July/August American Photo cover

A photo of a boat in oil Daniel made last year graces the July/August issue of American Photo, on newsstands now. Inside, the magazine has a profile on Daniel and his work photographing the BP-Gulf oil spill on assignment for Greenpeace. The two-page spread on Daniel is included with profiles on four other photographers active in marine environment issue – Brian Skerry, John Weller, James Balog and Peter McBride – in a story headlined “Liquid Courage.”

Besides the honor of being included in the company of some conservation photography luminaries, it’s very nice for Daniel’s photos on the spill to continue to garner attention in the visual and graphic arts community.


New Yorker double page spread

We’re very happy to report that a photo Daniel shot for Greenpeace of a boat surrounded by oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico by BP’s Deepwater Horizon’s wellhead opens a piece by Raffi Khatchadourian’s in the March 14, 2011 edition of “The New Yorker.” The issue is available on newsstands in the next day or two and now online to subscribers.


Daniel named in UK’s “Outdoor Photography” mag’s top-40 most influential

We’re very pleased to announce Daniel has been named by “Outdoor Photography” magazine as one of the top-4o most influential nature photographers in their 2010 Christmas issue. It’s an honor to be mentioned with some very big names in the photography world, such as those of friends like Jack Dykinga, Nick Nichols and Art Wolfe.

Being included on this list by “Outdoor Photography” is a very generous acknowledgment of Daniel’s work for the environment in conservation photography and much appreciated. Thank you, OP.

Unfortunately, they don’t have an online article to be linked to, but you can get it on newsstands in Great Britain for at least the next few weeks, I think.

– JN

Orion magazine cover

Daniel’s photo of oiled pelicans at the Bird Rescue Center in Louisiana, is featured on cover of the November/December edition of Orion magazine. It highlights some continued coverage of the spill, including a vivid and gripping essay of life around the spill by Terry Tempest Williams and a some great photos of the spill by J Henry Fair. Look it up online here.

– JN

Profile (& cover) in Pacific Magazine!

Cover of the Seattle Times Pacific Magazine, 10/24/10, featuring Daniel Beltra in a helicopter

Daniel’s smiling face graces this week’s cover of Pacific Magazine (in The Seattle Times), which features a profile and several of his most well-known photos. The article isn’t yet online – we’ll update this post when a link is available – but the inserted magazine is available at newsstands  throughout the Seattle metropolitan area in both the advance edition and the actual Sunday (October 24th) paper.

update 10/24: Article is now online at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/pacificnw/2013154000_pacificpbeltra24.html?cmpid=2628

– JN

Robert Glenn Ketchum kudos on Photomedia profile

A quick thanks to noted conservation advocate-photographer Robert Glenn Ketchum for a blog post about Daniel’s profile in Photomedia. Robert Glenn Ketchum, a fellow fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers, is a great photographer and environmentalist and his words of recognition are much appreciated.

Also, please check out the profile in Photomedia that Hermon Joyner wrote. It’s nicely done and on the newsstands for a couple more months. The cover of the issue is ultra-timely, since it has a photo of the Gulf Oil Spill that Daniel shot in early May gracing it. You can pick up a hard copy of the magazine at photo stores around the west.

Thanks for stopping by, we’ll have an update soon about more of Daniel’s photos of the Gulf Oil Spill.


PRP book production

For the next two weeks in Copenhagen, Denmark, leaders, and their representatives, from around the world will gather to negotiate an agreement which will hopefully stop, or at least slow, the advance of global warming/climate change. Attendees of the UN Climate Change Copenhagen conference will be considering economics, science and politics when making their decisions about a compromise, but they also might be thinking about a photo book that will be provided to them by Prince Charles.

The book, Rainforests: Lifebelt for an Endangered Planet is one of the final stages of Daniel’s involvement with the Prince’s Rainforest Project (PRP) Award. The PRP is a non-governmental-organization whose goal is to reduce global warming/climate change by slowing the spread of tropical deforestation, the world’s largest source of carbon emissions. To help gain traction and attention for this goal, Sony funded a contest award in the World Photography Awards which provided the winner (Daniel) with a commission to photographically document deforestation for a month each in the Brazilian Amazon, the Congo, and Indonesia. The photos shot for the PRP would be used in exhibitions in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, one million booklets for distribution (online here), and, finally and most importantly, a limited edition book to be given by Prince Charles to attendees of the Copenhagen Climate Change conference. Rainforests: is that book.

The process to put together a photo book from scratch in less than eight months was a huge challenge to undertake. First, Daniel shot over 40,000 photos in the course of three month-long trips to the aforementioned tropical rainforest regions. Daniel dipped into his ample archive of photos he shot for Greenpeace in the Amazon and Indonesia to add in images of subjects that weather or time constraints prevented him from photographing this year for the PRP, giving the project a fuller scope to display the challenges the rainforests face (the vast majority are from the commissions this year, 2009, however).

Then, these were edited down by Daniel and myself to around 1,000 photos here in Seattle. Stuart Smith, a photo book editor and designer in London, winnowed these 1,000 down to 500, and then prepared small proof prints of the 500 to physically edit the book down on the floor and walls of his office.


Of the 500, 100 were chosen to go into the book.

After all this was done, the hardbound book just had to be printed. And for the amount of effort it took to get the photo book done in time for the conference, it makes sense to get it printed as accurately as possible, since many of Daniel’s photos have a high level of contrast and can be a bit challenging to reproduce nicely. Not to mention that the book covers an important subject and might/hopefully leave an impression on some very influential people.

To do this, Daniel took a brief trip over to Verona, Italy, to visit Editoriale Bortolazzi Stei (EBS), a great company where some of the best photo and art books in the world are printed. Though a visit to Italy might typically imply a relaxing tour of fine food and wine, visiting a Roman Coliseum:

(Above, the Verona Arena.)

Daniel instead spent the better part of four days here, at the EBS facility:

So I bet you’re wondering how are the best photo books in the world are put together?

Here’s how:

First the pages are adjusted on EBS’s calibrated monitors by a pre-press technician from proof prints that Daniel brought:

Then, manual adjustments are applied to the individual pages to produce a plate that prints another proof, which gets further adjusted to a finer tolerance.

Above, Stuart Smith looks at proof pages, while waiting for more pages to be printed.

Then, once it gets really close for all four pages in a sheet of paper, Daniel and Stuart would go down to the pressroom floor and make final adjustments:

Above, Alessandra Agostini reviews book sheets with a printer technician.

To make the final sheet of pages adjustments are made in the press, as opposed to on the source plate, of the individual levels of cyan, yellow, magenta and black inks. Each button above controls the ink intensity for a portion of the sheet.

Once the printer has made a final proof print that is to Daniel’s standards, he o.k.’s it with a signature, after which point there is no going back.

The press then starts humming along and produces 500 sheets, which have 4 pages to a side:

Then, finally after all this is done, the sheets are turned upside down and printed on the back, which is an even more stressful time, since any mistakes would ruin 500 sheets of paper in one fail swoop.

Once all the pages were finished, they were stacked tidily in the warehouse to await cutting and binding:

All in all, producing Rainforests: was a fascinating experience to be a part of and a greatly satisfying challenge to complete, though we might have gained a few gray hairs and wrinkles in the process. Rainforests: has many fantastically beautiful and haunting images in it, printed perfectly. The book sequence and layout of the photos which Stuart put together tells a very linear story about tropical deforestation that is very accessible and easy to understand.

Everyone involved in its production, from Daniel on down, should be very proud of and pleased with the book. We learned a lot about the process and will be better prepared when Daniel makes his next book, which will hopefully be very soon.


(The book itself is 96 11″x16″ pages, in which 100 photos are used, 65 of which are full pages, weighing in around two pounds.)

Update: More blog links to info about the PRP here and here, fyi.

PRP online booklet is live


A very cool interactive version of a booklet using Daniel’s photos that was published by the Prince’s Rainforest Project is now completely online. It has sound, video, animation and a neat page-turning functionality that I’ve never seen before and is kind of fun to use, though if you don’t like it, you can just click on arrows to change pages, too.

It and more things regarding the PRP can be found at: