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!
Seal. Crazy. 4:00am. I think it has been my ring tone for 15 years now, way before the iPhone was even a concept. It is this song that closely reflects the life of a photographer. I mean who in their right mind would wake up at 4am? The beauty of my current situation is that Art is as much of a morning person as I am. We firmly believe that waking up this early should be minimized on all accounts. Seriously, the coffee shops aren’t even open yet. The flip side is that we have no problem staying up well into the evening to photograph stars. I guess that justifies sleeping in way past sunrise. At least in summer.
We were in Moab. It was the first day of leading ten people around with a certain and much different workshop challenge. Discover the subjects beyond the obvious. Yes, if you have never been to Moab you can shoot those icons, but after that we wanted our participants to move beyond and work not only their subjects, but their minds too. As a participant you are restricted to keeping those iconic images to yourself. We all know that they are already good compositions. During our critiques we want to see the other images. The ones you have questions about. Or the ones you struggled with until you thought you failed. Those are inevitably the ones that are most successful.
If this sounds like a duality of common sense, it probably is. Those images that you struggle with force you to work, and when you work at your composition, you put thought into it. This thought process always comes through in the images you produce, even if you don’t realize it at the time.
The desert is a magical place. The colors are extremely brilliant and complimentary. Unbelievably clear and dry blue skies complimented with deep reds and oranges as the sun comes up. This time of year though, it only lasts about an hour after sunrise, so timing is of the essence. And lesson number one is to illustrate this on morning one, day one, without any prior instruction. The forthcoming discussions will change this ideal and then we will progress to make you think even harder. Once you are challenged with trying to find subjects beyond the icons, we are going to take you an abandoned town. At Noon. With one request, find us subjects.
We continue by highlighting specific techniques. Specific ways of processing images utilizing Adobe Lightroom 4. Adding in creative options here as well, so that you realize that every image shouldn’t be super-saturated color, a perfect blend of multiple exposures, or even produced in the 2 by 3 format. This is were your ideas are taken into reality. The creative juices are beginning to flow at this point and you are beginning to see. To see less like a recorder and more like an artist. You begin to realize that you are in control of what your viewer perceives and almost understand that the image you create becomes your viewer’s reality.
Then we add different perspectives into the mix. How to create composite panoramics, star trails, and nighttime compositions. We do this by taking you to different eco-systems and different environments continuously throughout the day. The main rule here is if you can find something of merit to photograph at high noon in the summer desert, you can find a subject just about anywhere at any time. And then, all of a sudden, everything clicks, (figuratively and literally) you become a creative. The word photographer only has meaning to you because you choose that as your mechanism to display your vision.
You in fact become a little crazy and like the song says, “But we’re never gonna survive, unless, we are a little crazy.” Now you want only one thing. MORE. Stay tuned we will give you that real soon. — Jay Goodrich