Rooster Weathervane, St. Vitus Cathedral, Prague, Czech Republic, 2003
Sometimes you must climb up and shoot down to make a photograph work. It took 800 steps to reach to the top of St. Vitus Cathedral's bell tower -- the view over Prague was fascinating. However making "postcard" views and vistas do not interest me. I need something else in the picture as a symbolic counterpoint. I saw a rooster weathervane rising above the red tile rooftops slightly below me, and instantly knew that it would become the subject of my picture, with the view as its context. A lone person walks in the square below near St. George's Convent -- the oldest in Bohemia. The tiny size of that figure tells us how high we really are. I adjusted my vantage point slightly to position the rooster weathervane so that its open beak becomes the pivot of the picture. Behind it, a series of roof lines lead our eyes to that tiny figure in the square, as well as to the Convent. It was only a small shift in space, but it helped me coherently link the rooster to its domain.
Giraffes, Tala Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, 2003
Sometimes we can't choose our vantage points. Our vantage points choose us. Such is the case when we must shoot wildlife from safari vehicles. Because of their long necks, most giraffes photographed from vehicles must be shot against the sky. They are so tall that it is almost impossible to shoot them against a solid background of trees. On my fourth visit to Africa I finally was able to make the giraffe picture of my dreams. I did not find it. It found me. We came upon a large gathering of giraffes grazing on the treetops along a forested hillside. Without moving my position, I made this image, which I call "Return to Eden".
Campo Santo, El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2003
One of the most historic ranches in the American Southwest, Santa Fe's El Rancho de las Golondrinas offers insights into the town's Spanish Colonial culture. The ranch's windswept cemetery -- known as a Campo Santo-- and its old Penitente Meeting House, took me back in time more than any other place I've visited in New Mexico. To capture the essence of the scene, I placed my camera and its 24mm wideangle converter lens on the ground only a foot or two behind a teetering wooden fence enclosing a 19th century grave, and moved my position a few inches to the right to include the old Meeting House in the background. This low vantage point also emphasizes storm clouds that would soon sweep the area with much needed rain.
A Tigerís Fury, Bandhavgarh National Park, India, 1990
We found him deep in an Indian forest, just after dawn. I was looking straight down into the jaws of an angry killing machine -- a twelve year old male Royal Bengal Tiger whose bared fangs were less than 15 feet away. It would be the only tiger we would meet face to face in two weeks of tracking them through the jungles of India's game parks. I burned through two rolls of film during the ten minutes we spent with him. This is the most terrifying image I have ever shot and my high vantage point provides the most menacing angle. Fortunately, I was safely perched on a wooden platform strapped to the broad, high back of an elephant. And no animal, not even this furious tiger, would dare to challenge the bone crushing potential of a huge pachyderm. The light was quite low, and in spite of my 400 speed Fujichrome film, the combination of a slow 1/15th of a second shutter speed and my telephoto zoom lens, produced a slightly blurred image due to magnification of camera shake. This slight blur adds a touch of panic to the image, strengthening its frightening impact.