Northern Lights Over Lake Myvatn

Northern Lights Over Lake Myvatn

What a killer of a day here in Iceland. The sun broke for us at Aldeyjarfoss, then a fast run over to Godafoss, then a quick pizza stop and it was off the photograph the Northern Lights.What started off as a small show, soon turned into a huge display of multicolored lights dancing across the sky in wave-like forms. I have photographed the lights before but never have I been faced with having to increase my shutter speed to stop the action.

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Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Kicking off my winter adventure to Iceland, we fought heavy rain and wind that was crazy, all the way to our first destination on the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. Just before arriving in the center of the peninsula, the clouds broke just long enough for a quick photo of one of the many top fishing streams in Iceland.  Skarpi, our guide, shared with us that to fish this river would cost you $1,000.00 per day.

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2014 Wrap-Up and Adventure Summary

Ok, it’s time for the annual 2014 wrap up and a glimpse of what’s happening in 2015, so here we go.

2014 had me spending more time in Africa and on the road than I did at home, at least it seemed that way. The year kicked off in February with one of my favorite Thomson Safari adventures in Tanzania – the wildebeest calving. This time of the year is always an exciting because we are able to witness and photograph the births of literally thousands of newborn wildebeests. We also see the numerous predators that follow the herds of newborns and their parents, hoping for an easy meal.

Shortly thereafter I found myself in Namibia with Andy Biggs and Joshua Holko photographing the incredible landscapes in the oldest and tallest dunes in the world. This was my fourth trip to Namibia, and when it comes to desert landscapes, Namibia is absolutely numero uno! I will be returning in March 2015 to lead another Namibian landscape experience.

June found me back in Tanzania for the wildebeest rut safari, again with Thomson Safaris – and if you ask whether I like the calving more than the rutting, well, I just couldn’t say because both are incredible! With predators following the herds as they migrated across the plains to Kenya, we were afforded plenty of photographic opportunities then shared wonderful stories around the campfire as we recounted our daily adventures. I will be repeating this trip again in the May-June time frame of 2015.

August found me leading a photographic expedition to Iceland, the land of fire and ice. Trying to describe the landscapes of this island is simply beyond words. Check back after the first of the year for a new collection of photographs from this adventure. If Iceland is on your bucket list, I will be leading another expedition (or two) to Iceland in 2016 so stay tuned and let me know if you are interested.

In September I returned once again to Tanzania for the incredible great migration. During this trip we witnessed multiple wildebeest river crossings – always a spectacular event – and had numerous opportunities to photograph lions and leopards. The energy that surrounds the chaos of a river crossing must not be underestimated and it is one that must be experienced first-hand. As the wildebeest cross the Mara River, it is truly survival of the fittest as they face rapid river currents, angry hippos, and hungry crocodiles. Many of the wildebeests do not survive the mayhem.

October put me in Ethiopia photographing the tribes of the Omo Valley. This was one of the most humbling experiences of my photographic career because of the challenging roads, logistics, weather, and the people. However, I also am excited to repeat as soon as I can, so again, stay tuned. I can’t begin to describe what it was like to photograph these wonderful and caring tribal people of the Omo as they went about their daily lives. Being given unrestricted access to these people and invited to photograph and take part in their daily rituals made memories that will be with me for a long time. I can’t wait to return to work with these tribal members again, and I need to give special thanks to Piper MacKay for introducing me to these seldom-visited areas.

From October to late November I led two safaris into Botswana and co-led another safari with Grant Atkinson. As always, Eyes on Africa provided expert logistical support for two of the safaris and a new provider, Unlimited Safaris, provided the support for my first private camping safari. All three safaris produced wonderful photographic opportunities for leopards, lions and wild dogs. The highlights of these trips were seeing the gorgeous leopards and the packs of African Painted Dogs in full action as they hunted with the precision of a well-trained military unit. It was intense, high speed photography as we followed the dogs on chase after chase.

My third Botswana safari as co-leader with Grant Atkinson started in Maun with 17 of us taking a bush plane flight and landing at Nxabega. Our two days at Nxabega were filled with dogs and dogs and dogs. The African Painted Dog is a formidable killing machine. Usually hunting in both the morning and evening, they sport an 80 percent success rate in their chase to kill ratio. On our last morning before taking another bush flight to Sandibe, we witnessed the dogs make 7 antelope kills in 2 hours. They only missed once when they tried to chase a large kudu. I will be returning to Botswana next October for another photographic adventure sponsored by Muench Workshops.

A big highlight of the year was being invited to join the team of Muench Workshops, a small collection of very experienced professional photographers that lead workshops throughout the world. I think their tag line “one-of-a kind photography workshops at the coolest places on the planet” says it all. I am honored to be affiliated with David Muench, Mark Muench, and Andy Williams, and their wonderful team of photographers.

2015 will be another full year with highlights that include two safaris to Tanzania and Botswana, the landscapes of the Palouse, and the chimpanzees and mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda. I also will be joining Joshua Holko in July as we journey far north into the Arctic to photograph polar bears. In addition, I am currently planning a very small expedition-type adventure into Ethiopia’s Omo Valley in November, once again to photograph the seldom-photographed Suri Tribe. Details and booking information on all of these trips can be found on my website blog. If you don’t see me leading a trip to an area that interests you, please drop me a line and I will share with you what I have planned for the future. Likewise, if you are interested in one of the trips that are fully booked, I will be happy to place you on a waiting list – you just never know.

As for equipment, I am still shooting Nikon and Hasselblad and recently invested in the Profoto B1 portable flash head for my work in Ethiopia. I also invested in the new Nikon 400 f/2.8 FL series lens and man, what a beauty it is!

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2015.

Randy Hanna

Join me on an adventure of a lifetime as we make incredible photographs along the way.

2015 Workshop / Travel Outlook –

Iceland – By Winter – February 11-18 (private safari)
Namibia – Overland Landscapes – March 12-22
Tasmania and New Zealand – April 2015 (Private Safari)
Tanzania – The Rut Migration – May 27-June 7
Washington State – Muench Workshops Landscapes of the Palouse – June 11-17 (limited openings)
Uganda and Rwanda – Chimpanzees and Mountain Gorillas – June 25 – 4 July 2015
Norway – Polar Bears – July 22 – 4 August
Botswana – Pure Botswana – September 2015 (FULLY BOOKED)
Tanzania – The Great Migration – September 19-30
Botswana – Muench Workshops Botswana Adventures – October 10-20
Ethiopia – Omo Valley Adventure Series – October – November (please inquire if interested – limited to 4 guests only)

2016 Teaser: Italy, Iceland plus many more.

Continuing along in Iceland

The photography workshop and the results of the participants continues to simply amaze me.  The complexity and sheer beauty of this island is simply amazing and it is an island that I will most certainly return to.  I’m keeping my Facebook page reasonably up to date so be sure to check it out while I am in Iceland.  Look up Randy Hanna and Randy Hanna Photography on Facebook.  Here is another shot from the air during our flight.  Special thanks to Friðgeir Guðjónsson and Reykjavik Helicopters.  If you are in Iceland and want to see the Island from the air, use them.  These are great and Reyner was one of the best pilots that I have flown with; his personal knowledge of photography and understanding of light, made our flight a success.

Cheers from Iceland and happy photo’ing


Iceland – Landmannalaugur

This was on of the most difficult hikes I have done in a while.  Add to the fact that I had 50lbs of camera gear on my back did not help matters.  Our climb was a serious set of switch backs as well as long straight runs, all on very lose gravel.  We wanted to position ourselves for a sunset into the canyon however, mother nature never really gave it to us.  Off to bed now so I need to keep this short.

Hasselblad H5D40, 35-90mm HC @ 90mm, ISO 100  0.3 sec at f/9.0


Halifoss and onward to Hrauneyjar

After a prompt departure from the city center, we were on our way to the Highlands.  The weather took a nice change and we made an impromptu stop at the 4th largest waterfall in Iceland.  It was great to get out and stretch out legs a bit and get the cameras working.  Our luck turned just a bit and we caught a break in the weather.

After photographing the waterfalls, we made our way to our lodge at Hrauneyjar.

Hasselbald H5D40, 35-90mm @ 40mm, ISO 100, 1/10 sec at f/16 plus ND.6 Hard across the top

Cheers and more to come from Iceland.

Iceland – Off to the Highlands – 28 July

Temp: 54F
Sunset: 2245
Duration of day: 18 hours, 2 minutes
Wind 25mph ESE
I thought I would get up early today and see some sun – NOT.  Instead I woke up at 0445, pulled the blinds back to a bright cloudy typical Northwest November morning – wait, I’m in Iceleand.  Today, we travel north to an area called the Highlands.  Josh puts it very simply, out in the middle of nowhere.  Reykjavik saw the heaviest rainfall in years, last summer.  This summer, they are surpassed what fell last year so I think it is going to be a wet one.  Weather here can change in just a matter of minutes so I am banking for light breaks to photograph this wonderful place.

Iceland Air Natura Hotel, Samsung Note 2



Iceland – The Journey Begins

I took off from Seattle Saturday afternoon on Icelandic Air for a 6.5 hour non-stop to Reykjavik.  The seats on the 757 seems a bit more roomy than on most economy seats.  Like most flights these days, the flight was packed full making staying in my window seat for the entire flight, a sure thing.  Funny thing for me was the fact that we were chasing daylight the entire length of the flight – no sleep for these beat eyes.   I met Daniel at the airport and found arrived at the hotel some 45 minutes later where I crashed for a deep sleep.

Samsung Note 2

Late afternoon, I found myself roaming around the hotel lobby, taking in everything that there was to offer.  The hotel is directly adjacent to the Kef airport so the sights and sounds of airport operations at a small regional airfield were a treat for former military pilot.  Then there were these funny looking guys carved out of wood looking at your just about everywhere.  Carved to look like they were fresh out of ice, I just had to take a snap.

Samsung Note 2

Cheers and happy photo’ing