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+.

My 2010 Workshops and Tours

Large Format Photographer in the Alabama Hills

My first private workshop of 2010 took place last weekend (January 9-10) in the remarkable Alabama Hills and Owens Valley, California. David, Sue, and Erik Haake (David is the Program Director for the West Los Angeles Group of the Sierra Club) hired me for a day of Large Format photography instruction with Erik on Saturday in the Alabama Hills (Erik is seen in the photo at left shooting sunrise in the Alabama Hills), and on Sunday we toured a few special locations in and around the Owens Valley (concluding our tour at an incredible and hidden petroglyph panel in the Volcanic Tablelands). David and Sue are avid birders, and although I can’t currently call myself an avid birder, it is something I have spent a fair amount of time doing in the past and I do have a fair number of species on my life list (even though I don’t keep a life list!). Incidentally, the scope of my guiding was altered last weekend, and according to Sue: “you were a wonderful birding guide to top it off.” Thanks, David, Sue, and Erik, for being wonderful clients!

I am currently have one scheduled 2010 group workshop and three more in the planning stages for this year:

    Introduction to Large Format Photography Workshop. February 13-14, 2010, Alabama Hills, Eastern Sierra (just outside Lone Pine, California). Limited to only 5 photographers; $349 per person. My teaching methods and techniques are direct and easy to comprehend, and I will successfully put you in full control of your camera. At the completion of this intensive two-day workshop, you will be able to efficiently and confidently compose, focus, and expose your own photographs. Click here for more information and to register for this workshop.

    March 6-7, 2010 California Desert Wildflower tour: Our “wet season” started wet (despite the name, it doesn’t always work this way!) and although we had a recent dry and warm spell, things are slated to turn again next week and the state of California should again get quite wet. This may bode well for spring wildflowers in the desert. But my intention is to only lead a tour (likely a one day driving tour) if I can *guarantee* good blooms at the best locations (desert wildflowers are wildly unpredictable). Only time will tell, and I’ll be updating this blog as things develop.

    October 2010 Eastern Sierra Autumn Color Tour: Fall color varies from year to year, but it’s always predictable enough to guarantee great photographs under incredible settings. I’m tentatively planning a three-day tour during the first week of October. The tour will range from Mono Lake in the north to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the south.

    Nov-Dec 2010 Death Valley National Park Backcountry 4WD Workshop/Tour: We will spend about a week driving, hiking, and photographing locations that most photographers have no idea even exist! I have personally driven most of Death Valley National Park backcountry roads (including the most difficult and challenging) and have hiked and photographed locations well off the beaten track. Had enough of Zabriskie Point, Badwater, and the Mesquite Flat dunes? Come tour with me. Logistically speaking, unless I can locate and work with an authorized 4WD outfitter for Death Valley NP (I am currently at work on this), each client will need to provide their own 4WD and advanced driving experience. I’ll continue to update my blog as details develop.

If you have interest in any of these workshops/tours, please leave me a reply or shoot me an email.

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

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