"Since 1979 I have led winter photography workshops to Death Valley. I keep returning to this desert because there is a magic here, a quiet and vast expanse of sensual and strange earthworks, remarkable in color, resting under the soft winter light of January," states Instructor Stephen Johnson.
Transformed from a searing 120 degree desert in summer to January's mild 60-70 degree weather, Death Valley is filled with intriguing landforms, delicate flora, strange mineral deposits and expansive views. Mile high Dante's View overlooks the patterned salt flats of Badwater and the Amargosa River below (the lowest point in the United States). Badwater's still water in turn mirrors the blue and white Panamint Mountains to the West. The lunar landscape appearance of Ubehebe Crater's black volcanic fields rises from the rolling desert at the valley's north end with the steep gorge of Titus Canyon and Red Pass to the southeast.
We will spend our first half day preparing for our outings. Topics covered will be optimal digital camera use in a variety of formats, file size and printing considerations. We will open files, review success and do some printing of the photographs made during the day, constantly going back in the field putting into practice lessons learned. Some field power and field printing will also be available.
The advent of photography's digital age provides unique opportunities for field photography instruction, for reviewing work on camera screens as it is made and on portable computers and for examining exposure, composition and emotional impact. Group evening reviews will also be conducted using digital projection. High resolution printers will be available to put some images to the ultimate test.
Digital exposure and dynamic range, color management, printers, papers and pigments, b&w and color, composition, and amazement - all will be part of our ambitious excursion into the evolving world of digital photography.
We will spend four activity-packed days in the valley, sometimes rising before dawn and lingering for the last moment of twilight. Vistas encompassing hundreds of square miles of desert and mountains, marble-lined canyons, multi-colored hills of yellow, purple and turquoise and a curved expanse of sand-swept dunes make the trip very worthwhile for photography.
This trip is designed to be a complete immersion into landscape photography and its digital evolution. We will discuss technical and aesthetic issues, tapping into your emotional response to this landscape, working toward images that are uniquely your own.
Individual problem solving is a high priority in this workshop. Classes are kept small to maximize individual attention. Plan to bring some of your work to show how you see, what you are happy with and to indicate problems you encounter.
Lodging can be arranged at Furnace Creek Ranch 760-786-2345. Camping is also available at Texas Springs Campground near Furnace Creek where sites are available on a first come, first served basis.
A full agenda is planned for this workshop, including dawn and dusk sessions. You will be doing a fair amount of walking in the canyons and on the dunes.