This past spring I returned to Moab, Utah with a great group of workshop participants that were graciously receptive to my teaching goals in such locations – shooting the unobvious! It’s easy to come to a place like this and shoot the arches and other well-known landmarks. I can recite ad nauseum the camera settings I might use while we sit around waiting for perfect light and re-create the same shot you’ll find on postcards as you head out of town. That’s not why I come here and certainly not why I choose to lead workshops here.
Places like Moab, Astoria, and other significant locations around the country and the world are attractions for a reason, however— so I recommend people get those shots if they want them, of course. In these popular locations it’s much easier to find lodging and great food versus some remote and obscure spot on the map, so they make great places to hold these workshops. However there is so much more to be seen in the details, reflections, and abstracts to create new and unique one-of-a-kind images as well, and that’s where I like to focus my time and my teaching.
Enjoy the video, and check out my upcoming workshop offerings!
I’m happy to announce that Travels to the Edge Season 2 is now available for streaming on my Vimeo On-Demand channel – just in time, as DVDs are getting harder and harder to find. Check out fan-favorite episodes on Mongolia, Iceland, Australia and much more! To celebrate upcoming 2023 international workshops, I’m offering up two full episodes to watch completely free! Just sign up for my email list – don’t worry, I hate spam also!
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge Season 2 Episode 1 – Japan: Hokkaido & Honshu
The Image many of us have of Japan is congested and kinetic. But Japan has a wild side. In winter, beyond its crowded cities, the country delivers quiet, unexpected natural beauty. In the second season opener, Art Wolfe ventures north to the remote region of Hokkaido to view iconic red-crested cranes; south to the mountains to film the mischievous macaque snow monkey; and journeys on to the sacred temples of Mt. Fuji and Koyosan on a photographic pilgrimage.
Art Wolfe’s Travels to the Edge Season 2 Episode 10 – The Kingdom of Bhutan
Known as the “Land of the Thunder Dragon”, Bhutan has survived in isolation for more than a thousand years. As this enlightened Buddhist kingdom greets the 21st century, its greatest challenge is to preserve its soul. In episode ten, Art Wolfe finds a photographer’s nirvana of mountainside monasteries, sacred festivals and chanting monks in an environmentally and spiritually progressive nation.
As you likely know by now I love to create abstract, painterly images. I often find some of my favorite captures in locations that most people might not even notice. This video was filmed on location in Eastern Idaho, however if you’ve attended any of my abstract workshops – you know what I’m looking for! A background in Fine Art and Art History serves me well in these instances, where I can draw on abstract expressionists to see the shapes and colors and contours as something more than a rusty old truck – metaphors and imaginary landscapes abound.
While some abstract captures such as this have gone on to be prints, parts of calendars and more – it’s really the activity of training your eye to see and capture them that is the real value here. Training one’s eye to see the metaphors, colors, and potential of a given shot will only expand your visual vocabulary, and serve as valuable tools in any photo work you do.
Hard to believe, but this week marks the one year anniversary of Tequila Time! From it’s humble beginnings (awwwwwwkwarrrrrd!) to the latest episode we did before I got back to teaching workshops, the format has changed over the months as I’ve learned what works for me and what doesn’t – but most importantly, I’ve absolutely loved looking forward to connecting with you all as much as possible!
I am back to traveling and I’ve seen the grumblings about the lack of Tequila Time – we all knew this would happen when I got back on the road, but rest assured that though they may not be as frequent, I fully intend to connect with you live whenever possible.
Episodes have been proliferated on a number of platforms, however soon enough we are very much looking forward to curating them all in one place. For now, check out episodes on YouTube, Facebook, or Instagram. Do you have any favorite episodes, moments, or subjects from the past year of Tequila Time, or are there any subjects we didn’t cover that you’d like to hear about?
Leave a comment below, we are always looking for great suggestions and questions!
If you caught the recent episode of Tequila Time, I shared images from our recent Olympic Workshop and also discussed just a few of the many lessons we teach in this beautiful location. Sure, there are the typical scenic shots to capture- but anyone can set up a tripod and take the same old shot. This doesn’t help us grow our visual vocabulary, however. Fine if all you want are the token travel photos!
A keen eye that’s trained to find the beauty in the less-obvious is going to come away with the more interesting and unique shots. While each one may not be a masterpiece unto itself, every shot in which you are mindfully seeking compositions that hold the viewers eye in the frame represents a cognitive effort to improve your artistic eye.
Much like a truly invested fine artist will more often than not have dozens of sketch books of incomplete works, never intending to see the light of day, it’s through this practice of finding a shot where others don’t see one that will translate to taking ALL of your photos to the next level.
In the video above are just a few examples of learning to see beauty and something worth capturing in scenes that others might quite literally walk right by. While you may want the big picture of the old-growth forest, it’s really the misshapen lumps of knotted limbs saturated in moss that show the verdant and wild nature of this location. What appear to be simple shots of limbs and trees are intentionally composed to frame the leading lines to keep the viewer’s eye engaged.
Again, not every shot you take needs to be in consideration to sell as a fine art print. On the contrary, most of your shots, much like the sketches of master fine artists are simple tools to train your eye over time.
If you’re currently a Pathways to Creativity Season 2 subscriber, a new episode is up! This one discusses all kinds of light as it pertains to photographing wildlife. If wildlife is your jam, then these last few episodes have been for you! From the rare instances where harsh side lighting can end up working for you to how to simplify a complex scene by using the proper light to capture it.
Hopefully everyone who has purchased Season 2 is enjoying the lessons so far. More are on the way! If you’re looking for a last minute gift for that special someone and/or just want to treat yourself, I literally just decided to do a little flash sale here because why not? Use code PTCHOLIDAYFLASH when you check out and save 15%.
For those of you missing your LIVE ART fix, I’ll see you in a week for a special Holiday Tequila time – next Tuesday the 29th at 5:30 PST on Facebook Live & Instagram!
Happy Technique Tuesday! Great news if you’re looking for a productive and inspiring way to spend your time – the second season of Pathways to Creativity is now live, with two new episodes and more on the way!
The feedback I received for Season 1 was incredible, so I’m hoping everyone who subscribes to the series comes away from Season 2 with equally positive vibes. If you’re looking for an easy gift idea for the photographer, artist, and/or nature enthusiast in your life I am here to help – give the gift of insight and education!
Each season consists of twelve roughly 1-hour episodes, with a 13th bonus episode for full-season subscribers. That’s over 12 hours per season exploring a lifetime of my work, sharing the stories but most importantly the thought process behind capturing everything from my most iconic work to obscure favorites I’ve captured that may not be in any book.
All 13 Pathways to Creativity Season 1 episodes are in the books, and I’m already prepping for season 2. Stay tuned to the blog for updates! The feedback for Season 1 has been tremendous and appreciated. I’ve been meaning to do this for so long that I can’t believe it’s a reality, let alone with 13 episodes in the can. It’s taken hundreds of hours to compile and edit, let alone the nearly five decades of captures that have gone into it. At least my time stuck at home hasn’t been without productivity!
I’m already looking forward to creating Season 2, and implementing all the things we’ve learned along the way. Leave a comment below if you’re a subscriber if you have any suggestions or comments.
Another project that I’ve been enjoying is the Earth Is Our Witness live-stream that Parimal and myself have been doing on Thursday nights following Tequila Time. EIOW is our chance to speak with photographers from all over the world who are bringing awareness and insight into cultures, wildlife, the environment and more. With so much negativity we want to emphasize the good happening, and we want you to join us!
Season 1 of Pathways to Creativity is just about in the books, with a new episode dropping today! This one is all about color – and in some part, lack thereof. I find that while many photographers do focus on important factors like light and composition, color is equally as important but often goes overlooked.
When I shoot, it doesn’t matter if it’s wildlife, culture, abstract, or the landscape – I’m always looking for ways to use color creatively. I also touch briefly on infrared photography, and spend a good chunk of time talking about contrast both high and low.
If you haven’t hopped on board, now is a good time to do so – you can be caught up just in time for the final episodes of season 1 and prepared for more to come!
Learning to master depth of field is no small task and it’s a skill I’ve honed over decades of shooting all manner of subjects. Knowing when to capture the entirety of your scene in sharp focus, or when to selectively and intentionally bring focus to one area of the shot to capture the viewers eye is an important decision to make once you’ve determined your subject. For those of you who have purchased Pathways to Creativity, a new episode is available on the subject – join me for a deep dive!