OP – The Blog

Kevin Schafer

January 2nd, 2015

Top Ten for 2014

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Cozumel Coati (Nasua nelsoni)  Endemic, Critically endangered, Cozumel
It is always difficult to ask ten pictures to define a year, a challenge made more so since my judging criteria includes other factors besides something as ill-defined and subjective as “quality.” My choices reflect the diversity of subjects that interested me this year, moments that excited me, or ideas that for one reason or …
November 7th, 2014

Accidents and Plans

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Rising to the Top
There are planned pictures,and there are accidental pictures. And then there are those for which both are required. It is clearly important, when making pictures, to have an idea: a new approach, a new angle, a new camera setting that takes you from the obvious “front and center” kind of image to something unexpected. My …
October 19th, 2014

Up Close with Endangered Animals

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Endangered Black Howler Monkeys feeding, Belize
We are in the middle of a major worldwide extinction event, with vast numbers of plants and animals disappearing because of habitat loss and the pressures of climate change. But there are still places where even endangered animals continue to thrive. Such a place is the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Belize. This non-government sanctuary was …

August 13th, 2014

Creativity vs. Wikipedia

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Crested Macaque, Sulawesi. COPYRIGHT David J. Slater
By now, you will all have seen the image. You will probably also have heard the many amusing, often ridiculous, news reports about the “monkey selfie” and how he took this picture of himself, one now seen around the world. What you may not have heard is the darker part of the story, one of …
August 6th, 2014

Help Save the Amazon Dolphin!

Posted By Kevin Schafer
An Amazon River Dolphin or "Boto" swims through the flooded forest canopy with her calf.
Five years ago, I photographed a story for National Geographic Magazine on Amazon River Dolphins (“Botos” in Portuguese). It was a thrilling project, a chance to tell the story of a remarkable animal that most people had never heard of, living in the flooded forests of the Amazon. At the time, these dolphins were abundant,largely …
March 28th, 2014

Rediscover Photography – with an iPhone…

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Close-up of backlit palm leaves, Yucatan Peninsula.
It has been a long-held tenet that the best camera for any situation is the one you’re holding in your hand. If you’re like me, however, you too often make a distinction between “official shooting” and the “recreational” kind. For the first, I carry a backpack full of gear, a tripod, filters, cables, chargers, yada, …
February 8th, 2014

March of the Penguins

Posted By Kevin Schafer
A line of Gentoos marches toward the sea
Believe it or not, this was one of the most frustrating days of my entire trip in Antarctica. We made a landing on Booth Island, a spectacular location between towering mountains, but the weather was lousy, with horizontal driving rain. What made it worse was that the angle of the rain precisely matched the angle …
January 3rd, 2014

13 Favorite Images for 2013

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Notice how I say “Favorites”, not necessarily the “Best.” Not only is it hard to honestly assess which are the best images in so short a time, but for me, my choice of favorites often has as much to do with the experience as the quality of the picture.
November 29th, 2013

In Praise of Shade

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Red-legged Cormorant (Phalacrocorax gaimardi) Nesting Pair,  Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz Province, Argentina
People often say clear skies and sunny days offer the best light for photography. Don’t believe them! Except for narrow windows at dawn and dusk, photography on sunny days is largely a waste of time. In fact, during the long, sunny days of summer, I often find myself killing endless hours, waiting for the “magic …
November 5th, 2013

The Day of the Condor

Posted By Kevin Schafer
Condor and Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
It was a miraculous day at the bottom of the world. Days of clouds and rain finally gave way to brilliant sunshine among the peaks and grasslands of Torres del Paine National Park. And best of all, the sky was filled with Andean Condors. We must have seen 50 or more over the course of …