Photograph: Arterial Hypnosis

Arterial Hypnosis

The Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park. Made before sunrise on a cold January morning on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa. 4×5″ camera and film.

Guy Tal and I would love to have you join us at The Racetrack and other spectacular Death Valley locations during this November’s Visionary Death Valley photo workshop.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. Please visit his official website  for more information.

Epilogue: Visionary Death Valley

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Visionary Death Valley – Thank you!

Guy Tal and I concluded last week our second sold out Visionary Death Valley workshop of 2012.  It is always our great pleasure to work with such fine people and photographers, and we sincerely THANK Robert, Steve, Carol, Hoa, Andy, Dan, Joe, Bennett, Kurt, and Huibo for making this one a success. We really enjoyed your company and camaraderie.

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Burn baby, burn. An incredible pre-sunrise glow over Zabriskie Point and the Panamint Mountains.

December and January are my favorite times to be in Death Valley. Whether a personal outing, group workshop, or private tour, I get to spend many days in the Park during these months, and this is when winter’s weather is most likely to decorate the skies with color and the higher peaks with snow. This Visionary Death Valley workshop was no different, and we were in fact blessed with incredible light and color every morning and evening! What a show we were blessed to enjoy.

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Windstorm on the Racetrack

We were witness to spectacular atmospheric events, which included a sudden windstorm that overtook our group while we were on the Racetrack. Although direct light never hit the playa while we there, what was occurring all around us was an incredible sight to behold. The Grandstand would disappear in a cloud of dust from time to time, and unfortunately so would some of our group! A lesson for all desert photographers: Pin down whatever you’re not currently using, and never take your eyes off your tripod. High winds tried the patience of our group at times – a couple of cameras went down – yet bitter weather produced remarkable and unforgettable results.

Sunrise over Badwater Basin

Sunrise over Badwater Basin

We were fortunate to experience an absolutely ridiculous sunrise over Badwater. Ridiculous? Photographers who spend enough time outside inevitably witness numerous beautiful sunrises/sunsets. So many that they can become cliche and easy to take for granted. I consider a sunrise/set ridiculous when it outright trumps your memories of any of the previous 100. That’s what we had at Badwater.

Glory light over Death Valley

Glory light over Death Valley

The above sunrise photograph is straight out of the camera. I moved NO sliders, added nothing, took nothing away. I only resized for this post and converted the file to the Adobe sRGB color space. Trust me – you would have called this sunrise ridiculous if you had been there with us.

Visionary Death Valley concluded my group workshops for 2012, but the 2013 season starts right up in early January. There is ONE spot remaining in my January 9-14 workshop with Andy Biggs, and a few spots remain in the February 2013 Visionary Death Valley workshop. Please don’t delay as these are expected to sell out. There is still availability in Feb and March 2013 for my private Death Valley photo tours.

Photographer on the dunes

Photographer on the dunes

THANKS again to Robert, Steve, Carol, Hoa, Andy, Dan, Joe, Bennett, Kurt, and Huibo for joining us in Death Valley and making the workshop a success!

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website. You can also find Michael on TwitterFacebook, and Google+.

Announcing Visionary Photography Workshops

Guy Tal and I first met each other about ten years ago shortly after he’d left California for Utah. During the ensuing decade, we shared together many wonderful photography expeditions to extraordinary places and discussed at length our goals, philosophies, and hopes for nature and landscape photography as fine art. Despite our differences, we shared many commonalities and philosophies and began to plan our first workshop. In 2004, we hand-picked a select group of photographers for a free Grand Staircase-Escalante NM (Utah) workshop where we could test and vet our curriculum. It was a wonderful start with a great group of photographers, and we’ve since spent the last eight years teaching, guiding, and inspiring scores of photographers at all levels while continuously refining our philosophies and teaching methods. In 2011 we began hatching a refined Visionary concept, and in February 2012 offered our first (sold out) Visionary Photography Workshop in Death Valley National Park. It was a tremendous success, and it prompted us to consider additional offerings in new locations.
The success (or failure) of a photography workshops hinges on its leadership and planning. After eight years of teaching and guiding, we had heard the horror stories from our participants about bad workshops and bad leadership, and desired to never have our names associated with similar stories. Meticulous planning is part of every Visionary workshop. There is no “figuring it out” as we go along, no details are left uncoordinated, and we don’t use our workshops to build our own portfolios. We take great pride in the Visionary program we’ve put together, and we hope you’ll join us for a Visionary Photography Workshop in 2013.
You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

THANKS to My Recent Photography Workshop Participants!

I’d like to offer a big THANK YOU to my March Death Valley Photo Workshop participants: (L-R) Rina, Stacey, Bonnie, Clark, and Lupin, and yours truly. I had a wonderful time with all of you and hope that you had an incredible and unforgettable experience.

I’d also like to offer a big THANK YOU to my April Alabama Hills Introduction to Large Format Photography workshop participants: (L-R) Yours truly, Dave, Rodney, Savahna, Ken, Katy, and Ralph. I had a wonderful time with all of you and hope that the large format photography process has been demystified and that you proceed forth with confidence in the format. We had a Name this mountainbit of challenging weather all day Friday and early Saturday yet it made for glorious conditions, great photography, and sublime viewing of the High Sierra. Can anyone help me with an ID of the mountain seen here? 😉

I wish all of my recent workshop attendees the very best with their photography and hope to see everyone again in the near future!

My next Introduction to Large Format Photography workshop will take place in Death Valley National Park in late 2012 and will be announced on this blog and my newsletter in the coming days; please stay tuned.

My next scheduled workshop is Visionary Death Valley with Guy Tal beginning November 29, 2012. You can read more about our successful February Visionary Death Valley workshop and see a few images here, and you’ll find workshop details and registration information here. Our November Visionary workshop is beginning to fill, but we currently have space available.

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

Visionary Death Valley Photography Workshop Epilogue

Visionary Death Valley Photography Workshop, February 2012

Guy Tal and I concluded our February 2012 Visionary Death Valley (VDV) photography workshop last Wednesday on Death Valley NP’s Eureka Dunes, and to summarize our workshop with just one word: INCREDIBLE. We had a most wonderful group of participants who were engaged and inspired. We feel incredibly fortunate to be able to share our passion for creative photography and Death Valley National Park with a select group of individuals who are eager to move forward on their creative journeys.

Our workshop explored and photographed some of Death Valley’s most well known features – the vast Dante’s View; the surreal Badwater; the cosmic Racetrack; the sensual Mesquite Sand Dunes – as well as lesser known but no less extraordinary locations that are exclusive to Visionary Death Valley. VDV blends the perfect mixture of field photography, field classes, and a post-production classroom session (with laptops and projection) along with inspirational and philosophical discussions designed to challenge photographers to rethink the way they work and photograph. There are many photography workshops and instruction manuals that teach craft and technique; we’ve designed Visionary Death Valley to lead photographers towards the heart of their art.

A few workshop highlights: A brief but intense sunrise at Dante’s View; a downright ridiculous flaming sunset on our last night out with the Eureka Dunes extension group (see image at left); investigating incredible marine fossils and petroglyphs; the largest engulfing dust storm I’ve ever experienced in Death Valley (this occurred during preparations a few days before we first met our group); and F18 fighter jets screaming over Eureka Dunes at low elevations (it’s a violation of the wilderness experience, yet hard not to be awed by).

Guy and I would like to sincerely thank Anil, Annette, Bob, Don, Jon, Michael, Paige, Ron, Stephanie, and Tina for being part of the first of our Visionary workshop series and for being wonderful students and humans. We truly enjoyed your company and learning about each of you over those tiring but exciting days. We wish you well on your creative photographic journeys!

Our next Visionary Death Valley workshop is scheduled for November 29 – December 4, 2012 and you are all invited. We are also currently in the planning stages of Visionary Capitol Reef (Utah) in 2013. Please stay tuned for more information.

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

Workshop Announcement: Visionary Death Valley. February 16 – 21, 2012

I am happy to announce my next workshop: Visionary Death Valley, February 16 – 21, 2012.

Death Valley National Park is a desert wonderland of immense scale, beauty and power. Its 3.3 million acres, the vast majority of which are roadless wilderness, encompass a staggering array of landscapes, unique geologic formations and colorful vistas. The largest National Park in the contiguous United States, Death Valley is both beautiful to behold and rich in history, mood and mystique. Its towering sand dunes, seasonally snow-capped mountains, warm springs and vast empty valleys offer endless opportunity for exploration and ample subject matter for the creative artist. There’s no place on Earth quite like it.

Internationally acclaimed photographer, author, and educator Guy Tal and I have carefully selected some of the park’s most unique locations for this workshop, and we’ll combine outstanding photography with inspirational, creative and technical discussion sessions. In addition to classes in the field, Guy and I will work individually with participants to address questions, assist with compositions, offer ideas, and share our knowledge. Discussions will include informative reviews and critique sessions of each participant’s images made during the workshop.

This workshop is sponsored by Chamonix View Cameras and Gura Gear, and all workshop participants are eligible for discounts on Chamonix view cameras and accessories and on Gura Gear camera bags.

Fore more information and registration, please click here.

You are visiting the blog of fine art landscape photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.

Photo Workshop Announcement: Creative Landscape Photography. Oct 10-12, 2009. Capitol Reef, Utah

Photographs © Guy Tal

Photographs © Guy Tal

For the first time in almost two years, the cosmos have aligned permitting Guy and Michael to once again conduct a workshop together. Please join us for our very best workshop yet.

There is perhaps no greater challenge for a photographer than finding their own creative voice and developing a recognizable personal style. This workshop aims to help both experienced and aspiring fine-art photographers develop creative skills and techniques in the field and in the digital studio.

The workshop will take place in and around Capitol Reef National Park, in Utah. This unique location provides access to an astounding range of photogenic scenery and an endless array of subjects on every scale, from colorful sandstone canyons and riparian desert streams to aspen and conifer forests and high altitude lakes.

For more information and to reserve your seat, please visit the Gordon-Tal Photographic Workshops website.

You are visiting the blog of fine art photographer Michael E. Gordon. For additional photos and information, please visit his official website.