Iceland Elves and Fairies, Really?

Iceland elves and fairies can be seen in the landscapeFrankly, when I first became aware of Iceland’s startling imagery back in 2005, I said to myself, this will be one of those places that would eventually find itself as one of our top expedition locations with Jansen Photo Expeditions. Hopefully our clients would see this as well and we would return each season and make this dream an annual reality. Little did we know that the Iceland elves and fairies would play a part in our tours there.

Continue reading

300 California Landscape Photographs Installed!

This is a story of the photographic arts and where it could lead for anyone who follows their bliss as a landscape photographer.

I used to say, all the photographs I would ever take are already created in me, they are just waiting to be expressed. Each image has a clear purpose, as yet to be revealed. This story started out as a personal photography project and grew in to a large corporate installation.

As as my wife and fellow visionary photographer, Holly, were walking back to our Jeep in the parking lot of one of the largest corporate facilities located here in Ventura County. I looked at my Holly and said, “Wow I can’t believe we just completed that project, it took 2 years to complete. Lets soak in the moment… This is one of those moments that doesn’t happen too often.” We then went out to dinner to celebrate.

Continue reading

The Personal Photography Project


 Hero: Waypoint Cafe, Camarillo, CA

I’m sure many people have heard this phrase before, especially when it comes to photography: “The Personal Photography Project”. When you’ve been in the photographic field for a number of years, you sometimes find yourself repeating similar creative patterns with success. While this is good, it sometimes walls you in. You can become complacent and cease to explore new ideas.

Pursuing a personal photography project sometimes helps you chip away at those walls and opens new doors to something new and unexpected. This may also solidify a particular new stylistic direction you didn’t expect to travel. I went through this myself a few years back. I’d always had an affinity towards motorized machinery from my early years of living in Southern California. I was brought up in the automotive industry and spinning wenches on anything motorized came easily for me. I was influenced by this for many years. I enjoyed owning and restoring classic cars since my high school days and still do. I also find myself photographing them on occasion at local car shows. Continue reading

The Sweet Light Of Yosemite Valley



Light in the late afternoon and morning often provides the sweetest glow in Yosemite, as it bounces off the towering granite spires at every turn.

My wife and I have been traveling to Yosemite all of our lives from Southern California. It has become an essential pilgrimage for us, but only going during the “off” seasons. Being a native Californian, I’m always amazed how many natives have never taken the time to explore and photograph its breathtaking cliffs and majestic waterfalls.

Continue reading

Is Your Photography Any Good?

How do you know if you’re making good photographs? How is it possible to gage your progress as a photographer without unbiased criticism from family and friends? I’m sure everyone’s heard: ” I love your pictures, you’re such a good photographer.” Additionally, social networks don’t go much further than giving a thumbs up. Honestly, when was the last time you read anything really bad about a photograph posted on social media?

In our millennium generation, image conscious positive reinforcement world, nobody wants to be a source of negative feedback. So how does the developing photographer know they’re actually producing quality work?

In the early days, before our connected social media world, the art gallery and fine art circuits were about the only way you knew if you were hitting a nerve with your art. If you’ve spent long weekends standing in the hot sun at art fairs, watching the world go by with only a few sales or positive comments, you knew where you stood as an artist pretty quick.

That said, fear and creativity stand side-by-side. I’ve nothing but great things to say about any artists who put their stuff out there for the public to scrutinize.

I myself spent many years on the fine art circuit and was lucky to hit a few good cords with my photography in the early days. It’s a humbling experience, but provided me with the legs I stand on today and one of  the reasons Jansen Photo Expeditons was created.

Most people these days live behind the online security of their laptop screens and seldom venture beyond posting their images on social media or submitting them to a contest. What seems to be rarely seen these days by the general public is the print media.

The truth of the matter is, you need an unbiased live support network to excel creatively these days, unless you’re prepared to take the plunge into the fine art gallery market and test your steel on what you think is good and what your mom likes.

You need someone to say if its good or not and check your ego at the door. You also need to be with other photographers in a positive learning environment. Camaraderie is great for the learning process. Better yet, find a mentor you respect, and listen to what they say, I mean really listen and don’t take it personally especially if they’ve traveled the road you’re about to embark on.

We have been there, so if you need help and an unbiased opinion, we can help with our mentor program or one of our in person private or group photography workshops with Jansen Photo Expeditions. You won’t be sorry.

All The best,

Mark Jansen