OpenSea Diary: Mora and Moynihan Film the South Pacific

In a recent post we wrote about Mora and Moynihan and the preparations to embark on a sailing adventure across the South Pacific filming nature, the environment and the cultures. Here is the first of their many (to come) field reports.

Opensea Film and Photography duo, Nia and Jon Moynihan, have set sail again across the Pacific. This time we have crossed 1,100 nautical miles of deep blue water to reach the Melanesian shores  of Vanuatu – a nation known for the happiest people in the world. Along the way we have come to more realizations about the conviction it takes to
photograph the natural world. Though the long passage was filled mostly with beautiful weather, at times the extremities of the wind strength and the wave size was overwhelming.

Sometimes we ask ourselves “what makes people do it?” What makes a person head out into the middle of nowhere? Maybe for us its to be alone, away form the world, and then to arrive in new places filled with adventure and the unknown. Perhaps its also the peace and mental tranquility that comes with being the only person around for hundreds of miles, only accompanied by the repose of nature, birds, and sea creatures. Therese a sense of connectedness that comes over a person when confronted with the strength of raw nature.

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Dave Welling Captures A Rare Image and Much More

Dave Welling recently captured a once-in-a-lifetime image: a rattlesnake capturing a Green Jay at a waterhole. It is a striking image rarely caught on camera and it was a surprise to him when it happened. Dave is a nature photographer from Southern California and has been photographing for over 25 years; specializing in wildlife and natural landscapes.

His photography has appeared in magazines such as National Geographic Adventure, Kids, Explorer and Travel; National Wildlife’s Ranger Rick and Your Big Backyard; Nature’s Best; Outdoor Photographer; Sierra; BirdWatching; Living Bird and Birds&Blooms; in calendars and note cards from Audubon; Barnes & Noble; COMDA; Inner Reflections; National Wildlife; Northword Press; Palm Press; PlanetZoo; Pomegranate Communications; Sierra; World Wildlife Fund; and books from National Geographic; Capstone; Farcountry Press; Grand Canyon Association; Prentice Hall; Voyageurs’ Press; Cowles Creative; Holt Reinhart; Houghton Mifflin; Prentice Hall; Trident Press; Rio Nuevo Publications; Tyndale House.

Dave is the featured photographer in Texas Wildlife Portfolio from FarCountry Press and has produced a coffee table photography book, Sanctuary, on his 27 years of working with wildlife rescue animals at the Wildlife Waystation, a rescue facility in Southern California. The 120 page book features images and stories of some of the 76,000 wild animals that have found a home or been helped by the Wildlife Waystation. Wild animals from native ground squirrels to African lions, tigers. leopards chimps, wolves and brown and black bears have all called the Waystation home during Dave’s 27 year relationship with the Waystation.

We asked Dave to tell us about his rare image and many more great examples of his nature photography.

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Eagle Hunting…with a Camera

by Joseph Classen

Back in Missouri, where I’m originally from, seeing a bald eagle is a rare treat. During the winter months the eagles regularly congregate along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers systems, bringing out bird watchers and nature lovers by the hundreds to see maybe a half dozen eagles or so catching a few fish to fatten up on. During the rest of the year however, spotting one of our national birds is difficult to do in those parts. It’s quite the opposite here on Kodiak Island, Alaska, where I currently reside. I see more bald eagles in one day than most people probably see in a lifetime. And during the winter months, I regularly see dozens and dozens of them gathered together like groups of pigeons. It’s quite a sight! Even though seeing so many of these incredible creatures is a common occurrence for most who live here, I never get tired of it!

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How to Safely Photograph the Biggest Bears on Earth

by Joseph Classen

“Lions and tigers and bears…oh my!”  I can’t say much about lions and tigers, but being within close proximity of brown bears that can weigh over 1000 pounds can certainly make one say, “Oh my!”  Few other creatures in North America summon forth such fear, wonder, awe, and respect as the mighty bears that inhabit such places as Alaska. For many photographers, capturing an image of a monstrous, furry beast in the wild is a once in a lifetime chance. Such a coveted opportunity can create a disciplined, calculated approach to making the most of a rare experience, or, it can tempt one to engage in some very, very dangerous and life threatening actions …to one’s self, and ultimately the animals.

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Interview With Wildlife Photographer Laurie Excell

Laurie Excell is a wildlife photographer based in Oregon. As a self proclaimed ‘lifelong photographer,’ Laurie’s career has really taken off. She is now the author of several books, a popular speaker, workshop leader, and contributing editor.

I have personally known Laurie for many years and when I asked her to take a moment and talk photography with us, she was kind enough to accept. 

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‘We Have To Get Out Now’: Kyle Hammons Photo Safari Becomes Escape From The Congo

There was no time to ask questions; we took off at a sprint to our bungalow overlooking Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. We packed our bags as quickly as possible and loaded into a large transport vehicle to begin our evacuation from the park.  Led by a truck loaded with six armed rangers, our convoy raced away from park headquarters down the bumpy dirt roads past villagers who just stared at the foreigners fleeing the scene.  Along the way, the park’s tourism director, Cai Willink, calmly explained that a rebel army of 1,500 men under the command of Bosco Ntaganda (known as “The Terminator) had entered the park during the night and crossed a detachment of Congolese soldiers, sparking a violent confrontation and forcing our immediate evacuation. 

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Photographing the Wildlife of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut

by David Hemmings

This year’s trip to Cambridge Bay, Nunavut will be one to remember for many reasons. Upon my arrival in Cambridge Bay four days before my guests arrived for the workshop, it was raining cats and dogs and the thermometer was hovering around 38 degrees Fahrenheit. So I ask one of the locals “is this unusual weather for this time of year”? His reply was, “sure is, we almost never see rain in June and July up here’. So the trip starts.

The idea of me getting there early with our guide was to scout bird locations for photography. One of the primary goals was to find and photograph nesting Snowy Owls. There are basically three different roads to traverse by vehicle in Cambridge Bay. The one that was most likely to lead to the Snowy Owls was closed off due to a damaged bridge that had been rampaged by severe ice melt off and fast flowing water.

When we made this discovery on the second day of scouting, we went as quickly as possible to the town hall to try and find out what, if any, were the plans for getting the bridge open. After all, this was the road that leads to one of the biggest attractions in Cambridge Bay, Mount Pelly. We were informed that they had called in an engineer to assess the situation and see what, if anything could be done quickly to get the bridge back open. We crossed our fingers and went about the task of scouting the tundra from the only two other roads open to vehicular traffic.

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Wildlife Photography 101

by David Hemmings

One of the most common questions I am asked in my nature photography classes is “what kind of equipment do I need to take good bird and wildlife pictures?” I usually answer this with basic equipment suggestions and some basic tips for getting into bird and wildlife photography.

Let me start by saying that today’s dslr (digital single lens reflex) camera bodies are more than capable of producing high quality images. They all have more than enough megapixels to give the average user a large enough digital file to use for web sharing, printing, entering contests, whatever you choose to do with it. So, there is some good news already if you are a beginner. Don’t worry about the megapixels!

Why did I mention dslr cameras and not point and shoots? Although many of today’s point and shoot cameras are also capable of producing excellent quality images, they are not yet able to interchange high quality lenses with different focal lengths and specific purposes. I don’t really even like to call them point and shoot cameras anymore, I prefer to call them “all in ones”.

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Photographing Butterflies by Connie Toops

This article is an excerpt, posted with permission, from the new Peterson Field Guides/Backyard Bird Guides ~ Hummingbirds and Butterflies by Bill Thompson III and Connie Toops © 2011

As you attract butterflies to your backyard, you may discover photography assists in their identification or enables you to share their beauty with others. Patience and willingness to experiment can result in stunning butterfly images. To master butterfly photography, you’ll need reliable equipment and you’ll want to perfect techniques that insure great photos.

Simple Equipment

Excellent digital “point-and-shoot” cameras are currently available at very reasonable prices. Standard features now would have been unimaginable to professional photographers only a decade ago.  A versatile digital model in the $250 to $500 price range should fulfill the needs of most casual butterfly photographers. Digital cameras record their images on small memory cards that are ultimately downloaded into computers for editing and printing. If you plan to travel widely as you photograph, you may need an extra memory card or a portable storage device to hold large numbers of images until you can process them.

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