Most countries have their top photographers with stunning and diverse galleries of the country’s most photogenic locations, but it would seem that this man’s craving for photography and exploration isn’t even closely satisfied by what any one country has to offer. His portfolio consists of breathtaking photos of some of the most spectacular locations that the world has to offer. Many people have galleries with similar international diversity, containing images ranging from Patagonia to the Himalayas to the U.S Midwest, but none of them go to the effort that Michael does to get unique and unseen perspectives on the places, instead of the normal viewpoint snapshots.
I usually don’t show too many photos of the photographer I feature, but this man deserves at least ten images so here are my eleven favorite images of his. All captions are by Michael himself.
This is hands down one of my all time favorite photos of any photographer. I’ll definitely buy a print before the edition sells out!
This is a scan of a 35 mm slide. In the winter of 2003, 4 friends and I set out to ski about 70 miles of the great divide route across the icefields of the Canadian Rockies. Along the way we enjoyed (suffered through?) many adventures including a rappel down an icy cliff face in 100 mph winds onto a dangerous avalanche slope, a ski across the thin ice of a thawing lake, and some of the most incredible powder skiing of my life down the face of Mons peak. This image of an ice cavern at the base of the Mons icefield seems to encapsulate the beauty, remoteness and danger I felt on that incredible adventure.
When I first saw a photograph of the karst peaks of Guilin thirty years ago, I couldn't believe a landscape like thisreally existed. The area remained at the top of my 'life list' of places to see since then. When I finally found the opportunity to visit, I wandered alone on the riverbanks and met a cormorant fisherman who showed me his traditional methods. They fish at night and the lantern attracts fish toward the raft so the cormorant can dive in and catch them. The fishermen tie a loose string around the cormorant's neck so they can't swallow it completely, and the men pull out the fish and store them in a basket. This method of fishing has existed for over a thousand years here. I decided to call the image 'Timeless' in honor of the men and their tradition. It is still possible to find the 'old China' if you know where to look. I met the fisherman during the day when he was cleaning his raft on the banks of the river. Using a Mandarin phrasebook I carried in my pocket, I asked him if he would be out fishing that evening. He said yes, and I asked if I could watch him from the shore and photograph him. He agreed and seemed genuinely interested in my camera. He understood what I wanted to do and stayed fairly still on the raft as the best sunset of my trip unfolded around us. I used a fill flash to keep the wing detail in the black Cormorant. Suddenly it spread it's wing wide open. And then the most amazing part happened. It held it's wings open and still like that for about 2 seconds. It was getting pretty dark and my shutter speed was slow at 1/30 second. That single moment, with the cormorant holding it's wings out still like that was the key to the entire image. The cormorant was perfectly sharp in the dim twilight during the best sunset of my entire trip.
The most majestic mountain sanctuary I've ever seen.
Twenty minutes before I took this image, I was surrounded by dense fog. I looked at my map again and the contour lines clearly showed that Ama Dablam, one of the most beautiful mountains in the world, should be right in front of me. But all I could see were a few rocks at my feet and a the faint outline of a dark ridge disappearing toward the bottom of a deep canyon. Then the fog began to glow, and in an instant, it lifted up and revealed this spectacular scene in front of me. I had time to take about 10 photos before the alpenglow faded. I continued to stand there in the fading twilight transfixed, overwhelmed by the brevity and majesty of the scene I had just witnessed. And I was elated that I had finally photographed a scene that did justice to the grandeur of the Himalayan landscape.
Angel Falls, the highest waterfall in the world, thunders 3,000 feet down into the heart of the Rainforest.
The swirling waters of the Iguazu River tumble into the sunset mist of the rainforest. I took this a day after my other version of this scene. The sunset light was more dramatic this evening with cloudy warm tones.
Cerro Torre towers over a Dreamscape of ice and snow in the majestic high country of Patagonia.
'Islands in the Stream'. Credit Hemingway for the title. I'm not sure if the old man of the sea ever made it to the South Pacific, but I'm sure he would have really enjoyed the Manua islands here in American Samoa. These are some of the most magnificent islands in the world and they are way off the radar of most travelers and photographers.
Twilight on one of the most beautiful and unknown islands in the South Pacific.
This spectacular light only exists for a few minutes each day for 3 weeks around the summer solstice. Then the darkness rules again.
I almost didn't get this one. My camera was having electrical problems from sea spray two days earlier. The camera finally came back to life in the middle of this sunset. The scene is so fantasy-land, I left the blurred palm on the right as a reminder that it IS real.