks work at
the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. alikeindeed the very character of the justinblackphoto.com.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 31

An interview with celebrated nature
photographer and 2017 NANPA
Lifetime Achievement award
winner Jack Dykinga

ocumenting the turmoil of the 1960s, Jack Dykinga began
his career at age 20 as the youngest photojournalist at
the Chicago Tribune. He migrated to the Chicago Sun-
Times, where he won the Pulitzer Prize for an incisive,
graphic and gut-rending piece on the conditions in mental hospitals.
After nine years at the Sun-Times, Dykinga returned to the
Tribune and became an editor. He read an article about the con-
servation photography of my father, Philip Hyde, by a young
Gary Braasch, who later also became a famed environmental
photographer and recently died photographing the bleaching of
Australias Great Barrier Reef.
The reason you become a photographer, Dykinga said, is to
use the medium as an effective way to shape opinion and commu-
nicate what you feel and see. Gary Braaschs article in Backpacker
magazine opened my eyes to Phil Hyde basically following his
bliss and doing something that was worthy of emulating.
Photographs need a reason for being, Dykinga now tells his
workshop students. Most people do it for self and self-aggran-
dizement, instead of looking at the collective good. The article
by Braasch helped trigger Dykinga to leave Chicago and move
West with his wife when she went to college in Arizona. In Tuc-
son, Dykinga ran the assignment desk and acted as director of the
graphics department at the Arizona Daily Star. He also photo-
graphed landscapes for Arizona Highways and other publications,
eventually becoming a full-time freelancer. In the early 1990s, one
of Dykingas park ranger friends introduced him to Philip and
Ardis Hyde when they were visiting Tucson. This began a lifetime
friendship and trips together into Mexicos Sonoran Desert in the
Buried Range, the Pinacate and in Baja.

32 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

ABOVE: Sabino trees with a tangle of roots lining the banks of Rio Cuchujaqui, Sierra Madre foothills, Mexico.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 33

OP: What intrigued you about my dad and your fathers Drylands: The Deserts of Everyone had a background either as a
his work that made you want to meet him? North America, it set the tone as far as climber, park ranger or naturalist. Now
Jack Dykinga: Your father was a much the subtle palette of color. I had discus- everybody takes pictures, but not every-
more powerful force in American land- sions with fellow photographers who body has a background in caring about
scape photography than hes ever gotten didnt really get it. Not all photography what it is theyre photographing. Others
credit for. He simply didnt have the PR has to scream at you, some of it can talk about conservation, but they dont
people or persona that Ansel Adams had, whisper. I use that line all the time when follow through on it. When I was work-
but in terms of work accomplished, I Im teaching workshops. ing more with the International League
think he was a much more potent force. of Conservation Photographers, many of
Even more than Ansel, your father insti- OP: Certain photographers have work all them in their 30s were confronted with
gated a whole generation of photogra- over the magazine covers, but galleries problems I didnt have at their age. Its
phers to care about the environment and arent interested in them at all. a very saturated market. Its much more
want to do something with a camera to JD: The trend is for maximum exciting competitive. You cant make a living like
help save it. Many of them wear their moments accentuated with color intensi- you used to. I tell people to persevere,
hearts on their sleeves, but your father fied by hours of post-production manip- and I urge them to go into other media,
was largely selfless. When I told him he ulation. These images lack the simplicity tooweb-based technologies, videos or
had influenced so many photographers, of quiet moments that offer counter- anything else that will work. I tell people
he was taken aback. point. Back when I was at that point in to be a writer as well. Do both. If you
Photography is a continuum. Its a my career, there were about half a dozen are strictly a photographer, its really
universal language that crosses interna- to a dozen good creative landscape pho- not economically feasible, unless you
tional lines and that communicates at a tographers. It was a pretty tight market are at the very highest level, because
visceral level. When I started looking at then, but everybody knew each other. everybody is giving photography away.

Western sunflowers against desert varnish canyon wall, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah.

34 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

Cardn and barrel cactus in afternoon light on Isla Santa Catalina in the Sea of Cortez, Baja Sur, Mexico.

If you look at photography as a way to in Drylands of a barrel cactus. Youre more and display that feeling in your
feed your soul, you can make a fortune really speaking of the lands harshness images. I always tell people theres noth-
because your soul will be rich. through the details. Your fathers work ing wrong with a clich if its really a
has vast seconds of quiet punctuated by great clich. Shoot the damn thing, but
OP: Is it possible to find that inner wealth brilliance, which to me is a much better dont let it define you. What I see a lot is
and even some kind of outer prosperity, narrative because youre allowing peo- just the rainbow instead of an image that
without photographing the classic scenes ple to get the feel of the place by whis- incorporates the rainbow. Thats harder.
we see over and over?
pering instead of screaming at them. I
JD: There are a lot of people that just think that once you open peoples eyes OP: I imagine you were a significant part
go to the same places and have a list of to that softer approach, they appreciate of what improved Arizona Highways from
images that they get. To me, its almost it. If youre screaming all the time, you mainly displaying touristy hot spots to the
higher-caliber publication it is today.
better to see the pictures you get on the lose the quiet notes that are part of the
way to those places. Drylands really integrity of the story of a place. The JD: They circle back to that quite a bit
set me on fire, showing me that part of desert is not always a thunderstorm with still, but production quality was always
Mexico, showing the texture of plants lightning and two rainbows. Often its the best, better than Geographic. I just
and other details. absolutely quiet. I encourage photogra- did a piece on saguaro cactus. If you
phers to get out of the car, walk around havent seen it, you might look it up
OP: A perfect example is the cactus and spend time without a camera, get or you could ask Jeff Kida, the photo
close-up you have on your website home- to know the place and then take out a editor. The heading of the article said,
page. I love the forms. camera and start working it. Knowledge Now This Is Really Different. The
JD: Look at the second or third picture cant help but make you feel a place difference is found in asking simple

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 35

questions like, Why do saguaro cactus Clintons White House deputy chief of OP: Besides benefitting from the silence,
arms droop? All I did was just answer staff, son of Harold L. Ickes, continued youre also giving something up when you
my own question: They get frosted in his fathers legacy working on protection decide youre going to use your images
the cold winters. The sheer weight drives for the Escalante watershed. Bruce Bab- for conservation. You may give up recog-
them down and makes all these curlicue bitt, previous governor of Arizona and a nition. Has that been your experience?
designs. I wrote a little text. Saguaro friend of mine, was Secretary of Interior
bloom at night and are pollinated by under Clinton. Sen. Bill Bradley also JD: Definitely, you give up a lot of things
bats. Because of the technology, I saw I helped Clinton push it. The Mormons to become a conservation photographer
could shoot the Milky Way in the back- opposed it, but as a compromise, they because its like taking a vow of poverty.
ground. The whole idea of the portfolio made it a BLM national monument so Lack of money also gives you an edge,
was not only to show photographs that they could keep ranching. It wasnt what though. I dont mean a winning edge, I
have conservation value, because I was we wanted, but we got something. Later mean theres a certain edge to your life
in the new Sonoran Desert National on they made the Vermilion Cliffs-Paria where you have to push pretty hard to
Monument, but to share how the cac- Canyon National Monument. get things done, and it helps you along.
tus adapt to the harsh environment. It In the overall values of our current soci-
all begins with curiosity. OP: Great that the son completed his ety, conservation is low priority. Another
fathers dream and your book Stone picture of a mountain, for instance, does
OP: I have most of your books from Dads Canyons helped finish the project that not resonate with self-centered people.
collection. The Secret Forest advocated for Slickrock reignited in 1973. A lot of your
Its not relevant to an urban society. With
the conservation of a unique dry tropical books were conservation volumes. What
our parks, I think the country is wres-
forest in Mexico, if I remember correctly. is the difference or what was the evolution
tling with, How do we relate to these
between Large Format Nature Photogra-
JD: Thats right. It helped make the big places? The way they try to make
phy and Capture the Magic?
world-heritage site, Sierra de Alam- them into Disneyland is on the increase.
os-Rio Cuchujaqui Biosphere Pre- JD: Large Format Nature Photography Instead of preserving solitude, theyre
serve. Stone Canyons of the Colorado was more about the nuts and bolts, and building tramways and trains that move
Plateau helped make two monuments, Capture the Magic was more about what the city into the park, instead of making
Grand Staircase-Escalante National youre feeling and how youre doing the hard decisions and saying, Only 20
Monument and Vermilion Cliffs it. Capture the Magic is what I do, not can go in today.
National Monument. necessarily what you need to do. The
new book is going to be even more along OP: My father, Ansel, David Brower, the
OP: As you know, Dads 1973 book, Slick- that line. first executive director of the Sierra Club,
rock with Edward Abbey, besides working and many other conservationists were
on the expansion of Canyonlands, also OP: Your new book, A Photographers Life: against constantly upgrading roads and
aimed at protecting the Escalante River A Journey from Pulitzer Prize-Winning building more structures in the parks.
system. I believe there were other books Photojournalist to Celebrated Nature Pho- Browers contribution to photography, like
advocating wilderness for Escalante, too. tographer, will come out in December this Dads, wasnt recognized as much as he
It took 23 more years of wrangling and year. You said you wrote a whole chapter deserved. At least both of them received
another major conservation book, your about Dad. a lifetime achievement award from the
Stone Canyons, to finally overcome the North American Nature Photography
JD: The book is one of those great epiph- Association in 1996. The same award I
opposition to Grand Staircase-Escalante
anies that you have when you are hours see that youll receive next year. I cant
National Monument, which Bill Clinton
away from dying. One of the near-death think of anyone who more deserves par-
finally slid through on the last day of his
first term in 1996. Martin Litton told me ahas was that on a given day there were allel recognition. You, after all, worked in
that over 70 years ago, before World War probably 200 people who were invested large-format photography like Dad did, but
II, Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior in keeping me alive, from people who also have now crossed over into digital.
under Franklin D. Roosevelt, first proposed mop the floor, to the surgeon that did
an Escalante National Park of thousands the operation, the techs, the pharmacy, JD: For large format, the knowledge of
of square miles, roughly eight percent of the X-rays and so on. I took that con- color that you had to have and the way
the state of Utah. It would have included cept and expanded it to my whole life. the color film responded to light allowed
Glen Canyon and stretched from Green At different stages in my life, different you to learn about filters, color wheels
River to the Arizona border. people helped a certain style appear in and complementary colors, many things
my work. I wrote about Phil and his that they dont even look at today. Now
JD: When we did Stone Canyons, all roots and experiences. His work taught they all have the same adjustments. Lots
the marbles lined up. Harold M. Ickes, me about peace and quiet. The closest of styles are repeated.
thing to a spiritual approach would be
your fathers eye, how he traversed the OP: It would be great if there were some
landscape and how he felt when he was way to measure quality.
LEFT: Mixed-colored clays and wave patterns
against canyon formation, Paria Canyon- there. He had a real joy when we went JD: Its strictly who has the loudest
Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness, Arizona. camping in Baja. microphone, or megaphone. Wilderness

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 37

Skeletal remains of organ pipe cactus with live organ pipe in the background, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona.

has become a cartoon. Not everything anybody else but me. I think that might what wives are for. I see it all the time
in nature is lively. Some things are be a good lesson for your readers. They where people go on and on explaining
dead but still beautiful. Youre coming want to satisfy their own sense of walk- their work. Your fathers message and his
from the angle of, They should do it ing away and knowing they did a good voice came through the image. A lot of us
this way or that way. It doesnt matter job within themselves, instead of trying are happy when people see the place and
because theyre going to do it the way to make a cookie cutter approach match make their own decisions. I think thats
they want to do it. The question is, Will what a certain audience wants. A lot of what photography is about. It becomes
it endure? Remember, art is decided this stuff were talking about is soulless transcendent. I didnt say it has to be lit-
not by our generation but by the next photography. Your fathers work had a eral documentation. It could be an artistic
one. If youre going to make work that soul and a certain gravitas, and it will view of the same subject. You could take
endures, I would venture to say that all last. To me, thats the end of the discus- a piece of it and go with a certain mood
these candy-colored tinsel-town shots sion. It just doesnt matter after that. that elicits the place and still be perfectly
are going to be in somebodys trashcan. honest. I am discouraging the amped-up
OP: How do you keep your ego in check? color. Lots of my images that I think are
OP: They already are going into landfills. my most successful are almost impres-
Most of the galleries are looking at all of JD: If you make an honest interpreta- sionistic and far from literal. OP
that stuff and saying, This is terrible. We tion of what you see, its pretty easy to
cant do anything with this.
keep yourself out of it. It has to do with Follow David Leland Hydes blog at
JD: We both could be wrong, but at respect for the land. When Im making LandscapePhotographyBlogger.com.
this point, I dont care. I know what I a print or a display or something like See more of Jack Dykingas work on
think is good, and I dont have to satisfy that, sure theres ego involved, but thats his website, dykinga.com.

38 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com


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Taking an aerial view

for conservation data

Its still dark when I climb into Red Plane, Four-

Six-Bravo. As it is with my cameras, vision is
not necessary to operate the buttons, dials and
switchesmuscle memory guides me through
the startup sequence: magnetos, mixture, throt-
tle, master, prop, starter button. The engine
catches after the third revolution, oil pressure
climbs into the green, and moments later Im
ascending southbound over Montanas Gallatin
Valley, a faint glow on the eastern horizon.
My GPS displays a tortuous path through some
of the highest, most remote and most beautiful
terrain in Montana and northern Wyoming, where
Ill locate and photograph 145 high-elevation ice
patches scattered through the Teton, Gros Ventre,
Hoback and Wind River mountain ranges.
Finding and mapping
melting ice patches above
the dense smoke of nearby
forest fires, its not difficult
to imagine a world
transformed by global
climate change.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 41

During the harsh winter of 2011, hundreds of pronghorns, seeking refuge from deep snow on the elevated railroad tracks, were killed by passing trains.

Finding Archaeology passed over each site at 80 mph. By con- layers and elements of organic matter in
Im flying and photographing for Dr. trast, with a 20-megapixel camera and an the ice. They allow for comparison with
Craig Lee, archaeologist and principal economically operated Cessna, I can in previous years imagery to determine
investigator with INSTAAR, the Institute just a few hours capture all ice patches melting rates. They capture landscape
of Arctic and Alpine Research. At the heart from several angles, and at a high enough context that, to a trained archaeologist,
of the project is the fact that these ice resolution for Dr. Lee to make a thorough hints at the purpose and frequency of use
patches are shrinking and disappearing. assessment of each site. for hunting or other activities. The photo-
As they melt, important artifactsbaskets, The sun is up when I arrive at the first graphs are geotagged with data from my
weapons and other cultural objectsare patch. I reduce power, add 10 degrees of GPS and delivered with a Google Earth
often uncovered and begin to decompose flaps and slow the aircraft to 70 mph file showing image numbers as coordi-
once exposed to the elements. Dr. Lees comfortably above the stall speed. Maneu- nates on the map. From these images, Dr.
mission is to find and map potential arti- vering at just 300 feet above the rocks and Lee can prioritize research efforts for the
fact-bearing ice patches in the hopes of ice, I remind myself that an aerodynamic coming season.
helping federal land managers and Native stall/spin wouldnt be recoverable. After
American tribes intercept, understand evaluating the area for hazardspotential How I Got Here
and conserve these artifacts before they downdrafts, dead-end canyons and other Projects like this are a validation of
are lost. aircraftI scan the surrounding topog- my seemingly misguided faith in the
Before I brought my cameras and air- raphy and ask myself, as I do countless profoundly flawed business model of
plane to the project, Dr. Lee visited these times each flight: Where do I go when combining two very expensive hob-
patches himself, either on foot, on horse- the engine quits? With the assessment biesphotography and aviationinto a
back or by aircraft. Travel by ground took complete, I unlatch the window and revenue-generating enterprise serving the
weeks to accomplish for just a handful of start photographing. historically low-income fields of conser-
sites. Going by air resulted in a mixture I return home with hundreds of images, vation and environmental research.
of anxiety, nausea and incomplete data as the best of which blend useful data on ice Despite the flaws, I have been guided
Dr. Lee shot low-resolution photographs patch conditions with the alluring intrigue by two unwavering principals. The first is
through a scratched plexiglass window of maps and the fine art of aerial land- that the aerial view combines data, art and
while scribbling notes on a map as he scape photography. They show annual dust narrative into a singularly engaging and

42 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

intuitively accessible form. The second
principle is my belief that environmental
and landscape science dont suffer from
a lack of good datathey suffer instead
from a lack of good stories about that
data. Photographs represent those stories,
providing a compelling visual narrative
that can make complex data relevant and
meaningful to those who may not be fluent
in the academic language of charts, graphs
and statistics.
These concepts came to me during a
graduate program in fluvial geomorphol-
ogy while I was simultaneously earning
my pilots license. Struggling with the
complex math of river dynamics in an
unfamiliar landscape of PowerPoint slides
and chalkboards, I gained a view from the
cockpit that allowed me to observe these ABOVE: UL Bend, National Wildlife Refuge, Missouri River, Montana.
chaotic processes sculpted into Oregons BELOW: Drainage Ditch, Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.
mountains, deserts and coastlines. I real-
ized that we dont experience our land-
scape as a manifestation of orderly data
but more as a blend of stories, experience,
aesthetics, ethics and logic.
Later, during my first career in land-
scape restoration, I used aerial photo-
graphs to educate my clients, tracing
quantitative analysis of landscape science
onto a birds-eye view of their own famil-
iar habitat. The narrative ability of the
aerial view was apparent as they became
captivated by the imagery, seeing their
own stories operating alongside the com-
plex processes of erosion, deposition and
vegetation secession.
After designing a vertical camera mount
for mapping, I saw enough interest and
potential in small-format photography
and light-fixed wing aircraft that I retired
from the restoration business, earned com-
mercial and instrument pilot ratings, and
purchased the perfect aircraft for my work,
a four-seat 1957 Cessna Taildragger with
removable doors, an oversized engine and use hyperspectral and infrared sensors saw how the landscape revealed its secrets
a hole in the floor. to map crop dynamics, leaky industrial from above. Startled at how quickly the
The Red Plane and I now fly projects roofs, weed infestations and experimental face of the planet was changing below
for conservation, government, academic underground carbon releases. For other me, I started to point my cameras at
and corporate clients. With a handheld professional photographers engaged in those stories.
camera, I shoot the human and land- conservation and landscape efforts, I As I was connecting cameras to con-
scape stories surrounding environmental provide a platform from which they can servation, I learned about two great
issues, oil spills, sprawl, wildlife migra- document their own projects from above. organizationsLightHawk and South-
tion corridors and resource extraction. I Wingsbased, respectively, in Wyoming
locate and document banded trumpeter Photographing And and North Carolina. These groups connect
swans, persistent pools of water in drying Flying For A Cause volunteer pilots with conservation proj-
prairie streams, and migrating antelope. Im a pilot with a camera, not a photog- ects, providing the aerial view to scien-
With the belly-mounted cameras, I make rapher with an airplane. In fact, it never tists, decision makers, journalists and pho-
orthorectified maps and 3D models, and occurred to me to pick up a camera until I tographers. By vetting the conservation

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 43

Chemical-laden discharge flowing from oilfield containment ponds into a natural wetland.

projects, they ensure that a pilots donated preserved by The Wild and Scenic Rivers remain unbelievable unless demonstrated
hours go to serious, respected efforts that Act, and when it was published, I real- with imagery.
deliver measurable outcomes. By requir- ized that for a moment, this combination Theres an inherent objectivity to aerial
ing advanced experience and training for of art, data and purpose allowed 10 mil- photography that prevents carefully selec-
their pilots, they ensure the missions are lion people worldwide to sit in the noisy, tive framing, capturing instead the con-
flown by highly qualified pilots in very windy cockpit of the Red Plane, thinking text of a subject and reminding us of the
capable aircraft. about conservation. exchange of influences between natural
Flying conservation photography mis- or managed processes and their adjacent
sions has given me the joy and privilege The Things I See landscapes. At a time when language
of teaming up with photographic lumi- My work has allowed me to become about how we integrate our cultural and
naries from National Geographic and a full-time student and chronicler of a ecological systems is marked by shrill
the International League of Conservation changing planet. Between my professional exaggeration, I feel that photographs pres-
Photographers as they make important and volunteer projects, Im afforded the ent important quantitative and ethical prin-
images to be shared worldwide. Ive heard freedom to search for stories and pat- ciples with quiet, irrefutable dignity. OP
their stories of shooting through scratched terns revealed in gorgeous and tragic
plexiglass windows, of accidents and close landscapes throughout the country. From Christopher Boyer is a commercial pilot
calls, and of the frustrations of commu- extremely low altitudes, my mapping and aerial photographer providing flight
nicating their needs to pilots unfamiliar cameras conflate the characteristically and imaging services to natural resource
with the nuances of angle, light, framing impersonal vertical view with alarming and conservation projects throughout the
and composition. and amazing detailas in the image of Northern Rockies and Great Plains.In
The synergy between photography, pronghorns killed by a passing train on combination with training in fluvial geo-
conservation and aviation became clear Montanas Highline or a ditch draining morphology and hydrology, the aerial
after a mission with National Geograph- mineral-rich water from Utahs Bonneville view has taught him landscape process,
ics Michael Melford over Idahos remote Salt Flats. I find landscapes that couldnt informed his conservation ethic and
and beautiful Owyhee River. The arti- be described in even the most gifted verbal inspired his art.See more of his work at
cle described the important ecosystems narrative and juxtapositions that would cfboyer.com.

44 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

Approaches t
macro photo
that highligh
unseen worl

ts hard for me to
anyone wouldnt be
the smaller creatures
share our world. Sinc
a child, I have been
spellbound byobs
with, reallyinsects, reptile
amphibians. They live all ar
us, carrying on lives that ar
prised of the stuff of scienc
films, all wrapped up in a
the most wondrous, deligh
developed forms that one
Some of the best travels th
have been on my hands and knees, carefully peering
into the leaf litter in my backyard, like an observant
giant flipping open the lid to an uncharted universe.
Id have never dreamt that this innate passion
would one day turn into a career. Over the years,
as a natural history and conservation photographer,
Ive had the privilege of working with some of the
worlds leading conservation organizations. Much
of my time is spent dreaming up new ways to use
my photography to convince others to take care of
these important creatures before theyre lost forever
to the great void of extinction. There are different
approaches to conservation photography, and the
tactic that Ive used most often, or attempted to
utilize, anyway, is the production of creative macro
photography that surprises viewers and hopefully
fills them with enough joy or wonder that they
begin to advocate for the protection of these pre-
cious creatures.
What follows is a selection of a few of my favor-
ite subjects and images from the past few years,
with insight into why and how I made each photo.
While some subjects are from far-flung places, I
caution against falling into the trap of thinking one
must travel to distant lands to find subjects worth
documenting. I can say without reservation that no
species have enchanted me more than those Ive had
the opportunity to interact with on a regular basis in
the streams, fields and forests near my own home.
In fact, Id encourage anyone whos interested in
becoming a conservation photographer to begin in The common eastern bumble
his or her own community. As Robert Michael Pyle bee (Bombus impatiens) is a
has written, What is the extinction of a condor, to species that appears to be
a child who has never seen a wren? So it goes for expanding its range while
all of us, no matter the age. some others are in decline.
Photographed in
Madison, Wisconsin.
46 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com
Big Dreams
The importance of understanding a subject
Few things are more important to the
wildlife photographer than time spent
to understand the biology of a subject
before you encounter it in the field.
Just as a professional athlete spends
countless hours watching highlight reels
and running practice drills, so should the
nature photographer have a thorough
understanding of a subjects prime
habitat and behavior before seeking it
out. You might only have one chance to
document an elusive subject, so being
prepared for the moment is essential.
While we all get lucky from time-to-time,
A Halictus sweat bee prepares to land on an aster Ive always found that the harder I work,
next to a metallic green bee, South Carolina. the luckier I get!

Leafcutter bee building her nest

Pickens, South Carolina
Female leafcutter bees make cradles for their young from
perfectly trimmed circles of leaves. I had spent some time
researching leafcutter bees and observing them in the wild
for an ongoing project on North American native bees. In
time, I gained a feel for how often females would forage and
return to their nests with new construction materials. Because
of this, I was able to position my camera, pre-focused in the
right position above the nest site, along with fill flash so that
I could freeze the action within the few seconds when she
approached the nest entrance each time.

Rough green snake

Pickens, South Carolina
For several years, I had dreamed of encountering a rough
green snake in the wild. These graceful, non-venomous,
insect-eating snakes mimic the rocking motion of tree
branches and other vegetation in the breeze.
On a hike near my former South Carolina home, I came
face-to-face with this individual doing just that. Because I
knew that this was a shy creature, rather than rushing in to get
the shot, I quietly followed the snake, paying close attention
to its body postures to ensure it felt relaxed and comfortable.
Using a 180mm macro lens, I was able to create the more
artistic image I had in mind, rather than a photo of a snake
that was in obvious distress.

48 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

Big Dreams
Little Things TAKING IT ALL IN
Using wide-angle macro to tell the story
I often use wide-angle macro
photography in my work, which allows
me to show a very small subject in the
context of its environment. This can be
crucial when my mission is to visually
connect an obscure species to the habitat
it requires for survival.
For this technique, my favorite lens is
the Sigma 15mm /2.8 EX DG Diagonal
Fisheye, which allows me to get very
close to small subjects while still offering
sufficient background details. A similar
effect can be achieved using a standard
wide angle lens coupled with a short
Ensatina salamander, Muir Woods, California.
extension tube.

Hunts bumble bee, Bozeman, Montana

For the past three years, Ive been focusing much of my
time on documenting and telling the story of North Americas
native bees. We have nearly 4,000 species north of Mexico,
and bumble beesarguably our most well-known native
bee speciesare also some of our most threatened. One in
four species of North American bumble bees are at risk of
extinction today.
The wonderful thing about bumble bees, like many native
pollinators, is that they thrive when they have native plants
for food and a pesticide-free environment. For this image,
wide-angle macro photography allowed me to showcase the
fact that this beautiful bee was thriving in a community gar-
den in Bozeman, Montana, rather than in a wildlife preserve.
Limosa harlequin frog
Cocobolo Nature Reserve, Panama
I feel both privileged and pained when I have the oppor-
tunity to make images whose intention are to inform the
public about the plight of a species thats in eminent danger
of extinction. For the past couple of years, Ive been working
in Panama at the Cocobolo Nature Reserve to document the
last known breeding population of a species of frog that has
declined severely over the past couple of decades due to
chytrid fungus. Chytrid has ravaged amphibian populations
worldwide. By giving the viewer a sense of the habitat that
a rare species needs, while showing its form in beautiful
light, it both tells a story and (hopefully) serves as a call to
action for its protection.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 49

Big Dreams
Create striking mini portraits with multiple off-camera flashes

THE DARKSIDE I used to be one of those nature photographers

Resting orchid bee who only shot with available light. Truth be told,
Cocobolo Nature Reserve, Panama this was due, at least in part, to the fact that flashes
Orchid bees are intimidated me. It didnt feel natural to be fiddling
fast-flying species
of bees mainly with dials in the great outdoors. However, once I
found in the trop- learned my way around them, Ive never gone back.
ics of Central and
South America.
Off-camera flashes allow me to shoot in just about any
During the day- type of lighting condition, from sun-up to sundown,
light hours, these and also make it possible for me to produce dramatic,
denizens of deep
tropical forests model-like portraits of small creatures. This technique
rarely stop mov- offers a great way to really bring out the details in
ing. However, in
the evening, males
small subjects that might otherwise elude a persons
sleep by clamping eye. I use two contrasting techniques to do this.
themselves onto One of the simplest ways that you can produce
vegetation. This
unique and inter- beautiful portraits of small creatures is by either
esting behavior placing a dark cloth behind the subject or
presented me with the perfect opportunity to produce a underexposing the available light in the
portrait of this living jewel.
scene. Next, place one flash in front
of the subject for fill light (to bring
out the details) and another
flash behind the subject
to produce a rim-light.
Voila! An instant
glamour shot.

Harris three spot caterpillar

Pickens, South Carolina
Without a doubt, Harris Three Spot caterpillar is one
of the most bizarre creatures Ive ever encountered. It has
the ability to fool its potential predators by mimicking a
bird dropping or a creepy spider, and if that doesnt work,
it thrashes about using hairs containing bits of exoskeleton
from previous molts as weapons. When I came across this
cool creature, I wanted to photograph it in a way that showed
off its incredible form and fascinating weaponized hairs.
Without the backlighting shown in this portrait, theyd have Harvestman spider
been lost in the background. resting in alder leaf,
South Carolina.

50 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

In 2009, I cofounded an international
photography-based biodiversity awareness
project called Meet Your Neighbours
(MYN). Today, MYN photographers can be
found around the world, documenting the
interesting, often common species that are
found within their own communities.
One of the hallmarks of the project is the
unique way in which we produce our images.
Subjects are shot on or against a brightly lit
white panel set that we call the field studio.
The panel is lit from beneath or behind by a
flash, which eliminates all of the detail in the
background (rendering each RGB channel 255,
or pure white). Next, one or two fill flashes Orchard orb weaver spider
with small softboxes are used to highlight the Pickens, South Carolina
While Ive used the MYN technique in many exotic locations,
subjects form. Some species show interesting true to the projects form, much of my contribution to Meet Your
patterns or translucencies that would typically go Neighbours work was produced in my previous South Carolina
backyard. A species that Ive been familiar with since I was a kid
unnoticed. The mission of the project is to help was the orchard orb weaver spidera species smaller than a grain of
viewers see common species that are overlooked rice. I never realized just how beautiful it was until I photographed
in a new light. it in the field-studio.

Arboreal salamander
San Francisco, California
This tree-dwelling salamander is unique in that its
one of the only known amphibians to have tooth-like
structures. I had dreamed of encountering this species
for several years when my colleague Neil Losin and I
discovered it during the National Geographic BioBlitz.
The MYN technique offered the perfect way to highlight
the sleek form of this amazing amphibian.

Atlantic brief squid

Charleston, South Carolina
Several years ago, I worked with The Nature Conservancy
to document species that lived within and around oyster reefs
along the Carolina coastline. Atlantic waters are dark and
silted, so I needed a way to showcase the diversity of species
in a clear and detailed manner.
Using a tank that I constructed with a white plexiglass back
and sides, I was able to photograph an entire array of reef
creatures right on the shoreline, returning them back to the
ocean within a matter of minutes. OP

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 51


Mount Pollux above

Wilkin River Valley in
Mount Aspiring National Park.
Canon EOS 5D Mark III,
Canon EF 24-105mm /4L IS USM.



Text & Photography
By James Kay

When Polynesian
explorers rst spotted
land rising above the
roiling waters of the
South Pacic Ocean
in the far southwestern
corner of their vast
oceanic empire
more than 750 years
ago, they called it
Aotearoathe land
of the long white
cloud. Today, most of
us simply refer to it as
New Zealand.
A pause in the storm above Lake Te Anau viewed from the Kepler Track on the flanks of Mount Luxmore. Sony DSC-RX100 IV.

Granite rock formations along Tasman Bay in Abel Tasman National Park. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 16-35mm /4L IS USM.

54 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

Sunset in the Fox River Valley near the town of Fox Glacier. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 70-200mm /4L IS, Gitzo tripod.

I discovered these remarkable islands Mount Cook to the turquoise waters and square miles of national parks, sparkling
for myself a mere 30 years ago when I golden-sand beaches of Abel Tasman glaciers, ice-capped peaks, glistening
traveled there on assignment to photo- National Park, what makes New Zealand lakes, thundering waterfalls, bottom-
graph helicopter skiing in the Southern truly unique is that few, if any, places on less fiords, lush rain forests and exotic
Alps, something those original Maori Earth have such a tremendous diversity birdlife. This tremendous natural diver-
explorers could never have imagined. in landforms jammed into such a small sity provides an irresistible magnetic
My wife, Susie, accompanied me on that chunk of real estate. You can walk on a attraction for landscape photographers
trip, and we immediately fell in love with glacier beneath towering seracs in the and usually puts it right at the top of
the place. Weve returned more than a morning and then drive a few hours north their bucket lists.
dozen times over the years to explore in the afternoon to photograph sunset As soon as America introduced the
and photograph its wondrous landscape, on a sandy beach beneath a canopy of idea of national parks to the world back in
most recently for two months earlier this palm trees. 1872, the people of New Zealand began
year to finalize details for our upcoming At roughly 60 percent of the size of protecting vast swaths of their magnifi-
photography workshop tour. California, New Zealand is composed of cent country. Today, 13 national parks
As the last large piece of temperate three main islands: North Island, South protect almost 12 percent of the total
land on Earth discovered by humans, Island and Stewart Island, all arranged in land area compared to 3.4 percent here at
New Zealand still offers a glimpse of a northeast-to-southwest line stretching home. If you consider just South Island,
what the world looked like before we across 1,000 miles of the South Pacific with its rugged, mountainous terrain and
subdued and homogenized it. While the Ocean off the east coast of Australia. nine national parks, the total land area
pristine landscapes the Maoris first expe- While North Island has a mostly sub- protected equals 16.6 percent.
rienced have been dramatically altered lime agrarian landscape with modest The Southern Alps, named by the first
over the centuries, it still feels a bit like mountains, a few snow-capped volca- European explorers of the region because
Conan Doyles Lost World, especially noes and a sub-tropical climate at its they reminded them of their Alps back
with all those tree ferns right out of northern tip, South Island is where most home, form the backbone of South Island
the Jurassic. of the landscape drama occurs with its and stretch for 300 miles with 17 sum-
From the glacier-draped summit of 5,000 miles of surging coastline, 10,000 mits over 10,000 feet. The most dramatic

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 55

Cloud reflections in the waters of Glenorchy Lagoon in the Dart River Valley. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-105mm /4L IS USM.

section of these mountains rises straight peak of the last ice age 20,000 years Ill bring a 16-35mm, 24-105mm and a
up from the edge of the Tasman Sea to ago, an enormous ice cap smothered 70-200mm, along with a 1.4 telecon-
form one of the most imposing mountain the entire mountain range with only verter so I dont need to bring a big,
walls on earth. the tips of the highest peaks protruding bulky 300mm.
Its this wall of mountains rising from above the ice. Glaciers radiating out Tripods are also big and bulky, but I
the ocean that creates both the world- from this sea of ice gouged deep val- always bring one; lightweight is good,
class scenery and the wild weather for leys throughout the Alps and formed but stable is more important. I dont bring
which New Zealand is renowned. With enormous basins along the eastern edge a traditional camera pack on these trips
the storm-generating powers of Antarc- of the range, which are now filled with and prefer instead to use a North Face
tica to the south and nothing to intercept glistening turquoise lakes. Terra 35 alpine pack. Ill stuff my cam-
the prevailing westerly winds except for era body and lenses into it along with
the southern tip of South America half PLANNING YOUR NEW other essential items I wouldnt want to
a world away, South Island is exposed ZEALAND ADVENTURE lose. This pack then serves as my cam-
to the full fury of the storms that rage Now that Ive made the case for why era pack in the field. Putting camera
around the far southern latitudes of our New Zealand should be at the top of your gear into checked bags can be risky for
planet. This onslaught of storms, mostly bucket list, the only remaining questions many reasons.
during the winter season, slams into the are how do you choose from all those
Southern Alps after crossing thousands locations, and what should you bring? Locations. When it comes to choosing
of miles of open water and dumps epic where to go, Ive spent more than one
quantities of moisture. Equipment. Planning a trip like this year of my life photographing across
While the mountains out my back requires more effort than your average New Zealand, but I feel like Ive only
door here in Utah receive around 450 domestic photo destination. For major scratched the surface. If youre planning
inches of snow in a typical winter, parts overseas excursions like this, I always your first trip, heres a short list of places
of the Southern Alps can receive 450 prefer to travel light, so Ill usually opt you wouldnt want to miss:
feet! This creates enormous glaciers that for one main camera body with an equiv-
descend to within 1,000 feet of sea level alent backup plus a small point-and-shoot Mount Cook National Park, with its
on the islands west coast. During the such as Sonys RX100 series. For lenses, tremendous mountains.

56 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

Fiordland National Park, with its
stunning auto route from Te Anau
to Milford Sound. Fiordland is also
home to New Zealands world-
renowned Milford and Routeburn
Tracks with their excellent
backcountry huts.
Dont miss Westland National Park
with its enormous glaciers and huge
mountain backdrops.
On the west coast, Wanaka and
Queenstown with their proximity to
Mount Aspiring National Park and
Paparoa National Park.
If you have more time, also check
out Abel Tasman & Arthurs Pass.

When To Go. As I mentioned earlier,

weather is always a major consideration
when traveling to New Zealand. Remem-
ber that its seasons are the reverse of
ours. February is like our August, and Morning mist burns off along Milford Sound with the peaks of the Arthur Valley in the background.
April like our October. Heres the scoop: Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-105mm /4L IS USM.
August is the most settled weather period
where your chances of being stormed sure all your other plug-in items 6. Regarding airlines, Id highly
out for two straight weeks are nil. Youll do as well. Even with dual-voltage recommend the services of Air
still have a good mix of sky conditions, electronics, youll still need a wall New Zealand. They do an excellent
however, as the storms just keep roll- plug adapter. job. Most airlines allow at least
ing through. The snow-capped peaks 2. Make sure your passport is one free checked bag and two
of winter (July and August) are glori- current and plan way ahead if personal carry-ons. Youll pay a
ous, but it tends to be quite stormy and you need to renew before your hefty penalty if your checked bags
youll have difficulty accessing any departure date. exceed 50 pounds each, and some
high-mountain terrain unless youre 3. New Zealand has very strict airlines only allow a max of 15
skiing or snowshoeing. customs policies due to its pounds for each carry-on. Check
Both autumn (April and May) and agriculture industry. The soles of online to verify.
spring (October and November) can your hiking boots, the bottom of 7. If you want the convenience of
have long stretches of unsettled weather, your tent and the tips of your hiking using your mobile phone while
which can be challenging. Keep in mind poles all need to be spotless, with traveling, call your provider to sign
that while the trees do change color in no dirt or mud that could introduce up for a temporary add-on for New
April, none of the native ones do; only foreign soil bacteria, fungus, etc. Zealand. My carrier charges $40
those introduced, and they mostly occur 4. The flight from San Francisco per 100 minutes.
around towns and cities and other devel- to Auckland is 13 hours long.
oped areas. Make sure youre well hydrated If youre reluctant to organize a trip
January, February and March are the before and during the flight to like this on your own, a workshop could
busiest months due to the predictable prevent blood clots, which can be a good choice, as youll maximize
mostly settled summer weather, but thats be fatal. I should know; I got one your time at the best locations at the right
also the busiest time of year, so youll once. I dont think it was fatal, times. If youd prefer to go on your own,
need to book well in advance. Keep in though. Get up and walk around however, everything is well-designed for
mind that busy in New Zealand is nothing during the flight to keep the blood traveling on an independent basis. The
like busy in Europe or the USA, but you moving. Compression socks arent English-speaking locals are very friendly,
might want to avoid Queenstown around a bad idea. and theres a wide range of excellent
the Chinese New Yearit can be crazy. 5. Before taking any photographs accommodation and food choices. You
A short list of other New Zealand once youre there, reset the time need to be careful, however, because if
travel considerations: zone in your camera so it will youre like us, once you go, you might
record the correct time in the image find yourself addicted. OP
1. Electricity: We use 120V and they metadata. Most cameras have the
use 240V. While most laptops and time-zone choice of Wellington, See more of James Kays work and learn
phones use dual voltage, make New Zealands capitol. about his workshops at jameskay.com.

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 57


In Lightroom
Creative expression in the age of Photoshop

58 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain
an artist once we grow up.

Text & Photography By Jason Bradley

think its safe to assume pleasing, leaving a false impres-

that most of you reading sion of what people look like or
this article already shoot should look liketheir waists are
RAW and have for some slimmed, wrinkles and blemishes
When working with time. We have all been removed, and skin color changed as
RAW files, developing told what the technical a common practice. This is just one
images in Lightroom is benefits are and we have of endless examples, and without
a required step of drunk the RAW Kool-Aid, meta- judgment of the aforementioned,
workflow. Choices in phorically speaking. But, if you photography today is viewed with
color, contrast and feel are in the minority, here it is in a more distrustful eyes. With all its
are made, even if you nutshell: RAW file equals big data advantages, the digital age has ush-
decide not to take part (picture me holding my hands far ered in an era of heightened skep-
in this creative step.
apart), and JPEG equals smaller ticism, and the term Photoshop is
data (now picture me holding synonymous with the word fake.
my hands closer together). RAW Unfortunately, my experience
files contain more information, is that many photographers are
which translates into more color affected by this cultural stigma
info, more detail, more dynamic when it comes to developing their
range and more latitude when personal work in Lightroom. I see
developing files. it all the time. Photographers won-
Its been said time and time again der, How much can I, or should
that one of the greatest perks to the I, develop my file? How much is
advent of digital photography is the too much before Im cheating or
quick access to our photos on the being inauthentic?
back of our cameras. However, I If you, too, are a photographer
have long believed theres a grander who wonders this, I suggest taking
benefit. RAW files and RAW con- some solace in a couple of things.
verters have opened the doors to an If you get how RAW files are pro-
unprecedented set of creative pos- cessed, then you also get that run-
sibilities, and such possibilities are ning them through the Lightroom
precisely the focus of this series of Develop Module before process-
four articles on working with RAW ing is a required step in RAW file
files in Lightroom. RAW files are workflow. Furthermore, developing
more than just big data. RAW files is a very different thing
Of course, getting digitally cre- than Photoshopping an image,
ative comes with a bit of baggage and theres a difference between
these days. Photoshop is no longer creative expression and deception.
just software beloved by photog-
raphers. Photoshop is a term that The Relative Nature of RAW
invokes a genre of photography Lets first talk about the nature of
thats inauthentic, thats been what a RAW file actually is. One of
manipulated and refers to images the ironies of working with RAW is
that have been fundamentally that you never actually see a RAW
altered. A lot of us get asked when file, nor do you ever directly work
showing our work: Did you Pho- on or with your file while in the
toshop that? One commonly crit- Lightroom Develop Module. And
icized practice is when models in for you skeptics out there already
magazines are altered to look more thinking Im wrong because youre

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 59

shooting RAW and seeing your image
on the back of your camera, well, you
arent seeing a RAW file. Youre see-
ing a low-res processed JPEG of your
RAW data courtesy of your cameras
little computer.
Lightroom works similarly, as the file
you see and are working with isnt your
file, but a processed version of your RAW
data. Lightroom refers to them as preview
files, which are generated as you import
images into Lightroom. Whatever your
device or application, RAW data must be
processed to be seen; the data has to be ]FIGURE 2
interpolated and have a profile attached The Camera
to quantify how the color, contrast and Calibration Panel is
some detail should be rendered. the window to how
Furthermore, processing is relative. your images are
All camera and software manufacturers being processed and
process RAW data differently. What you what profiles are
being applied to
see on the back of your camera is subject
your images.
to how Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Fuji
or any manufacturer processes the data,
and Adobe processes differently from
all of them. Figure 2 shows the Cam- drop-down menus available in the panel your RAW data is processed or what
era Calibration Panel, which is a very show Lightrooms Process and what processing engine is being used. The
important but seldom opened panel in the Profile its applying to your RAW data. default is 2012, but legacy versions
Lightroom Develop Module. The top two Process refers quite literally to how are also left for your choosing. Not

This change in color
represents a shift from
the preview generated
by your camera to the
preview Adobe generates
as you import your
images into Lightroom.
Your files have to speak
Adobe in order to be
developed by
Adobe software.

60 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

surprisingly, 2012, being the newest, is
the most sophisticated of the technology,
so I dont suggest going back. But files
created before 2012 can, and mostly
should, be updated.
The default for Profile is Adobe Stan-
dard, and applying it changes the look
of your file. Figure 3 shows a sequence
of images of a whale shark. The bot-
tom row shows previews generated by
my Nikon D800, but the top row shows
a shift in the color. The blue becomes
less saturated, and the overall contrast is
lessened, which represents Adobe gener-
ating its own preview and applying the
Adobe Standard profile to it.
ADOBE STANDARD Watch your files come into Lightroom
during your next import. Youll likely
see them change to some degree. Its
not always noticeable, but the change
is happening even if you cant detect it.
Like I said before, processing is relative,
and colors and tone can render differ-
ently depending on what processing
engine or profile you are applying to
your RAW files. As another example,
Figure 4 shows a file where I applied
the profiles Adobe Standard, Camera
Portrait and Camera Vivid, and each
looks slightly different.
Bearing this all in mind, if tonality
is relative, then its fair to ask, whats
true; whats authentic? Is one shade of
blue right and the other wrong? What
CAMERA PORTRAIT if I take it a step further and use slid-
ers in Lightroom to brighten or darken
the blue? What if I make the blue more
yellow or remove it altogether creating
shade of gray? Do any of these changes
constitute photo manipulation, or are
they creative choices?
I should mention that if a change like
the one shown in Figure 3 is noticeable,
and you prefer the first version you see,
theres no going backsort of. One of
the consequences of using Lightroom is
that in order to develop an image, your
file has to speak the Adobe language.
Dont blame Adobe for this; Nikon,
Canon and other manufacturers wont
let them in to their file structuring, so
Adobe has to do this conversion. But
CAMERA VIVID heres the good news: The options illus-
trated in Figure 4 arent random Adobe
presets. Theyre variations on profiles
taken directly from the manufacturers
The contrast and tone of an image change based on which profile you choose to apply to your
RAW data preview. that Adobe has reverse engineered. So
if you want to go back, selecting one

outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 61

FIGURE 5: Developing files in Lightroom isnt editing or manipulating; its the phase of your workflow where you get to express yourself.

of the different profile options should were always something that looked dif- and play as an artist. RAW conversion
take you there. ferent, oftentimes dramatically different is the time when you get to think about
from a straight, unaltered print from the such things as how the mood of your
RAW Conversion negative. Was Ansel Adams Photoshop- image is being affected by choices in
The Lightroom Develop Module is ping and deceiving us? white balance, how a color may grab
not an editor, its a RAW converter. There are no governing bodies that say someones attention, how dodging and
Whether you use Lightroom, Capture what you can and cant do. And unless burning can direct a viewers attention to
One, or some other engine, RAW con- youre bound by the strict ethics of the parts of the frame you want them to
verters are environments wherein pre- photojournalism (which has its own see or move them away from parts that
cise adjustments can be made before loopholes) or forensics, youre taking are less meaningful. You can harden or
RAW data is processed or converted to a part in the art of photography, and art soften textures by adding depth through
positive format such as JPEG or TIFF. viewers hunger for meaningful cre- the use of contrast tools. Also consider
Accordingly, RAW files are often called ative expression. So if your goal is to applying consistent styles to groups
digital negatives because, like a film create meaningful, impactful images, of images to create consistency in the
negative, a positive or print needs to be you have to insert yourself into the look of photos that have a shared nar-
created. So, technically speaking, your creative process. rative. What you can do has no limits
image isnt actually processed until you Know thisyoure welcome to other than your concerns over what you
export it out of Lightroom as something take no part in developing your file should or shouldnt do. Let it all go and
other than a RAW file. And this is why I with Lightroom, but choosing not to play freely, play a lotbut you have to
say that developing your RAW images doesnt validate your process or make play. This isnt Photoshopping; its
is a required step. true your RAW data. It just means that creative expression.
Figure 5 shows a series of images with youre letting Adobes profiles decide In part two, Ill discuss further what
before and after views of some of my the palette and the look and feel of your tools can be used when thinking cre-
RAW files. Creatively interpreting your photography. And as one who teaches atively about developing your work. OP
images is exactly what the RAW conver- photography, I strongly encourage you
sion phase is for. And by the way, this to not do that. Jason Bradley is a nature and under-
is nothing new. Try typing images of The fact that blue can be different water photographer, and expedition
darkroom printing notes into Google. based on which profile is used speaks leader, author of the new book Cre-
Youll see a wide array of prints that are precisely to what I think is so cool about ative Workflow in Lightroom from
covered in scribbles. RAW file workflow. Blue is an interpre- Focal Press, and owner and operator
These scribbles are notes that dark- tation, not an absolute. RAW conversion of Bradley Photographic Print Ser-
room photographers would create as is thus the phase of your workflow where vices. Visit BradleyPhotographic.com
road maps for how to mask, dodge and you get a say in what that blue should be. to see more of his work or to hear
burn, and tone an image. The end results And my friend, this is in fact the fun part about his upcoming adventures.

62 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com

tech tips essential element of the creative process. software, Canon professional printers and
(Contd from page 21) I was never satisfied with commercial Canon-sourced papers. Individual choices
(they use an HP inkjet printer). In both printing of my film images; the sharp- from among the wide variety of avail-
cases, the printed results are never identi- ness, color and tonal aspects of the neg- able papers can yield startlingly different
cal to what I saw on my monitor, either in ative/inter-negative/print process never results. For example, watercolor paper is
color or brightness. Can you recommend yielded a result that met my expectations. more absorbent, producing a softer but
a way to make it closer to reality? Todays digital files and inkjet printers less-reflective print, while high-gloss or
M. Krashniak with pigment inks offer infinitely greater metallic paper yields sharp, saturated
Israel capability. Still, a well-calibrated monitor images that can lose impact from cer-
is necessary, and often several attempts tain angles due to their high reflectivity.
Welll first, lets define reality. OK,
We with slight corrections in the workflow Photo book producers are probably using
jjustt kkid ing. and/or paper may be needed to achieve electronic presses and may not use pho-
The images on your monitor are the optimum result. to-grade paper; youll need to review the
ly vivid because light is shining I do this in my studio, where the print and paper options and make choices
through them, whereas light is reflected computer monitors and printers share based upon the effect and quality you
from paper prints. A number of variables space in a neutral-colored room lit to require, again recognizing that higher
affect the outcome of the transfer from 5000 degrees Kelvin. A similar work- quality comes at a price. OP
digital image to print, including image flow should be used by a quality off-site
quality, paper composition, texture and printer, who should be willing to send Get A Free Subscription!
finish; printer capability; and the software you one or more proofs before the final Submit your Tech Tips questions to
interface between the computer and the printing. Naturally, this kind of attention TechTips@GeorgeLepp.comif your
printer. And it can be very frustrating, to detail costs more. question is selected for publication, youll
after youve perfected an image on the Finally, a word about print media. Each receive a free one-year subscription to OP!
computer display, to be unable to achieve type of printer has a different ink palette,
equivalent quality in the solid rendition. and there are differences among even Learn about George Lepps upcoming
From darkroom days, serious pho- the top models from each manufacturer. workshops and seminar opportunities on
tographers printed their own work as an I work exclusively with Canon printing his website at GeorgeLepp.com.


Join us for this unique and unforgettable Gray Wale encounter.

The Nature Workshops started offering photography workshops 20 years ago with a
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outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 63

Classes,Tours &Workshops
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64 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com For more workshop listings, go to www.outdoorphotographer.com
Margo Pinkerton and Arnie Zann run small, intensive, fun-
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These unique photo
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and click on Classes, Tours & Workshops outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 65

Classes,Tours &Workshops
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66 Outdoor Photographer outdoorphotographer.com For more workshop listings, go to www.outdoorphotographer.com

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and click on Classes, Tours & Workshops outdoorphotographer.com September 2016 67

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01. Olympus Pen F 03. Canon EOS-1DX Mark II 05. Hasselblad

20MP Live MOS Sensor 20.2 Megapixel full-frame CMOS sensor X1D-50c 50MP
4K video up to 60 fps,
50MP High Res Shot Mode CMOS, 50 megapixels
Built-in GPS
Dual SD card slots
2.36M-dot OLED Electronic Viewnder Optional Wi-Fi Transmitter WFT-E8A
Hasselblad Natural Color Solution
1,199.00 SKU: IOMPFB $
5,999.00 SKU: ICA1DXM2 3.0 inch TFT type, 24 bit color

8 995.00 SKU: HSX1D50C
02. Leica Q 04. Pentax K-1 06. Canon EF 11-24mm
Full-frame 24 MP CMOS Sensor 36.4 effective MP L-series ultra-wide zoom lens
Video recordings in Full HD High Sensitivity 204,800 ISO Super UD element and one UD lens
Integrated Wi-Fi and Leica Q-App 33 Point Auto-Focus System Subwavelength Coating (SWC)
Fastest autofocus Professional H.264 Full HD video Air Sphere Coating (ASC)

4,250.00 SKU: ILCQ $
1,799.95 SKU: IPXK1 $
2,999.00 SKU: CA11244

07. Nikon D5 FX-Format 09. Flashpoint StreakLight 11. Fujilm X-T2
20.8MP FX-format CMOS image sensor 360 R2 Ws Flash TTL 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor
4K Ultra High Denition Dust and splash-resistant body
270 degree swivel & 105 degree tilt head
12 fps continuous shooting with full AF Dual memory card slots
Barebulb design
and AE performance 4K video 24P
Multifunction buttons w/digital marking
6,496.95 SKU: INKD5X With R2 integrated wireless transceiver $
1,599.95 SKU: IFJXT2
489.95 SKU: FPLFSL360*
08. Flashpoint Zoom Li-on 10. Sony Alpha a7R II 12. Panasonic
R2 TTL On-Camera Flash Mirrorless Digital Camera Lumix DMC-GX85
4K movie recording
Avilable in TTL for Canon, Nikon & Sony 16.00 Megapixels
5-axis in-body image stabilization
Powerful Flash with GN 127ft / 34 Mirrorless Interchangeable Kit
2.4-million dot XGA OLED
HSS for shutter speeds up to 1/8000 sec. Touch Enabled Tilting Display
With R2 integrated wireless transceiver $
3,198.00 SKU: ISOA7R2 Turn 4K Video Into Photography
799.99 SKU: IPCGX85BK

42 W 18th ST., NYC

last frame Nikon D700, AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm /4G ED VR II. Exposure: 1/640 sec., /7.1, ISO 400.

Yoga Bear
Established as a wildlife sanctuary in 1967, the McNeil River State Game Sanctuary and Refuge is home to the worlds largest population of wild brown bears.
Photographer Jon Jacobss first trip there proved to be a rewarding experience. Though I spend quite a bit of time around bears, this experience was like no
other, he said. Bears gathered all aroundin the distance as well as nerve-rackingly close! This shot was taken during a lazy afternoon siesta where everyone
Jon Jacobs

(bears included) was soaking up the warm June sun. I watched this fellow sleep a bit. Upon waking, he spent several minutes stretching in field.