I take pictures. Nothing more. Nothing less. 

Mongolian Cowboy

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Today I post a picture of a tough Mongolian cowboy. He was in the prairies of wide open expanses In Mongolia, and was not really wanting his picture taken. But I talked to him awhile, and then volunteered to shoot a photo of him with his grand daughter, and he gave his approval. After he saw the image in digital, he was more willing for me to take his photo by his ger home.

 

These cowboys are nomadic by nature and move to new locations for new sources of water & grazing for their animals. The gers are circular, made of canvas and constructed rather quickly wherever they want to relocate. I slept in one for a night (after a great horse ride across the prairie!) and it was a cold night. But I was still really warm with the pot stove in the middle of the ger, so they are insulated really well.

 

I plan on taking my BTO group across the Trans Siberian Railroad from Moscow & St Petersburg, thru lots of Siberia, on into Mongolia, and ending in Beijing, China. I will do that trip when I am sure that Putin is done with his crazy actions on the Ukraine. I will post it when I am ready to do that trip in the future. 

 

One thing I have learned in my travels is that people all over the world are really the same! Our customs are vastly different, but we want the same things in life. We all want good health, love, shelter, safety, enough to eat, and a better life for our children..... no matter where we are in the world. Rolexes don't really matter on this planet. I just wish our world leaders would realize how people's needs are much the same --- the governments and the religions often divide us in hatred unnecessarily.

 

This veteran cowboy is as proud of his ger as the richest person in Malibu is of his mansion. And that makes us all important and meaningful in our only planet we all share! And it is what often draws me to want to travel to the farthest corners of planet Earth.

St. Andrews Golf Links

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Here I am on sacred ground! In honor of the British Open being held this weekend at the wonderful historic St. Andrews Golf Links in Scotland, I post this photo of a smiling & joyful man. This is the most famous golf course in the world, and the oldest by far. Founded in 1552, it is an absolute treat to play and to visit this "Home of Golf". You can play there if your home course sends a letter & your handicap along with invitation (along with a lot of your money!)

 

I have played at St Andrews twice in my life. This was my first visit and I was overjoyed.. You must walk over this famous Swilcan Bridge on the 18th hole and tradition has almost demanded a photo be taken there. Many people also kiss the bridge as a final hole tradition --- I did that also! Many of the legends of golf have a photo on this rustic bridge. I am sure not one of those people! Shot an 81 on this visit... have the scorecard on my wall at home.

 

Enjoy this photo this weekend as you watch the tournament on TV. That has the 18th green and the white clubhouse in the background and you will see that for sure on the television. I love golf and this is hallowed ground indeed. I have played here and Pebble Beach Course in California.... two of the three most sacred courses. I would give any amount of money to play the third (Augusta National in Georgia) but I don't think I will ever be able to play that one in this lifetime! Would love to but, unfortunately, it is literally impossible for non-members to play there.

 

Enjoy!

 

Rule #1: Always Keep Your Cameras Warm

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Always keep your cameras WARM. Rule #1. Rule #2... Try to do the same with your own body!

 

A fantastic trip to Antarctica --- like no place else on Earth. I am doing a crazy dance in a tux (no, there is no PhotoShop done here) and I think I scared my penguins away. They seem startled! They probably said to each other: "What's wrong with this guy??"

 

My good friend Dennis Salvagio and I brought tuxes to the frozen continent and it was one of the coldest, craziest things we ever did. My cover photo has us holding a sign and the penguins came much closer. It was COLD with no jacket or long underwear, so we did freeze some on the land away from our Icebreaker Russian ship. Took awhile back after that afternoon in the bar with heat & a few drinks to warm up!

 

I am hoping to direct a small group at the end of 2016 down to explore the 7th Continent. Promises to be the trip of a lifetime for the ones that come with me. More information will be coming in 2016. For now, enjoy this crazy photographer "dressed to the nines" and, for sure, nowhere to go!

Keep Your Copyright Ownership at All Costs!

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Most of my travel imagery has the look of "National Geographic" style .... except I do it for tourism, or cruise, or airline, or travel clients. Nat Geo has bought my stock for their magazines over the years, but if you shoot for them directly they often own the material, and they also pay a lot less than any of my assignments. But I have always had that NG "eye" to capture the "feel" of the place rather than just a travel image. I grew up loving looking at NG as I formulated my style from a teenager on, I imagine. Definitely the iconic magazine to look at and learn about our world.

 

Here is an example of an image I shot in Yangshuo in Southern China. You really do get INTO this picture and can tell how this man works hard in the rice fields alongside his oxen. I would rather experience this closeup into this man's existence than just any old travel photo. I hope that you agree. Because I OWN my pictures rather then NG owning them, I can later send them to multiple stock agents for publishing all over the world. I like that process much better. Make sure you never give up your copyright (ownership) of your photography -- it is valuable!

 

Enjoy this picture. You can almost hear him work hard and smell the animal. That is a successful photo if it creates that feel!

 

 

Your Camera Can Be Your Ticket To Meeting People Around The World !

China

When I think of my long photography career, the things that have brought me the most joy over the years are the people I have met in various countries.  But how on Earth would I have ever met them – and talked to them – without having my camera as I  approached them?

I am a tall man and if I saw this wonderful old man in China --- or some charming grandmother in Italy – it would be difficult indeed to initially approach them to talk.  If I walked over and said they look interesting without a camera, they may well think I am starting a scam to rob them.  Being an American and a taller person, they would be on guard …. perhaps even checking to make sure they still have their wallet!

But my camera has allowed me to feel “smaller” and less threatening to literally thousands of people encounters over the many years; not only to talk with them, but also to make photographs of them.  With a camera, I have an unthreatening reason to walk over to talk to them.

I feel really blessed and humbled by these many opportunities when I travel with my cameras.  I am thrilled to have been a travel photographer for my whole career, having clients actually PAY me to travel and experience the joys of other cultures in over 180 countries on all the 7 continents.  I can’t think of a better job on this planet!

This wonderful man in China was sitting alone on a bench.  He was from the famous Yangtze River area  and, at the time, they were flooding the river to a height of almost 600 feet to prevent future floods in the region.  They were building the enormous Three Gorges Dam down the river to control the water levels.

While that project would do good things for the country in the long run, it was so devastating to everything he knew.  They had flooded hundreds of villages (including his) so his home and all the graves of his ancestors were now underwater.  The Chinese government would relocate him to a village on top of the mountain, but that was still so sad and hurtful to his history, his life, his entire world.

The reason I enclose this picture, and this story, is to illustrate that I would have never experienced his story --or knew of his plight  -- without my camera!  I asked to take his picture, along with my translator, and got to sit with him and learn his story & his horrible plight.  And I am more understanding from learning of his story and experiences.  This type of encounter and photograph – multiplied by thousands – is what I am most joyful about in this career of being a travel photographer.

So I give you all a few hints on traveling and experiencing the joy of meeting native people:

1. Have a smile!  A smile is understood in any language.

2. Be interesting and interested!  Those are two separate things, by the way.

3. Best to travel with a guide or interpreter that can help communicate.  They are well worth whatever they cost!

4. Try to learn a few phrases of the local language.  People all over the world will understand that you are TRYING to become part of their culture    and will appreciate that.  You may well mess up the words, but they know you are trying.

5. Spend some time with the people!  Don’t just shoot their picture and run.  Learn to relax, have a drink with them, talk with them, perhaps buy something from their store, etc.  It is time well spent.  Don’t rush thru your travels and miss so many golden opportunities.

6. BE HUMAN!  We are all the same in many ways.

7. In the digital world, show them the picture from your camera.  They will love it!  That, almost more than anything, “bonds” you with them.  You will literally laugh together.  It will bring a smile, I guarantee it!

8. Offer to send a digital photo to them to their email account (if they have one).  And REALLY IMPORTANT – if you promise to send them an emailed picture, DO IT!  Make your word mean something.  I do that on every trip when I get home and I always get a glowing email back, thanking me.  If you promise them, then keep your word.  It also will help the next person in that situation to get cooperation from others --- if you don’t keep your word, then they feel saddened that you did not do what you said you would.  It takes time to email them, but it will make you feel good.  I am busy when I return home, but I make sure I always do this to email the people I have promised.

9. You may want to consider bringing a small printer to make a print to give them in African tribes, etc that have no way to get email.  I used to carry  a Polaroid camera before they closed the company,  and they were fascinated by the print appearing before them.   There is a small printer now by Fuji that Terre, my good friend that travels with me on my BTO trips, brings and they LOVE getting a print from her!  Talk about multiple smiles!

10. It helps a lot if you ENJOY people!  Go “outside of yourself” to meet and talk with locals.  You will not be disappointed.

11. Come with us on one of my Bachmann Tour Overdrive (BTO) trips.  One of the best things I like about the trips I direct with people who love travel & photography is that I often do the groundwork to get my group introduced to locals – I "break the ice", so to speak.  If you are shy, these experiences may help you do it with me, and later be more comfortable to go alone to introduce yourself in the future. 

I hope this helps you see another real joy in traveling.  The photographs you take are valuable,  but the experiences of meeting local people are even more so in your life and soul.  I have been so lucky to do this for a living and if you ever sit with me and look at pictures, I can relate hundreds & hundreds of special people with stories and times with them.  I may bore you, however, with the stories.  I consider those times the most valuable experiences in my travels --- even more than grand vistas I see and photograph.

As I wrote in my book, “Send Me Anywhere” ….

"When I shoot people, I am looking for THAT MOMENT… that one instant where we create something that wasn’t there before.  Hopefully, I will endeavor to find a ‘soul’ in my people pictures – some part of their being that I can record on file.  That moment will never happen again.”

I know I feel so blessed in traveling and meeting so many people in all my travels.  Hope you can come on another of my BTO Adventures and share those moments with me and our fabulous group of travelers!  We do not travel like a “tour” …. I won’t do that.  We get in, meet the people and “get our hands dirty”.  Our group doesn’t just see the world …. We feel it in our souls!

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 Locals in third world countries absolutely LOVE receiving an instant photo. In Ethiopia we gave this man a print from the new portable Fuji Insta Mini camera.

PM Magazine

PM

 

 

PM Magazine did a television story on me a while back and this was the entire crew photo. They followed me with TV cameras for two days of shooting models for a magazine spread and it was fun. But I was "miked" the whole time so I had to be careful of what I said on camera! Jokes had to be G-rated.

 

I had 7 models, an art director (in t-shirt in middle), stylist (in white hat), two makeup artists (back row on left), my assistant Joe (behind me) and TV camera crew (three on left & guy laying in front). We shot around downtown Orlando, at the studio and finished at the beach in Daytona where we took this shot.

 

One of the best things about my career has been that it is different every day. Some days I am shooting a CEO for a cover, next day hanging from helicopter followed by directing one of my BTO Adventures to some part of the world. Then shooting a fashion spread somewhere, off for a long exotic foreign travel client shoot, and next off for two weeks with crew for cruise ship advertising shoot. I have never been bored for sure. If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life! 

 

Happy Friday to all of you. Enjoy!

 

 

Arches National Park

Shot in Arches National Park in Utah. I had Cathy jog for me near the arch for stock images in addition to the regular pictures of the arch. This series of jogging images has sold for two sports apparel clients (Nike and Sports Authority) since then, so they did work as stock imagery.

 

I remember we came back to Moab Utah, really hot & thirsty, and swam in a hotel pool and the hotel owner was mad at us for using the pool "illegally". But that is another story!

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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Bridges of Madison County

A romantic photo today.

 

Many of you read "The Bridges of Madison County" years ago.... the story of fictional National Geographic photographer Robert Kincaid who seduced a housewife named Francesca in farm area of Iowa. A beautiful story.

 

I have photographed these bridges in Iowa on two trips to the Roseman Bridge where Robert photographed Francesca from just about where I am standing. On one trip, I brought an old girlfriend (that we still had feelings for each other) so I could have some of those feelings of the book, rather than just bringing any model to shoot.

 

Here is a photo from below the famous bridge from the second trip. Thought you all would enjoy seeing the location from the book and the movie. The town is Winterset, Iowa and many of the stores in the town have pictures of Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep at the restaurants, etc while they were making the movie in the tiny town.

 

Madison

$100 Well Spent!

The best $100 I have ever spent!

 

I was shooting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and decided to get a helicopter to circle the Christ statue over the city. There were three other people, my assistant Luke Potter and me and we each paid $100 (I paid for Luke's ride also) for the circle ride. I slid aside the small window on my side, so I could shoot without glass, and I shot this image among others from above the clouds.

 

Well, it is one of my top ten selling stock images to this day. That $200 (including Luke) has made me over $150,000 in stock residuals from this image. That is not a bad hourly rate -- or return on investment -- for sure! Sometimes in stock you strike out on an image, sometimes you hit "singles", etc. Well, I would say this short helicopter ride was a Home Run indeed.

 

It has sold in so many cruise & travel brochures and websites when they travel to South America. My stock reps from around the world show & sell this image very, very well. And I do like the image also, whether it made money or not. 

So, enjoy the image of Rio from above today. Happy Monday.

 

Christ

Got Milk?

I'm sure you have seen the Got Milk? Campaign in magazines. Celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz shoots many of them, but they called us to do this one. It turned out pretty well in the mags.

 

The most difficult part was the milk mustache. I have used many things in photography that look better on film.... we always used lard instead of ice cream for photography, glycerin as water drops on many products, etc.

But not GOT MILK. They had their own milk person that had to make the mustache 100% correct dairy products, etc. So we let the woman make the mustache as we figured out how to position the gymnast with the glass of milk.

 

It worked well and the client was happy. And a real nice shooting budget also!

 

GotMilk

Inside the New Cuba

 

I grew up reading Time Life Books. Especially the photography books -- I learned a lot about photography in high school from those Silver & Black books. How many of you remember that series of books?

 

 

Last month, Time Inc had seen my Cuba old classic auto image and they called to ask if they could buy it for the cover of a brand new book on Cuba with all the new changes from Obama. We made the deal (see surprise money deal in the PS below!) and they sent us several copies 2 days ago of this now finished book just out -- they are fast with printing!. I have had a large number of stock images sold to Time Magazine over the years, but this book means more to me than those because of my love for Cuba. I have been there 8 times since 2004, and it is important to me that it keeps it's spirit and zest when USA come rushing in to change it. I will be taking another group back there in Spring of 2016, if you are interested. That trip will sell out quickly, I believe.

 

 

My only picture here on the cover is the classic Chevy in the really old city of Trinidad, Cuba. But I swear I took photos of children in school exactly like that one. So enjoy this cover in a new book that should be in book stores soon with much of the new Cuba and all the changes. Viva la Cuba!

 

P.S. By the way, to my photographer friends. When discussing price to let them use the old Chevy image, I asked them for their budget. They gave me a figure that they had for the total of four images for the cover. I said I could live with 1/4 of that for the price and agreed to sell for that. The wonderful woman wrote back and said "We will give you more than that, since we made a good deal on the other three." Wow, that hasn't happened to me in quite awhile indeed!!

 

 

CubaCover