On Monday I was in Las Vegas to sign Human Canvas prints for the new Natural Wonders Gallery opening in New York. Later the gallery hosted a Meet the Artist reception. Many thanks to the gallery staff for setting this up and all the people who attended.
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
Art is leading a photo workshop in India for two weeks and he’s starting to send back photos! This first batch was taken on the ghats of Varanasi. It is the holiest city in Hinduism and has been a cultural and religious center for thousands of years. A ghat is a set of stairs leading to a holy body of water, in this case, the Ganges. Some are public, some private; some are used for ritual bathing or cremation, while others are used for quotidian uses such as laundry. Whatever the use, they are always a center of colorful display—even the reflections in the water are beautiful!
Yesterday I was feeling more stressed than usual so I decided to take a day & go and shoot in my backyard—literally and figuratively. I took off before dawn and headed toward Mt. Rainier. The mountain (volcano) was haloed in lenticular clouds at sunrise, then the light quickly flattened out into a snow sky. I then concentrated my efforts on the Carbon River, the outflow from the Carbon Glacier on Rainier. There has been a cycle of freezing and thawing this winter due to the La Nina weather pattern. The icicles are particularly interesting with their nearly iridescent grooved patterns—not unlike a shining blade of a samurai sword.
Back at home in the late afternoon, I photographed a bonsai tree in my backyard at sunset. It was a good day.
I just returned from another eventful and gut-wrenching Antarctica sailing. I was one of the few not affected by seasickness in the brutal crossing of the Drake Passage.
This was a very lucky trip. We managed to dodge two major storms, one of which disabled the boat I sailed on last year. When we returned to South America, there were tours and boats backed up waiting for a break in the weather.
While waiting to embark the Ushuaia in Ushuaia, I photographed psychedelic macros of peeling paint on metal buildings and the next day we were at sea heading to Half Moon Island in the South Shetlands, and then on to the Lemaire Channel and other ice-bound islets. On one of our exploratorations off the boat I saw young Gentoo penguins play-acting nesting behavior. They were trying to “hatch” rocks and build nests.