Great Blue Heron Swallowing a Fish by Todd Henson

Great Blue Herons are experts at fishing, and they can consume fish you’d think were far too large to fit down their throat. The sequence below shows a Great Blue Heron swallowing what is, admittedly, a small fish. This heron was fishing in a local wetlands park not far from the boardwalk, completely oblivious to the people watching and photographing.

Take a close look at the first photo. Notice how the heron’s eye looks very milky, especially towards the upper right? That’s the bird’s nictitating membrane, an extra eyelid birds have that helps them clean and protect their eyes while still being able to see. It likely closed its nictitating membranes when it plunged its head into the water to catch the fish.

Be sure to click on any of the photographs for a larger view.

And just over 5 seconds later the Great Blue Heron is ready to begin fishing again.

Satisfied with its catch the Great Blue Heron goes back to fishing.


Earth Is My Witness: The Photography of Art Wolfe by Todd Henson

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Earth Is My Witness: The Photography of Art Wolfe is one of the most stunning books of photography I own, and is by far the best collection of Art Wolfe’s photography I’ve ever seen. I love this book!

The book is 396 pages, most of which are full of photographs. There are full page photos, pages with two photos per page, full bleed photos that stretch across two pages, and pages that unfold with multiple photos per page.

The book is organized by types of environments, containing the following sections:

  • Introduction by Wade Davis

  • Mountain

  • Polar - Subpolar

  • Desert - Savanna

  • Ocean - Island

  • Tropical - Subtropical

  • Afterword

  • Photo Notes

  • Acknowledgements

Each photography section has an introduction where Art talks about those environments and his experiences photographing in them. It’s always great reading these kinds of intros, getting to learn more about Art, his history, his photography, and the peoples, places, and locations he has visited and photographed. But as great as these introductions are, the focus of this book is definitely on the photography, with page after page of large, bold, vivid photographs.

The particular edition I own is the original large fine art edition from 2014. It measures 11 x 14 inches and is 1.5 inches thick. In October 2017 there will be a smaller edition measuring 5.8 x 12.2 inches and also 1.5 inches thick. Both editions are 396 pages in length.

The large edition has some of the most saturated colors I’ve ever seen in a printed book. It’s almost like a book full of inkjet prints instead of the typical books of photography I’m used to. Don’t get me wrong, I love all my other books of photography, but this one just seems far more punchy, more vivid, more alive.

According to Art Wolfe’s website the large edition used a new color reproduction technique called Chroma Centric, which it says is eight times more precise than standard offset printing, and enhances the color gamut by more than 25 percent. And I certainly can see the difference in many of the photographs. I would love to see more books use this printing technique.

Earth Is My Witness would be a great book for anyone who loves nature, travel, wildlife, landscapes, and photography of indigenous peoples. And for any fan of Art Wolfe’s photography. It has become one of my favorite books of photography and one I’m very happy to have in my collection.


Large Format Edition:

Regular Format Edition:

Earth Is My Witness
$40.31
By Art Wolfe

2017 Great Falls Race: Classic Race Winning Run by Todd Henson

Geoff Calhoun won the Classic race and was the overall race winner in the 2017 Great Falls Race, part of the annual Potomac River Festival. This is a whitewater event where kayakers and canoeists from all over congregate in the Washington, D.C. area to run some of the amazing Class V rapids along the Potomac River. The Classic race is a race for speed that in 2017 was run along the Virginia lines, which included the features: U-Hole, S-Turn, and the Spout.

Great Falls on the Potomac River showing major features. The 2017 race ran the Virginia lines.

Below are a sequence of photographs I captured showing Geoff Calhoun during his downriver final. Click on any of the photos for a larger view.

U-Hole

The race began just above U-Hole. Watch as his kayak dips down after going over that first rapid. You can see one of the suspended poles that was used during the slalom event, but it has now been raised up out of the way of the racers. Also notice all the crew and fellow racers along the rocks, most tethered to the rocks.

S-Turn

With U-Hole behind him, Geoff maneuvers his way into S-Turn, taking it from the top for a fast run straight through. He runs a line very close to the rocks on the left side before almost completely disappearing in the center of the turn. After emerging from S-Turn he straightens himself out quickly to continue moving downriver. In a couple of the latter photos you can see another of the slalom poles suspected high over the river.

The Spout

The Spout is the last major feature of the race and is the tallest individual drop at around 20 feet. Geoff angles himself right into the heavy flow of water and flies over the waterfall. The heavy spray of water at the base of the fall almost completely obscures him and his kayak, with just his helmet and paddle visible. That’s when I lost sight of him. It was a short sprint from there to the finish line.

Geoff Calhoun won the race with a downriver final time of 53.89 seconds, bettering his qualifier run of 56.88 seconds.