Swedish Lapland – Arctic circle Photographic workshop… January 25th to February 12th 2017

Our fabulous Swedish Lapponia adventure  began in the sub-arctic city of Luleå and we then headed off to a remote island in the Luleå Archipelago. We stayed in charming cabins by the frozen shore and had a fleet of snow mobiles to get us further out onto the sea ice. We had a full day of excursion including time in a Hovercraft on the frozen edges of the Baltic sea.  We also had allowed time to visit the UNESCO listed historic town of Gammalstad and dined on a delicious traditional lunch. Our adventure continued across the snow and ice as we headed overland to the Aurora Safari Camp, winding through forests and over rivers on the snow mobiles. What a wonderful awe inpiring day! We arrived at the tented camp with hot chocolate and a burning fire to keep us warm.  Two nights here to enjoy the pristine setting and meet locals such as Richard and his dog sled pulled by Siberian Huskies. Both nights the Aurora Borealis went off. What a show! The second night it came early and dinner was being served when it started… they kept it hot for us! Wonderful understanding folk!

For three days we then immersed ourselves in the centre of a traditional market that has been running for over 400 years. Jokkmokk Winter Market has been the place to buy reindeer skins and furs every winter for the last few centuries. We enjoyed the cultural festivities of local Sapmi people and had plenty of time to explore the market, the museum and eat lots of the seasonal cream filled buns known as Semla. The Reindeer races were a highlight each day! We then left Jokkmokk and continued on our journey north. We followed the iron roads to the town of Kiruna, famous for the impressive Ice Hotel. Everyone got heaps of time to explore and photograph the cool colours inside, and then we headed for a warm cabin and a sumptuous dinner. On our way out of Kiruna the next day we also made a stop at the gorgeous historical wooden church in the centre of town.

Finally, a few day spent up within the northern most parts of Sweden in and around  Abisko national park, which is a treasure of Swedish Lapland. The national park is nested against the edge of Lake Torne and a haven for Aurora sightings due to the unique geological situation that creates a weather shadow. Here we had more chances to photograph and sight the Northern Lights. Moonlight and clear skies, we couldn’t have asked for more! Even though it was minus 28-30 the whole group just loved every minute! We visited the Sky Station and spend a night down by the shores of the lake waiting for more aurora activity. The final leg of the journey went a little further along Lake Torne and up the hill, to the skiing village of Björkliden. We had some cabins booked here that overlooked the lake and the “Laponnian Gates”. We had three nights dedicated to shooting the Aurora, with great locations on offer for photography and short walk up the hill and even at times right on the balcony of our cabins.

My sincere thanks to all the participants who truly were just marvellous! A sincere and grateful thanks to Frederick who made this trip so special, and who I look forward to meeting again when we next do this trip! A big big thank you to Ewen and Shellie whose imput is totally awesome, and without them I would not contemplate running such a trip!

If you would love to come on a totally amazing trip with us to the Arctic circle of Swedish Lapland, Ewen Bell and Myself are running another workshop in 2019. It is strictly limited in numbers, so please consider booking early… download a PDF here: http://ewenbell.com/itinerary-sweden.php


Digital Photographer UK Essential Expert Tricks Issue 177

I was invited recently to contribute to a very special segment of the UK based Digital Photographer magazine. My piece dealt with Sun-stars but the whole section contains some great tips from leading photographers and is well worth the read. I have posted it here for your interest. Just click on the PDF to read it in full.  Sun-stars as many of you will know, are a favourite back-lit subject I constantly seek to shoot out in the field and the photo below that I have attached is a very recent image from the Arctic circle of Swedish Lapland.  In the next few days I hope to write another post about this incredible workshop that I conducted in conjunction with my good friend Ewen Bell.

Click the PDF here:   essential-expert-tricks-uk-dp-177


Alpine National Park – Victoria . January 21st – 25th . 2017

I grabbed a few days up in the high country as the weather looked good and there was a chance to shoot clear skies and beautiful wildflowers. Summer can be so lovely up here above 5000 feet in the summer, and I wasn’t disappointed. Another good reason is that I had just purchased the New Art series Sigma 12-24mm F4 lens! What a superb optic this is. All the images here on this post were shot using this lens…I never took it off the camera! Now all we need is a filter holder to go with it and we will have a near perfect tool!


Australia Post – Norfolk Island New Stamp Issue January 17th 2017

I am delighted to announce that Australia Post has purchased the rights to use a few images from my Norfolk Island collection for this new issue of Waterfalls which was released yesterday. Here is a brief description of the falls and creek, also images of every item that was released and some technical details as well.

Cascade Creek is one of Norfolk Island’s few permanent streams. Along with its tributaries, its catchment area covers almost one-fifth of the island and is an important home for native wetland flora and fauna. When it rains, high flows produce two main waterfalls: Cockpit Waterfall and Cascade Creek Falls.

Cockpit Waterfall is located inland, around 100 metres from the sea. Also known as Cockpit Falls, it is located within Cascade Reserve, an area of more than 30 hectares along the northern coast of Norfolk Island. Cascade Creek flows past Cockpit to Cascade Bay, resulting in Cascade Creek Falls.

Technical details

  • Issue date: 17 January 2017
  • FDI withdrawal date: 15 February 2017
  • Denominations: 1 x $1, 1 $2
  • Stamps & Envelope Photography  Ian Rolfe – Southern Lightscapes
  • Product design: Simone Sakinofsky
  • Printer: RA Printing
  • Paper (gummed): Tullis Russell Red Phosphor
  • Printing process: Offset lithography
  • Stamp size: 26mm x 37.5mm
  • Minisheet size: 135mm x 80mm
  • Perforations: 14.6 x 13.86
  • Sheet layout: Module of 50
  • FDI postmark: Norfolk Island NSW 2899
  • Issue withdrawal date: 31 July 2017


King Island Photographic Workshop December 2-4 2016

Another spring wildflower workshop with 10 participants has been completed, with the weather god’s smiling on us all once again! Lovely blue skies on the first 2 days with fluffy clouds sweeping in from the western parts of Bass Strait and more cloud but still beautiful on the last day. My sincere thanks to the team on King Island who surpassed themselves once more and a big thank-you to all the wonderful people who joined me for the amazing 3 day workshop. Posted here a just a few images from the trip and I know everyone who participated will have taken home loads of great images to work on at their leisure.


Next year my King Island workshop is already completely booked out, so if you would love to consider joining me on this amazing experience to a truly wonderful and scenic destination, then email me to secure a spot for late November/early December in 2018 With a fantastic team who live and work on the Island we really do take you where other’s can’t… Plus the local food is a delicious highlight that is simply superb!

An awesome photographic research trip for an upcoming workshop: Luang Prabang in central Laos.

Ewen and I had discussed for quite a while the possibility of running a workshop together into an area of Indo-China that Ewen previously used to work on his own, under the banner of Ancient Kingdoms. An opportunity came our way last month in late October as we were scheduled to run a workshop together into Nepal and the Annapurnas earlier in the month. That workshop was highly successful and it meant we could fly back after the conclusion of the workshop and divert into Laos for a few days on our return journey via Bangkok. Our days there were filled with appointments for hotel viewing, choosing restaurants, markets, guides, drivers, coffee bars, and also looking for the best possible outcomes with regard to visiting tribal villages, river trips on the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers, early morning with the Mahouts and their Elephants, the Temples and the monks with the dawn alms. It meant we had to work long days and visit so many areas to figure out the absolute best possible scenario’s for our upcoming workshop. This meticulous planning will of course be reflected in the amazing and diverse workshop that a few lucky people will experience when they sign on with us. Delicious food, superior lodgings, local guides and drivers and the visual diversity make this a photographer’s dream. The workshop Ewen and I have planned is indeed  a treasure trove of photographic delights from the first light of dawn until sunset!


To obtain a copy of the PDF explaining the all inclusive workshop and how to book, click on the following link: artofmonkslaos2018       Don’t miss this delightful chance to experience something unique, wonderful and totally different!

The images below are just a very small selection of what I took during our research trip and is a sample of the wonderful delights that awaits anyone signing up with us on this incredible photographic opportunity.