28 July 2011

Seminar Natuurfotografie - Van idee tot print

We are organizing a seminar for Dutch speaking participants. So, sorry, this post is in Dutch.

De meest gestelde vraag die ik in de loop der jaren heb gekregen, is hoe ik mijn foto's zo helder en scherp krijg. Op de tweede plaats staat de vraag of ik ook workshops of cursussen in Nederland geef.

Op veler verzoek zal ik daarom op zaterdag 4 februari 2012 een seminar natuurfotografie geven.

Tijdens dit seminar laat ik stap voor stap zien hoe ik te werk ga; van het ruwe idee tot en met de uiteindelijke print of publicatie. Camera-instellingen, techniek, RAW-conversie, kleurprofielen en beeldbewerking in Photoshop komen allemaal uitvoerig aan bod. 

Dit seminar is bedoeld voor natuurfotografen van alle ervaringsniveaus die meer uit hun foto's willen halen.

Klik hier voor meer informatie over deze dag en het aanmeldingsformulier.


27 July 2011

Interview in Digital SLR Photo Magazine

UK-based magazine Digital SLR Photography now features a 4-page interview with Marsel in their August issue. The article is about our trip to Libya earlier this year and the editor has selected 12 images to go with the interview.

Photograph shot by Daniëlla (the coffee is a dead giveaway)

The key question that Marsel was asked, was: why Libya? In the interview he explains the thinking process behind this unusual choice, and he tells about the expedition itself. We think it looks really good, but then again, we're not really objective. :-)

>Click here for large version<

18 July 2011


I got a message the other day on Facebook from someone that said he loved my crane shot on PDN. Crane shot on PDN? I didn't recall any image requests from PDN, nor having sent shots to them, so I decided to investigate.

It took me half an hour to find the shot - it was really there.

Turns out that I myself entered this crane picture last year in the 2010 National Geographic Traveler/PDN The Great Outdoors photo contest, and apparently it was selected as one of the winners...

So I guess this makes it official: image processing causes amnesia. I'm gonna turn this computer off right now and get myself a coke.

15 July 2011

Japan is safe

We received a few emails from people who are interested in joining us on the 2012 Japan tour, wanting to know whether it is safe to travel to Japan.

It is absolutely safe to travel with us to and in Japan. We wouldn't be going there ourselves if this weren't the case!

All our photography locations are far away from the destructed areas near Sendai. From Tokyo we will travel in the exact opposite direction to the other side of Honshu Island where we will photograph the snow monkeys, and later on we will fly directly from Tokyo to Hokkaido.

Six United Nations agencies monitoring the impact of Japan’s damaged Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant have confirmed that there are no threats to human health or any major disruption to air travel to or within the country. The joint statement was issued by the World Health Organization, the International Atomic Energy Agency, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Maritime Organization, the International Civil Aviation Organization and the World Tourism Organization.

Earlier this year the Japanese travel and tourism industry was hit hard by the travel cancellations. Joining us to visit this amazing country will actually help the people of Japan to get the enconomy back on its feet again. Tadatoshi Mamiya, president of the Japan National Tourism Organization, said: “We will strive to encourage even more tourists to visit Japan, and when they do, the people of Japan will thank them for their messages of encouragement, prayers and support that are helping the nation to recover from this disaster.”

13 July 2011

White Silence

I'm still processing. Yesterday I did Alaska, the day before that Egypt. Almost every day for the past week I returned to this image of sleeping whooper swans because it was a difficult one to process. The tones are so delicate and the nuances so subtle that even the smallest adjustment has a big impact. Every evening I would open the shot again and look at it with a fresh perspective. And every evening I made tiny adjustments. Yesterday evening I finally had the feeling I got it right, so here it is.

>Click here for larger version<

I know - the birds are small, you can't see their heads, eyes or beaks, there's no spectacular feather detail, no action, and no thermonuclear colors in the sky. Yet that is exactly why I like this.

Every year on the Japan trip we have on average one or two days with hoar frost, in my opinion one of the prettiest winter conditions you can get.

On this particular morning we had left our ryokan long before sunrise to see the whooper swans wake up, and watch their fascinating morning rituals. When we got closer to the lake I noticed the hoar frost and decided to take the group to one of my favorite and very quiet spots.

We had to walk through a strip of trees and dense vegetation to reach the shore, which would normally create a lot of noise that could potentially disturb the swans. The snow was about three feet high though, and the perfect natural sound proofing. When I reached the water's edge, a few swans looked up and then went back to sleep again.

I set up my tripod, took this shot, and then just sat there for a while - amazed.

Please check out the larger version; this small size makes very little sense.
Nikon D3s, AF-S 14-24/2.8, 1/125 @ f/16

04 July 2011

Steller's Sea Eagle

It's that time of the year again: processing. Last weekend I've spent most of my time going through the shots from our Egypt expedition, today it's Japan.

One of the highlights of each year's Japan tour is always shooting eagles on the Sea of Okhotsk.

The Steller's sea eagle [Haliaeetus pelagicus] is the biggest bird in the genus Haliaeetus and is one of the largest raptors overall. The typical size range is 85-105 cm (33-41 in) long and the wingspan is 195-230 cm (77-91 in). Females typically weigh from 6.8-9 kg (15-20 lb), while males are considerably lighter with a weight range from 4.9-6 kg (11-13 lb). An unverified record exists of a huge female that weighed 12.7 kilograms (28 lb)!

This species is classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN. The main threats to its survival are habitat alteration, industrial pollution and over-fishing. The current population is estimated at 5,000 and decreasing.

Personally, I think they're one of the prettiest raptors on this planet, and seeing dozens of them at the same time is a real treat.

This year there was a lot of pack ice along the coast, so much that we almost weren't able to leave the harbor with our boat. Luckily, a lot of pack ice usually means a lot of Steller's, and every direction you looked there were Steller's. There were so many of them, that it was actually hard to keep an eye on them all. Shooting with a small group of people proved to be a real advantage here - the more eyes, the more you see. Whenever an eagle would come flying within our range, someone would shout: 'Incoming from the left!' Or right. When you're looking through your view finder and you're totally focused on your subject, you tend to miss what's going on around you, and this group strategy was the perfect solution to not miss any flight shots. And it was great fun!

This is one of my favorite shots from the first day. The pack ice worked very nicely as a giant reflector, and adds context to the shot.

Nikon D3s, AF-S VR II 200-400/4.0, 1/1250 @ f/8, ISO 400, handheld