I was walking along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India, at dawn one morning when I saw the color. The sun rose through a layer of smoke and haze, and I thought, “Wow, that is a beautiful red orb.” I had to get that shot.
I was at this location during the Kumbh Mela, a massive gathering of Hindus along the Ganges that happens every 12 years. This is a time of great spiritual and cultural significance when holy men gather to bless the millions of people who have made the pilgrimage to the location. Many pilgrims had traveled to Varanasi and upriver to Allahabad. Many were crossing the river to the encampment on the far side. I contacted one of these people the night before, offering a dollar to act as my model the next morning, one hour before sunrise.
The next morning, I positioned the boat with my new model in the dark mud along the shore. I used a polarizer to take the shine off the water in the foreground, creating the illusion that the boat was floating.
To get the deep depth of field that I wanted, I shot with a wide-angle lens and a small f-stop of f/22, getting an exposure of one or two seconds, during which my model had to remain still. The foreground point of the boat is every bit as sharp as the distant horizon. I had to work quickly because the color of the sun was so important, and it lasted only a short time. once the sun rose above that layer of haze, it lost it’s color.
I loved creating the image, stylizing something these pilgrims did every day during Kumbh Mela, making the image more memorable. you don’t know whether the person is a woman or a man, which helps the viewer see him- or herself in that place.
Photography As Art is coming back to Seattle, and soon! If you’ve missed out in the past, now’s your chance. This seminar tends to fill up fast as it gets near, so sign up today to ensure your spot! If you’ve attended this seminar in the past, I’m continually revising it to add new photos and perspectives, so it can be a great refresher while you prepare for spring shooting!
Always a fan favorite! We will include some new locations this time around, and work with 6-stop neutral density filters to expand on technique. This is an excellent way to experience the Pacific Northwest, whether you’re a native who wants to explore your own back yard, or from out of the area and want to experience the lush variety of our corner of the world where it converges between the Olympic range and the Pacific ocean
Situated at the mouth of the mighty Columbia River, Astoria is a fascinating and revitalizing port city with a history tied to the early territorial aspirations of the United States. My goal is work closely with each participant to truly transform and refine their skills while exploring the nature of creativity itself. This ties strongly into the subject matter I cover in Photography As Art.
Same locations, two different seasons to capture beautiful Mt. Rainier and the surrounding Cascade Range, as well as the lush forest, meadows, and surrounding forests! We will use the setting of Mt. Rainier National Park to discuss composition and design in nature photography. Aside from lessons in the field, there will also be lectures on these subjects as well as informative critiques of your work in the field.
Art Wolfe: Spotlighting is an often unpredictable event that can create and unexpected picture. With this image of a tiger in the dense forest, it was essential that I spot-meter the tiger’s illuminated face to ensure it was exposed correctly, since all of the deep shadows could have easily fooled the camera’s meter.
Martha Hill: I find this image intriguing. Tigers are among the most elusive of the big cats, and this image, by showing it lurking in the shadows, perfectly captures the animal’s mystery. To me it is a more evocative rendering of the subject than the more commonplace, out-in-the-open view we often see.
Art Wolfe: In the hours prior to this shot (of Bridalveil Fall), the valley had been covered in flat light under solid cloud cover. Late in the afternoon, however, the clouds began to break, sending shafts of light onto the faces of El Capitan and Half Dome, and, in this case, the waterfalls that rush over the cliffs in early spring.
Getting the proper exposure in a shot like this can be challenging. using my camera’s spot meter, I took a reading off the brightest area and opened up to keep the whole image from getting too dark.
Martha Hill: This image has drama and mood. Bridalveil Fall is one of Yosemite’s most photographed icons, but the unusual lighting conditions captured here set this image apart. The momentary beam of light illuminates the distant waterfall, directing the eye immediately to it. Under different conditions, such as an even lighting, we might overlook the waterfall altogether in this already dramatic landscape. The success of this image depends on timing – waiting for the exact moment when the light will highlight an interesting visual element.
I’ll be back on the road in March! This is the longest I’ve been home for consecutive days since at least the 80’s, and I’m anxious to get back out there into the world! I kick off the month here at home with Photography As Art in Seattle, and finish March off with at trip to the U.K. to present Earth Is My Witness at the Photography Show in Birmingham before returning to the states for another Photography As Art in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Things pick up even more in April with a couple of workshops. Even more than the travel, I’ve truly missed getting together with a small group of people and sharing my vision and in turn hearing their perspectives and experiences. I’m excited to bring an Abstract workshop to Atlanta, as well as the participate favorite Olympic Peninsula Workshop to finish out the month. Few spaces remain for these events, so if you’re interested now is the time to get signed up before they sell out.
The one thing that has kept me sane these past several weeks has been addressing all the wonderful work that has been submitted for portfolio reviews. I’ve been blown away by the quality level of the photos we’ve received, and at times it’s made it challenging critique work of such a high level. My staff has been preparing reviews and returning them this week, so if you’re waiting on your feedback, keep an eye out! I look forward to the upcoming Skype conversations with those of you whom have purchased the Present package as well.
It’s always my goal to explore, create, and most importantly – inspire, and I was delighted to hear Dallas Photography As Artattendee Sunhee Kim’s take-away from the seminar. Sunhee was kind enough to share some take-away from the event, as well as photos captured that very day. Both myself and my staff appreciated this eagerness to explore and recognize these fantastic images, and it really drives my point home that you truly can capture spectacular artistic photos anywhere if you change the way you see everything around you.
My name is Sunhee, and I attended your workshop in Dallas today. I chatted with you a bit near the end. I am a beginner photographer.
I had to write this email right away to express how much the workshop opened up my eyes and perspectives, even though it is getting so late. I am exhausted from the workshop and a meet up photo shooting afterwards.
I could not wait to see what I discovered during the lunch break and the meet up shooting.
First, I had a 28mm prime lens at the workshop that I did not plan to shoot much. But as I came out of the building for lunch and walked down the streets, I saw quite a bit of pattern and color on walls on the streets. Instead of having lunch, I spent an hour to take photos. Then I went home to switch to my other lens for the meet up shooting after the workshop was done.
I truly loved to see what I discovered! A whole different experience, and I really wanted to share a few of my VERY first abstract and/or impressionist photos with you. I am not sure how many professional photographers would appreciate these kinds of photos, but It amazed me that my photos seemed like a piece of a painting – art, or something unique that is different from anyone else or the many great photos one can see and run into everywhere.
Thank you SO MUCH and hopefully I can make other workshops in the near future.
Photography As Artis coming to Seattle, Raleigh, Tampa, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and more in 2018!
Never discount the ability to create effective photographs during a rainy overcast day!
On my last day in Yang Shao, China we were hit with some pretty bad weather. Instead of staying in the hotel, I traveled to a view point along the Li River to shoot some limited edition, fine art black and white images. I knew from experience that images taken on a day like this could yield dreamy photos with just a basic amount of dodging and burning once converted from a color capture.
My workflow for these images was fairly simple. I created a virtual copy in Lightroom, desaturated the image by dragging the Saturation Slider to 0 and then using the Brush Tool to selectively dodge and burn areas of the sky to make the clouds pop. Then, Jay Goodrich, my co-leader on this trip, opened the images in Photoshop and added an Auto Curves adjustment layer that, to my surprise, made the images just jump off of the page. When I have more time than I do on location, I will further refine the black & white image by using NIK Software’s Silver Efex Pro 2 software. This will allow me to really fine-tune the image.
I am always amazed at how many ways there are to process an image to get the results that I am looking for in my pursuit of creativity.
Great news on my evergreen TV show! The first thirteen episodes of Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge are now available to stream in the US & UK on Amazon. If you haven’t seen them before, it’s now even easier!
Check them out at an affordable price, or stream them free if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber:
Revel in the beauty of awe-inspiring landscapes and the unique animals and people that inhabit them through an artist’s lens. During these journeys, I share my knowledge, curiosity, and enthusiasm about the world around us. You will also learn professional photographic techniques in such an intimate manner that you feel as if you’re right there with me getting a personal photography lesson.
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge was produced by Edge of the Earth Productions, LLC in association with Blue Moon Productions, Inc., presented by Oregon Public Broadcasting, and distributed by American Public Television (APT). Funding for Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge was generously provided by Canon U.S.A., Inc. and the Microsoft Corporation. Additional funding was provided by Conservation International.
The holiday season is upon us, so it’s time for a flash sale! Now through Midnight PST on Monday November 27th, Purchase admission to any currently scheduled Photography As Art seminar and receive a second for half price. Just add two or more seminars to your account and use the code “PAABUDDY2017” at checkout, and save over $100. Join Art Wolfe live with a friend or surprise that special someone with the gift of a broadened photographic vision and creativity!
The next Photography As Art is as soon as next weekend, with two dates in the Lone Star State, so act now and save!
December is fast approaching, and I’ll be spending the first week or so in Texas with a trio of dates! It all kicks off on the evening of Friday, December 1st at 7:30 PM where I’ll be delivering my Eart Is My Witness presentation at Sean Fitzgerald’s studio in the historic Deep Ellum neighborhood of Dallas. Earth Is My Witness is a presentation focused on the stories behind some of the most iconic images of my 40-plus year career.
The next day, join me back in this same location for the full-day presentation of Photography As Art! I’ve created this seminar to counter the photographic locations, compositions, and themes we see recycled time and time again, and aim to teach each participant to see the world around them in an entirely new way; to use any location to their advantage, and capture the often unseen elements around us to create unique artistic images.
The following day I’ll be taking Photography As Art down the highway to Austin – so if the trek up to Dallas is a bit too lengthy, then join me at UT Austin!
I’m looking forward to visiting Texas, and I hope to see you there. Follow the links below to purchase tickets for these events:
I am pleased to announce that beginning in January of 2018, I’ll be providing Portfolio Reviews to those interested in having me take a look at your photography work and provide constructive feedback! Among the many requests we’ve had, reviews come up most often – and given that the critique process has long been a part of our workshops that I look forward to, it only made sense to offer this service.
As you may know, I approach photography from the perspective of having had classic arts training, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts and art education from the University of Washington in 1975. Receiving and participating in the critique process with peers and instructors was an invaluable asset for my development as an artist, and the art of photography is no different.
We hope to accommodate anyone interested in having their work reviewed by offering a trio of packages and perks:
5 images reviewed
MP3 Recording of my critique of your work
10% off any future Photography As Art seminar
12 images reviewed
MP3 Recording of my critique of your work
20% off any future Photography As Art seminar
Free Book – “The Art of the Photograph”
15 images reviewed
LIVE Skype conversation regarding your photographs
30% off any future Photography As Art seminar
Free Book – “Photographs From the Edge”
Check out the Portfolio Review page for more information. I look forward to seeing everyone’s work in 2018!