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 taking his Art of Composition Tour to Europe this fall! He will be lecturing in three locales:
London, September 8th
Cologne, September 22nd (During Photokina)
Rome, October 13th
>>CLICK HERE To Register and for further information:
It’s no secret that I absolutely love international travel. For the past 30 years, I have spent 9 months of each year on the road. I have met some amazing people and seen fascinating and varied cultures in my travels. It reinforces my belief that we are all connected.
I became hooked on international travel in 1984, when I was asked to join the first US Everest Expedition allowed in through Tibet. I didn’t go to climb Mt Everest, or even to just stand on her flanks. I went to see the magical city of Lhasa. I had learned about such incredible places in school and had always wanted to see one with my own eyes. I was instantly hooked and I’ve been traveling the world ever since.
The Pantanal offers a wetland environment like no other on the planet. At 54,000 square miles you could hide the whole of the Florida Everglades in the center and never find them. It’s no secret that I love photographing wildlife and the Pantanal offers some of the best avian photography anywhere. While the Amazon rain forest may be larger, the Pantanal has a concentration of wildlife that allows you to see (and photograph) 100 times more birds and animals than you ever would in the Amazon. I chose the Pantanal for my “Travels to the Edge” TV show for this very reason.
You will have the chance to photograph capybaras and caimans and many of the 400 species of birds that live in the Pantanal. Nearly a quarter of these birds weighing in at over a pound (1.6kg) – which is a pretty big bird when you stop to think about it. We may even get to see Giant Otters (big as a grown man) and Giant Anteaters. If you’ve seen the episode of “Travels to the Edge” from this region you have some idea of what you’ll be in store for. But don’t worry, when it comes to the caimans, we’ll keep a respectful distance (this time).
Through traveling to photograph wildlife, I have been blessed with getting to know some of the most interesting and diverse cultures around the world. For this tour, I have scheduled visits to two working Brazilian ranches so we can get a taste of what it is like to pull a living from this land and call it home. To visit a country without getting to know the people is an incomplete story for me. There is so much to be learned from others who share this earth with us but have different perspectives and unique viewpoints. Seeing the challenges they face can bring a new perspective to our own lives.
And if you’re not hooked yet… on my previous trips I have stumbled across a very remote corner of the Pantanal where there is an incredible opportunity to see Jaguars in the wild. This particular group has become habituated to seeing people much like some of the lion troops you would see on safari in Africa and they no longer
instinctively retreat and hide in the dense forest. It may take a while to swallow your heart back down from the middle of your throat, but seeing a Jaguar in the wild is a experience you will never forget.
I hope to see you there in July. – Art Wolfe