Posts Tagged ‘photography workshops’

Making a Photograph – Vision

June 29th, 2012

“This photograph speaks to me.”

The photographs that have a strong impact on us speak to us.  The photographer has created an image that moves us.  Did he or she have something in mind when making the photograph?  Probably so.  Strong images just don’t happen by accident.

As one grows as a photographer one’s vision becomes clearer.  One begins to discover who they are and what they have to say.  And as one’s technical and aesthetic skills develop, skills used in both the field and the darkroom, one’s ability to express their vision becomes stronger.

The artist’s vision is an important element of their art.  The clearer an artist is on what his or her vision is the more expressive their art becomes.

If you’re not clear on what your vision is, live with your photographs.  Become aware of what you associate with them, what stories they are telling you, how they make you feel.  And as your vision emerges nurture it, strengthen it, let it speak through you and your art.  And then your photographs will also speak to others.


We do photography workshops.  Come on out and join us.  Click here to check us out.

You can also check out our photography.  Click here.

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Exciting Nighttime Photography – Exposure

January 28th, 2012

There are many techniques involved in nighttime photography.  Star trail photographs are a traditional approach dating back to the film days.  If you think about it, that makes sense.  With the ISOs commercially available to most of us photographers, shooting the nighttime sky was not an option.  We simply didn’t have fast enough film.

With the advent of digital photography we can now push ISOs into the thousands and the noise levels are constantly improving.  And we can modify our cameras’ sensors to sensitize them to infrared light, something that the serious and most accomplished nighttime photographers do.  This provides us the opportunity to photograph both star trails and the night sky.

In previous articles I’ve discussed techniques for both types of nighttime photography.  In the most recent one I describe a technique that can provide both star trails and night sky photographs from a single session.  Here’s the link.

Exciting Nighttime Photography in 10 Easy Steps

One aspect I haven’t covered in detail yet is exposure.

Earlier this week there was a beautiful conjunction of the crescent moon and Venus in the early evening sky.  So I grabbed my camera, got permission from my neighbor and used their front yard to photograph the moon and Venus over the Los Angeles basin here in Southern California.

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Did You Manipulate That Photograph?

January 22nd, 2012

When I do art festivals and shows I’m often asked, “Did you manipulate that photograph?”  I have several answers.  The most direct is, “Yes, of course.” 

Other times I’ll reply, “My photographs are what I saw, not what the camera saw.”  Or if I’m feeling really wordy I’ll answer, “Let me explain it this way.  I approach photography from the mindset of a painter. I want to give myself the same creative freedom of a painter.”  To which the inquirer will often respond, “Oh, I get it; you’re an artist.”

To manipulate or not to manipulate.  That’s not even the question.  Why?  Because you have to go to extremes to have a photograph that is NOT manipulated.  OK, that’s a pretty bold statement.  So let’s take a deeper look.

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Journey – First Steps

November 26th, 2011

I’m very excited to announce that I just published my first book.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about for along time.  The title is “Journey – First Steps” and it showcases 24 of my favorite photographs from 2005 up into 2010.  It’s also a chronicle of my development as a photographer from those early uncertain days to today.  Not only does the book contain these photographs but I share with you where I was at the time they were taken and the discoveries I made along the way.

Your are invited to check out the preview.  It contains a sampling of the 54 pages and is available in eBook format (viewable on iPad and iPhone), soft cover and hard cover on Blurb.  It would make a beautiful gift for someone dear.

Oh, and let me know what you think.  Thanks.

We do photography workshops.  Come on out and join us.  Click here to check us out.

You can also check out our photography.  Click here.


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2012 Joshua Tree Gathering

November 13th, 2011

Every year in March we get together for some photography, fun and fellowship in Joshua Tree National Park.  It is an informal gathering of photography enthusiasts of all skill levels.  We camp in one of Joshua Tree’s campsites.  We rise early for the glorious desert sunrises and stay up late, talking around the campfire.  And every Saturday night we eat far more than we should because of all the delicious food at the pot luck.

pinto_basin_2011Joshua Tree National Park is Southern California’s premier national park.  It boasts three major desert environments – the high desert environment of the Mojave Desert, the low desert of the Colorado Desert and the transition zone between the two.  Its magnificent and magical Joshua Trees that give the park it’s name, the rock outcrops of the Wonderland of Rocks (world class climbing), the grand vistas of the Pinto Basin, the treacherous beauty of Cholla Garden, the spindly ocotillo, the peaceful and cool oases and much more make this a photographer’s paradise.

In 2012 we are scheduled for March 16-18We will be camping in the Cottonwood Campground at the southern entrance to the park where we have a group campsite reserved.  It is open to photographers of all skill levels who love the outdoors and the thrill of landscape photography.  And the cost is your contribution to the Saturday night pot luck.

We gather Friday night, set up and enjoy a friendly campfire.  Saturday is filled with photography, hiking and an informal class. We are also treated to the work of a guest photographer.  Saturday night is the big pot luck dinner when we all have a chance to relax and share stories from our day.  We do another sunrise shoot on Sunday morning before packing up and heading home.

If this sounds like fun, check out our website for more informationHere’s the link.

desert_pinnacle_impression_2010The group site is tent camping only and we are restricted on space.  Regular camping is first come, first served.  Meaning: you need to register for the gathering.  Registration consists of two forms – Registration and Assumption of Risk.  Also, if you want to camp in an RV or all the spaces in the group site are taken you will need to camp in one of the regular campsites.  This is generally no problem and you can still participate in all the activities.

People are already signing up for this popular event so get your registration in now to secure your spot.  The forms can be downloaded from my websiteHere’s the link.  You can fax or mail the form to me.  Instructions are on the website and the form.

So come on out and join us in beautiful Joshua Tree National Park.  The Joshua Tree Gathering is an event not to be missed!  And if you know someone who might also be interested share this post with them. 



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A Great Photography Car

August 15th, 2011

My 2003 Prius has had it.  At 230,000 miles it was time to trade it in.  It served me well and we went places I had no business taking it (read “some pretty nasty dirt roads”).  But it wasn’t really a good car for landscape photography.  Nevertheless, it never complained.

So around the end of last year I started thinking about a car that would be great for the kind of photography I do.  I had some basic requirements:

  • Cargo space (to carry all my gear including the stuff I need for workshops)
  • High clearance (for those nasty dirt roads)
  • Good gas mileage (I was addicted to 45 mpg from the Prius)
  • 4WD (again, to go those nasty dirt roads)

A survey on the internet turned up several makes and models but the Ford Escape hybrid was at the top of the list.  I visited the dealer and none were to be found in all of Southern California so on January 11th I placed the order.  The decision looked good on paper but would the actual vehicle measure up?

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The Making of a Photograph – Pond, Owens Valley 2011

July 8th, 2011

It all started with kneeling in the mud.

I was with David Muench, Jerry Dodrill and twelve other eager photographers on a Mountain Light Gallery workshop in May.  We lined up along the bank of the pond just outside Bishop, California and aimed our cameras at magnificent Mt Tom, the dominant peak in the Eastern Sierra crest in this area.


I’d like to take you through the process of making a photograph from the images I captured that morning.

Continue reading “The Making of a Photograph – Pond, Owens Valley 2011” »


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Camera Gear–Camera Bag

May 28th, 2011

It was about this time last year that I was absorbed in deciding what camera gear to take with me to Germany.  We had a family vacation planned for a one week cruise on the River Rhein – from Basel, Switzerland to Amsterdam, Netherlands.

I knew I was going to take my Canon PowerShot G11, my don’t-leave-home-without-it camera.  The big question was would I take the big Canon with its retinue of lenses.  And would I take my laptop with Lightroom and Photoshop?  It came down to one simply stated problem – how could I safely get them over there and back?

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Photographing the Eastern Sierra

May 13th, 2011
I don’t know where you’ll find a more spectacular range of mountains than the eastern edge of the mighty Sierra Nevada Mountains.    This is where the gargantuan slab of granite from which the mountain range is formed plunges precipitously from the peaks along the crest into the Owens Valley below.  Driving up the Valley on legendary highway US 395 is likely to give you a crick in your neck.  Because you can’t take your eyes off the endless procession of towering summits.
I’ve camped and backpacked in these mountains since I was a young boy and I always love returning to them.  And now that I come back with camera in hand I have an opportunity to capture and share with you the inspiration I receive here.
Mt Whitney
Mt Williamson
Mt Whitney is the tallest peak in the lower 48 and from your vantage point in the valley below it towers more than two vertical miles above your head.  It’s nothing short of breathtaking in the morning sun.
But there’s more to the Eastern Sierra than the grandeur of these mighty peaks.  Come with me on a journey as I show you the superlative and the sublime.


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2011 Photography Workshops

March 13th, 2011

The 2011 photography workshop year is off to a great start.  Death Valley was a roaring success and we have more extraordinary workshops scheduled for the remainder of the year.

Death Valley Photography Workshop

The 2011 Death Valley photography workshop was full.  We all had a great time, laughed a lot and made some good friends.

I love Death Valley in February because the weather and conditions can be truly unique.  And this year was no exception.

You don’t often expect to see standing water in the hottest, driest place in all of North America, much less lakes that stretch for literally miles.  But for the third year in a row that is what we encountered.  We had an absolutely astounding sunrise at Badwater with beautiful pink clouds overhead reflected in the seemingly unending expanse of water.  And the fortunate thing is the day after the workshop ended high winds blew all the water away so that by the next weekend it was all gone.  We continue to be very lucky that way.

Click here to see what I’m talking about – Badwater Dawn 2011

We’ll be back in Death Valley next year the same time – February 11-14, 2012.  You won’t want to miss it.

Eastern Sierra Workshop

We are returning to the Eastern Sierra from June 4th to the 9th.  I always get excited returning to the mountains where I spent so much time in my youth.  And while we won’t be sleeping under the starts near a lake at 10,000, the thrill is still there just being in the company of these majestic peaks.

Besides such towering peaks as Mt Whitney, Mt Williamson, Mt Tom and on and on, we will explore roaring cascades, the placid and beautiful Owen’s River, sparkling lakes, the always amazing ancient bristlecone pine, the mysterious tufa of Mono Lake and the best preserved ghost town in the country – Bodie.  Last year we were even able to get into the high country of Yosemite National Park for a truly amazing experience.

If you love the mountains as I do and want to see them in their spring glory, this is a workshop that is not to be missed.  We still have spaces available but hurry.  This has proven to be a popular workshop in the past.

For more information on the Eastern Sierra workshop, click here.

Big Sur Workshop

This is a new workshop this year and already proving to be very popular.  We will explore the dramatic California coast from Cambria and San Simeon to the south to Carmel and Monterey to the north.  The 70 miles in between hold some of the most exciting coastline you will find anywhere as the Santa Lucia mountains plunge into the blue Pacific.

Besides the surf crashing on rocky cliffs, this coastline is home to the southernmost groves of coastal redwoods, beautiful waterfalls and a few scattered sandy beaches.  In many places the Cabrillo Highway (also known as Highway 1) clings to the side of the steep slopes with many picturesque bridges spanning the larger streams.  The most famous of these is Bixby bridge.

We will be exploring the many gems over a four day period from August 8th to the 11th.  The grand finale will be photographing sunset at Point Lobos, Edward Weston’s old haunt.

This workshop is nearly full so if you’re interested I would encourage you to not delay.

For more information on the Big Sur workshop, click here.

Southwest Utah – Zion and Bryce Workshops

You don’t want to miss Zion and Bryce in October.  The weather is ideal and the colors of autumn are just starting to appear.  And in Bryce, it’s possible an early storm can blow through and leave a dusting of fresh white show on the orange hoodoos.

This is actually two workshops that run back to back but most people sign up for both (at a discounted price).  We explore Zion beginning Saturday, October 15th and then move on to Bryce Tuesday, October 18th.  The workshop wraps up on Friday, October 21st.  It’s

Zion holds a special place in my heart.  Zion means ‘place of refuge,’ and that is how I feel about it.  It’s grandeur has a special renewing quality about it.  And Bryce is always exciting as it is the home to some of the best sunrises on earth.  There’s nothing more glorious than watching the sun come up over Thor’s Hammer.

Click here for more information on the Zion workshop.

And here’s the link to the Bryce workshop.

Central California Coast and Napa Valley Workshop

In November we are returning to the Central California Coast, this time above and below San Francisco.   We will spend five exciting days working our way from Half Moon Bay south of San Francisco, up the coast to Point Reyes and then inland to Napa Valley. 

This workshop includes dramatic shorelines, some of the beautiful locations within San Francisco, the Golden Gate bridge, Point Bonita and Point Reyes, and out of the way gems within Napa Valley.

November is the perfect time of the year to be in this area and I can’t wait to share it with you.

Here’s the link to the Central California Coast and Napa Valley workshop.

So that’s the roundup for the rest of 2011.  As you can tell we are holding photography workshops in some very exciting places.

My Photography Workshop Philosophy

I believe photography workshops need to be more than just taking you to beautiful places.  So I have developed a three-point philosophy that I see as my obligation to you or anyone who attends one of our workshops.

  1. First, I am obligated to get you to the right place at the right time.  That is, we will visit locations with exciting photographic potential in the best light.
  2. Second, I want to make sure you return home with technically sound images.  So I’ll work closely with you to make sure your images are well composed and you use the best techniques to produce the highest quality captures.
  3. Third, I will challenge you to expand your vision.  We all grow as photographers and artists when we expand the way  we see the world.  So each of the locations we photograph will have special challenges to help you see them in fresh and exciting new ways.

I also believe our workshops provide a great value – a personal touch at a reasonable price.  I invite you to compare what we offer with other workshops and I think you’ll agree.

So check us out and come join the fun. 

Here’s a list of all the 2011 photography workshops.

To see more of my photographs click here.


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