Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World

Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World

by Art Wolfe, Rob Sheppard

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Legendary nature photographer Art Wolfe presents an intimate, behind-the-scenes guide to the experiences, decisions, and methods that helped him capture images from some of the most exciting locations across the globe.

In Photographs from the Edge, you'll discover the secrets behind forty years of awe-inspiring photography from around the world. Wolfe takes you from the mountains of the Himalayas to the sandy shores of Mnemba Island, with stops in the crowded streets of India and the alkali lakes of Africa along the way. You’ll learn the equipment, settings, and creative choices behind each photograph. From endangered species to cultural celebrations to natural wonders, Wolfe brings each subject to life through his stunning photography and the stories he shares in this one-of-a-kind photo safari.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607747826
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 09/20/2016
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 288
File size: 153 MB
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About the Author

ART WOLFE’s photographs are recognized throughout the world for their mastery of color, composition, and perspective. He is a recipient of the Photographic Society of America’s Progress Medal, the coveted Alfred Eisenstaedt Magazine Photography Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North American Nature Photography Association. Wolfe’s award-winning television series, Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge, airs on PBS stations throughout the country and worldwide. He is a popular educator and speaker for such companies as Microsoft, IBM, and Sheraton Hotels, and is the author of many books, including The New Art of Photographing Nature and The Art of the Photograph. For more information, visit

ROB SHEPPARD is the author/photographer of more than forty books, as well as a well-known public speaker, an accomplished photography instructor, and a fellow with the North American Nature Photography Association. He was formerly the longtime editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine, where he is presently editor-at-large. He resides in
Lomita, California. Visit him at

Read an Excerpt


All my life I have let my photos tell stories for me. After many years as a professional photographer—sometimes feeling more like a professional traveler—I have come to realize that many people are more interested in the when, where, and how of my photographs than the photos themselves. Question-and-answer sessions in my presentations sometimes feel nearly as long as the presentations themselves.

Quite simply, we humans love being told stories, being entertained by others’ exploits (good and bad) and that is what this book is all about. 

I have always loved nature, and was an environmentalist and conservationist long before I knew there were words for such things. I spent every spare moment exploring the wooded ravines around my childhood home in West Seattle. When I grew into my teens and had my own car, you couldn’t keep me out of the mountains on the weekends. When I climbed peaks, I would rename them in my own mind, even planting little flags at the summit as if I were the first to set foot there. I explored deep forested valleys, joined climbing clubs, and eventually became a climbing guide, leading clients to the summits of notable peaks around Washington State. 

From a very young age, I knew that I would be an artist and earn my living as such. I grew up experimenting with a variety of mediums as a painter; however, I was also very impatient. On more than one occasion, my parents would come home to find me “drying” my oil-on-canvas works in the oven, overwhelming the house with the stink of oil paints.

Attending the University of Washington in pursuit of an art degree, I imagined I’d be an art teacher while continuing to do my work on the side. At that time, in the 1970s, photography was not considered “art” and classes were off-limits to all but journalism majors. During my time out in nature, climbing and backpacking, I would take a camera with me on my outings simply to record the landscape as a reference point to then paint from later. With an ingrained drive to work fast and some ever-improving photographic skills (gained through trial and error), I soon realized that the photograph could be my artistic statement and I could create a dozen compositions in a single day with my camera rather than trying to paint them back at home.

It was only natural, then, that my early subjects were the beautiful mountain landscapes of the Pacific Northwest. Early in my career, I tried every angle I could to get my photos out into the world. I went to retail stores selling climbing clothing and outdoor gear and lobbied them to display my photos on their walls. They eventually agreed, and years later I would even have my first gallery in the flagship REI store in Seattle. REI (short for Recreational Equipment, Inc.) is a major outdoor clothing and gear retail outlet and was founded in Seattle. 

Many of the locations I have visited have come from reviewing photo and art books I’ve collected in my library over the years. If I feel a location has only barely been covered and there is a lot more left to explore, I’ll make a note to head there. But if it looks as though other photographers have captured the best the area has to offer, I’ll look elsewhere. Many people are surprised I have not been to some of the classic locations, such as the pyramids of Egypt or the city of Prague with its beautiful architecture. Instead, I’ve tried to open up new areas, exploring the tundra outside of Churchill, Canada, long before there were tundra buggies or spending three years waiting to get a permit to penetrate the jungles of Venezuela, the home to the Yanomami people. I photographed along Brooks Falls in Alaska some time before there were boardwalks, overlooks, and railings in place. My favorite location is honestly the last place I’ve been. I get energized and fill my soul with creating art and being in the field. Of course, I do have favorite locations for various subjects. India is so full of culture and color one could spend a lifetime exploring it. The Pantanal in Brazil has such a density of tropical birds that it is a birder’s paradise. South Georgia Island is a wonderful destination as the animals there have only seen the occasional photographer and as a result have little fear of humans.

Table of Contents

Preface Rob Sheppard 1

Introduction Art Wolfe 4

1980s 9

Arctic Fox 11

Ultima Thule Everest Expedition 13

Yak Train 17

Villager 17

Wall Mural 19

Moai 21

Mount Everest and Nuptse 23

Ama Dablam 25

Agricultural Tapestry 29

Andean Farm 29

Boats 31

Rising Mist 33

1990s 35

Elk Shadows 37

Polar Bears 39

Polar Bears in Snowstorm 41

Herders 43

Beluga Whale 45

Emperor Penguins 47

Indiana Bats in Hibernation 49

Dani 51

Lesser Flamingos 53

Cape Buffalo 55

Upper Xingu Indians 59

Kuikuro Man 59

Simbu Dancers 61

Deer Dancers 63

Grinnell Point 65

Les Aiguilles and Lac Blanc 67

Southern Cross 69

Iceberg 71

King Penguins in Snowstorm 75

King Penguin Chick 75

Giant Panda 77

Tiger Eye 79

2000s 81

Spiritual Journey 83

Full Moon over Summit Vent 87

Volcanic Burst 87

Cape Buffalo Flee Lions 89

Spotted Hyena 91

Lions 93

Aurora Borealis 95

Humpback Whale 92

Elk Herd 99

Lava 101

Rickshaw Round-Up 105

Rickshaw Drivers Wait for Fares 105

Workers 107

New Year's Celebrations 111

Monks and Unfurled Thangka 111

Monks Rise from Prayer 115

Monks Debate 115

Kecak 117

Holi 121

Lions Stalk Buffalo 123

James's Flamingos 125

Flock of Lesser Flamingos 129

Hippopotamus amidst Flamingos 129

Black Bear and Cubs 131

Fighting Brown Bears 133

Surma Donga Fighters 135

Oustalet's Chameleon 137

Sifakas 139

Succulent Forest and the Milky Way 141

Aerial, Lake Natron 143

Weddell Seal 145

King Penguins 147

Tigers Feed on Sambar Kill 149

Cowboys 151

Vodun Fire Ceremony 153

Dogon Shaman 155

Dogon Village 157

Villagers Wash Sheep 159

Fin Whale 161

Horse Race, Naadam Festival 165

Saddle and Athletic Shoes 165

Huangshan 169

Karst Spire 169

Adelie Penguin 171

2010s 173

Monks Cross the Irrawaddy River 175

Prayer Flags Stream at Tsechu 179

Tsechu Gathering 179

Sadhus at Kumbh Mela 183

Haridwar Ghats, Site of the Kumbh 183

Woman with Marigolds 185

Graveyard 187

Street Scene 189

Ganga Aartl 191

Restaurant 193

Lion Mother and Cubs 195

Beach Scene 197

Cape Agulhas 199

Brown Bear Sow and Cubs 203

Brown Bear Cub at Attention 203

Lake Detail 205

Bengal Tiger 207

Pilgrims at Kumbh Mela 209

Mahouts Parade Painted Elephants 211

Pilgrims in Tent City 213

Istiqlai Mosque 215

Monks at Lessons 217

Canyon Wall Reflection 219

Bald-Headed Uakari 221

Amazon River Dolphins 223

Leopard Siblings 227

Leopard Family 227

Elephant Startles Lion at Waterhole 231

Elephant Herd Converges on Waterhole 231

Impala at Waterhole 233

Dead Elephant Visited by Herd Members and Lions 237

Jackals Swarm Dead Elephant 237

Maasai Men 239

Maasai Villagers Prepare for Emorata Ceremony 241

Meghwal Women Gather around Fire 243

Theyyam Dancers 245

Blue Courtyard 247

Sweatshop 249

Dhobi Ghat 251

Goat on Scooter 253

Bison 255

Bighorn Sheep 257

Snow Leopard and Cubs 259

Deer Dancers, Likir Monastery 261

Asaro Mudmen 263

Bald Eagle Takes Flight 265

Sea Otter and Pup 267

Rufous Hummingbird and Chick 269

Milky Way over Mount Rainier and Little Tahoma 271

Lion and Cubs Photographed Remotely 273

BarSarbunga Volcano 275

Green Sea Turtle Hatchling 277

Conclusion 278

Credits 278

Index 279

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Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
PJtheEMT4 More than 1 year ago
Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World by Art Wolfe is an impressive showcase of photography bound into one volume. This book chronicles the photography of Art Wolf, chronologically. Those unfamiliar with his works will find themselves immersed into new, colorful worlds and exciting scenes ranging from wildlife, extreme landscapes to primitive cultures. Wolf can turn any scene into art- from a dilapidated sweatshop in India, to a group of elephants and even street scenes of third world countries. This book is full of impressive photography. Even if you are not a photographer, this book is informative as well as entertaining. For those readers who are photographers, the helpful photography hints offered alongside each photo will help photographers fine tune their skills. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Amphoto books for the purpose of writing this review.