Category Archives: Workshops

Some little stuff

Tarantula

A Tarantula showing a little leg…

We did a little macro photo shoot a couple weekends ago, with plenty of interesting subjects to get a close look at.  OK, I confess… shooting flowers and butterfly wings bores me to tears.  Yes, they’re pretty and have nice detail, but the live stuff is much more interesting to me.  As a result most of my shots were of spiders and other bugs.  The lead shot hardly even qualifies as a macro shot since a tarantula is a pretty good size critter.  This one was about four inches across as he was posing, probably another couple of inches bigger if he was trying to go somewhere.  He was very docile, pretty much taking a nap which made for easy photographs.

Tiger Gecko

This colorful little guy was pretty cooperative.

The Tiger Gecko was a little more mobile and made for a little challenge for a good capture.  I decided to not worry about the tail going out of focus to get a natural looking shot.  It seemed more interesting than a view from the side.

Jumping Spider

He kind of reminds me of Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.

I would have never thought of a spider as being cute, but the Jumping Spider did have some personality.  It was quite animated and seemed to be almost posing for me.  It was quite fascinated with its reflection in the lens, and seemed almost puzzled by it at times.  The two large eyes in front which are its main vision are mobile, the other six eyes are apparently more for warning.

Northern Arizona/Southern Utah

Navajo Mountain overlooking Lake Powell

Navajo Mountain overlooking Lake Powell

Last weekend we took a trip up to Page for a workshop with LeRoy DeJolie.  While the main purpose of the trip was to shoot some slot canyons, the entire area is beautiful.  Rather that try to capture it in words, I’ll just let a few of the photos speak for themselves.

Just east of the Waterholes Canyon

Just east of the Waterholes Canyon

Vermillion Cliffs near the "Toadstools" hoodoos

Vermillion Cliffs near the “Toadstools” hoodoos

Morning at the Vermillion Cliffs

Morning at the Vermillion Cliffs

Inside the lower Antelope slot canyon

Inside the lower Antelope slot canyon

Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River does a 180.

Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River does a 180.

Another formation in the Lower Antelope

Another formation in the Lower Antelope

Entrance into the Lower Antelope slot canyon.  You wouldn't think there's much underground to look at it.

Entrance into the Lower Antelope slot canyon. You wouldn’t think there’s much underground to look at it.

Monument Valley

Monument Valley as seen from Hunt's Mesa

Monument Valley as seen from Hunt’s Mesa

A place that should probably be on every landscape photographer’s bucket list is Monument Valley on the Arizona/Utah border.

Anasazi Ruins - One of many cliff dwellings in the area

Anasazi Ruins – One of many cliff dwellings in the area

Anyone who has seen any John Ford westerns will immediately recognize some of the landscape made famous in countless John Wayne epics.

The" Mittens", one of many prominent formations in that area

The” Mittens” at sunrise, one of many prominent formations in the area

We were fortunate to be part of a group led by Navajo photographer LeRoy DeJollie who grew up in the area.

The Totem - seen in many classic western movies

The Totem – seen in many classic western movies

Much of the area requires a guide, and some of the spots like Hunt’s Mesa are difficult to get to, but it’s worth the trip!

Animal Workshops

A monkey concentrating on eating a piece of fruit

A monkey concentrating on eating a piece of fruit at the Wildlife World Zoo in Litchfield Park, Arizona.

The past few weekends we’ve been on a kick of taking animal photo workshops with Arizona Highways Photography Workshops.  Arizona Highways is a regional magazine known for stunning photographs of the southwest, and the workshops are an associated organization.  The workshops cover quite a range of subjects from technical “how to” courses to multi day photo trips.  I’m somewhat ambivalent about photographing animals in a captive environment.  On one hand it seems kind of like cheating, but from a realistic standpoint some of these animals are either rare enough or so remote in the wild that a trip to their natural habitat is plainly outside our means.  One thing that doesn’t bother me, however, is the care and condition of these animals.  Having met and observed some handlers and trainers, I’m comfortable with the care and effort made to keep the animals healthy and engaged.  I realize that not every place operates to that high a standard, that’s why some research is helpful before deciding where you want to shoot.

Continue reading

Fangs, Fur, Claws and Teeth

A Siberian Tiger watching from the brush.

A Siberian Tiger watching from the brush.

Most of us think of taking a photograph of a person as capturing that person in a moment in time.  It can range from a snapshot to a carefully crafted portrait.  When a photographer wants to tell a story, they’ll frequently use a model.  We see it all the time in advertising as well as in fine art photography.  Not all models are people – there are animal models as well. Just as with people they may be featured in advertising, entertainment, or sometimes just as a study.

Continue reading

Looking for the shot

Aug 17 2014 Mountains & Meadows 470

Karen in a spot of sunlight

While at Hart Prairie a couple weeks ago we spent some time shooting in and around some of the old homestead buildings.  One was in a state of some disrepair and was being used as a storage area for some painting tools.  The building itself may have been in the process of being restored, I’m not sure.  Looking in through one of the doorways (no doors or glazing were installed) I saw a pretty spectacular patch of sunlight from an eastern facing window and had the Missus move into it just so I could play with the hard light a little.  I took a few shots knowing that these would be blown out and definitely candidates for black and white conversion, but didn’t really expect much from them.  The idea was to experiment and learn something from the process, and I already had the photos I had been looking for that day.  Something about this shot keeps grabbing by attention, though.  To my mind it has almost a ’50’s photo-journalistic look to it.

Flagstaff Weekend

Flagstaff Meadows

Flagstaff Meadow

The Missus and I recently spent a weekend in the Flagstaff area shooting some landscapes during the “Mountains and Meadows of Northern Arizona” workshop put on by Arizona Highways Photography Workshops.  This particular workshop was run by Shane McDermott, a Flagstaff landscape photographer. 

Continue reading

Innocents Abroad part 8 – One Light

ImageHarpist – bare flash, low camera left

Link to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7

I’ve been following Zack Arias for some time both on his old website and now on DEDPXL.  Done some of his Kelby training courses, got his book, just plain like the guys attitude.  So I was very happy that things worked out for me to take his One Light course.  I’m not a complete newb with flash, but I’m not a pro, either, so this was a good course for me.

Continue reading

Innocents Abroad part 7 – Working with Nothing

Flour GirlFlour Girl

Link to part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6

I’m a believer that getting outside your comfort zone is one of the ways to grow. I approached Brooke Shaden’s “Working with Nothing: Building a creative scene in a boring space and in Photoshop” with both anticipation and nervousness.  Fine Art photographers like Brooke are incredibly creative, and while I occasionally come up with something a little original, mostly I assume a “deer in the headlights” look when searching for ideas.  It was my hope that I would pick up some inspiration and ideas from the course, and I was not disappointed.

Continue reading