I am a photography workshop leader. As one, I am constantly looking for new locations to bring my attendees to. I don’t conduct workshops in areas where I am not familiar, but even in familiar locations, I am always looking for new locations for my attendees. (Images below were taken yesterday). We are here scouting in Olympic National Park prior to the start of our photo workshop later this week.
Along with my good friend and able assistant Grant Longenbaugh, we set out for a location that I’ve never been to. Grant discovered this area on his map and after review, we decided to go exploring. We both agreed there was lots of potential. It ended up to be even better than we expected. Though we had some pesky rain all afternoon (perfect conditions for photographing the rain forest) we were able to find to quite a few locations in this area that will is provide some great locations for my workshop group, starting on Thursday morning here in ONP.
Yes, it was only Monday but scouting locations prior to the beginning of a photography workshop for my attendees is absolutely necessary. , These folks, who are arriving tomorrow night are traveling long distances, taking time out of their busy lives and are spending hard earned money to come here with me. This is the least I can do is make their time worth it. Again, I love taking folks to new exciting locations. This workshop here in Olympic National Park this week will be no different!
I am heading back there this morning after my office work is completed. I bet we find even more locations to bring folks to. I don’t mean to sound arrogant, but not all leaders do this. As well, I don’t share these and other locations with others leaders. This is another reason why if folks come along on a photography workshop with me, we’ll get you into these kind of areas.
Well, now to get my email and other workshop office work completed so I can get dressed for rain, prepare my gear and get back into the rain forest…another great day of scouting.—JG.
Usually when sequels to movies come out they are rarely good ones. There are some exceptions like the Godfather 2 and others.
Well hold on to your hats! Macro and More is BACK!!! (Though for now only one day–read on)
First, let me say that I don’t like the word Macro for a few reasons. Macro photography normally means 1:1 shooting with a macro lens. I rather the term “CLOSE UP” Photography be used. I make a lot of decent images with other lenses, rather than just macro lenses …. just my $0.02. Continue reading The Return of MACRO and MORE !→
A very strange day in Jackson and the Tetons…. weather coming in… It sure was a cloud show today… We have some snow coming but things are not certain in any respect…. maybe 2-3″ in town.. more in the park or a lot more. The forecasts have literally been all over the place.day. I’ve been coming here for many years and the weather , though somewhat unpredictable… is really a tough call this year. We certainly have some weather coming in… how bad ( or good!) we don’t know yet….. anyway we are here and ready for what ever we end up with.. for me the worse the better! We would have a foot… or 3-4 inches— Thank God for 4 wheel drive and good tires…..Nobody knows whats coming—its kind of cool not knowing!!
After some inside “office work” this am I got out today. The clouds put on a show… indicating lots of weather changes coming..
We ran into this moose late in the day today…now… I AM NOT A WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHER .. But using the FUJIFILM gear to its limits makes me look like I am……… for those of you who think you can’t crank up your ISO’s ( if you have the right gear—- i.e FUJIFILM CAMERAS!!) this moose image was taken with the FUJIFILM X-T2.. ISO 12,800 at F8.using the 2 x converter……Now you tell me is this acceptable?—it sure is in my book! The FUJIFILM XT2 , the 100-400is is AMAZING and the 2x converter provides lossless quality!!!!!!….it really makes the cut!… Someday I am going to compile and a slide show af all my FUJIFILM images made at or above 6400ISO—-more coming tomorrow I Hope come on back!–JG
Recently the folks at ON LANDSCAPE had their conference that featured some of the top landscape photographers in the world. I am posting this video in the interest of everyone getting to hear these thinkers,and artists. I especially loved Bruce Percy’s talk at the end.
By the way, the latest issue has an article by my good friend Guy Tal in it!
I am off to the Tetons TOMORROW…where I hear it’s snowing–just what we needed there to make things right..I’ll be posting image this week.
Those of you thinking about a workshop in 2017 get your registrations in before Jan 1, 2017 and receive 10% off the cost. Repeat attendees get an additional 10%.–CLICK HERE for the schedule ( these discounts do not ally on events I do for other workshop companies or on International trips)thank you–JG
I am presently in Monument Valley. We’ll be heading up to Hunt’s Mesa and Canyon de Chelley later this week. I’ll be heading back to the Pacific Northwest next week. Then up to Whidbey Island and the Olympic Peninsula for two workshops in May.
After completing two workshops here in Arizona, I began the first of a two day One on One workshop with one of my attendees from the workshop which just wrapped up the prior Sunday afternoon.. Then mages found here were made during this workshop.
A One on One workshop is a great opportunity to interact closely not only for my clients, but for me as well. Though my group workshops offer some benefits, and I encourage you all to do some workshops in a group setting, private time with an instructor can prove extremely valuable.
In the case of this client, my goal is to not only get him to some wonderful locations in beautiful Monument Valley,, at the perfect time, but to help him grow as a photographer. For these two days I am here with a fairly advanced photographer, Jay Gould, ( www.luvntravlnphotography.com) an ex-pat now residing in Australia. Jay and I have done two other workshops. One was in the Eastern Sierra a few years ago and another in Death Valley. The one in Death Valley was a One on One workshop ( (actually a 2 on one as this was with his brother Steve Gould, a professional photographer in his own right! www.stevegouldphoto.com). My mission on this 2 day workshop is to give Jay some quality field time while working on seeing images as well as defining what makes a good image, rather than an average one.
My good friend and workshop assistant Greg Duncan is here as well. Greg’s is assisting on my group workshops before and just after the completion of this One on One workshop. Check out Greg’s work here. www.grdphotos.com . He is a superb photographer.
Photographers flock to Monument Valley as they do to other National Parks. It is almost an event seeing the photographers standing in line to capture the iconic image of the mittens at sunrise and sunset from the parking lot near new large hotel here in MV. My suggestion to those of you reading this is article is the same as I recommend to my clients. Get that iconic shot and then work to create a different way of shooting the subject, perhaps with more of an artistic eye, and with the help of a required native Navajo guide wander off into the valley to find those areas not photographed as often.
Please note the differences in the 3 Totem Pole sunrise images. You’ll see 3 different visions of the same area. It’s always interesting to see how everyone sees differently.
Monument Valley is a Navajo Tribal Park. In Monument Valley, to get where you need to go, at the right time, you must use an authorized Navajo Guide. I recommend using Tom Phillips, firstname.lastname@example.org , www.monumentvalley.com . Tom has been guiding here for more years than he will tell you and still can out climb most of us, when we scamper up a hillside or a slick rock. Tom has five full time guides and a fleet of Chevy Suburbans that are specially outfitted to maneuver the sand, rocks and obstacles that are often encountered in your day in the valley. Visit his website for details www.monumentvalley.com .
On the first morning, we started about 1 hour before sunrise. We left the parking lot and headed down deep into the valley for our first destination called the” Totem Pole”. Juat as an aside, Paramount Pictures is currently filming a sequel to “The Lone Ranger” with Johnny Depp here in Monument Valley. The dust and traffic was much more than normal so we had to hustle to the Totem Pole for the really great light that lasts literally about2-3 minutes!. We made it in time. (The film area is the size of a small city. Coming back up from the valley we had to wait for 20+ semi’s and other huge trucks to wind down the unpaved primitive road into the valley. This better be a good movie for the amount of people & equipment that is here!).
Photographing in Monument Valley offers so many different experiences. Monument Valley was completely under water about 575 years ago.. The natural forces around us are still creating the landscape today.
Monument Valley is about 6000’. You will see first light way before the actual sunrise. I strongly advise you being in place, ready to make your image at least one hour before sunrise. The best light is about 20 minutes to a half hour before sunrise. Also, almost without exception you need to use graduated neutral filters. I use Singh-Ray filters (www.singh-ray.com)
Briefly here are a few spots to get to if you just have one or two days.. There are hundreds more locations. These are just a few.
1) The Mittens from the parking lot near the “View” hotel.. Everyone shoots from the parking lot, looking east-northeast. When looking out to the valley, look left toward the campground and walks down the dirt toad and walk out on the sand. There are plants, rocks and trees that can be used as foregrounds. You also have a different look at the mittens, one that will be something different from the iconic image.
2) Totem Pole. You guide should be able to direct you where to look to make your sunrise images. The rippled sand dunes make wonderful foregrounds. Use the vegetation as well to anchor your images. Typically the sun is at a 90 degrees from the direction you’ll be shooting. With wide angle lenses, be careful of over polarizing, creating a dark, unnatural blue sky on the right side of your image.
3) 3) Artist Point–Looking up at Spearhead Mesa, Artist Point is a great sunrise place as well, especially in the early spring.
It isn’t always the grand landscape. Look around, you will see a lot of subject matter amd detail all over. The image on the left contains tracks made by various creatures ( usually bugs, snakes, rabbits, etc) during the night, when the vally floor comes alive. Use these tracks in the sand to create interesting patterns.
1) The “Ear the Wind” is in a canyon filled with some great trees, lichen coated sandstone walls and of course the “eye” that offers a viewpoint to the sky. I like standing on the left side of the eye. Don’t miss some of the trees here as well. There is a great old dead tree still sanding against the opposite wall from the eye.
2) “Sun’s Eye”. This location offers some outstanding petroglyphs as well as a great vie through the eye to the sky.
3) John Ford Point which is named after the famous Hollywood director who made John Wayne famous. There are some great vistas. Hope for some clouds for added interest. The local family will be there. You can tip the folks and they may sit on a painted horse and allow you to make a photograph with the valley in the background.
4) Get over to an area called “Cookies and Pancakes”. This area has a dramatic sandstone wall with rock formations looking like the namesake indicates. Look for some great foregrounds here.
I really like going into Mystery Valley about 2-3 hours before sunset. The area that the locals call the “Cow Pies” is an area you can spend forever photographing the patterns and swirls created by the water and wind over millions of years. There are some Anstasi ruins in the valley as well. You guide may show you them.
1) Tear Drop Window — This is just that, a tear drop in the rock that overlooks the valley. Get there 45 minutes before sunset.
2) Mystery Valley afternoon. These red rocks look like saucers and offer great foregrounds.
3) The Mittens can offer a good sunrise as well. Look in back of you. Sometimes the light is even better.
This is a great place to shoot the stars on clear evenings. Using some of the rock facades around the area you can get some amazing images. Try these settings to make well defined star images( not star trails, but images using the stars as your background):
1) bulb setting
2) Don’t shoot over 30 seconds. 20 seconds would be better is possible
3) ISO 800 or higher. By increasing ISO you can add light or decrease your shutter speed
4) Shoot wide opened. If you have a 2.8 lens… keep it at 2.8 etc.
5) A quarter moons is ideal. A full moon may add too much light.
6) If you can set up your image before dark. Focusing can be challenging to say the least when its dark.
If you really want an experience, travel up to HUNT’S MESA. You’ll have to camp overnight but you should get a great sunset and sunrise.
THINGS TO BE AWARE OF
1) For the best areas of Monument Valley a Navajo Guise is required.
2) Respect the land. Walk only on solid rock. Sandstone is relatively soft stone. Edges of the rock can break off easily.
3) There is a lot of Micro-bionic soil. The soil is very fragile and literally alive. Avoid disturbing this as well.
4) Do not remove any artifacts; break pottery etc. that you may find.
As I try and get my workshop attendees to do all the retime, please try and slow down, take your time , and create quality images. If you must, by all means get that iconic, post card image. Then try your best to expand your creativity and create something different, perhaps unique. Enjoy just being in this magical location.