European Visions…and Antarctica

Adult King Penguin with chicks, South Georgia

If you’re guessing that the penguins in this photo are not in Europe, you’d be right. But I am, however…just heading home today from a meeting of the GDT, The Society of German Nature Photography, where I gave a talk on my work documenting endangered species.  As always, it was an inspiring event. Personally,  I feel that  European photographers have – and this is admittedly a gross generalization – a uniquely refined, even poetic, style.  Some of the best work I saw was also the most deceptively simple, with elegant compositions of flowers, grasses and insects.  Simply said, the “euro-style” tends to ignore our obsession with sharpness and detail in favor of light, composition and…a certain mystery.  Yes, they tend to prefer everything blurry which, in itself, is a kind of obsession, but one that views photography as an interpretive form rather than simply a documentary one.
Anyhow, I came away inspired to broaden my own visual vocabulary, and that’s a gift. I suggest you have a look at some of the work here:  GDT – they should be posting the results soon for their 2010 “European Photographer of the Year” competition.

Meanwhile, back to the penguins. This shot, of an adult penguin lost in a sea of furry chicks, is one I took on South Georgia a couple of years ago. Happily, I have a chance to go back next week, as the NatGeo lecturer on the NG Explorer. Maybe this time, I will try this shot again, only blurry!

Nikon D3 with 70-200mm lens