Art Wolfe takes to HD television to visually show off the beauty and wonder of our planet
By Mark Edward Harris
Outdoor Photographer: While you’re being documented with HD, what are you shooting with?
Wolfe: I use a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II and a bunch of zooms, such as the 70-200mm. I’m 100 percent digital. We have computers with us and we download on location.
When we were in Ethiopia visiting tribes along the Omo River, we had our fourth crew member, my assistant, quickly download a card while we were still in the village. The villagers’ faces lit up as they saw pictures of themselves dancing only moments ago.
Outdoor Photographer: How do you deal with electricity in these remote locations?
Wolfe: We’re bringing a lot of batteries and, in some cases, such as in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, we used solar panels for the rechargeable batteries.
Outdoor Photographer: You’re one of the most prolific photographers working today, yet you wanted to take on this television project. What’s the catalyst for the show?
Wolfe: Over the last 30 years, I’ve done something like 60 books. In the last 15 years, most of my books have had a strong environmental message. I realized that if I could get a TV show going, I could reach, in one episode, a hundred times the collective audience of all those books. It made perfect sense to do it. I continue to do the books, but television is a great way to reach a lot of people. The show is distributed nationwide by American Public Television (APT).
Outdoor Photographer: Who is the target audience for your show?
Wolfe: The audience is age nine to 90. Whether they take pictures or not, they’re going to love the show because there’s lots of adventure and beautiful scenery. And then there are the photo people who will want to watch the show because I do bring in salient photographic points.
Outdoor Photographer: Can you give us a couple of highlights from upcoming shows that we can look forward to?
Wolfe: One of the highlights is a rugged 80-mile trek around Mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre in Patagonia. We’re traveling and camping on the largest glacier outside of the polar region. This remote area is one of the wildest places on earth. It’s a grand adventure.
Going to South Georgia Island was also exciting. All the animals are willing to come up to you and investigate you. That makes for great television. I had one elephant seal that weighed probably 200 pounds wiggle around and climb right up on my back and go to sleep. That was all captured on HD.