Mike's Blog

My first visit to Badlands National Park in South Dakota was a real eye-opener. I had always pictured this park as a vast area of colorless, barren landscapes. What a wondrous surprise to discover beautiful vistas full of color and wildlife. The landscapes are quite breathtaking and the variety of wildlife rivals many other National Parks in the U.S.

Bison, bighorn sheep, fox, coyote, pronghorn, prairie dogs (lots!) and many species of birds live here. Watching families of bighorn sheep romp around the rocky hillsides can occupy an entire morning or afternoon and the hundreds of prairie dogs are endless entertainment.

But the true magic of this park, is the scenery with rocks that turn fire red at sunset and colorful mounds that have been created by thousands of years of erosion. For landscape photographers, Badlands is a must-see location, highly recommended.

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In southern France, in the Camargue area, one of the oldest horse breeds in the world roams the wetlands and marshes. I’ve always wanted to photograph these horses galloping through the water, an iconic image of this location. I had my opportunity in May and what an incredible adventure it was. Photographing a group of running horses headed towards you is very exhilarating and being very close to them as they charge by, like in the image above, is a bit intimidating. Born with black and dark brown coats, they turn white as they reach adulthood.

These horses are strong as well as beautiful and capturing them in action was a joy.

This area of France offers other photographic opportunities including the nature park, parc ornithologique PONT de GAU, a preserve for a tremendous number and variety of birds. Hundreds of flamingos gather there and the park contains numerous rookeries for herons and egrets. The park is a bird photographers dream.

As a bonus during this trip, it happened to be the same week as an annual gypsy festival in the town of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. Thousands of gypsy’s from around the world gather here to celebrate their patron saint and hold processions through the town.

A final session with the horses at sunset produced this image and a wonderful memory of this visit to France.

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Our JKPW South Carolina Beaches and Plantations photo workshop ended a few days ago. A talented group of photographers was on hand to capture images of the great landscapes around the Charleston, SC area. The photograph above was from one of our favorite locations, the Morris Island Lighthouse Inlet. This black and white image was an 8 second exposure to smooth out the waves crashing against and through the boards and pilings of this wooden wall protecting the beach.

The image below is also of the Morris Island Lighthouse, using a jetty of rocks as a leading line to the lighthouse just before sunset.

Our first evening of the workshop included a boat trip to a barrier island with a “boneyard” beach of dead trees that have been overtaken by the ocean due to erosion. Our group found many compositions using the collection of trees standing and laying along the beach at the water’s edge. The boat ride home included the chance to see a number of dolphins playfully showing off alongside our boat.

Another favorite photographic location is the Old Sheldon Church Ruins. This church, built in 1753, suffered a hard history, being burned down by British forces in the Revolutionary War and believed to have been burned again during the Civil War. Now the ruins of the church provide some wonderful photographic opportunities.

The city of Charleston is also a prime subject for photography and our photo group used the backdrop of the city to capture the setting sun were the Cooper and Ashley Rivers meet to flow into the Atlantic.

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The 20th Nature Photography Summit was just held in Jacksonville, FL. Sponsored by the North American Nature Photography Association, the Summit is a gathering of hundreds in the nature photography community. It provides an opportunity to exchange information and techniques, learn about subjects such as conservation of our natural resources, composition design, weather watching, and hear from leaders in the field of nature photography.

There were a number of speakers giving presentations each day in breakout sessions. These were an hour and a half long dives into a number of subjects with plenty of time to ask questions to the presenters (Jennifer King above). There were also ‘Super Sessions’, lasting 3 hours, on topics like macro photography and marketing, plus vendor product demonstrations each day.

Keynote presentations were given by Christian Ziegler, Art Wolfe, John Nuhn, and Jack Dykinga. Book signings were also available (Art Wolfe above).

A trade show was also included that gave everyone a chance to spend some more money on the latest and greatest equipment. The next Summit will be held Feb. 21-23, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV. If you are not a NANPA member, I highly recommend that you consider becoming one. NANPA holds local events throughout the year as well as regular webinars. NANPA membership also gives you access to a great insurance program for your expensive photo equipment. To learn more, click here: nanpa.org

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The 2017 Jennifer King Photography Workshops are filling up. There are some fantastic new locations that have been added this year along with some favorite locations that offer amazing landscapes for your photography. Locations like:

Badlands
British Columbia
Mongolia
Smoky Mountains
Iceland
Grand Tetons
Palouse
South Carolina
Columbia River Gorge
Arches & Canyonlands
Valley of Fire

Taking a workshop improves your photography by teaching you new techniques in the field and maximizing your time to photograph these incredible locations. It is a learning experience that is shared with others who also have a love of photography. It’s also huge fun!

For more information on our 2017 workshops, click here.

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