MACRO ∧ MORE in the Columbia River Gorge…A GRAND TIME HAD BY ALL!!

Mike Moats in Action



Last year, Mike Moats (  and I ( began talking about doing a workshop together. Mike, as some of you know, is as good as it gets when talking about macro photography and is my favorite macro photographer around. Not only are his images sharp, interesting, etc, but Mike has a keen eye and the ability to see in a macro world better than anyone I know.





In the competitive world of photography workshops, you have to do things a bit different from your competition. This workshop is one such event that makes it attractive to potential attendees.


In mid May, we held the 1st of what we think will be many “Macro and More in the…” photography workshops, the first being here in Oregon, in the Columbia River Gorge. What Mike and I  set out to accomplish was to do a workshop stressing macro photography, but in an area that offers itself to some fantastic photo opportunities. The Columbia Gorge is one such place. We shot sunrises, and sunsets, waterfalls, streams, along with lots of great macro subjects.


                                                               Sunrise from Crown Point


We had a good group of attendees coming from as far away as Michigan and as close as Northern California.


Here is our group looking pretty OK after 3 days in the heat! Kudos’s to all of them!


As things worked out the light was average at best. A lot of diffuser use and early in the day shooting was invoked. Days were long as sunrise in mid May is about 5:30AM and sunset is about 8:30PM here in Oregon. What made it even tougher to photograph, let alone get down in the trenches for macro work, was the fact that it was near 100F degrees on Saturday afternoon. (The average temp here in Portland should be about 70 F degrees! ). But this group didn’t complain once came away with what I hope were some good images. Mike and I really enjoyed the personal 1 on 1 contact in the field with each and every participant. 






Plamps come in handy         Mike working with an attendee making sure all is well in

                                                    macro land


We took some time to review some work about half way during the workshop. I know that everyone went out and understood what to look out for even more after this session.


Bruce , working hard as always              Shooting into the waterfall             The group shooting sunrise


The workshop went too fast and we said our good-by’s on Sunday afternoon. Mike and I along with one attendee went out to the coast on Monday. There’s as much if not more on the OREGON COAST to make Mike & I schedule a “Macro & More on the Oregon Coast” sometime in spring 2009. Stay Tuned!


A few folks even went back into the gorge to make more images after the workshop was over on Sunday afternoon. That made Mike & I feel really good.


Here are a few images I shot along with the group. What a great workshop this was.



 Wild Bleeding Heart

                                                                     Cascading water over moss covered rocks.



A DIFFERENT VIEW OF THE SLOTS (Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon)

Lower Anterlope CanyonUpper and Lower Antelope Canyons at Page, AZ,  are one of the wonders of the world, as far as I am concerned.  Dealing with photography there is another subject and can be challenging if you don’t know what you are doing, but easy if you do. The canyons are both located close to one another and are on Navajo land. Proper permits and admission fees are required.

Seems we all, myself included who visit the over photographed Slot Canyons ( Lower & Upper Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ)  look for that quintessential image that will forever be indelibly etched in our brains .  There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but I thought I’d show a different look on just how it looks with some people included to give you perhaps a different perspective on what it looks to be in the canyons. I was there a few weeks ago and took some images to post here.

Lower Antelope Canyon is quite different than upper. It is more narrow to climb into and requires more flexibility of ones body to transverse some of the tight canyon walls . Once down in the canyon there are many wider “rooms” to photograph in. For photography, I carry a small back pack, minimal equipment and my tripod. Unless you have a steady hand, hand holding cameras are next to impossible if you want sharp images at exposures that may be as long as 2 minutes!

Different times of year affect this canyon as well. After rain there can be deep water in some areas. When it’s windy, sand is blowing into the canyon from above, causing potential problems for camera equipment.

For me, the best time of year to be in these canyons is in April and May. The light is good (at a good angle) and the weather usually  cooperates. You want bright cloudless days to attain the optimum lighting conditions. 11 a.m. through about 1:30 p.m. is the best time to be in the canyons as the suns is overhead casting light off the myriad of sandstone walls. Deep browns to bright yellows abound.

Upper Antelope is a lot easier to transverse. It is completely flat and is only about 500-600′ long. The canyon walls are wider. That’s the good news. The bad news is that because of the less difficult traverse, Upper Antelope is much more crowded. I would strongly suggest avoiding the weekends, especially in the summer months.

As most of you know, there was a terrible flood in Lower Antelope a number of years ago, killing many French & German tourists. They were warned NOT to go into the canyon as there was a storm 20 or so miles away that allows the rain to travel that distance and flood the canyon. They didn’t listen and perished. Be aware of weather conditions, not only around the canyons but far away and listen to the Navajo guides.


 There is much more room to photograph in Upper Antelope.

And after looking at some of the images I shot I think I came home with one or 2 good ones.