Landscape photography. King penguins and elephant seals share the beach on Gold Harbor, South Georgia Island

Antarctica Photography Gallery


Towards the end of 2021, I had the privilege of joining Lindblad Expedition’s voyage to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands. To make the journey even more eventful, Lindblad planned to have their ship the ‘National Geographic Endurance’ be within the path of totality in Antarctica during the total solar eclipse of 2021. All in all, it seemed like a phenomenal experience and the thought of possibly seeing a second total solar eclipse (weather permitting) was an absolute dream.

The following is a collection of some of my favorite landscape and wildlife photography shot while on Lindblad’s National Geographic Endurance over the course of three weeks.


We began our journey on the southern tip of South America leaving Ushuaia, Argentina and spent two days crossing the Drake Passage into the Antarctic Peninsula.

Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula

From the moment land was within sight, I could tell that Antarctica was not the flat, icy abyss that I grew up believing it was. I spent so much of my time outside on deck photographing the distant mountain ranges and icebergs as we made our way to various landing sights.

A large glacier meeting the ocean in Antarctica
A large glacier meeting the ocean in Antarctica
Unique ice formations found in a glacier in the Antarctic Peninsula
Unique ice formations found in a glacier in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of light rays breaking through a stormy sky over the Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of light rays breaking through a stormy sky over the Shetland Islands on the Antarctic Peninsula
Sea ice chunks float in the ocean on the Antarctic coastline
Landscape photography of ice floating on the Antarctic Peninsula's coastline

The goal with my photography has always been for the viewers of my work to feel a strong sense of admiration for the planet. I feel like most people picture Antarctica to be a flat sheet of ice and so to be able to share its dramatic mountains has been an incredible opportunity for me to further my mission. 

Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in Paradise Bay on the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula

I particularly enjoyed using my telephoto lens to focus on specific peaks and ridge-lines off in the distance. Even with just a short amount of time sailing, I found the various layers of the landscape began to shift and align with elements even further in the background. Needless to say, I spent quite a lot of time focusing on landscape photography from the deck.

Landscape photography of a mountain in Paradise Bay in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain in Paradise Bay in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a large Iceberg floating in the Antarctic sea at night
Landscape photography of a large Iceberg floating in the Antarctic sea at night
Abstract landscape photography of windswept snow patterns on a mountain in Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography of windswept snow patterns on a mountain in Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography closeup of an iceberg floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography closeup of an iceberg floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula
Landscape photography of sea birds flying amongst icebergs during sunset in Antarctica
Landscape photography of sea birds flying amongst icebergs during sunset in Antarctica

During our various landings on the Antarctic Peninsula, we were able to see many small colonies of adelie and gentoo penguins. My favorite was photographing the penguins as they swam.

A gentoo penguin walks in front of a glacier in Neko Harbor, Antarctica
A gentoo penguin walks in front of a glacier in Neko Harbor, Antarctica
Wildlife Photography of a weddell seal laying on a beach in Antartica
Wildlife Photography of a weddell seal laying on a beach in Antartica
A group of gentoo penguins swimming in the ocean
Wildlife photography of gentoo penguins swimming amongst the ice in Antarctica
Wildlife photography of gentoo penguins swimming amongst the ice in Antarctica
Photography of an adeli penguin standing on ice floating in the Weddell sea, Antarctica
Photography of an adeli penguin standing on ice floating in the Weddell sea, Antarctica
Wildlife photography of Adeli penguins jumping into the water from ice floating in the Weddell sea, Antarctica
Wildlife photography of Adeli penguins jumping into the water from ice floating in the Weddell sea, Antarctica

We proceeded to sail through the Scotia Sea from the South Orkney Islands towards South Georgia Island. After a week at sea with many landings and sleepless nights with 3:00AM sunrises, It felt good to have a bit of down time to relax on the ship and learn from Lindblad’s onboard naturalists. The next morning, we woke up to the most incredible view of South Georgia island’s mountains in the distance.

After a short zodiac ride, we stepped foot onto the shore of Gold Harbor, sharing the beach with countless king penguins and elephant seals. It didn’t take long for me to realize that this island paradise thriving with wildlife just might be the most beautiful place I will ever have the privilege of visiting.


Landscape photography. King penguins and elephant seals share the beach on Gold Harbor, South Georgia Island
King penguins and elephant seals share the beach on Gold Harbor, South Georgia Island
Wildlife photography of an elephant seal pup laying on a beach on South Georgia Island
Wildlife photography of an expressive elephant seal pup napping on a beach on the beach of Gold Harbor on South Georgia Island

The elephant seal pups were so fun to photograph! I loved how expressive they were as they rested on the beach amongst the king penguins. Surprisingly, I didn’t find myself taking quite as many photos as I might have in the past at a place like this. I really enjoyed observing them interact with the penguins and flop around.

Wildlife photography of two king penguins on a beach on South Georgia Island
Wildlife photography of two king penguins on a beach on South Georgia Island

The next day we took the zodiacs ashore to visit an even larger king penguin colony on South Georgia’s eastern side. After a short walk down the beach and a little further inland up into the hills, we made it to the colony. The view that followed was truly overwhelming.

Photography of a massive colony of king penguins at St Andrews Bay on South Georgia Island
Photography of a massive colony of king penguins at St Andrews Bay on South Georgia Island

It might be clear that I’m an extremely visual person and not much of a writer so I understand that what I’m about to say might not carry too much weight but it’s hard to describe what it was like to see a colony of this size for the first time. To be perfectly honest, I think that the past six years as a nature photographer I have grown somewhat used to incredible views. While I like to think I have an immense admiration for the world and can’t say I ever find myself feeling ‘jaded’ I  realized that what I was saw was completely unlike anything I have seen before or expected to see on this expedition.


The adult king penguins densely packed in with their chicks known as ‘Oakum boys’ felt so alien-like. The surrounding landscape seemed to be transformed into an alien planet as it was completely filled with penguins as far as the eye could see.

 

The king penguin colonies we saw on South Georgia ended up tying in perfectly with my ongoing passion project ‘Space to Roam‘ which features an astronaut exploring the ‘otherworldly’ on planet Earth. My girlfriend, Bailey joined me for the trip and wore the suit. With not much time ashore and wanting to take some time without the cameras, I quickly captured a few images of her wearing the astronaut suit with the alien-like colony behind her.


Conceptual photography of an astronaut standing in front of a massive colony of King Penguins on South Georgia Island, Antarctica. Part of Space to Roam by Andrew Studer
Photography of an astronaut standing in front of a massive colony of alien-like King Penguins on the otherworldly landscape of South Georgia Island near Antarctica.
Behind the scenes of photographer Andrew Studer and 'astronaut' Bailey O'Bar working on 'Space to Roam' on South Georgia Island at a large king penguin colony on St Andrew's Bay.
Behind the scenes of photographer Andrew Studer and 'astronaut' Bailey O'Bar working on 'Space to Roam' on South Georgia Island at a large king penguin colony on St Andrew's Bay.
Photography of an astronaut at a colony of alien-like King Penguins on the otherworldly landscape of South Georgia Island near Antarctica.
Photography of an astronaut at a colony of alien-like King Penguins on the otherworldly landscape of South Georgia Island near Antarctica. Part of 'Space to Roam.'
A large king penguin colony on South Georgia Island
A large king penguin colony on South Georgia Island

Leaving this colony on South Georgia Island was particularly difficult but incoming strong winds and a tight schedule pushed us to head back to the zodiacs and return to the National Geographic Endurance. Thankfully, the time spent transiting to various parts of the island for hiking and other sightseeing was constantly full of stunning views.

Landscape photography on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography of a glacier and foggy mountains on South Georgia Island
A large King Penguin Colony on the beaches of South Georgia Island
A large King Penguin Colony on the beaches of Salisbury Plains on South Georgia Island as viewed from Lindblad Expedition's National Geographic Endurance
Landscape photography of mountains on South Georgia Island during sunset
Landscape photography of mountains on South Georgia Island during sunset
Landscape photography of the mountains on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography of the mountains on South Georgia Island during sunset

On our final day on South Georgia Island, we lucked out with the most spectacular display of lenticular clouds all throughout the sky.

Landscape photography of the mountains on South Georgia Island during sunset
Landscape photography of the mountains on South Georgia Island during sunset
Lenticular clouds above the mountains on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography of lenticular clouds above the mountains on South Georgia Island near Antarctica

Later in the evening, more and more lenticular clouds had formed overhead and began catching beautiful warm color as the sun set. Watching the pancake stack-like clouds glow red above the dramatic mountain range made for one of the most unforgettable evenings ever.

Landscape photography of lenticular clouds during a beautiful and colorful sunset on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography of lenticular clouds during a beautiful and colorful sunset on South Georgia Island
Closeup of sea birds flying within colorful lenticular clouds at sunset on South Georgia Island
Closeup of sea birds flying within colorful lenticular clouds at sunset on South Georgia Island
Abstract photography of colorful lenticular clouds reflecting in the water
Abstract photography of colorful lenticular clouds reflecting in the water

This incredible sunset was the perfect way to wrap up our time on South Georgia Island as we sailed west through the Scotia sea towards the Falkland Islands and in search of clear skies for the total solar eclipse. The next two days would be spent at sea with our excitement levels growing for the eclipse.


After a night of researching weather maps, the captain and crew steered the National Geographic Endurance into a clear patch of sky for the highlight of the week. We woke up early at 4:00 am to see the total solar eclipse. At first, we had our hopes up because of the clear sky as dawn lightened. However, a cloud bank approached us, threatened our hoped-for view of the eclipse at sunrise. So, the ship turned around and started cruising away from the clouds. Then it happened: the sun rose at sunrise during the total solar eclipse!

The sun rises over the Antarctic sea eclipsed by the moon on December 4 2021
The sun rises over the Antarctic sea eclipsed by the moon on December 4 2021

At first, we saw a crescent-shaped sun rise since the sun was mostly blocked by the moon’s shadow.

Photography of the total solar eclipse occurring just above the horizon over the ocean during sunrise in Antarctica on December 6 2021
Photography of the total solar eclipse occurring just above the horizon over the ocean during sunrise in Antarctica on December 4 2021

Within just a few short minutes, the moon began to block even more of the sun and before we knew it, totality had begun! Seeing the warm orange glow of the sunlight flare out from behind the moon was such an incredible sight. I shot a few photos but proceeded to enjoy the next minute of totality without a camera in my face like back when I photographed a rock climber within the 2017 total solar eclipse.


Photography of the total solar eclipse occurring just above the horizon over the ocean during sunrise in Antarctica on December 4 2021
Photography of the total solar eclipse occurring just above the horizon over the ocean during sunrise in Antarctica on December 4 2021
Photography of the total solar eclipse occurring just above the horizon over the ocean during sunrise in Antarctica on December 4 2021
Photography of a total solar eclipse coming to an end while just above the horizon over the ocean during sunrise in Antarctica on December 4 2021

As it turns out, we may have been some of only three hundred or so people on earth to have witnessed the total solar eclipse of 2021 because of how cloudy most areas were.

The Moon’s shadow on the Earth taken by the camera on board the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Image courtesy of NASA
The Moon’s shadow on the Earth taken by the camera on board the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR). Image courtesy of NASA

I feel so fortunate to have seen totality for the second time and owe it all to eclipse chaser Jay Andersen and the captain and crew of the National Geographic Endurance for putting us where we needed to be in order to see it without clouds impeding on our view. As you can see from the image above, it was quite cloudy out throughout the path of totality but thanks to careful planning and a decent amount of luck, we were able to make our way into a spot with a sliver of clear sky on the horizon to witness totality. Moments after totality occurred, the sun gradually disappeared yet again but this time into the cloud layer that was just above the horizon.


Energy running high after witnessing the total solar eclipse, we spent the rest of the day at sea as we sailed for the Falkland islands: an island paradise of southern rockhopper penguins, Magellanic penguins and albatross colonies.

Wildlife photography of an albatross flying back to it's nest on Steeple Jason Island on the Falkland Islands.
Wildlife photography of a black-browed albatross flying back to it's nest on Steeple Jason Island on the Falkland Islands.

We did several landings to see the various colonies but my favorite from the Falklands was visiting Steeple Jason Island, home to the largest colony of black-browed albatross on earth with over 180,000 mating pairs calling it home.

Wildlife photography of a large colony of nesting albatross on Steeple Jason Island in the Shetland Islands
Wildlife photography of a large colony of nesting albatross on Steeple Jason Island in the Shetland Islands
A black-browed albatross flying back to it's nest on Steeple Jason Island, Falklands
A black-browed albatross flying back to it's nest on Steeple Jason Island, Falklands

I spent some time photographing the black-browed albatross return to their nests. It was incredible to watch them in action and hear a ‘whoosh’ as they flew in to land.

Wildlife photography of a newborn gentoo penguin chick at its nest on the Falkland Islands
Wildlife photography of a newborn gentoo penguin chick at its nest on the Falkland Islands
Wildlife photography of a dolphin gull flying on a beach at the Falkland Islands
Wildlife photography of a dolphin gull flying on a beach at the Falkland Islands
Agentoo penguins return to shore on the Falkland Islands
A gentoo penguin returns to shore on the Falkland Islands
Two gentoo penguins return to shore on the Falkland Islands
Two gentoo penguins return to shore on the Falkland Islands

I also enjoyed capturing penguins as they returned ashore from being out in the ocean. I loved the way they awkwardly transitioned from swimming to walking, splashing about.


I think I speak for everyone on our voyage when I say that we went into it thinking that the total solar eclipse would be the highlight of what we would see. When I made it home and really took the time to reflect on the past three weeks, I found that the journey consisted of so many more ‘moments of totality’ than the actual total solar eclipse itself….moments I feel so incredibly grateful to have experienced.

Landscape photography of a mountain near Neko Harbor in the Antarctic Peninsula
Photography of a massive colony of king penguins at St Andrews Bay on South Georgia Island
Landscape photography of lenticular clouds during a beautiful and colorful sunset on South Georgia Island

When all was said and done, seeing mountain peaks towering above an ocean filled with icebergs, a colony of over 150,000 king penguins packed together and a sky filled with colorful lenticular clouds at sunset over the mountains were my ‘moments of totality’ and grew my admiration for our beautiful planet even more.


A collection of cinematic scenic footage taken on Antarctica and South Georgia island.

Sea ice chunks float in the ocean on the Antarctic coastline

Abstract Landscape Photography

Whether viewing from high above in an airplane or up close with a macro lens, beautiful abstract patterns are found everywhere within landscape photography. One of my favorite ‘techniques’ or ‘exercises’ to keep inspired and in a creative headspace is to keep an eye out for visually abstract patterns while I am photographing in nature. It has become a fun way to challenge myself creatively and push myself to capture what I feel are unique images.

Abstract landscape photography of clouds reflecting in the ocean
Abstract landscape photography of clouds reflecting in the ocean
Aerial landscape photography of Factory Butte in Southern Utah shot with a drone
Aerial landscape photography of a desert shot in Southern Utah in America's Southwest with a drone.
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica
Abstract photography of a massive king penguin colony on South Georgia Island near Antarctica

These two abstract images of a large king penguin colony on South Georgia Island were completely unexpected. I shot these using a telephoto lens to compress the penguins together and let the repetition in their bodies be the abstract pattern.

Abstract landscape photography of patterns found in the sand on the Oregon Coast
Abstract landscape photography of patterns found in the sand on the Oregon Coast
Aerial photography of Iceland's braided rivers and glacial streams
Aerial photography of Iceland's braided rivers and lahar glacial streams
Abstract nature photography closeup of bear fur blue
Abstract nature photography closeup of bear fur

One of my favorite abstract landscape photography images I’ve shot is of Iceland’s glacial streams from high above in an airplane. As the glacial melt flows out into various streams, they become braided and create the most intricate patterns I’ve ever seen. Several years after photographing the glacial streams in Iceland, I shot a closeup photo of a bear’s fur. I like sharing these images side by side because to me, they have a very similar pattern and the bear’s fur is hard to recognize at first.

Abstract landscape photography of windswept snow patterns on a mountain in Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography of windswept snow patterns on a mountain in Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography looking down on a cluster of ferns and other plants in the forest
Abstract landscape photography looking down on a cluster of ferns and other plants in the forest
Landscape photography of abstract patterns found in a frozen creek on Mount Rainier in the winter
Landscape photography of abstract patterns found in a frozen creek on Mount Rainier in the winter
Abstract landscape photography of sea foam washed ashore on the Oregon Coast
Abstract landscape photography of sea foam washed ashore on the Oregon Coast
Abstract photography of patterns found on tree bark
Abstract photography of patterns found on tree bark
Abstract landscape photography of a glacier in Neko, Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography of a glacier in Neko, Antarctica
Abstract landscape photography closeup of an iceberg floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography closeup of an iceberg floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography of windblown patterns in a sand dune.
Abstract landscape photography of windblown patterns in a sand dune.
Abstract landscape photography of ice floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Abstract landscape photography of ice floating in the ocean in the Antarctic Peninsula
Sea ice chunks float in the ocean on the Antarctic coastline
Landscape photography of ice floating on the Antarctic Peninsula's coastline
Closeup macro photography of bubbles inside a frozen lake in Iceland
Closeup macro photography of bubbles inside a frozen lake in Iceland
Unique ice formations found in a glacier in the Antarctic Peninsula
Unique ice formations found in a glacier in the Antarctic Peninsula
Behind the scenes photography of Andrew Studer photographing abstract details in the sand on the Oregon Coast. Photo by Khalifa Al Misnad on assignment for Qatar Museum's 'Year of Culture'
Behind the scenes photography of Andrew Studer photographing abstract details in the sand on the Oregon Coast. Photo by Khalifa Al Misnad on assignment for Qatar Museum's 'Year of Culture'

Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple at Vrindivan, India

Holi Festival India Photography

Just before returning home from Bhutan this past March, I made a personal stop in India. Somehow or another I got incredibly lucky as my project with MyBhutan wrapped up just as the famous Holi Festival of Colors had begun.

Experiencing and photographing the festival had always been on my bucket list.

Portrait photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival of Colors in Vrindivan, India
Travel Portrait photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival of Colors in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street Photography of an elderly man during sunset in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival of colors
Street Photography of an elderly man during sunset in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival of colors
Street photography of a man throwing a bucket of water at someone in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a man throwing a bucket of water at someone in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of children dancing and celebrating the holi festival while covered in colorful powder during the holi festival of colors in Mathura, India
Street photography of children dancing and celebrating the holi festival while covered in colorful powder in Mathura, India
Street portrait photography of children covered in colorful Holi powder during the holi festival of colors in Mathura, India
Street portrait photography of children celebrating the holi festival while covered in colorful powder during the holi festival of colors in Mathura, India
Street photography of a young boy celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as a beam of light shines onto his face
Street photography of a young boy celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as a beam of light shines onto his face
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street Portrait Photography of an elderly man in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival. He has color on his face and in his beard
Travel Portrait Photography of an elderly man in Mathura, India during the Holi Festival.
Street photography of a young boy throwing a bucket of water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a young boy throwing a bucket of water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a girl throwing a bucket of colorful water at a man in the streets of Vrindavan, India during the Holi Festival
Street photography of a girl throwing a bucket of colorful water at a man in the streets of Vrindavan, India during the Holi Festival
Street photography of a young girl spraying people with water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Street photography of a young girl spraying people with water in the streets during the Holi Festival in Vrindavan, India
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Mathura Streets during the 2020 Holi Festival in India
People watching the Holi Festival from windows in India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Gokul, India. The man has colorful holi powder all over his face and shirt
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Gokul, India. The man has colorful holi powder all over his face and shirt
Portrait photography of a man with colorful holi powder covering his face in the streets of Vrindivan, India during the Holi Festival of Colors 2020
Portrait photography of a man with colorful holi powder covering his face in the streets of Vrindivan, India during the Holi Festival of Colors 2020
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple at Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a man celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple at Vrindivan, India
Street photography of men celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India while covered in colorful powder
Street photography of men celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India while covered in colorful powder
Street Photography of a young girl on her father's shoulders celebrating the Holi Festival of colors in Vrindivan, India
Street Photography of a young girl on her father's shoulders celebrating the Holi Festival of colors in Vrindivan, India
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Children celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India 2020
Street photography of a joyful man celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as flower pedals fall from above
Street photography of a joyful man celebrating the Holi Festival in Vrindivan, India as flower pedals fall from above
Street photography of a boy celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a boy celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Street photography of a woman celebrating the Holi Festival in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Travel photography of a woman celebrating the Holi Festival of colors in a temple in Vrindivan, India
Andrew Studer photographing the Holi Festival from a balcony at a temple in Vrindavan. Photo by Paul V Harrison
Andrew Studer photographing the Holi Festival from a balcony at a temple in Vrindavan. Photo by Paul V Harrison
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang

Losar Festival Photography

A photography collection capturing Bhutan's Losar Celebration

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Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

Street Photography in India

A gallery of street photography shot in India

View Collection

Aerial landscape photography of Broken Top Mountain, North Sister and Mount Washington during sunrise in Central Oregon

Central Oregon Mountains Aerial Photography

After a successful aerial landscape photography photoshoot on Mount Hood at sunset, we flew east towards Central Oregon with plans to photograph the Cascade Mountain Range at sunrise and capture more images for Qatar Museum’s ‘Year of Culture’ assignment.

Over the years, I have spent a fair amount of time exploring and photographing the beautiful mountains near Bend, Oregon. Some of my favorite  memories over the past few summers were made adventuring throughout the Sisters Mountain Range, Broken Top, Three Finger Jack, Mt Washington as well as Mount Jefferson.

Seeing these mountains from above was truly a dream come true and helped me to fully appreciate more of the rugged wilderness that I’ve yet to explore on foot.

Aerial landscape photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon taken just before sunrise.
Aerial landscape photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon taken just before sunrise.

As we approached the mountain range, the pink band of the earth’s shadow began to appear and slowly reach the horizon marking the start of sunrise. I shot this wide aerial image of Broken Top Mountain in front of the Sisters Range with Mount Washington and Three Finger Jack in the distance. It’s incredible how many mountains fit into a single frame. After photographing this wide image, I quickly realized that using a telephoto lens and compressing the mountains together would be my preferred method for this shoot.

Shortly after putting on my 600mm lens, I realized that capturing closeups of the various mountains in front of each-other was something I had not seen done before. I was filled with inspiration to showcase the jagged peaks with other mountains in the distance.

Aerial landscape photography of Broken Top Mountain, North Sister and Mount Washington during sunrise in Central Oregon
Aerial landscape photography of Broken Top Mountain, North Sister and Mount Washington during sunrise in Central Oregon

As the sun began to rise. we flew towards Broken Top Mountain’s western face and I noticed the sunlight striking the mountain particularly well. The light from the rising sun interacted with the orange and red striations on the mountain’s jagged peaks.

Landscape Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain in Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range during a beautiful sunrise
Landscape Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain in Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range during a beautiful sunrise
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain during sunrise
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain, Oregon during sunrise.

One of my favorite aspects of using a telephoto lens while on an aerial shoot is that you don’t need to move far to get a vastly different image. From a zoomed in perspective, foreground subject mountain stays relatively consistent while the background mountains 20-75 miles away quickly change and align themselves at a fast rate.

Landscape photography of Oregon's Broken Top Mountain during sunrise
Landscape photography of Oregon's Broken Top Mountain during sunrise
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain taking during sunrise in Oregon's Central Cascade Range near Bend.
Aerial photography of Broken Top Mountain taking during sunrise in Oregon's Central Cascade Range near Bend.

It was incredible to see how different the mountain looked from each perspective and how quickly our view changed as we flew.

Aerial photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon
Aerial photography of the Sisters Mountain Range in Oregon with Mount Jefferson and Mount Hood in the distance.

Although I wish I shot it earlier in the morning with better light, I was pleased with this aerial image of the Sisters Mountain Range with Mount Washington and Mount Hood in the distance.

Aerial photography of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. Olallie Butte, Mount Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mount Hood and Mount Adams can all be seen in frame.
Aerial photography of Oregon's Cascade Mountain Range. Olallie Butte, Mount Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mt Jefferson, Mount Hood and Mount Adams can all be seen in frame with low fog.

For me, the beauty of Central Oregon is told in this image. Here we see Belknap Crater, Mount Washington, Three Finger Jack, Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood and even Washington’s Mount Adams rising above the clouds all in one frame. This image also illustrates what is known as the ‘rain shadow’ effect where moist air comes in from the west and becomes blocked by the mountain range. It is what causes the dry and arid climate east of the Cascade mountains.

As the sunlight gradually became brighter and more direct, my eye went to photographing the light moving through the foggy forests below. I loved the way the forests looked as sunlight broke through the trees and created some stunning light beam effects.

Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Oregon Aerial photography of a foggy forest during sunrise
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range
Aerial photography of South Sister Mountain's glacier during sunrise in Oregon's cascade mountain range

We also flew over Central Oregon’s Sparks Lake which had dried up after a long, hot summer. The lack of water at Sparks Lake exposed these gorgeous patterns and it looked stunning from above!

Aerial landscape photography of Sparks Lake in Bend, Oregon during sunrise
Aerial landscape photography of Sparks Lake in Bend, Oregon during sunrise
Aerial photography of Sparks Lake at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Oregon
Aerial photography of Sparks Lake at the base of the Cascade Mountain Range in Central Oregon
Morning light hits a forest and casts long tree shadows across Sparks Lake, Oregon
Morning light hits a forest and casts long tree shadows across Sparks Lake, Oregon

With the light becoming less ideal for photography, we began to make our way back west and into Portland. As we flew away from the Central Cascade Mountain range, I was able to capture a few additional aerial photographs of the mountains.

Aerial photography of Belknap Crater and Mount Washington above the clouds
Aerial photography of Belknap Crater and Mount Washington above the clouds
Aerial landscape photography of Three Finger Jack and Belknap Crater rising up above the clouds
Aerial landscape photography of Three Finger Jack and Belknap Crater rising up above the clouds
Three Finger Jack Mountain in Central Oregon shrouded in fog and low clouds. Photographed from an airplane.
Three Finger Jack Mountain in Central Oregon shrouded in fog and low clouds. Photographed from an airplane.

Mount Hood Aerial Photography Collection

The day before photographing this collection, I was on Mount Hood putting together a similar aerial landscape photography gallery.

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Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon rising high above the clouds taken during sunset

Mt Hood Sunset Aerial Photography

While on Assignment for Qatar Museum’s Year Of Culture, I had the opportunity to photograph this collection of aerial images featuring Oregon’s Mount Hood.  Accompanying me on this flight was my go-to and trusted pilot, Christian Walker as well as my good friend and Qatari counterpart for the Year of Culture photo assignment, Khalifa.

The following images are a small portion of what was created for a collaborative gallery between myself and Khalifa called “Light & Shadow: A Visual Journey Through Oregon” which is currently on display at the Qatar Institute of Culture in Washington DC. Special thanks to photographer Michael Shainblum for curating the gallery and for producing!

Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood
Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood

Our first photography flight was out to Oregon’s Mount Hood in the early evening. Once we took off and reached a higher altitude, we were finally able to see the mountain that was masked in clouds below. I started the shoot off by  using a telephoto lens to focus on various portions of the mountain. I liked how doing this made my images appear to be more abstract and harder to recognize.

Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood
Closeup aerial photography of fog at the base of Mount Hood
Aerial photography of Mt Hood, Oregon above the clouds during sunset

I also noticed Mount Hood’s Sandy Glacier through the clouds as it was catching some beautiful light from the setting sun. We moved closer to the mountain so we could photograph looking down on the glacier. I enjoyed photographing these telephoto closeups of the glacier’s jagged and abstract patterns. Having a birds eye view aerial perspective was a really special way to view the glacier as well as photograph it!

Landscape aerial photography taken of Mount Hood, Oregon from a small plane
Landscape aerial photography taken of Mount Hood, Oregon from a small plane
Aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Closeup aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Closeup aerial photography of a glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial photography of the setting sun illuminating Palmer Glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial photography of the setting sun illuminating Palmer Glacier on Mount Hood, Oregon
Aerial landscape photography of a glacier on Mount Hood during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of a glacier on Mount Hood during sunset

Time seemed to move so fast. Even though we had already been up for about an hour and a half, the sun began to set and the final moments of golden sunlight on Mount Hood was stunning. Paired with the low clouds hugging the base of the mountain, the remaining images of this flight were some of my favorite aerial photographs of the mountain I have ever taken!

Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon taken during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon taken during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon rising high above the clouds taken during sunset
Aerial landscape photography of Mount Hood, Oregon rising high above the clouds taken during sunset

The light quickly faded and we made our way east towards Central Oregon to focus on photographing the Central Cascade mountains at sunrise the following morning.


A person stands on a cliff on the Southern Oregon Coast during sunrise at Samuel H Boardman State Park

The Untamed Coast - (Oregon Coast Aerial Drone Film)

From the massive forested seastacks in the south to the dramatic cliffsides in the north, The Oregon Coast still maintains several stretches of coastline that give off a rugged and ‘untamed’ feeling. I shot this aerial film over the course of several roadtrips out to the Oregon Coast with my drone in hopes of sharing its raw beauty and how I interpret its dynamic landscapes. Thanks so much for watching! I really hope you enjoy the film and see why I find this relatively small stretch of coastline so compelling!


Aviation photography of two airplanes flying over the Painted Hills in Oregon

Aviation Photography Over Oregon

Recently, I set off on a flight with the goal of capturing an image that combines the aviation experience with one of Oregon’s most beautiful and unique landscapes; the Painted Hills. From an aerial perspective, the intricate striations, colorful patterns and overall history of the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds become so apparent. The yellow portion in the hills are from a drier and colder period in time while the soil found in the red bands is actually from a more tropical point in time. Thanks to a team effort with several talented pilots, and a whole lot of planning, I was able to capture the following collection of aerial images in camera with zero compositing or layer blending.

In partnership with Dell, this behind the scenes film was produced which documents how I was able to create this photoseries. I hope you enjoy the making of film!

Landscape photography of the Painted Hills, Oregon during sunset
Landscape photography of the Painted Hills, Oregon during sunset
Landscape photography of the Painted Hills, Oregon during sunset
Telephoto landscape photography of the Painted Hills, Oregon during sunset

We began the flight from Twin Oaks Airpark near Hillsborough, Oregon and flew east towards Central Oregon. Within thirty minutes or so from takeoff, we had beautiful views of the Cascade Mountain Range. Although the light wasn’t quite ideal, I shot the image below of pilot Brody Fry’s Carbon Cub plane with Mount Hood & Mount Jefferson in the background.

Aviation photography of a carbon cub airplane flying over Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson, Oregon
Aviation photography of a carbon cub airplane flying over Mount Hood and Mount Jefferson, Oregon

After another hour or so of flying we stopped for fuel fuel at an airport and met up with a third pilot who would join us over the hills. Shortly after, we were above the hills with evening light beautifully illuminating the colorful patterns & striations.

Aerial photography of the Painted Hills in Oregon during sunset
Birds eye view aerial photography of the Painted Hills landscape in Oregon during sunset

After several failed attempts and a short amount of time until the light would leave the hills, the lower two planes finally looked as though their flight path would align with the landscape from my perspective another thousand feet above. In less than a second, the two planes crossed over the hills and I had the shot.

Aviation photography of two airplanes flying over the Painted Hills in Oregon
Aviation photography of two airplanes flying over the Painted Hills in Oregon

Shortly after, the light had left the hills and we refocused our efforts for sunset photography of the two planes with Mount Jefferson, Mount Hood & the Sisters Mountain Range far off in the background.

Aviation Photography of two airplanes flying over mountains in Oregon during Sunset
Aviation Photography of two airplanes flying over mountains in Oregon during Sunset
Aviation Photography of two airplanes flying near Mount Jefferson in Oregon during Sunset. Shot using a telephoto lens.
Aviation Photography of two airplanes flying near Mount Jefferson in Oregon during Sunset. Shot using a telephoto lens.

To process these images, I used Adobe Lightroom on my Dell XPS 17 with NVIDIA Studios’ RTX 2060 Graphics Card. Although my editing process was very minimal, the overall speed and capabilities of this system are truly impressive. Use your mouse to slide and see a before & after view of my editing process below.

Aviation photography of two airplanes flying over the Painted Hills in Oregon
Editing on the Dell XPS 17 with NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics Card

Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha

Traditional Bhutanese Dancers

Over the past three years, I’ve been fortunate enough to make several trips out to Bhutan while working on assignment for MyBhutan. The following photo collection contains images that I’ve shot of the country’s various traditional dancers shot in Punakha Valley & Eastern Bhutan.

Traditional snow leopard Bhutan dance photography in Punakha Dzong
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha
Photography of Bhutan's traditional masked dancers in Punakha

Some of my favorite images were shot during the winter in the tiny, disconnected village of Merak with the Brokpa Tribe in Eastern Bhutan. The Brokpa tribe put on an amazing show and even included a large Yak costume that would at times playfully run towards the audience and come close to ramming them with the horns.

 

After the ceremony, I spent some time doing a portrait session with the tribal dancers, unmasked.

Special thanks to Matthew DeSantis, Tshering Wangdi and Bethany Betzler for taking the following behind the scenes images. Also, big thanks to MyBhtuan for having me onboard to shoot and coordinating with the local dance teams to make this series happen.

photographer andrew studer photographs traditional Bhutanese dancers in front of Punakha Dzong in Bhutan

Bhutan is such a special country to me. I strongly feel like visiting should be on everyone’s bucket list. If you’re interested in seeing it for yourself, get in touch with the people at MyBhutan and make it happen!


Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

Street Photography in India

Just before returning home from Bhutan this past March, I made a personal stop in India. Somehow or another I got incredibly lucky as my project with MyBhutan wrapped up just as the famous Holi Festival of Colors had begun.

Now before I share the photo collection that I got from the Holi Festival, I wanted to post a quick collection of images that I shot in-between the festivities while roaming the ancient city streets of Mathura and Vrindavan. I hope you enjoy what I came up with!

Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of an old man in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India
Portrait-street photography of a rickshaw driver walking in the streets of Mathura, India

While it was honestly somewhat overwhelming at first, I very quickly felt so at home amongst the chaotic hustle & bustle of the city. I spent so much time just wandering through the streets with no specific destination while occasionally stopping to shoot a handful of quick portraits. The people were always kind enough to pause for a moment while I photographed them although I felt like I was happier with the images that I shot candidly.

I also enjoyed photographing the monkeys that roamed the streets. Although they can be slightly aggressive, It was fun blending wildlife photography with street photography while observing how they lived closely amongst humans.

street photography of a monkey climbing a pipe in the streets of Mathura, India
street photography of a monkey climbing a pipe in the streets of Mathura, India

While I ended up spending most of my time shooting your average street photography // portraiture, I slowed down and spent a little bit of time trying to capture the fast pace and chaos of the streets. To do so, I used a slightly longer shutter speed to blur the motion of the background people and vehicles. In hindsight, I wish I spent more time shooting with this style but I know I’ll be back for another go at it once countries begin to reopen and it is safe again to travel.

Street photography is still very new to me but it has quickly become one of my favorite things to photograph. I felt like my time wandering through the streets of Mathura were full of so many amazing and different moments that it was sometimes hard to choose what to point my camera at.

Although it was a relatively short trip, I had an amazing time visiting India. The Holi Festival was incredible and I’m looking forward to sharing that image collection within the next couple weeks or so. Thanks for taking the time to check out this photoseries!


A Bhutanese monk celebrating the Losar Festival in Bhutan by throwing flour

Losar: Bhutanese New Year Celebration

This past February while on Assignment for MyBhutan, I was fortunate enough to be in the Bumthang district of Bhutan during their New Year’s festival known as Losar. It is a festival that reinforces communal ties, strengthens family values and celebrates the amazing cultural traditions of Bhutan. Everyone celebrates differently doing things such as feasting, attending family gatherings, dancing or playing traditional sports like archery and darts.

While out one morning during Losar, I ended up at a small monastery full of young monks. Shortly after I arrived, I saw them run and throw hand fulls of flour at each other. At first, I thought it was part of a prank but then learned that they were preparing to take part in a much larger traditional flour battle in celebration of Losar. With the majority of monks worshipping inside the temple, a small group of other monks gathered outside to ambush them as they exited.

Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang

As the monks finished their worship ceremonies and exited the temple, they were quickly bombarded with friendly hand fulls of flour. As strange of a festival as it may appear, the throwing of roasted barley flour on each other is a symbolic gesture, observed in many monasteries around the country, to usher in Losar.

Photographing the flour battle was some of the most fun I’ve ever had while shooting.

Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
A Bhutanese monk celebrating the Losar Festival in Bhutan by throwing flour
A Bhutanese monk celebrating the Losar Festival in Bhutan by throwing flour
A Bhutanese woman finds herself amongst a flour battle during the Losar Celebration at a monastery in Bhutan
A Bhutanese woman finds herself amongst a flour battle during the Losar Celebration at a monastery in Bhutan
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
A young Bhutanese monk gets flour thrown at him during the Losar Celebration at a monastery.
Portrait photography of a young monk in Bhutan with flour on his face and robes from the Losar Festival
Portrait photography of a young monk in Bhutan with flour on his face and robes from the Losar Festival
A group of Bhutanese monks participating in the Losar New Year Festival at a Monastery in Central Bhutan
A group of Bhutanese monks participating in the Losar New Year Festival at a Monastery in Central Bhutan
Portrait photography of two Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the Losar Celebration in Bhutan
Portrait photography of two Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the Losar Celebration in Bhutan
A group of Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the New Year celebration at a temple in Bhutan
A group of Buddhist monks throwing flour into the air during the New Year celebration at a temple in Bhutan
Photography of young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) by throwing powder and flour at each other at a monastery in Bumthang
Photography of a young Buddhist monks celebrating the Bhutanese New Year (Losar festival) in Bumthang, Central Bhutan

Throughout the entire morning, the monks made me feel completely welcome and made it such an incredible experience. They even invited me into the battle and spent so much time kindly teaching me their traditional dances and songs before inviting me inside for lunch.

 

One monk was kind enough to record the video of me going through the lineup. I never got his name but I’m beyond thankful he was able to capture this memory for me. I can’t express how welcoming all the monks were to me. I felt so fortunate to spend Losar with them and hope to be back again next year.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read! If you’re interested in visiting Bhutan, I highly recommend getting in touch with MyBhutan to plan your trip!

Related Post:

Holi Festival of Colors Photography

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