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Behind The Shot

Behind the Shot: Supermoon at Juscelino Kubitschek Memorial

Behind The Shot

Behind the Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email! Find out the backstory of how Leandro Discaciate captured the Supermoon in Brasília, the capital city of Brazil.

Super Moon! (more…)

Behind the Shot: Horned Puffin Taking Off

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email! Find out the backstory of how Alaskan photographer Marion Owen captured this image of this speedy little puffin!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Marion Owen

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark IIICanon EF200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXT

Settings: ISO 250, Aperture f/16 , Shutter speed 1/500 second

Backstory:  I took this image with the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM EXT that I rent from BorrowLenses every year to capture special birds such as the tufted and horned puffins. All the photographs I have are taken from a boat, meaning that I don’t have the luxury of a tripod, monopod, or any other support. I depend heavily on the lens’ stabilization modes and bright glass to capture crisp and clear images. The light was slightly diffused through clouds when I captured this photo. These puffin photos are taken hand-held, from a moving boat, via a moving photographer (yours truly), and of a very fast moving subject. Puffins are extremely fast, flying at speeds over 50 mph. To achieve this speed puffins beat their wings up to 400 beats a minute. The wings can move so fast that they become a blur, giving a flying puffin the appearance of a black and white football! People who visit our gallery often purchase the puffin photo to post in their office saying, “It’s a great photo to get you going on Monday mornings!”

Check out more of Marion’s work on her website and Facebook page.

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Behind the Shot: The Day I Discovered My Calling

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Greg Rothstein

Gear: Nikon D7000, Tamron 70-200 f/2.8

Settings: ISO 400, 1/100 second, F4.0, manual mode, auto white balance, RAW image format.

Backstory: I’m a rookie to the photography game. I’m not a kid who has been using a camera since high school or a kid who even took a class on photography until college. Photography fell into my life by fate and I liked it. There was something cool about stopping time for a moment when everything in the frame is perfect. Going into my senior year at DePaul University, I was not particularly passionate about a specific type of photography. Still life did not resonate with me, landscapes were only interesting when on vacation, and my portraits were feeling repetitive. Then I saw a friend of mine uploading photos from concerts. I was stunned that someone younger than me was able to get such opportunities in what I thought was such a sacred and elite arena. After speaking with her, she pointed me in the right direction to help me work with an online publication who got me my first credential. This credential was not just ANY to me – it was to take photos of my one of my all time favorite bands, Stone Sour, led by charismatic lead singer, Corey Taylor. After the two opening bands had played at House of Blues Chicago, I waited in the photo pit anxiously as it came time for Stone Sour to play. After three songs I was done. If you ask me what happened in that pit, I could honestly not really tell you. My mind was in another dimension, lost in this world of concert photography. It was in this moment that I knew what I wanted to do with my life. Never before had something felt so right, it had been years since I wore this childish smile from ear to ear that was slapped on my face after my time in the pit. Everyone from friends to family can attest that all I talk about is concert photography. It is something that has taken over my life since January of this year and I would like to think that I am just getting started.


Check out more of Greg’s work on his website and Instagram.

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Behind the Shot: Mermaid Swimming with Tuna

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email! Find out the backstory of how marine photographer Kurt Arrigo captured this scene with the help of Japanese Olympic Synchronized Swimmer Saho Harada.

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Kurt Arrigo

Gear: Nikon D800 Digital SLR Camera, Nikon 24mm f/1.4, Subal Underwater Housing

Settings: ISO 200, Aperture F8, Shutter speed 1/80

Backstory:I have been working with Japanese Olympic Synchronized Swimmer Saho Harada on a quite a few underwater assignments. On this particular one we intended to capture something a little different with a greater impact. The plan for this particular shoot started as all other underwater shoots with Saho begin. She would swim down a couple of meters and do her thing for a couple of minutes and then swim to the surface for a breather. I would stay down underwater in my scuba gear waiting for the perfect shot. Unfortunately, the tuna were not cooperating and would not come to the surface. They only would stay at a depth of at least 15 meters. We ended up having to change the plan. It was decided that Saho would go deeper using some of my air and the other safety divers through a spare regulator. Saho would swim away and get this surreal feeling and then swim back for some air. We did it a few times and after approximately 20 minutes we slowly returned to the surface.  To be quite honest, I didn’t think at the time that we managed to capture one good shot all day! Later that evening I downloaded the images and there it was…(speechless)

Kurt Arrigo was kind enough to share this amazing photo with us and provide some insight into underwater photography. He was born on the Mediterranean island of Malta and immediately connected with the sea at very early age. He has been working as a marine photographer for over 20 years, capturing moments of how we interact with Mother Nature.

Check out more of Kurt’s work on his website and Facebook page.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Behind the Shot: Madness

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Matthew Malkiewicz

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L

Settings: ISO 400, 1/100 second, F4.0, manual mode, auto white balance, RAW image format.

Backstory:  This photo was captured at a chartered rail-fan/photographer 3-day excursion, during the off-season of a tourist railroad. It was a heavily overcast dark and misty winter morning. I was able to shoot this photo during the first run-by of the day.  These are the times when my best photos come – less than ideal and comfortable conditions to be outdoors. The train dropped off the group of 40 photographers at the photo line location, then backed out of view, paused for the air to clear, and roared forward. Silence is broken; vapor from boiled water, pressurized and released at regulated intervals, moves machined steel parts to create the sound of distant thunder as it echoes to the ground.

My camera was mounted on a monopod, the height of the lens at waist level. I wanted the lower vantage point to capture the headlight glint off the shiny railheads, and with the 200mm focal length compress and exaggerate the irregularity of the track. I chose the head-on shot, felt it was a much more dramatic composition as opposed to an angled side view. I’ve learned not to use any type of filters in front of the lens, in such situations would just cause unwanted lens flare when aimed directly into the headlight.

I did very minimal work in Photoshop after the photo was captured. I spent maybe 20 minutes at the most. The setting of white and black points, exposure, contrast, saturation, clarity, and vibrance were all adjusted in Camera RAW. I’m not one to make major modifications to what the camera captured – in Photoshop as a TIFF file only some dodging of the locomotive under the headlight to bring out detail, and burning of the steam/smoke plume to accentuate the layers of texture and pattern. A faint dark vignette was added to the frame’s perimeter.

I had thoughts of cloning out the tree branches in the upper right corner, but felt they added depth. By design, I like the classic leading lines of the rails towards the train, and outwards more parallel lines where gravel and vegetation meet. The inverted triangle of the smoke pointing downwards further forces attention to the oncoming train. Almost a symmetrical frame, but not quite. For those who have not participated in a close encounter such as this, it’s quite the experience. The sound is deafening, the smell of smoke, coal, steam, and hot oil in the air. The ground shakes – all senses are acutely aware. Sometimes the camera stays in the bag, to be a spectator and watch it all with the naked eye.

Some see an outtake from Harry Potter, others a gothic Nightmare Before Christmas scene. I have titled this photograph “Madness”, a terrifying sight from which you recoil in dismay. Reason is gone, this is madness under control as the fire breathing beast approaches.

Check out more of Matthew’s work on his website.

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Behind The Shot: Rocking Up Close

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Curt Dennis

Gear: Canon T2iSigma 17-70mm 2.8

Settings: 17mm, 1/200th second @f/2.8, ISO 400

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Backstory: I’ve been photographing concerts for the past 9 or so months. I usually do local photography, but managed to obtain a pass for a festival in Florida, Fort Rock. It was a really great time, and this is a picture of Korn bassist Fieldy. I hadn’t seen Korn live or read anything about them, so I didn’t expect him to be so photogenic. The entire set, Fieldy in particularly, really played with the crowd. This shot was just either perfect placement by me, or Fieldy being really cool. He got right in front of me and started playing just like this. When I was going back through my photos, I didn’t realize I caught such a great shot where everything lined up: he’s in focus, exposed, and there’s some slight flare going on which I love. Definitely a fun band to photograph, and one of my favorite shots I’ve ever taken.

Check out more of Curt’s work on his website & Facebook page.

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Behind The Shot: Sparring Bears

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Aikenhead, Sparring Bears Photographer/Filmer/Editor: Lisa Aikenhead

Gear: Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 100-400 f4.5/5.6L IS USM lens, Gitzo tripod, Really Right Stuff Ballhead (more…)

Behind The Shot: Apostle Islands Sea Caves

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

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Photographer/Filmer/Edior: Alex Fraser

Gear: Canon 5D Mark III, Rokinon 14mm f/2.8, mini-tripod

Settings: ISO 100, f/11, 7-exp HDR

Backstory: The Apostle Islands Sea Caves, along the shore of Lake Superior in northern Wisconsin, are usually only accessible by kayak on calm Summer days. In certain Winter conditions, however (a long cold snap, and a lack of northwest winds), enough ice can form to make them accessible on foot. With the caves open for the first time in five years, some friends and I made the four hour drive from Minneapolis to see the sight.

I shoot with a wide angle lens for 95% of my landscapes, so I was packing light with just my 5DMk3 body and the Rokinon 14mm. The Rokinon is full-manual, which can get a little fiddly up close, but for most landscapes you can just focus at infinity (which for the lens means anything further away than ten feet) with a narrow aperture and fire away. I was shooting 7-exposure HDR (-3 stops to +3) with auto-exposure bracketing in aperture priority mode, so I moved the ISO settings around to match shutter speeds with what I could reasonably hold steady by hand most of the time, but for a few of the shots inside the caves I let the mini-tripod get low and take some longer exposures at ISO 100.

Alex lives in Minneapolis, MN, and shoots mostly sports and landscapes, but he’ll shoot your wedding too if you like his style. He keeps a running gallery of his favorite photos on his 500px page. Check out all of the photos from his Apostle Islands trip.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Behind The Shot: The Line Between (Video)

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Photographer/Filmer/Edior: Long Nguyen

Gear: Canon 5D Mark IICanon 7DCanon 70-200 f2.8Canon 17-40 F4Tonika 10-17 FisheyeCustom SLR M-plate MiniCustom SLR M-Plate ProCustom SLR Glide OneCustom SLR C-LoopF-Stop Gear LokaF-Stop Gear Satori EXPF-Stop Gear Lightroom RollerGlide Cam 2000, Fotopro Carbon Tripod, Manfroto 701 Head, DIY Dolly, Sennheiser MKE 400

Backstory: What’s better than riding your bike? Riding your bike with your friends. Early last year, my friends Christian Wright, Marshall Mullen, and I wanted to shoot a short mountain bike video together. Christian and Marshall had never ridden together, so it was the perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. After exchanging some emails and phone calls, I came up with the idea of filming at Christian’s and Marshall’s homes. They were not only known for their riding abilities, but for their dirt jumps and locations where they lived. To many riders, it’s heaven, and their popularity grew over the years due to that.

Usually with most projects, you will have a partner in crime to help you film and photograph. Over the years, I have always completed projects on my own. It’s no easy task, and The Line Between was the hardest project I have produced to date. It was hard to juggle everyone’s schedule since most of us are always traveling, and I did all the filming, photographing, editing, and distributing.

When going in to the project I knew it was going to be tough, but I knew Christian and Marshall were hard workers. It’s always nice working on a project with others who are just as dedicated and motivated as you are. Both Christian and Marshall had spent weeks preparing their yards for the shoot. They worked from sun up to sun down, and every part of the jumps had to be watered, packed, and perfectly shaped. It really is a work of art. When it was time to start the project, I only had a short 5 days to shoot at Christian’s and Marshall’s homes. When I say short, we could only shoot early in the morning and at golden hour (sunset). That is when the light is at it’s best. Our goals were to film 2 days on the backyard, 2 days on the trails and 1 day as back up.

Thankfully we were able to complete what we needed in 8 days. As hard as it was for me, it was just as hard for the riders. Not only did I need them to ride sections over and over to get the footage, but I needed them to do just as much to get the photographs. By the end of each day, we were exhausted. Overall, I thought the project came out pretty well. We all worked really hard together, and we had a blast producing it together. I felt that we all had the right chemistry, and when dots connect, magic happens. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

Check out all of the photos from this project.

Long Nguyen is an adventure/sports journalist, and goes wherever his camera takes him – for the thrill of an adventure and the action of the sport. Long enjoys photographing many things but his emphasis is in mountain biking. He’s feels lucky to have the opportunities to travel the world and meet new people on all of his journeys. Long thanks his family and friends for all of their support & continues to live for the quest for amazing photography.

Check out more of Long’s work.

If you like this video be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Behind The Shot: Just Like A Dream

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Krystle Wright 14

Photographer: Krystle Wright

Gear: Canon EOS 5D MIII, Canon EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM Lens580 EXII Flash

Settings: 24mm, 30sec @ f/4.5, ISO 400

Backstory: Highlining is an incredible sport that involves a strong mentality and of course balance. As I photographed high lining many times, I noticed the intricate movements especially with the arms to help maintain the balance and came up with this idea to strap L.E.D lights to Chris Rigby under a full moon. We were in Consumnes River George in Northern California. The high line is 237ft long titled ‘Just Like A Dream.’ The LED lights were quite bright in Chris’s face so it was a real challenge for him to focus. I would’ve used my pocket wizard to fire the flash though in the darkness, I misplaced a cable so instead I had a friend, Ryan Robinson to press the test button on the flash to pop it off. To get the focus sharp, I had Chris stand where I knew I wanted the flash to hit him and pre set the focus and the rest was a test of patience. No doubt I needed a tripod and I used a trigger to avoid camera shake.

I’m really pleased that this photo turned out the way it did as it’s always challenging to come up with new ideas or concepts to show the sport in a different way.

Also be sure to check out this recent feature article on Krystle.

Check out more of Krystle’s work on her website and Facebook page.

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Behind The Shot: Above the Bar

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

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Photographer: Scott Roeder

Gear: Nikon D3sNikon 400mm f/2.8D AF-S, Monopod

Settings: ISO 320, f/2.8, 1/6400

Backstory: Track and field is among my favorite sports to shoot. There are plenty of different individual events, the athletes are amazing, and the opportunities for making a creative image are endless. It also gives me a great chance to work on shooting tight and challenging myself.

I wanted a clean background so I chose to shoot sitting on the ground and as close as possible, while still being able to capture the high jumpers full body within the frame. Usually my camera is set to a single focus point in the center for increased focusing response, and AI SERVO so that I can track my subjects. After a few shots I noticed two issues, first that I had empty space at the top of the frame and that the high jumpers feet were getting cut off, and secondly that my focus had jumped to the bar. Tracking the athletes as they made their approach to the bar and keeping my focus on their face led to the framing being off, and the quick focus of the D3s allowed the focus to switch when the bar crossed the center focus point. To fix both of these issues, I decided to manually focus roughly 8-10 inches in front of the bar, where I knew I wanted to catch the high jumpers at their peak. Having the focus preset also allowed me to concentrate on getting the whole body of the athletes in the frame. The expression, body position, and clean background really made this image a keeper for me!

Scott lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and shoots weddings, sports, portraits, products, or anything else you throw at him.

Check out more of Scott’s work on his website.

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Behind The Shot: Remote Birding

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Anna's Hummingbird Nest

Photographer: Michael Chen

Gear: Nikon D3Nikon 400mm f/2.8D AF-S, TC-14E II 1.4x, Nikon SB-900 SpeedlightsPocket Wizard MultiMAX transceiversManfrotto Magic Arms, Gitzo 3-series Tripod

Settings: ISO 1600, f/9, 1/250 – Flash Power @ 1/16

Backstory: One of the most frequently asked questions that I’ve been getting is how I shot the hummingbird nests with the mother feeding her chick.  Most of the time, I actually trigger a camera remotely using Pocket Wizard MultiMAX transceivers.  A remote camera allows me to keep some distance between me and the nest, lessening the amount of attention I draw to the nest area.  In general, nesting hummingbirds in a suburban environment do not mind a human presence and adapt quickly to a humans that they perceive as nonthreatening; however, one’s presence will draw and hold the attention of predators, such as crows and jays, and make it easier for the nest to be discovered.  The angles I can shoot from are also expanded by using the remote camera, as I can squeeze the camera and lens into places where it would be hard for me to be looking through the viewfinder.

Here, I’ve taken advantage of a nearby tree house-type structure and have placed the still camera on a tripod; the tree house allows me to simply use a tripod instead of having to be more creative in safely suspending the camera up in a tree.  The lens on the Nikon D3 camera is a Nikon 400mm f/2.8D AF-S; the tripod used here is a Gitzo 3-series.  I used a TC-14E II 1.4x teleconverter on the 400mm f/2.8 to fill more of the frame with the hummingbird and her nest, though I ultimately still had to crop off quite a bit of empty space.  Two SB-900 flashes, also triggered by the Pocket Wizard MultiMAX transceivers (using the relay mode function), freeze the motion of the mother and chick, and allowing me to shoot at f/16 for sufficient depth of field to keep everything important in focus.  The flashes are held in place by Manfrotto Magic Arms and allow me to position the flashes wherever I need them.

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After I set everything up- carefully and hopefully unnoticed by predators- all I have left to do is find a place to stay out of sight while being able to observe when the mother has returned to the nest, and then trigger the camera to make some images.  Remaining vigilant and patient at the same time is key to capturing the mother feeding the chick, as while the mother will feed the chick many times per hour, the actual moment of feeding is quick and fleeting; one can easily miss the mother entirely even while positioned close to the nest.

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More of Michael’s hummingbird photos can be seen here and here.

Check out more of Michael’s work on his website.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Behind The Shot: Redbull Athlete Profile

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Kenny Belaey - Action

Photographer: Long Nguyen/ Red Bull Content Pool

Gear: Canon EOS 5D Mark IITokina 10-17mm Fisheye, Alien Bee/White Lighting 1600, Pocketwizard Flex TT5 , Human Tripod (my friend Thil)

Settings: ISO 100, f/8, 1/500

Backstory: This was a last minute shoot. World Champion trails bike athlete Kenny Belaey was visiting SF to do demo for the Golden State Warriors half time game. Kenny had just gotten off of an injury and this was his 2nd time riding. I had a very limited time window to work with Kenny. When I pulled into our location in Pacifica, I noticed a boulder on top of the hill. I knew I wanted a shot from up there.

After Kenny warmed up we hiked to the top. I peaked over the cliff and ask if he would rear tire stale his bike on the ledge. I really didn’t know what to expect since it was a dangerous maneuver and Kenny was not at 100%. He peaked over the ledge and said let’s do it. Kenny is a talented athlete and great to work with. Wether I saw something he did or vise versa, we were able to make it work. The whole shoot in about 2 hours and we left knowing that we had made some great images.

Long Nguyen is an adventure/sports journalist, and goes wherever his camera takes him – for the thrill of an adventure and the action of the sport. Long enjoys photographing many things but his emphasis is in mountain biking. He’s feels lucky to have the opportunities to travel the world and meet new people on all of his journeys. Long thanks his family and friends for all of their support & continues to live for the quest for amazing photography.

Kenny Belaey - Portrait

Check out more of Long’s work on his website.

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Behind The Shot: Artillery Mission

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

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Photographer: Sean Huolihan

Gear: Nikon D600Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G AF-S ED VR

Settings: 390 Images, 30 sec exposures, ISO 200, 24-85mm @ 24mm, f/10

Backstory: I took this during my deployment to Afghanistan. I had been waiting months for the right nighttime visibility and had never seen a star trail image with a HIMARS launcher and just thought it would make an awesome shot. The final image was composed of 390 stacked photos. I am currently a SGT serving in the WI National Guard and working on becoming a full-time photographer.

Read more about Sean in “Soldier focuses on documenting historic Guard artillery mission“.

Check out more of Sean’s work here.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

Behind The Shot: Triple Fogbow

Behind The Shot

Behind The Shot is a recurring feature where we dig deeper and find the backstories that accompany amazing photos. Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!

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Photographer: Daisy Gilardini Gear: Nikon D800ENikkor 24-70mm f2.8Polarizer filter Settings: 1/100 @ f/11, ISO 100, 24mm

Backstory: Since 1996 I have been working on expedition ships to the Polar Region for documenting the climate changes that affect the end of our earth. In the summer of 2012 I was onboard the Akademik Ioffe with OneOcean Expeditions and while cruising through the ice we came across this breathtaking fogbow. During all these years I have seen many of them but never a triple formation. A fog bow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow, however, as its name suggests, it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain. I was stunned and I waited until I had enough ice around it to  bring more dynamism to the image captured.

Check out more of Daisy’s work on her website.

If you like this photo be sure to share it! Do you have an awesome photo or know of one that we might want to feature? Send us an email!