Tom and Cree just finished their Chilkat Eagle Photography Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. They traveled with their group to the Chilkat Bald Eagle Preserve in Haines, Alaska to photograph more than 3000 eagles. Expect to see this trip again in 2026.
To see photos from our 2023 Chilkat Eagle Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
Tom’s recent portrait with the new Nikon Plena Lens from our Route 66 Workshop will be published in the next few weeks. Our two models from the photo shoot should be happy to hear this.
Interested in joining us in Alaska to photograph northern lights? Three spaces on our Northern Lights and Iditarod Workshop in March 2024 are open. Photograph Northern Lights from Talkeetna, Fairbanks and right outside the boundary of Denali National Park. We follow the Iditarod for three days and learn all about photographing sled dogs in action. We even fly out to one of the Iditarod checkpoints to get closer to the action. Learn more
If you are interested in travel and wildlife photography, we have just one space open up for our Orangutan and Volcanos in Indonesia Photo Tour. Learn more
We will be in Monument Valley scouting for future trips for the next week. We already have a record 35 people on the Interest List for this workshop. We are glad so many of you want to join us.
We hope you and your loved ones have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Tom and Cree just finished their Ecuador Cloud Forest Photo Tour and want to share the highlights with you. We used three different techniques to photograph hummingbirds and were dazzled by the variety of large and small perching birds. The trip was so successful that we are looking into a new session in 2025.
To see photos from our 2023 Ecuador Cloud Forest, check out our trip report, click here
Want to join us in Ecuador in 2025? We are considering adding a session from January 11-18. Send us a note if you are interested, contact us here.
Drop in on our Image Celebration tonight, August 10 at 5 pm Denver time to see work created on our workshops during the last 4 months. Send us a quick note to get the Zoom link: send us a note.
In August we will be out of the office for most of the month. We will be canoeing on the Green River through Canyonlands and in Arctic Alaska, scouting and working on material for Nikon. The best way to contact us will be through email, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tom and Cree just finished their Arizona Hummingbirds Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. The birds were very active both during summer temperatures and just after the evening monsoon rains. It was great to be at the Santa Rita Lodge again, with beautiful light in Madera Canyon and a visit or two from the local coati.
To see photos from our 2023 Arizona Hummingbirds, check out our trip report, click here
Our next bird workshop opening is Texas Birds in Spring and there are 3 spaces available: click here
We are on their way to Ecuador for the Ecuador Cloud Forest. They will be photographing beautiful hummingbirds, tanagers and toucanets in the misty jungle. If you would like to join us for a future Ecuador Cloud Forest Workshop, join the interest list or ask to be on the waitlist for 2024, contact us here.
In August we will be out of the office for most of the month. We will be canoeing on the Green River through Canyonlands and scouting a fall workshop in Arctic Alaska. The best way to contact us will be through email.
Tom and Cree just finished their Brown Bears of Lake Clark Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. Spring cubs and roosting puffins were the highlights this year. Cold wet weather meant we had diffuse light for the trip and the bears stayed active all day. This is a great workshop for photographers interested in both bears and puffin, with very little walking to get to either.
To see photos from our 2023 Brown Bears of Lake Clark Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images by selecting a Photo of the Month. For June we chose an image taken on the Tanzania Photo Workshop with Strabo Photo Tours created by Joan Carroll. Joan is a well-rounded travel and outdoor photographer. She regularly sells her work through Fine Art America. Check out her numerous online galleries for FAA. We hope you enjoy Joan’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to June 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Joan Carroll
We pulled up to the spot and I do not remember which vehicle got there first. It was a pretty amazing scene.
I went back and forth between shooting the 800 mm lens to get a close up view of the animal leaping into the water, and using the 100-400 mm lens to get a wider view of the scene. I really liked the environmental view with animals in both the foreground and the background.
I am a fan of the environmental view. A close portrait of an animal is fantastic. But putting it in the environment gives it a sense of place and is really important.
I was looking at the photos of this scene. I must have 1000 images of it. At the end of the series a crocodile took down one of the wildebeest and stopped the action. Before that, the wildebeest were slipping in from the side of the pool and leaping over the top of each other.
When I looked back on the series of images, I could see the crocodile lurking in the scene, just waiting for the right moment. This made me wonder if the wildebeest knew it was there. Were they swimming for their lives. Animals are smarter than we think. Did they have the awareness of the wildebeest all along?
All the dust and the whole environment….it’s not something there are really words for.
Of the 1000 images of this sequence, I chose the one where the wildebeest was leaping the highest. He leaped the highest but landed right by the shore where the crocodile was waiting.
Camera: Nikon Z9
Lens: 100-400mm at 240
Shutter Speed: 1/3200 sec
Shooting Mode: Manual with auto ISO
Exposure Comp +.67
About Photographing in Africa
Oh my gosh! The two trips to Africa have probably been the most exciting things I have done….ever.
It is so dynamic. It is always changing. It is not like a landscape where you have time to figure everything out and adjust your settings.
I’d still be stuck there if someone hadn’t said “Let’s move on.” I’d just keep shooting.
I’m paying for that now with 44,000 images from the trip. I was going to be more mindful of how many photos I took this time. But when I got to the Serengeti, all bets were off!
Joan’s Tips for Wildlife Photography
I don’t consider myself any kind of expert.
Stand next to Tom and Cree and do what they do. Keep your ears open for tips and re-evaluate what you are doing.
Be aware of the whole scene and what the possibilities are. Pay attention to the flow of what’s going on. Have global awareness.
Have all the right equipment, batteries and cards.
Get a lot of rest. Be ready to go for every shooting session. I was there to photograph animals and do as much as I could. Know what you want out of a photo trip.
On Joan’s Horizon:
Bears in Lake Clark National Park
Eagles in Chilkat, Alaska
Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falklands
My all time favorite trip was to the Canadian Arctic. We landed at Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island and took a sledge out onto the ice to go ice diving. The silence was incredible.
Tom has been doing workshops for Strabo Photo Tours for decades. He likes how trips are well organized and cater to photographer’s needs. Tom and Cree currently do at least one trip per year with Strabo.
At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For May we chose an image from our Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop created by Nancy Lehrer. Nancy is primarily a street photographer. She signed up for this workshop to learn more about wildlife and bird photography. We hope you enjoy Nancy’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to May 2023 ‘s featured photographer – Nancy Lehrer
We were heading towards an alligator on the boat. I heard Tom yell, “Look at the light, look at the light.”
In that part of the swamp there was less moss. It seemed like there were two parts to the swamp. There were light green, mossy parts and then there were these dark green and brown parts. When we arrived in this spot I had not seen the dark green part before.
I was trying to get the reflections and the floating algae. I shot about 20 frames, but the focus wasn’t right. I focused on the reflection and not on the plants. I decided to try a wider angle lens instead. I grabbed my 24-105 mm lens. I wanted to capture the feeling of a bowl. Wide angle images give more of a fisheye feeling. I wanted the feeling of a lake in front of the trees.
I didn’t put the tops of the trees in the image because they are in the sun light. It would be too much contrast with the understory. By focusing on the reflection, the viewer can see the sky in the reflection on the water. I also wanted to capture the side lighting that brought out the yellow tones on the trees
Camera: Sony A7 R5
Lens: 24-105mm f4
Shutter Speed: 1/125 sec
Shooting Mode: Aperture Priority
Shot at 30mm, handheld
About Photographing in Louisiana’s Swamps
I am really not a wildlife or landscape photographer. I found that photographing in the swamp was very much like doing street photography. The actors were the animals. We were gliding on the boat like I’d be walking down the street, very slowly.
It was very peaceful in the swamp. The animals were in their habitat. I found myself just looking around for animals, birds, turtles, alligators.
Nancy’s Tips for Bird Photography
Get a camera that has really good Auto Focus. I rented a Sony A7 R5 for this trip and it made a big difference.
Using a monopod really helped me be stable. It meant I didn’t have to worry about fatigue. I practiced with it at home on the birds in the backyard.
Be a good motion detector. Look for motion and then follow the bird.
Look for birds that are stationary and getting ready to take off. That’s the only way I can count on getting birds in flight.
Connect the bird to the landscape. It’s just like street photography. The background should tell a story.
Watch the behaviors. Keep shooting different behaviors and decide later which is the best image.
On Nancy’s Horizon:
Hokkaido, Japan for fishing villages and the Ice festival
Iditarod in Alaska
The Silk Road in China
Anywhere in eastern Europe: Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Hungary, Czech Republique
Where are Tom and Cree?
We are headed to Africa to photograph in Tanzania for two weeks. Then it’s up to Alaska for our annual Brown Bears at Summer Solstice trip. We have space for 1 male photographer if you’d like to join us from June 18-23. We’ll be photographing brown bears with cubs in Lake Clark National Park. Click here for more information.
We’ll be posting photos from these two trips on Instragram @tombolphoto and Facebook. We’d love to see your photos on our Photos for Inspiration TBPW Facebook Page.
Tom and Cree just finished their Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. The birds and alligators in the swamp were abundant and the flat bottom boats made it very easy to get up close for photography. This is a great workshop for both landscape and wildlife photographers, with very little walking.
To learn more about our Louisiana Birds and Bayous Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
Tom and Cree just finished their Texas Birds in Spring Workshop and want to share the highlights with you. With plenty of rain in April, south Texas was covered in yellow wildflowers. this year. This made for spectacular backgrounds for colorful birds coming in to the 2 bird blind ranches. Cree and Tom are on their way to the Bayous of Louisiana next.
To learn more about our Texas Birds in Spring Workshop, check out our trip report, click here
At Tom Bol Photo Workshops, we celebrate great images created on our workshops by selecting a Photo of the Month. For December we chose an image from our Patagonia Photo Workshop created by Greg Ness. Greg has photographed wildlife in Patagonia several times and was delighted with his condor encounter on this trip. We hope you enjoy Greg’s images as much as we do!
Congratulations to December 2022 ‘s featured photographer – Greg Ness
It was humorous. When we arrived on scene we looked like a cautious infantry unit. Everyone took 5 steps forward. Then everyone took 5 more steps. The condor was eye balling us the whole time. It must have been thinking, “What are they doing?”
I was using the Sony A1 because I was hoping for a flight shot. I figured if he did fly it would be a very quick shot. I got a couple of decent flight shots but they were kind of at an angle that did not show off his wings.
I loved the bird just sitting there. What an interesting face. You have to ask yourself, what is it about that bird? A face that could stop a truck. Why is it designed like that. I am sure bird experts have some interesting theories on that. I wanted to show the interesting features.
The light was just right. We had intermittent sunshine. It illuminated the grass right in front of the bird. This made for a nice counterpoint to the dark body of the bird.
I would like to know why it sat there as long as it did. It must have been eating something.
After I got home I did some research. The condor is the biggest flying bird in the world if you combine wingspan (up to 10 ft) and weight (up to 30 pounds). We saw them all over the place. With the Patagonian winds they barely have to flap their wings to take off.
Sony AI Sony 200-600 mm f5-6.3 lens at 600 mm
ISO 500 1/2000 sec f6.3
Aperture Priority Mode
Exposure compensation -.03
About Photographing in Patagonia
One of the things that intrigued me about Patagonia is its ties to our past. Anyone who lives in Colorado asks themselves, wouldn’t it be fun to transport yourself back to the Old West. Some one described Patagonia as being like the Old West – large plains, mountain ranges, dramatic weather.
It’s big and wild there. It’s also hard to get to a lot of the places. It keeps the majority of the tourists out. You have to work for photographs in Patagonia. Even if you get to the locations, you can spend days trying to get a picture of Fitzroy or El Chalten and never see it.
This means you have to have patience. The last day we were in Torres del Paine. The calm waters were incredible. How many people have seen that before?
Greg’s Tips for Photographing in Patagonia
Tip 1: I took two rented lenses. This was not a great idea. Know your lenses and know your camera equipment really well. If Marcos is sprinting across the pond on his horse, you may only get one shot of it.
Zoom lenses are really valuable to have. A condor is sitting on the ground, but it could fly at any minute. My suggestions are: 100-500mm and 70-200 and 24-70mm. Take two bodies: anything could happen.
Tip 2: The weather was like last time. It would almost knock you over one day and the next day, no wind. Shoot a lot on the good days. Consider black and white for the cloudy days.
Tip 3: I liked using black and white for the gaucho photos. It fits with the idea of a hard to get to place that is almost lost in time. It has not changed that much in the last 9 years. But it will slowly change.
On Greg’s Horizon:
Wanaka in New Zealand
Lofoten in Norway – want to return for hiking
Arizona for a month – both hiking and photography
Polar regions -Greenland, Iceland
Cruise to Northern Greenland
Madeira in Spain
Few spots left: Masking Made Easy: Online Editing Class. Brush up on your editing skills and learn how to use new masking features in either PhotoShop or Lightroom as well as older features like luminosity masks. Click here to learn more.
Few Spots Left: Old Car City Workshop from March 30-April 2, 2023. Photograph classic cars in the Georgia hardwoods. Learn about speed lights for creative effect. Click here to read more.
Where are Tom and Cree?
We are just back from a personal trip to Jackson, Wyoming. We photographed Great Gray Owls, Moose and Coyotes and had a splendid ski in front of the Tetons on New Years Day.
We hope you have a wonderful 2023 and find plenty of time to take photos. Thanks for reading our posts!