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Dear Adriaan

I hope this issue of my newsletter finds you in fine fettle. I'm finally touching ground a bit even though I arrived back from Japan just over two weeks ago! There are never enough hours in the day to do what I want (and need) to do, so I'm now in the business of prioritising priorities — but it's all part of the fun ...

In this issue I have some great updates for you in terms of photography experiences (including African safaris) as well as news and some special offers. As the Bard famously never said: "Read on, Macduff!"


Johannes von Stumm, Lisa Cirenza, Claudia De Grandi and I were warmly welcomed and supported throughout our stay in Kyoto by Jo Ishida and Tomoko Matsubara of the JARFO Gallery, and we really can't thank them enough for all their efforts and hospitality on our behalf. They introduced us to several extraordinary local artists, artistic practices, experiences (including a visit to the public baths) and — very importantly — good places to eat!

Our arrival in Japan coincided perfectly with that of the cherry blossoms ("sakura" in Japanese) so we couldn't have asked for better timing. Sakura was a key feature in most of the artworks that Lisa, Claudia and I prepared for our exhibition at the Gallery. (Johannes had made a wonderful little sculpture puzzle of glass, bamboo, wood and paper.) Towards the end we all felt that we had seen enough pink for a while ... Personally I'm now looking forward to going back and experiencing Kyoto in the autumn at some point.

Japan was an absolutely incredible experience in many ways: culturally, artistically, professionally, gastronomically — not to mention in terms of physical activity! I walked about 100 miles in the three weeks I was there, trying to explore as much of Kyoto as I physically could. I also had a day trip to the ancient capital of Nara, which is an amazing place. Nara contains the world's largest wooden structure — Todai-ji's Daibutsu-den — which (mind-bogglingly) was rebuilt to only two-thirds the size of the original in 1709.

Perhaps the most significant impact of the trip is that artistically it may well prove to be a turning point in my own photographic vision and practice. The perfection that the Japanese masters achieve with simple subjects and forms is staggering, but the simplicity is only superficial: underlying it is phenomenal skill, almost superhuman dedication to one's art and craft, and a fanatical attention to detail (i.e. selecting only the absolutely essential elements in a composition and making them "sing" to their utmost potential). Life just got a whole lot more challenging and exciting!

You can read about my experiences and see some pictures on a special Kyoto Diary entry in my Blog. I will be adding pictures to the Diary over the next month or so. If your Netflix subscription has expired and you're at a loose end on a rainy afternoon then you can also watch a 20 minute video of our residence and exhibition on my YouTube channel.


Japan Pictures & Exposure Competition

I've uploaded some of my favourite Japan pictures to my Exposure Competition page. Please have a look and vote for me if you like them. (Please also leave a comment at the bottom.)

Thanks to everyone who's voted for me already. I've had some great comments so far:

  • Adriaan creates a real atmosphere in his pictures. Always a delight to look at them.
  • Adriaan has the eye and ability to capture a moment, especially a landscape, that enables his audience to transport themselves into that place, mesmerising photography.
  • Adriaan manages to capture the detail "in the moment" which brings to life the emotion, uniqueness and even comedy of the subject. You can feel the passion in his work.
  • Wow totally beautiful, especially in capturing the qualities of light and colour. Well done!
  • Wow, wonderfully captured :)

BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition

While I was in Kyoto I received an email saying that I'd made it through to the finals of the BBC Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition in the Best Portfolio Category! Elation! Followed swiftly by sudden panic when I noticed the request to upload my original RAW and TIFF files. (I had only brought the RAW files with me and not the TIFFs.) Fortunately I had recently taken out a Cloud subscription so was able to retrieve the necessary files, albeit over painfully slow wifi. Crisis averted!

In terms of my entries I didn't give myself much of a chance this year but it seems the judges liked my portfolio of red deer rutting pictures. The final judging is still underway so I'm trying not to think about it too much ...

My next Champagne Deer Safari in Richmond Park will be on the 7th of June, so book now if you'd like to experience for yourself what others are raving about.

Time & Leisure Magazine Feature

I had a slightly surreal experience in Kyoto one evening when a lovely family from New Malden (in London) came to cook dinner for us. Stafano is Italian and his wife Naoko is originally from Japan. They now run an Italian food importing business in the UK and just happened to be visiting family in Japan with their two young boys at the time of our residency. While we were enjoying our delicious Italian meal Naoko suddenly mentioned that she'd seen my feature in the March issue of Time & Leisure Magazine! Talk about a butterfly flapping its wings in little old Ashtead ...

Dungeness Photography Experience on 26 April

On the 26th April I ran a great photography experience day at Dungeness on the Kent coast. The weather was foul most of the day but we managed to fit in quite a bit of theory and sunset planning during the day (using The Photographer's Ephemeris) and fortunately the rain cleared just enough in the hour before sunset for us to get some excellent shots.

Reviewing the day afterwards, Alex Harbige wrote: "Thank you for a wonderful workshop, with great advice and good company. Enjoyed the opportunity to take great photographs with super insight to composition and advice on subject light to make the photographs' results very atmospheric. Hope to meet up again and capture other locations!"

Thanks very much, Alex, and thanks for coming to brave the elements with me!

The next Dungeness photography experience will be on Sunday 6 December.

Photography Experiences

Coming up we have the North Norfolk Coast in July, Northumberland in August, the Lake District in September, and the Jurassic Coast in January. I also have spaces available on two photography days at the British Wildlife Centre in September and December. Booking is now open for all these experiences.

The highlight of the Lake District trip will be photographing the best supermoon of the year over Buttermere (weather permitting, of course), so that's one not to be missed!

You can view the current schedule of all the experiences on my website. Places are always limited so please do book early if you'd like to join one or more of these adventures.

African Safaris in 2016

I'm now accepting expressions of interest for four absolutely incredible safaris next year:

  1. February: 9 days Kenya. 5 star Maasai Mara photography safari. Total cost including international flights from the UK estimated to be in the region of £4,950.
  2. April: 10 days Kenya. 5 star Big Five photography safari (Mount Kenya region). Some of the best rhino photography available anywhere. Total cost including international flights from the UK estimated to be in the region of £3,950.
  3. August: 14 days South Africa. Cape Town, West Coast wildflowers, whales & some of the best big cat photography available anywhere. Total cost including international flights from the UK estimated to be in the region of £4,950.
  4. September: 15 days Kenya. Amboseli, Samburu, Mount Kenya region, Great Lakes, and three full days in the Maasai Mara to photograph the Great Migration. Total cost including international flights from the UK estimated to be in the region of £7,500.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you'd like to join me for one of these fantastic trips. Once I have an idea of numbers I will then finalise the details (including costs) with my operators and travel consultant partners. I am not taking deposits at the moment, just expressions of interest, and you can be assured that I will keep you informed throughout the process.

Photography Experience Days at Denbies Wine Estate

Booking has been brisk for my photography experience days at Denbies Wine Estate near Dorking but there are still places available for all four dates:

  • Sunday 10 May
  • Sunday 5 July
  • Sunday 6 September
  • Sunday 18 October
The format of the experience days will be as follows:
  • 11:00  Tea & coffee on arrival; photography briefing
  • 11:30  Photography on the grounds of the Estate
  • 14:00  Two-course lunch with wine & coffee in the Gallery Restaurant

The cost is £90 per person.

Corporate packages are also available and can be tailored to your requirements.

Please book directly on the Denbies website, or call Kelly Walsh (Denbies Events Manager) on 01306 742002.

Limited Edition Prints Cards and Calendars Photobooks Workshops & Holidays

Wild Beauty eBook

My Wild Beauty eBook is now available to download on my website. In his Foreword to the book, David Noton (one of the top landscape photographers in the world) writes that:

"Images with such impact and resonance do not come about by accident, they are the product of a unique vision coupled with resolute commitment, sound technique, bucket loads of persistence and fierce determination. Clearly Adriaan has exceptional reserves of all of these qualities."

Come and experience Wild Beauty for yourself and see what you can expect if you come with me on safari to Kenya and South Africa!

Special Offer: Studio Spring Cleaning Sale

For Health & Safety reasons I am decluttering my studio, so from now until the end of May I am offering my newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans a selection of artworks for sale at 2014 prices. The works are all high quality, limited edition canvas prints, 30 x 20 inches, at my best 2014 price of £295 each (including free shipping in the UK). You can view the works for sale in this Facebook Album. Please contact me directly if you'd like to buy one (or two, or three, etc.).

Final Word

I recently received the following review of my Deer Photography Safari from Sam Huxter, who bought the experience as a present for his son: "I have found Adriaan very personable and admirable, such a wonderful workshop that me and my son attended in Richmond Park. Many thanks!"

Thanks Sam, it was great to have you along!

Until next time ...

Copyright © 2014 Adriaan van Heerden. All rights reserved.