Photography

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Jordan is a land of mind-blowing scenery and iconic historical sites. This spring for the first time, a group of intrepid paramotor pilots were invited by the Aqaba Tourism Directorate to explore these landscapes and ancient ruins from the air. Thanks to cooperation from the Royal Aero Sports Club of Jordan, these minimal flying machines were able to fly closer than any other manned aircraft before to the vertiginous topography and unique history of this desert Kingdom. With potentially dangerous conditions and challenging landscapes, the flights required careful planning and patience but when it all came together, the pilots were rewarded with the experience of a lifetime.

After sleeping under the stars, the team woke before first light to prepare their equipment and get airbourne before the intense desert heat made the air too lively for safe flights. The adventure took them first to the incredible rock formations of Wadi Rum, which stood in for Mars in the film The Martian starring Matt Damon, as well as being the setting for Lawrence of Arabia. Here the pilots negotiated towering rock outcrops and ravines before sampling the legendary Bedouin hospitality. Further north, the team had the privilege of flying the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Petra, once a thriving city in the desert with elaborate temples and an amphitheatre all hewn from bedrock. After passing over the mountains at 5000ft, they descended to the Dead Sea where they rounded off the adventure skimming over the salty waters at sunset 1000ft below sea level.

About the photographer

Fergus Kennedy is a marine biologist, photographer, and film-maker, and an experienced multi-rotor pilot and camera operator. Through his company, Skylark Aerial Imaging, he provides aerial video, still photography, and 3D modelling services to clients including the BBC, ITV, ABC Television, Canon Europe, Toyota, Nissan, Love Productions (Fergus is responsible for the intro sequence for the Great British Bake Off), WWF, and the Royal Navy. His first book Drone Photography Masterclass was published by Ammonite Press in 2017 and he is a judge for the Outdoor Photographer of the Year competition. This autumn he serves as consultant editor on the new book Masters of Drone Photography which will bring together an amazing collection of drone photographers from around the world and share their secrets on how they achieve such wonderous photos.

Skylark Aerial Imaging www.skylarkaerialimaging.com
Drone Photography Masterclass www.thegmcgroup.com
Ammonite Press www.ammonitepress.com
Outdoor Photographer of the Year www.opoty.co.uk

From the lofty heights of a sea plane one is privy to a different view—where natures colours bleed out in rich and varied hues, like roots of a tree.

The image above and those below are part of a dynamic exhibit by Tony Hewitt and Denis Glennon AO, entitled: Girt by Sea, launched today by Canon Australia.

The unique showcase comprises a stunning collection of 100 large-format aerial images of our coastline captured and reproduced in rich detail and displayed on a scale as bold as the voyage to capture them. Australian Foreign Minister Hon Julie Bishop MP will officially open the exhibition tomorrow at Paddington Town Hall, with the doors opening free of charge to the public from Saturday 16 June until Wednesday 27 June, 10am–6pm daily.

“Girt by Sea the latest in a series of major collaborations for Canon locally and we’re extremely proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together with some of the most creative minds in Australia,” says Canon Australia’s Director of Consumer Imaging, Jason McLean. “It’s great that Tony and Denis approached Canon with Tony’s vision because the scope and purpose of this audacious project was immediately appealing. We’re proud of our products, but ultimately we’re known for what people like Tony and Denis do with them – and I think we all agree that they’ve done something very special indeed.”

Tony Hewitt comments on the collaboration: “As Helen Keller famously said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’. It had always been my dream to create a project on the scale of what we’re unveiling today and I am sincerely grateful to Canon Australia for their confidence in us and their support and sponsorship of the adventure.”

Fuelled by the spirit of curiosity, the gregarious duo of explorers took to the skies on an adventure to fulfil a childhood dream.

The Dream: Since his school days singing Advance Australia Fair in assembly, Tony Hewitt was fascinated by the curious expression ‘girt by sea’. Years later as an acclaimed photographer, ‘girt by sea’ became the metaphor for an epic Australian adventure: to circumnavigate Australia’s coastline by air in one 31-day trip, capture it in stunning detail and bring new meaning to those three words. Tony shared his dream with close friend and accomplished photographer Denis Glennon AO, and the pair decided to make the dream a reality.

“I knew that only a privileged few had explored Australia’s breathtaking coastline to any significant degree from the air. So, I got to wondering what an adventure it would be to experience all of it in one go; to capture and reveal its magical, ever-changing beauty,” says Tony Hewitt. “Girt by Sea started as an ambitious dream and now it’s a lived experience. More than that, the collection means that we can now hold the understanding of those three words in our hands.”

The journey of discovery: Commencing and finishing at Jandakot Airport, Western Australia, the voyage took an anticlockwise flight path allowing both photographers to shoot simultaneously through front and rear portside windows of the Cessna 210 light aircraft, which generally tracked just off the coast.

“This was never a documentary trip; it was a voyage of discovery akin to the explorers of old,” says Denis Glennon. “There’s lots of planning and preparation with a trip of this scale but ultimately it’s instinct and curiosity that led to us taking the images in our collection. We had an expectation of what we might see courtesy of Google Earth, but what we actually saw when we got there blew us out of our seats every time.”

The challenges: Following extensive research of historical weather patterns, especially for the more remote southern and northern regions, April was selected as the optimal time of the year to complete and aerial circumnavigation of the coastline in one go. The decision proved a good one and the pre-planned schedule was adhered to, despite challenging weather on several days.

“We had to complete the trip in 31 days so planning had to account for the journey and photography time and we had to provide the pilots with the way points ahead of each leg. We could delay take-off or get out early but we had to stick to time,” says Tony Hewitt. “Planning can get you so far but we had to constantly account for variables such as tides, weather conditions and just the unexpected marvels that we would find when we were faced with a location for the first time.”

The Collection: “The collection expresses what Girt by Sea means to us – it’s the emotional response to what we saw a point in time captured in beautiful, large-format images,” says Denis Glennon. “It’s the result of our daily decision to focus on what we actually find, not on what we expect to find – that’s the spirit of exploration!”

“I hope people share the same emotional response of ‘Wow – look at that!’ that we did when we encountered these places,” says Tony Hewitt. “It doesn’t really matter where it is. What is so striking is the texture, colour, and shape of our coastline. We have in our minds a hard line dividing land from sea, but it’s actually a much more fluid transition.

Images are available for purchase framed and unframed online and at the venue.

Experience ‘Girt by Sea’…

Location: Paddington Town Hall, 249 Oxford Street Paddington, NSW 2021
Exhibition dates: Saturday 16 June – Wednesday 27 June 10am-6pm
Entry: Free of Charge

Hosted by Mitch Stringer, join Art on his many trips around the world—or to his own back yard. With audio recorded on location, gain insight into the concepts and places integral to Art’s workshops, seminars, and other events.

Legendary nature photographer, Art Wolfe, explores the visual highlights of Namibia in this episode of ‘Where’s Art?’. The series of short videos, feature a montage of Art’s latest images and insider location advise—a great primer for scouting locations, planning and inspiring your next photographic adventure!

Over the course of his 40-year career, photographer Art Wolfe has worked on every continent and in hundreds of locations. Wolfe’s photographs are recognized throughout the world for their mastery of color, composition and perspective. Wolfe’s photographic mission is multi-faceted: art, wildlife advocacy, education, and journalism inform his work.

Wolfe is the host of the award-winning television series Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge, an intimate and upbeat series that offers insights on nature, culture, and the realm of digital photography. It now airs worldwide.

Wolfe has released over eighty books, including Earth Is My Witness, The Art of the Photograph, Vanishing Act, Human Canvas, and The Living Wild. His photos have appeared in magazines worldwide, including National Geographic, Smithsonian, Stern, GEO, and Terre Sauvage.

Education is a major component of Wolfe’s work, whether it is about the environment or about photography. He leads photographic tours and gives seminars worldwide.

Along with his numerous book and television awards, Wolfe is the proud recipient of the Nature’s Best Photographer of the Year Award, the North American Nature Photography Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers

Wolfe maintains his online gallery, stock agency, and production company in Seattle, Washington.

Brent Stirton sees his camera and craft as a ‘license to look’—with genuine interest and curiosity for people, he seeks the stories which challenge our view of the world. Winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2017, his coverage of rhino poaching in South Africa impressed judges as both gritty and graceful. In this issue, Brent talks candidly with BE Journal about the unvarnished side of photojournalism, and explains why he is committed to creating confronting images that are beautiful to look at. We also discuss his policy on principled photography, the value of celebrating good people through social media, and the importance of supporting effective conservation through informed advocacy.

We also explore a new UK initiative, Back from the Brink, aimed at sparking interest in local wildlife. The project reminding us that endangered wildlife exists within our own neighborhoods. RSPB Photographer, Simon Roy, loves exploring his garden for images of timid and tiny things and shows us life in places we don’t think to look… under bramble, in a boot, amongst moss and mushrooms live chubby and cheerful bank voles. Inside a chestnut, on a clothes line, atop a garden fork, or bottom’s-up in a yogurt pot you will find doting owls, naughty squirrels, and nesting frogs.

In our biggest issue ever, we present a Showcase of Visual Storytelling—from miniature wonders in the garden, to monstrous discoveries beneath the ice. Exploring the Arctic with Art Wolfe, learning about Sacred Nature with Jonathan and Angela Scott, and meeting Ken Drakes ‘Animal Beings’.

As Art Wolfe says, Explore. Create. Inspire.

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Lume Cube, creator of The World’s Most Versatile Light, brought some of the world’s greatest athletes to Interlaken, Switzerland to step out of their comfort zones and into the night. Watch Jamie O’Brien, Sean “Poopies” McInerney, Austin Keen, Nick Jacobsen, Kalani Chapman, Kaikea Elias and more do some of the most insane adventure sports up in the Swiss Alps, all in the middle of the night with 250 LUME CUBES!

Create by Night @LumeCube, lumecube.com