I’m started working on some images from my late March instructional tour to the Arches area. The group photographed some popular areas in Arches and Canyonlands national park as well as a private tour into Monument Valley and the Slot Canyons. We did get out for a lot of night photography in all those areas…..including Monument Valley but the clouds weren’t as cooperative as I would have liked. Our last night there those clouds brought some snow! The opening image shows the 2 plus inches or so of snow on our last morning of photography. The temps were a bit too warm and as we wrapped up the morning shoot, the snow had all but disappeared. The image below of the tree reminds me how different Arches NP is when there is even just a bit of snow!
As many of you know by now, I have been to the Arches/Canyonlands/Monument Valley area more than any other place I lead tours to. I stopped counting after 20 visits but I never get tired of shooting it! While landscape photography may not be as challenging technically as bird photography, the ingredients needed to come together to create a successful image are often much more difficult to come by! Visiting the same location over and over (I learned this from the late Galen Rowell’s example) gives you a better chance of capturing a more dramatic image of any iconic location. I have many similar images to the ones below but on every trip the ever-changing skies present unique opportunities for everyone……..no matter how many times you have been there! A perfect example is of the last image of the mittens below when at this time of year, the West Mitten casts its shadow on the East Mitten.
I am always looking for new or obscure locations to diversify my clients shooting opportunities. On cloudy days, I like to go shoot a little known waterfall just south of Moab called Faux Falls. In the image below, I concentrated on smaller cascade areas as I have 100’s of images of the falls that I haven’t even processed!
The detail image below is from one of our travel days where we stopped to do HDR’s of old cars, trucks, and barns. We spent over 3 hours in one junkyard alone this year!
One big advantage I have over other tours is that I can change my itinerary at a moment’s notice. Instead of driving the loop road of Monument Valley one cloudy afternoon, I had the group switch gears and do some HDR work inside the old trading post instead as I knew we would have another opportunity to photograph the loop road on another day. That is the luxury we have on the 10 day tour but I also try to be this flexible on all of my tours.
My quest for the unusual at iconic locations is constant. I don’t pass up opportunities for the “standard” shot but because I have been to these locations that many times, I can look for some less explored shots. While I have done “flowing sand” in the slot canyons before, the image below of the triple sand falls surprised even me!
The final image below is also another great example as I have photographed that particular tree in Castle Valley numerous times. The tips of the tree only glow that white-hot for a brief moment in late afternoon light and only during certain seasons. My experience in the Arches area allows me to change locations no matter what the weather throws at me!
I have 2 slots left for my week-long October tour and 1 slot left on the 10 day February tour which will concentrate more on night photography. You can find all the information on my schedule page or as always, feel free to e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org .