The Death Valley Photography Workshop of 2015 is ‘in the can.’ We had a great time and were treated to some very special weather, something photographers always seek and are thrilled when it happens. And, unlike vacationers, very special weather is not clear skies and balmy temperatures. We started the workshop with rain and snow above 5000’. It was beautiful and the desert smelled so good. Combined with the great weather was an eager, enthusiastic and motivated group. We had a great time and you can’t ask for more than that.
I want to share a few highlights of the workshop with you.
Day 1 – Sunday
The storm Sunday night and into Monday created exciting skies. We drove up to Ubehebe Crater Sunday afternoon for ‘sunset,’ although the sun was hidden behind the clouds. My favorite photograph is an abstract of the crater bottom that was rendered best in black and white.
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Tags: Artist's Palette, badwater, Death Valley, dunes, Flats, Mesquite, Mosaic Canyon, National Park, photography workshop, sand dunes, Titus Canyon
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The 2012 Joshua Tree Fine Art Festival is coming up next weekend. The dates are Friday, April 6 to Sunday, April 8. I’m excited to be returning and catching up with old friends. This is the first art festival I ever did and so returning is like a homecoming. The festival is at the Oasis Visitor Center in Twentynine Palms, CA. The hours are 9:00 to 5:00. Come on out and see some great art.
I’ll be showing some old favorites along with some new photographs I’m very excited about. As far as the old favorites go I’m planning on showing Virgin River and the Watchman from Zion National Park.
This has proved to be my most popular photograph and has won awards. It was captured on Thanksgiving day back in 2008. I was in Zion with my wife and daughter for the Thanksgiving weekend. I slipped out for this sunset and caught a beauty. Beginners luck! I’ve returned many times but never with light this good. (By the way, to get a better view of the photographs you can enlarge them by clicking on them.)
To go along with the Watchman is another photograph taken that same weekend along the Riverside Walk to the Gateway to the Narrows. When my family is with me we always do this walk. It’s our favorite – for obvious reasons.
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For five years now I’ve been trying to photograph the Mesquite Flats Dunes in Death Valley – without success. There are so many great dune photographs. They are inspiring, sensuous, soft. But I just couldn’t see them that way.
About three years ago I noticed the ragged peaks to the east of the dunes and thought it would make a nice contrast to the soft curves of the sand. But I couldn’t make that work either.
And it looked like I was going to get skunked again this year. I took the workshop gang out there for sunrise and we did star bursts and texture photographs and the like. But I wasn’t excited about anything I got.
Then I stayed around for another day of shooting after the workshop was over and went back out to the dunes for one more sunrise. I tried a different location, not far from where we had shot just a couple of days before. And there it was, the shot I had been looking for.
It’s not soft and sensuous. Instead it’s very strong. The dunes mirror the craggy peaks behind them. They are clearly the descendants of the mountains that slowly erode and provide the grains of sand that are rounded up by the dry desert winds and deposited in Mesquite Flats. There’s a kinship here – and a family resemblance.
I finally got my dune photograph.
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Tags: Death Valley National Park, dunes, photography workshop
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