Our Raison D’etre
Each of of us can recall “inspired moments” on our own journeys through life – moments which we treasure and will endure.
I will forever remember my:
- First flight over the Sahara as the sun glimpsed over the horizon and brushed the endless sands.
- First sight and sounds of Mosi-Oa-Tunya, from nearly 5 kms away.
- Surprise of seeing ice blocks the size of motor vehicles falling over Niagara Falls.
- First time photographing a whale shark within a metre of my lens – the biggest fish in the oceans.
- First encounter with a pride of seventeen lions surrounding my vehicle, as I struggled to photograph them in the near dark.
- Inner joy as I witnessed a mid-air breach of a humpback whale, that drenched everybody in our small boat when it hit the water.
- First time listening to the deafening stillness and silence of the Antarctic.
- First balloon flight over a million wildebeest in the Masai Mara and the stillness and tranquility.
But, the memories that remain timeless for me are those I both experienced and photographed.
These lasting memories and treasured images nearly always emerge from journeys of discovery of new lands, cultures and nature, many of which become explorations into one’s very soul.
I created Iconic Images International (Iconic Images) for others to find and photograph their own “inspired moments” whilst travelling in small groups to iconic destinations.
My wish is to help fellow travellers translate into compelling images, what they see in their viewfinder, conceive in their mind’s eye, feel in their heart and what touches their soul as they press the shutter button.
Clearly, it is more than just capturing a special image, it is also about the experience of the journey; it is beyond photography.
Iconic Images was not set up as a business or to be overly big on camera equipment or Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.
Instead it is about introducing people to the great destinations on the planet, at the best times, helping them capture the best images, yet being conscious of the contemporaneous experience.
I conceived Iconic Images to enrich the photography of those who travel with me, especially when they incorporate into their images something of their own feelings, their personal reaction to the experience they are part of and what inspirations moves them to press the shutter in the first place.
If all of this can contribute, even in small ways, to the preservation of our diminishing wildlife and cultures, then I am particularly pleased.
I try to capture a few other reasons in this short film clip called Africa – Balm for the Soul.
Iconic Images extends an invitation to others to accompany me on journeys of self-discovery through photography; to be a part of the camaraderie and esprit-de-corps that graciously emerges when like-minded people travel with cameras. My focus is on personalized, conservation photography oriented small group journeys which connect photographers from around the world to witness and photograph some of the most amazing natural phenomena on our planet.
It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an advanced photographer, the fun of travelling with us is infectious and inclusive.
During your photo safari or journey you will improve your skills and return home a more confident photographer, with some of your best shots ever.
I like to think the name Iconic Images is synonymous with competence, attention to detail, inimitable itineraries, first-class travel experiences and unforgettable memories. I love the name Iconic Images and I could not believe my luck when I discovered the domain name www.iconicimagesinternational.com was available.
Thus, the “why” of Iconic Images is a private passion and a delight.
The following people have given enormous help to Iconic Images. Each contributed to our photographic journeys in very special ways. Thank you to all.
Jay Collier: Jay has been photographing African wildlife professionally since 2004. Having travelled to destinations including Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Jay has built a strong portfolio of images as well as a deep knowledge of the diverse species and behaviours of Africa’s wildlife. Working in the professional photographic industry for over eleven years, Jay currently works for Canon Australia, until recently managing the Canon Professional Services (CPS) group which is responsible for supporting many of Australia’s leading professional photographers.
His technical understanding of photographic theory and the technologies, features and functions of today’s cameras and lenses is second to none. This expertise has been accumulated from working with both Canon and Nikon, in the professional photographic divisions of both companies. Participants are able to avail of this expertise during Iconic Images photographic journeys.
Jay was also employed by Taronga Zoo, Sydney, and has developed and runs short courses in photography for Taronga Training Institute.
His images and articles have been published in magazines, including Africa Geographic and Better Photography, and in commercial adverting campaigns in Australia. In 2007, several of Jay’s images made it through to the semi-final stage of judging with the BBC World Wildlife Photo competition. His passion for photographing Africa knows no bounds! To view some of Jay’s stunning images, click: Jay Collier Photography – African Wildlife.
Shem Compion: Shem Compion is the founder and owner of C4 Images and Safaris in Pretoria, South Africa. His extensive knowledge of travel in Africa, its wildlife and the best photographic locations ensures Iconic Images can deliver the best photographic experiences possible.
Shem grew up roaming the African wilds and this interest in nature led to him completing a National Diploma in Nature Conservation and Wildlife Management. With over 20 years of bush experience it was quite logical he was going to end up working in the natural world.
A self-taught wildlife photographer, Shem quickly established himself as one of the best wildlife photographers in Southern Africa. His work is regularly published worldwide in magazines, calendars and books. In 2010, he supplied all 72 images to the extremely popular Africa Geographic calendar. It sold out within 4 months – the first time ever.
He published his first book “A Landscape of Insects” in 2009. His very popular second and third books are part of the “Insider’s Guide” series covering the top wildlife photography spots in South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, published in 2010 and 2012 respectively. He released his latest book “The Truth About Trees” in 2013.
He has presented photo workshops for organisations such as National Geographic and is regular keynote speaker at international photographic conventions. To view some of Shem’s stunning images, click:Shemimages
He has worked on a variety of television and film projects over the past 15 years, including working as a cameraman for the late, renowned Australian naturalist and filmmaker, Malcolm Douglas. Their trips through the Kimberley in Western Australia involved shooting stories on bush survival skills, extreme fishing, bush cooking and wildlife encounters.
This work lead to Abraham becoming the head cameraman for David Ireland’s “Wildlife Man” series travelling to many countries to film adventure stories.
The show was distributed on Discovery channel in the US, Channel 9 in Australia and in over 20 other countries.
Abraham is an advanced underwater cinematographer having shot underwater films in Christmas Island, East Timor, the Solomon Islands and every state of Australia. Filming shipwrecks is one of his great interests.
He also filmed the Namibia photographic safari for Iconic Images International in July 2012 and returned to Africa with Iconic Images in 2013 and 2014. See a number of the films he has shot for Iconic Images at: Videos.
He currently owns and manages Untitled Film Works, one of the most successful corporate and wedding cinematography studios in Australia and is a leader in DSLR film-making, runs workshops and is increasingly sought as a conference speaker in Australia and internationally. To view some of Abraham’s work, click: Untitled Film Works
Art Wolfe: Art is one of the great American photographers of this generation. His astonishing images are a window into a world most of us might otherwise never see. Over a lifetime of creating those images he has transformed nature, wildlife and cultural photography into an art form. He has travelled to the edges of the earth to capture his signature images, which are instantly recognisable for their mastery of composition, perspective and artistic expression.
Looking at his photographs you can sense the connection he makes with his subjects when he presses the shutter button. His lens seems to seek the very soul of his subjects. When he photographs wild creatures, he sees them as ambassadors for the preservation of their diminishing habitat. It is nature’s spirit that he seeks to frame and turn into captivating photographs. He believes if we are to know a true connection to nature or to others on this planet, it will have to happen in our own hearts and souls first. Art has accompanied Iconic Images on a number of journeys. You might like to hear his views at Art Wolfe & Iconic Images. Long before the genre of ‘conservation photography’ was conceived, Art was practising it. He was away ahead of his time and he is still pushing boundaries – see his latest works Human Canvas and Earth is My Witness.
Denis Glennon AO – the creator of Iconic Images International.
One of the 70+ million Irish diaspora scattered around the planet, I have made Western Australia my new home place. Prior to establishing Iconic Images International I spent over 35+ years in the corporate world, in various parts of the globe. For my sins, I hold degrees in engineering, psychology, science and education. In 2000 I was awarded an AO (Officer of the Order of Australia) for contributions, over two decades, to environmental conservation and pollution prevention in Australia. A seven year spell in Zambia ignited a passion for Africa’s wildlife, landscapes and cultures. My greatest pleasure is introducing others to the magic of Africa, preferably through the lens of a camera.
My corporate experience with environmental protection and conservation, over three decades, has shown me that it is predominantly through education and personal experience, not regulation, that the wider community becomes aware of the increasing necessity to conserve the ecosystems that support our amazing creatures. I am happy to pass on my knowledge on the acquisition of iconic wildlife images – my knowledge of species behaviour, equipment choices, shooting techniques, post processing, and best locations at best times – to others so that the ongoing protection of the planet’s unique and varied wildlife is introduced to wider audiences.
Africa is full of surprises – and a visually stunning destination. The wildlife always amazes and the diversity of culture, history and spectacular scenery stay with visitors forever.
Photographing Africa, or indeed all, wildlife is totally unpredictable. That’s why fellow travellers and I enjoy it so much. My message to newcomers on Iconic Images photographic journeys is: “Find your own rhythm and come to know nature’s beat, because how you show curiosity and patience, kindness and respect, to wildlife, needs to be authentic. Once you find this rhythm your photos will evidence it”.
I continually urge: “Look for that special moment, because the iconic images of wildlife and nature will contain a unique, usually fleeting few seconds that reveal the very soul of the subject you are photographing”.
I believe the sincerity of our interaction with nature’s subjects can nurture our ability to recognise these special moments and help us capture the iconic images.
When pushed for an answer on how best to do this, I simply says “There is no technique, the camera is just a tool for collecting pixels, just concentrate on honing the ability to connect with the beauty of what nature is telling you and you will be rewarded with iconic photographs”.
The Iconic Images “fellow travellers” are very special to me and are as good as you will find on any photographic journey. Art, Abraham, Jay and Shem are all passionate and respected professional photographers as well as friends. All are generous with their knowledge. It is a sheer pleasure travelling and photographing with them.
Nothing will please them more than to see the delight in your eyes when you create an image you never imagined you could capture.
My friendship with the legendary Art Wolfe, is very special to me and those who travel with us quickly become “infected” with “the magic of Art”!
My greatest reward is when I am able to help other people to see, come to know and photograph nature and its amazing wildlife, through a new lens.
Denis Glennon AO
You might be wondering why I established and run this website as you may not have come across me before and because I am not, in the usual sense, a professional photographer.
This is a deliberate choice of mine.
I am fortunate enough to independently pursue my photography and travel as a marvellous hobby not to be spoiled by commercial imperatives.
I am very happy to share whatever knowledge I have as nothing gives me more satisfaction than people telling me I have introduced them to yet another amazing location that they would never have visited and photographed unless we travelled together.
I conceived Iconic Images International [Iconic Images] for a few reasons:
- to use travel photography to increase awareness of the need to preserve and conserve the beauty of nature and some of the planet’s amazing cultures.
- to assist preserve and photograph our diminishing wildlife.
- to travel with like-minded souls on “self-discovery” photographic journeys to Africa and elsewhere.
- to explore new places, particularly in the less-travelled corners of the globe, that may be of interest to others.
- if my images or the photographic journeys I arrange, assist others to embrace even a small part of their Earth, that is my reward.
Nature is where I find quiet contentment, balm for spirit and a place of healing for the soul.
My photography is not a portrayal of environmental vandalism or an elegy to vanishing places. Others cover these aspects more passionately than I can.
Rather, my focus is on the use of photography to encourage conservation, whilst understanding the tensions between development and conservation.
I see wild creatures in my viewfinder as ambassadors for the preservation of their diminishing habitat – my frame seeks to evoke reverence and hopefully awe.
Great images can be beacons to a stronger connection with nature and inspire respect – a true connection to nature always happens first in our own hearts and souls.
I seek to portray each subject’s individuality, as every landscape, seascape, mammal, animal, and bird has an individuality that is unique and it changes through the seasons, and even throughout the day.
To truly portray the individuality of a wild animal or bird, it is important to get to know them, to be with them when they are being themselves, as if they didn’t know I was there or they were being photographed – to be like a chameleon and meld into their environment. Some subjects are sensual, some are rugged or dangerous, others are inhospitable, wild, gracious or serene. A peaceful zen morning can quickly turn into a perfidious stormy afternoon. A gracious leopard can turn into a ferocious killer.
Like any friend, it is important to treat nature and other cultures with respect and curiosity; to be sensitive to what each is seeking to tell me.
Then, as a photographer, I become connected to it, to the matrix from which I was born, which sustains me, and to which I, and all of us, will, one day, return.
Each of us is a very important part of this matrix, and we are in a position to preserve and enjoy it, or destroy it.
This position is a privileged one, always accompanied by an authentic calling to recognise the fragility of the matrix.
I am fortunate to live in an unspoiled and unpolluted part of the planet, in forever changing light, clear skies, in the midst of magnificent land and seascapes – a blessing afforded to few.
Camera Gear I Use
A debate on best camera and lens preferences can be as challenging as one on best wines.
I say “Each to their own drop – I enjoy whites and reds from most great vineyards”.
I buy my own equipment – no sponsorship. I have made a considerable investment in the best Canon cameras and lenses. Given a second run, I would purchase Canon again. Here is what I use, as at January 2015.
|Cameras, Lenses & Headphones||Tripod & Heads||Laptop, External HDDs & Software||Bags & Backpack|
|Canon 1DX MkII||RRS TVC-3X Tripod||ASUS N550J 15″ with 1TB SSD, 16GB RAM & Non-glare screen||ThinkTANK International Roll On|
|Canon 5DS R||RRS Monopod||2 X LaCie 2TB Ext. HDD||Gura Gear Bataflae 30L|
|Canon 5DMk III & Canon 7DMkII||Gitzo G2380 Fluid Head||Photoshop CC – 64 Bit||ASUS Laptop Bag|
|Canon16-35mm f/2.8 L Mk II||RRS BH-55 & BH-40LR Heads||Lightroom CC – 64 Bit|
|Canon 50mm f/1.2 L IS||Jobu Heavy Duty Mk 4 Gimbal||Photomatix for HDR|
|Samyang 14mm f/2.8 Manual||RRS Series 4 Levelling Head|
|Zeiss Distagon 21mm f/2.8 Manual||PTGui for Panorama|
|Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS MkII||Helicon Focus for Focus Stacking|
|Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS MkII|
|Canon 300mm f/2.8 L IS MkII|
|Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 IS MKII|
|Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS MkII|
|Canon 200-400mm f/4 IS USM||NIK- Viveza 2|
|Canon 1.4 X MKII Converter||NIK- Colour Efex Pro 4|
|Canon 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye||NIK – Silver Efex Pro|
|Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro L IS USM||NIK – HDR Efex Pro 2|
|Singh Ray 10-stop ND filters 77 & 82mm||NIK – Sharper Pro 2|
|Singh Ray PL – Cir filters 77 & 82mm||onOne Perfect Suite 9|
|Lee 105mm PL-Cir filter|
|Singh Ray ND Grads.|
|BOSE Quiet Comfort 25 Noise Cancelling Headphones|
Increasingly, aircraft carry-on weight restrictions made life difficult for photographers, especially when flying economy class. A vest with many large and deep pockets can still ‘save the day’. When the weigh-in hurdle is safely negotiated, the contents can be repacked in the legal roll-on or backpack.
When photographing from the specialist vehicles a beanbag is essential. The one I use is made by Wildlife Imaging.
When photographing from open top vehicles on safari I have found both a tripod and monopod to be essentially redundant. Both are too cumbersome to handle, unless there are only two persons per vehicle.
Ciara’s Gift, published by The University of Western Australia Publishing (UWA Publishing) was born out of my wife Una’s journey through grief following the murder of our twenty-seven year old daughter, Ciara, in 1997. This is the book Una would never have wished to write but felt compelled to write in the hope that it may bring comfort and hope to those who are grieving following any life-shattering loss.
When someone or something very dear to us is taken away we are left with an enormous vacuum in our lives, a vacuum that fills with sadness, pain and despair. We feel we cannot go on living in the face of such heartbreak. We are forced to search for a deeper meaning to life.
When we are given the courage to enter deeply into and to feel our pain, we discover that beneath it is a place of enduring love, compassion and quietude. We learn that the event that brought us so much pain ultimately opens a portal into a place of tranquillity.
We emerge from suffering with increased capacity to live each day in peace and gratitude for the tremendous gift that life is.
Una’s book is available directly from The University of Western Australia on its online shop at: UWA Publishing.
UWA Publishing offers free postage (within Australia, AU$10 flat rate outside Australia) and an easy-to-use web shop.
If, however, you are not comfortable with online shopping, do not hesitate to telephone Kiri Falls on (08) 64886806 and she will be delighted to assist you place an order and process payment.
To visit Una’s website, please click on Una Glennon