The majestic Grand Staircase descending toward the Grand Canyon and the canyons of the Escalante are a creative photographer's dream come true. This outdoor classroom is a highlight of our Vision series, a special program of advanced instruction focusing on refining your personal creative vision, composition, and digital workflow, designed and presented by renowned photographers Jack Dykinga and John Shaw, with support by popular workshops leader Jerry Dodrill, a protégé of the legendary Galen Rowell. Packaged with single-occupancy lodging at the beautiful Boulder Mountain Lodge, and with first-class dining at the famous Hell's Backbone Grill, this is a superb workshop scenario, which helps explain why Visionary Wild clients often repeat this experience. We hope you'll join us!
Boulder Mountain rises to the west of Capital Reef National Park in the picturesque Aquarius Plateau of South Central Utah. It is the highest timbered plateau in North America, with over 50,000 acres of rolling forests of pine, spruce, fir, and aspen, as well as expansive meadowlands. The area features the dramatic red rock canyons and sculpted formations for which southern Utah is famous, but it is a little known and refreshing alternative to more heavily trafficked southwestern locations.
The author and desert wilderness advocate Edward Abbey once astutely observed:
There are more hills, holes, humps and hollows, reefs, folds, domes, swells and grabens, buttes, benches and mesas, synclines, monoclines, and anticlines than you can ever hope to see and explore in a lifetime.
We'll add that the quality of light and atmosphere here are superb.
Click "Read More..." below right to read on and see the image gallery...
The creation of a truly great finished photograph is part of a process from initial concept and vision through execution in the field to digital workflow and creation of a high-quality, final master file ready for printing or publication. Vision workshops with John Shaw and Jack Dykinga address the two greatest challenges faced by photographers as they advance. The first of these is the tendency for original creative vision to reach a plateau in development, and the second is a digital workflow in need of streamlining and refinement to make the most of your images.
On Creative Vision:
When we experience images that really move us, we are aware that they have impacted us, though we may not know what it was in the image that made it so powerful. In other words, we know when it works, but can be difficult to quantify. I try to teach the time-honored components of fine photography to build successful compositions…even in ordinary situations. People ask me, “What’s the difference between a pro and an amateur?” My response is, (a) the amateur has better equipment and (b) the professional photographer must create a publishable image every single time. To be successful, the professional must be the practitioner of a disciplined approach to situations that will result in compelling images that inform and move people. This workshop is designed to unleash that creativity in my students. – Jack Dykinga
Jack will focus on advanced seeing and ways to unlock creativity in situations that require conceptual and compositional ingenuity on the part of the photographer. In other words, he'll answer the questions, "How do I make a great photograph when the subject matter and composition don't suggest themselves to me, and how do I avoid photographic clichés when the situation offers up a beautiful composition that is almost too obvious?"
As photographers have switched to digital, one fact has become apparent: we are drowning in files. We’re shooting more images than ever, and digital file sizes are increasing with each new generation of cameras. Without a smart, logical workflow – and a familiarity with programs such as Lightroom and Photoshop – we will quickly be overwhelmed with data. – John Shaw
John will focus on teaching a logical, effective workflow that ensures the highest quality for your work, as well an image archive that is stable, consistent, and retrievable over the long term, and that ultimately liberates rather than burdens. He will cover step by step the process from shooting RAW files in the field to optimizing the final image in Photoshop.
Workflow topics to be covered include:
File formats for shooting and for archiving
- Exposing for digital
- Downloading for automatic image organization
- Proper file naming
- Cataloging of images: Lightroom or other software
- Keywording and captioning of images
- The many uses of metadata
- Processing the raw file
- Using the tools in Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom’s Develop Module
- Color spaces for the best results in different media
- The many faces of Bridge
- Creating panoramic images
- Color adjustment strategies
- Using Photoshop to finalize the image: dodging and burning, adjustment layers and layer masking, controlling luminosity and contrast, sharpening for output
- Creating a PDF electronic book
- Color-managed workflow from input to output
The workshop includes eight field sessions, classroom lectures and ample hands-on instruction, critiques, single-occupancy lodging (prorated fee available for double-occupancy or for those who do not require lodging), and all meals and drinks. Jerry Dodrill will be present to serve as assistant instructor and to ensure everything runs smoothly. As always, all three instructors will be present to teach and assist students throughout the workshop.
Field sessions begin the evening of the first day. Each morning and evening, we'll be out to photograph first light before breakfast, and out for evening light before dinner. During mid-day hours, Jack and John will make presentations on advanced seeing, composition and creativity, digital workflow, and maximizing image potential. Critique sessions will follow each day before returning to the field for photography in afternoon and evening light. Friday morning will be the final field session, followed by critiquing until we adjourn at 3:00 pm.
The class size is limited to a small group of ten to ensure that everyone gets the time and attention they need, both in the field and the classroom.
Basecamp is Boulder Mountain Lodge, an intimate arrangement of buildings and outdoor common areas located on a 15-acre bird sanctuary at an elevation of 6650ft. In addition to beautiful rooms, the welcoming and comfortable lodge offers an array of amenities. Our meals (included) will be provided by Hell's Backbone Grill, a highly rated gourmet restaurant featuring southwestern flavors and locally sourced organic ingredients. Group meals provide an informal setting to socialize and address specific interests that may not be covered during lectures and classroom discussion.
We supply materials in advance of the session to get newcomers up to speed with basics having to do with digital camera set-up and techniques, essential equipment recommendations, and other guidelines to ensure that everyone is ready to make the most of the experience.
Lodging, all meals, and beverages are included in the package. Breakfast and dinner are served at the renowned Hell's Backbone Grill each day, and the grill provides box lunches as well.
Please contact us promptly to reserve your space. A deposit of 50% is required at time of booking to reserve space, with balance payable 60 days prior to workshop start date.
The workshop begins at 2pm on Monday, October 12th, and ends by 3pm on Friday, October 16th, 2015.
Note: Visionary Wild, LLC operates this workshop under a multi-year Special Recreation Permit issued by the Bureau of Land Management at Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.