22 December 2010

Sun, sand, wind and dust

We are currently traveling in the desert of Northern Africa, battling the sun, sand, wind and dust. We ate more sand over the past couple of weeks than any normal human being during a lifetime, but we're enjoying the experience. Our purpose is a new photography project we're working on, and meanwhile we're scouting for new Squiver photo tour destinations. The next weeks we'll have little or no internet access, so if you send us an email, it might take a little longer than usual before we get back to you.

21 December 2010

Travel Photographer of the Year 2010

We have been traveling in the desert of Northern Africa for the past weeks with no internet access, so we found out about this rather late: Marsel's charging lion picture was awarded in the 2010 Travel Photographer of the Year Awards. After two weeks of nothing but sand, wind and dust, and no showers, this good news got us freshened up right away.

As with most wildlife shots, there was quite a bit of luck involved to get this shot - after all, with wild animals you never know what's going to happen. Most wildlife photographers use long tele lenses to photograph potentially dangerous animals, and that is probably a wise thing to do. However, wide angle shots are often more dynamic, more in your face, so that's what Marsel wanted to try with lions. He used a radio controlled remote and shot from a handheld monopod, turned upside down, without getting out of the car. It's Marsel's secret (well, not anymore) technique to get low level perspective shots with wide angle lenses, while remaining flexible and without running the risk of getting eaten. This male lion did not appreciate the clicks coming from the grass very much, and decided to charge the D3. As often with lions, it was just a mock charge, but we got a few stains in our pants nonetheless...

This image is available as a fine art print. If you're interested, have a look at the Store page on our website or contact us if you have a specific size in mind.

20 December 2010

Snow monkey commercial GE used as example

Getty Images is using the Snow Monkey commercial as a good example of how stock footage can be used in a commercial.

GE partnered with agency BBDO New York to create their “Snow Monkeys” ad, which advertises their GeoSpring water heater. BBDO used 17 footage clips in the spot, which has been praised by industry leaders and PETA, for the commercial’s humane use of stock footage instead of animal “actors.” Click on the image to view the commercial, with footage shot during our Japan White & Wild photo tour, which is coming up in February again. Want to join us and see them for yourself?

19 December 2010

Zambia 2011 fully booked

It's still far away, but our Beyond the Great Rivers tour in Zambia for next year is already fully booked. We're planning to have the dates for 2012 online somewhere during the spring of 2011. For those who didn't manage to get a spot - we'll keep you posted.

18 December 2010

Merry Christmas, merry snow monkeys

The Christmas edition of UK magazine Digital Photo features four of Marsel's snow monkey images from Japan. Apart from the often published 'snow ball' image, the double page spread also features three images that were taken on this year's Japan tour. Download the PDF here.

If you would like to photograph these fascinating animals yourself, as well as Japanese cranes, Stellar sea eagles, white-tailed eagles and whooper swans, there are only three openings left on the 2011 White & Wild Japan tour that takes place in February. Book now or click here for more information.

17 December 2010

National Geographic Photo of the Month

The Dutch online edition of National Geographic now features Marsel's image of three bathing Japanese macaques as Photo of the Month. We're obviously very happy with that, and with our next visit to Japan only two months away, we're looking forward to seeing and photographing them again. If you would like to join us, there are only a few places left, so don't wait too long to make your reservation! Have a look at the Squiver photo tours web page for more information.

01 December 2010

Close encounter in the Daily Telegraph

The close encounter Daniella and lodgemanager Lana De Villier had in Zambia with an elephant was chosen as Picture of the day by the Daily Telegraph (United Kingdom). You can check out the article on their website.

If you want to eye up to an elephant yourself, you should join us on our photo tour in Zambia. We have only one room left, so be quick and check out the trip details on the squiver.com

Back from Utah

The past weeks we've been traveling in the US, in Utah to be precise. We knew Utah was big, but now that we've been shooting there for a while, we realize that we haven't even seen 10% of what was on our list. Which means that we will have to return next year to finish the job... The weather gods were smiling upon us, as we got good light most of the time and even a few days of snow. Bryce Canyon in particular looked stunning covered with a white blanket.

We're already leaving for Northern Africa again in just a few days, so unfortunately not enough time to select and process images for Marsel, but Daniëlla took some cool shots with the Canon S90 and here's a panorama she made to give you an idea of how magical it all looked.

The next two months we'll be in the desert in Northern Africa with no internet connection, so we'll be quiet for a while.

19 November 2010

Star trail image in Digital Camera Magazine

Marsel's star trail image from Namibia is now featured as a double page spread in UK magazine Digital Camera. It is the latest in the Digital Anatomy series, in which the magazine explains how more technical shots were made.

If you would like to shoot start trails like this yourself, why not reserve a spot on our next Namibia Untamed photo tour? Namibia is perfect for star trails and night photography, and we will have several opportunities to try this exciting photography technique. This tour usually fills up quickly, so if you're interested, make a reservation now. For more information, click here.

You can download a PDF of the publication here.

31 October 2010

White & Wild Japan 2011

There are a few openings left on the February 2011 Japan workshop, so if you've always wanted to photograph the adorable snow monkeys, the graceful dances of the Japanese cranes, whooper swans on an ice lake, and the spectacular Stellar's sea eagles on pack ice from Siberia - this is your chance to be part of the adventure.

Fairy Chimney shot in National Geographic

The October issue of National Geographic (Dutch edition) features one of Marsel's fairy chimney shots that he shot earlier this year in Turkey. Marsel was so enthusiastic about this trip, that we decided to organize a landscape photography workshop to this magical place. Read more about this exciting trip below. 

29 October 2010

New landscape workshop to Turkey now online!

We're proud to announce that we've put together a new and exciting landscape photography workshop: Lunar Landscapes of Turkey (17-23 April 2011).

With so many photographers copying not only our website design, but also our tours and workshops, we thought it was time to add something different. After extensively shooting wildlife last year, Marsel decided to spend more time doing landscapes this year, and this new trip is the direct result of that. Earlier this year he traveled to Cappadocia in the south of Turkey in search of photogenic landscape locations, and he was not disappointed!

Cappadocia is a region of exceptional natural wonders and a unique historical and cultural heritage. The spectacular volcanic landscape is entirely sculpted by millions of years of erosion. Wind and rain have created a bizarre field of hundreds of conical formations. Many of these pillars, known as fairy chimneys, contain labyrinths and caves where Christians once hid to avoid persecution. We will explore and photograph the lunar landscape, strange rock formations and rock hewn churches in the many valleys. We will stay in a small hotel right in the heart of a historic village. One of the highlights is an optional balloon ride, shooting the surreal landscape from above.

Spouses and non-photographing travel companions will also enjoy this amazing trip!

All accommodation is in a small family-run hotel. This trip is suitable for photographers of all experience levels. There will be daily briefings, one-on-one in the field instructions, raw processing tips, and image reviews in the evenings. You'll return with spectacular images!

This tour is already filling up very quickly with returning guests, so if you're interested in joining us, don't hesitate and make your reservation now!

For more information look here.

25 October 2010

Wildlife workshop Spain a big succes

Our wildlife workshop in Spain is getting more and more popular as the perfect trip for beginning wildlife photographers who are eager to bring their photography to the next level. Each morning we started early so that Marsel could review the previous days' images, before heading out to the park for a full day of shooting. The weather was particularly good this year with lots of bright overcast days. Even the animals were cooperating, with the bears and the lynxes giving us excellent photo opportunities.  At the end of the trip everyone was tired but the laptops filled with great pictures more than made up for that!

19 October 2010

Interview in East & West Magazine

Marsel was recently interviewed by East & West Magazine, the in-flight magazine of Lufthansa and Cathay Pacific, and the resulting article is featured in their October issue. They used his Siberian tiger photograph from China as the opening shot on a double page spread. To read the full article, please click here to download the PDF (1.1MB).

12 October 2010

Icebergs and icebergs and icebergs

Marsel just returned from a trip to Greenland, where he photographed lots of icebergs and glaciers. It was an extremely tiring (the sun basically didn't set) but spectacular experience as he got as far as 80 degrees North before he was stopped by the pack ice and had to turn South again. With only three days before the next project already started, he has not yet been able to go through all the images, let alone process them, so it might take a while before he can show more of this amazing place.

17 September 2010

Snow monkeys image reviewed by Nature's Best

Nature's Best Photography magazine is a large format publication that offers a showcase presentation of nature recorded by the world’s leading photographers, naturalists, and adventurers. Features display wildlife, landscapes, plant life, nature travel, how-to tips, inspirational essays, and lots more. On their official blog site the editor regularly reviews selected images from Flickr. The image was shot during last year's Japan workshop. Read what Nature's Best had to say about Marsel's snow monkey image here.

16 September 2010

Starry, starry night

Namibia is not only the least densily populated country in the world, it is also one of the best places in the world to see the night stars. The dry desert air, the cloudless skies and the absence of light pollution, make it the perfect country to photograph star trails.

We had timed this year's Namibia Untamed tour to coincide with new moon, so we would be certain to get the darkest night imaginable with as many stars visible as possible. On the second day of the tour Marsel gave an in-depth presentation on how to photograph the stars, either as star trails or just static stars. Later that day, we all went to look for a good spot to leave our camera overnight. A bit scary, but the area is private property and very large - even if you knew there was a camera out there somewhere, you would have great difficulty finding it. As some of us experienced the next morning…

©John Spillane

©Willy Schoots

©Roger Thomas
Photographing star trails, and processing them, is very different from your normal routine, and it requires good preparation and especially concentration. As the digital processing technique involves taking many exposures and stacking them afterwards in Photoshop, we weren't able to see the results on the tour and had to wait until everyone had had their rainy sunday afternoon with nothing else to do but stacking stars. And the results are definitely worth waiting for!

©Jeremy Lock

Most star trail photographs are nothing more than that: just star trails. But a good star trail image works just like any other - you need a good composition, with a foreground and a background. And that is what we all worked on. Some used natural light, some used a flashlight to paint the tree with light during the exposure. In all cases, the pictures show more than just star trails, they are good shots on their own even without the stars. And that's how it should be.

A couple of days later, we visited the giant red sand dunes of Sossuvlei and the surreal Deadvlei. Not an ideal spot to try star trails, because it is one of the most touristy areas of the country, but a few of us simply couldn't resist the temptation. The dead camelthorn trees are the perfect strong shapes to use as a foreground, and the curved lines of the dunes in the background are real bonus. Up until that day, only two star trail photographs of Deadvlei existed, at least to my knowledge, but the next morning we had more than doubled that. It was scary to walk back into the vlei in total darkness, wondering if our gear would still be there, but it was. All the timers worked, we all got our stars.

©Roger Thomas

If you would like to try this yourself someday, why not join us to Namibia next year and shoot star trails at some of the best star trail locations in the world? Check out the Namibia Untamed photo tour page for more information on this spectacular trip. The tour is hosted by Marsel van Oosten and Daniëlla Sibbing.

©John Spillane

10 August 2010

More success for a Namibia Squiverati

Kah Kit Yoong is one of the finest landscape photographers we know, so it was a great joy to have him and his partner Winnie Ho join us on last year's Namibia Untamed tour. During the image reviews he consistently showed high quality images, and we were not surprised. What did surprise us though, was that his most impressive shot of the whole trip was actually a wildlife shot, something he had never done before. On one of our visits to the giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei, both Kah Kit and Winnie decided to hike deep into the dunes, a strenuous activity to say the least. And they were rewarded for their efforts. When the light was at its best, they encountered an Oryx on a dune opposite the one they were standing on. It was standing at the perfect spot, right on top of the ridge and in beautiful light. When Marsel first saw the shot, he knew that it was a winner. And a winner it is. His spectacular shot was highly commended in the Wildlife category of this year's ICP Awards.

©Kah Kit Yoong

As if this weren't enough, Kah Kit also got second prize with one of his New Zealand shots in the Landscape category, and his quivertree shot - also from the Namibia tour - got into the finals of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards. Congratulations Kah Kit, well deserved!

If you would like to see more of his work, have a look at his website: magichourtravelscapes.com
More specific info on the Quivertree shot and Kah Kit & Winnies thoughts about our Namibia Untamed tour can be found on their blog.

©Kah Kit Yoong

03 August 2010

Succes for Namibia Squiverati!

Landscape photographer Roger Thomas was one of our guests on this year's Namibia Untamed tour. We are as proud as he is, that one of his images from Deadvlei is now featured on the cover of the new Giottos 2010 Tripod Range brochure. Congratulations Roger! Or, as Roger would put it: Yabba Dabba Dooooooo!

18 July 2010

Lecture for National Geographic

Later this month Marsel will give a presentation for National Geographic on his nature photography, at the Wild Wonders of Europe exhibition in The Hague. Marsel will focus on the stories behind his photographs; how and where were they were made, what did it take to get the shot, what were the creative decisions, etc. Sorry, there are no more spots available for this event.

05 May 2010

Special offer for Zambia and Kenya (September 2010)

Book in May and get 250 Euro discount on our photo tours to Kenya and Zambia!

TEst We go to Kenya to photograph the migration, one of the most spectacular events in the world. Tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra stream into the Masai Mara during the migration, and we will be right in the middle of the action. This is also the perfect time to see lions, leopards and cheetahs which all try to take advantage of the huge concentrations of game during this period. We will be staying in a mobile tented camp, set up privately for our group in two very strategic locations inside the Masai Mara. You can't get any closer to nature than this! All tents have private facilities and the camp staff will take care of your every need. You'll be camping luxury style. This trip offers you the best opportunities to get those amazing shots of the migration that you have always wanted!

Zambia is one of the last remaining unspoiled safari destinations. This Squiver photo tour takes you to South Luangwa NP, with its lagoons and riverine woodlands, and the Lower Zambezi NP, with elephants and buffalo grazing along the Zambezi river. You can shoot from vehicles, boats, canoes and on foot! Likely subjects are elephant, hippo, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, lion, and leopard, to name a few. Non-photographing partners will also enjoy this trip. You can book an extension to Victoria Falls; a location not to miss while in Zambia!

Interested in one of these trips? Make sure you book before 1 June 2010 and get 250 Euro discount! More info on www.squiver.com/phototrips.html

03 May 2010

Daniëlla's snow monkeys featured in beer commercial

As the original post was deleted (we were too quick with putting it on our weblog), we are reposting the announcement that video footage shot by Daniëlla at the snow monkeys in Japan was used in a TV commercial for Dos Equis beer. The advertising campaign for this Mexican beer revolves around an adventurous man, who ends up doing the most amazing things or finds himself in peculiar situations. That is why he is called "the most interesting man in the world". He does not always drink beer, but when he does, he prefers Dos Equis (XX).

The first commercial is a 30 seconds version, called "The Diver", where he shows up bathing with the snow monkeys.

The second commercial is a tag-on that features solely shots of the snow monkeys.

Want to visit the snow monkeys yourself? Join us on our photo tour to Japan in February! Visit our website for more information.

15 March 2010

In search of new locations for photo tours

Just to let you know that we are off for 7 weeks of traveling, looking at 3 new possible locations for photo tours. So if you email us, we will be very slow in getting back to you, because we are really going "off the beaten track"! 11 and 12 April we will (hopefully) have internet. And we are back home 5 May. So anywhere in between: please be patient ;-)

2 articles with Marsel this month

For Dutch-speaking photo enthousiasts, it might be nice to know that there are articles featuring Marsel's photography this month in the following magazines:
  • Chip foto-video
  • Digi foto pro, special edition "MasterClass"
Chip foto-video features a lenghty interview, explaing how Marsel became a photographer, his vision on photography and the trips we organize. The article in Digi foto pro, is more instructional and Marsel gives a lot of tips about making better photographs. Both articles feature a selection of some of his best work. Enjoy!

20 February 2010

Snow monkeys used in commercial General Electric

We are proud to announce that some of the video footage Daniëlla shot in Japan of the snow monkeys is used in a TV commercial for General Electric. The commercial had its first appearance on TV in the US during the Olympic Games. It will be broadcasted worldwide and is also used on all the GE websites (local and international). The commercial below is from YouTube; if we get our hands on a higher quality version, we will surely repost! 

Reposted due to an accidental deletion.

10 February 2010

Squiver participant winner in photo competition!

Claire went to the Wanderlust Travel Photo of the Year competition awards ceremony and found that she had won the Wildlife category with a shot made on our Squiver photo tour to Finland. You can see her shot posted on 24 January on this blog. The prize is a photo commission to Quito in Ecuador. You can see the finalists at www.wanderlust.co.uk/photography and click on the Wildlife category. Congratulations Claire!!!

06 February 2010

New galleries online

We have just put 5 new galleries online:
  • bears
  • elephants
  • Japan
  • Namibia
  • favorites
Please have a look at: www.squiver.com to check them out!

04 February 2010

We are in Japan

We are in Japan, hosting our Squiver photo tour that starts on Saturday. We will take a group of people to photograph the snow monkeys, cranes, swans and eagles. Plus the magnificent white wonderland of Hokkaido, with steamy and frozen lakes. Internet will be an issue during the trip, so if you send us an email, please be patient for a reply ;-)

30 January 2010

The Namibia tour is full

Our 2010 photo tour in May to Namibia has sold out. If you are interested in visiting Namibia with us, you can already make a booking for next year: www.squiver.com/booking_namibia.html. The tour will take place from 28 May 2011 until 11 June 2011. Namibia is our most popular tour and for 2011 we already have 3 participants, so it makes sense to book early!

26 January 2010

Only 2 places left for Namibia - book now!

If you want to join us in Namibia this year, you'd better be quick! We have only 2 places left on this popular tour, based on sharing a room.

We will take you around Namibia for 2 weeks, photographing stunning quivertrees, peculiar rock formations, a deserted mining town half covered with sand, the amazing red sand dunes, Namibia's photogenic natural rock arch at Spitzkoppe, and 2 days safari in Etosha. 15 days full of fun and stunning scenery! Bookings can be made at: www.squiver.com/booking_namibia.html.

The tour is hosted by Marsel van Oosten and Daniëlla Sibbing. You can expect a high level of tuition on the spot, images reviews and tips about composition, in order to improve your photography skills.

24 January 2010

Succes for one of our participants

Claire Waring joined us last year on our Squiver photo trip to Finland. She has reached the finals of the Wanderlust Photo of the Year competition with one of the bear images she took. The image is of a brown bear cub escaping a large male by climbing a tree and it was shot from a small hide in the Taiga forest of Finland. The awards will be announced on 5 February at the Destinations travel show in London.

Claire about the shot: "Young brown bear cubs avoid male bears which, given the opportunity, will kill them. When small, cubs can climb trees faster and higher than the males, and this is a favourite escape route. From the forest hide we were photographing bears wandering through. Suddenly, I heard a commotion. The cub was shinning up the tree away from the male below. The camera was set on motor drive and I was able to capture the moment with the cub metaphorically thumbing his nose at his pursuer. As the male moved away, the cub slowly descended and rejoined his mother and siblings."

Congratulations Claire. Nice shot!

04 January 2010

New photo tour to Zambia

During our second visit to Zambia last year, we decided that we definitely wanted to set up a photo tour to this spectacular country, and so we did!

Zambia is one of the last remaining unspoiled safari destinations in Africa. On this trip we will start in South Luangwa NP, with its lagoons and riverine woodlands, where elephants cross the South Luangwa river every day. The park and its water host large concentrations of wildlife, including over 400 bird species. We continue to Lower Zambezi NP, with elephants and buffalo grazing along the Zambezi river and on its numerous islands, and get eye-level shots of hippos. The safaris on land offer wildlife in beautiful settings with big winterthorn trees. We will shoot from vehicles, boats, canoes and on foot! You can top off your safari with a visit to the famous Victoria Falls. You can view an impression of this tour on video, by clicking the image below:

If this unique tour has your name on it, don't hesitate and make a booking now - this will be an exceptional African experience!

03 January 2010

Happy New Year!

Video of our Kenya photo tour

This is the video with the tour impression of our Kenya photo tour in the Masai Mara. We had a blast! Come and join us in 2010 on this wonderful trip.

New Sponsor: Storm Jacket

It is with great pleasure that we announce our partnership with Storm Jacket.
Storm Jacket Camera Covers are the fastest and easiest way to protect professional cameras and lenses from inclement weather conditions such as snow, sleet, wind, rain, sand, dust, and harmful UV rays.

Keeping your camera clean and dry when shooting outdoors isn't always the easiest task in the world. Yes, you can check the weather forecast beforehand – and then just stay home – but that’s not an option for the serious photographer.

And for the professional photographer, working in bad weather is just a routine part of doing business. Some of the most dramatic photo opportunities don’t occur on bright sunny days, or under the most ideal conditions for your camera gear. So what’s the answer? Well, umbrellas don’t work, plastic trash bags are slippery, easily torn and hard to fit, and most commercial camera covers are very expensive, take up too much space in your bag, and require a lot of time and effort to put on and take off. Storm Jackets offer a hassle-free solution for protecting your camera that can be put on or taken off in about 10 seconds and stores in its own pocket-sized carrying case.

Constructed from high-tech AquaNylon fabric, Storm Jackets won't lose their water repellency and are rugged enough to withstand the rigors of professional use.

We won't let a little rain stop us from shooting. Having a Storm Jacket in our camera bag or stuffed in a pocket is an absolute must. We have peace of mind knowing that our gear will be protected, and that we can keep right on shooting.

Marsel also likes to use his Storm Jackets on safari as protection against the dust and to camouflage his equipment when operating it remotely. If you have a herd of zebras galloping around your gear, that can create an incredible amount of dust - the Storm Jackets will keep your equipment clean and protected. The images show how Marsel first put the Storm Jacket on for dust prevention and initial camouflage, and then added branches to hide it from the wildlife. We will show the results later!

New Panorama Puzzle!

The German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) is regarded as the co-founder of geography as an empirical science and was a legendary figure even during his lifetime. On his global research travels he discovered the beauty of our world in its many forms, which this puzzle edition named after him impressively documents.

This stunning panoramic puzzle consists of 1000 pieces and measures approx. 94,5 x 32,8 cm (37.2 x 12.9"). You can now buy one for just €29,95 (excl. shipping). Email us if you want one of these old school entertainment boxes!

Marsel joins Mountain Trail Photo

We are proud to announce that Marsel has joined Mountain Trail Photo. The MTP site was started to inspire and educate, and to offer collective photography, publishing, and workshop experience to other nature photographers. With Marsel added to the team, Mountain Trail Photo has now gone international and is no longer merely "Celebrating America's Most Scenic Places". The MTP team is made up of some of the world's top nature photographers, such as Marc Adamus, Richard Bernabe, Jim Clark, Jerry D. Greer, Bill Lea, Ian Plant, Joseph Rossbach, Nye Simmons, George Stocking and Guy Tal. Check out their websites and galleries containing hundreds of stunning landscape and wildlife images! To see Marsel's gallery on Mountain Trail Photo, click here.

Snow monkey image in new Nikon brochure

Nikon has chosen one of Marsel's popular snow monkey images for their new Creative Lighting System brochure. It had been snowing for most of the morning when he took this shot of a little Japanese macaque, but it was not cold enough for the flakes to stay. As a result the fur of this young fellow was covered with what looked like thousands of little diamonds. Marsel used some fill flash to brighten the face and eyes of the macaque and to emphasize the drops of water.

Marsel has recently switched to the new SB-900 and he is looking forward to experimenting with it in Japan next month.