Death Valley Workshops Report
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FIRST DEATH VALLEY WORKSHOP
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DEATH VALLEY WORKSHOPS
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DEATH VALLEY WORKSHOPS REPORT

I started exploring and photographing Death Valley in 2010, during the one-month trip in the Southwest USA that inspired me to become a professional landscape photographer, and I have been back almost every year since, often multiple times a year. With is huge variety of iconic, spectacular landscapes concentrated in a relatively small area, Death Valley is one of my favourite destinations on the planet. We started running Workshops in Death Valley in 2017, going back for one or more tours every year since.

DESIGNING THE WORKSHOP | Designing our Death Valley Workshop, I focussed on photographing the magnificent beauty of the desert in winter, when the possibility of clouds and even rain is higher, adding more interest to these already spectacular landscapes. In Death Valley, as I always do, I chose all our Workshop locations both for their powerful, inspiring beauty and for the artistic and technical photographic challenges they provide. I believe that helping you to face and solve together as many photographic problems as possible during our time with us will, in turn, help you to develop your vision both during and, most importantly, after the Workshop, when you are back working without a tutor.

THE LOCATIONS | Out of all our 15+ available locations, during our six Workshops in Death Valley we photographed, among others and in no particular order: 3 different spots at Zabriskie Point, Badwater, Mesquite Dunes, 3 different spots at 20 Mule Canyon, 3 different spots at Aguereberry Point, Skidoo Mine, the Racetrack, the Grandstand, a number of spots at Cottonball Marsh, the Devil’s Golf Course, Ubehebe Crater, Rhyolite, and some less known, but not less beautiful locations.

Every time we go to Death Valley for our Workshops there, we always add some extra days to our schedule to keep exploring the Valley, so that we can keep adding new spectacular locations to our list. Having as many extra locations as possible gives me maximum flexibility in my choice of locations for any given Workshop day, plus it allows Alumni wanting to come back for a second tour with us to know that they’ll be able to see different locations as well, besides taking another shot at the locations they loved on their first trip.

IN THE FIELD | During our Death Valley Workshops, our trademark limited attendance of maximum three people allowed me to dedicate every participant plenty of personal time in the field. Before each session, as I do during all my Workshops, I briefed the group with the location’s challenges, offering my advice on how to best solve them. I then followed participants during their work, quietly offering my suggestions to each of them, both respecting their individual approach to landscape photography and without imposing my views.

Besides answering any questions they might have had, when I thought it might have helped I shared my ideas and my own approach to the locations with them, sometimes showing them images on my camera’s LCD screen. When the occasion arose, during the six Workshops I led in Death Valley we enjoyed revisiting some of the locations as well, something I always find very useful.

IMAGE REVIEW & POST-PROCESSING | In Death Valley, thanks to our limited attendance and to staying in the same hotel during the whole Workshop, we had the opportunity to do in-depth image review and post-processing sessions at leisure. These sessions allowed participants to go home with clear ideas about which images were stronger than others, and with post-processing pointers helping them to make the most out of their photographs.

As well, thanks to our image review sessions our participants had the opportunity to try out in the field the new ideas gathered during these sessions, either in new locations or revisiting old ones, applying novel solutions to whatever problems they might have faced the first time there.

NO CROWDS | As customary for all our Workshops, during six Death Valley Workshops we never had to work in locations crowded by other photographers, despite the popularity of this destination. Thanks to my knowledge of Death Valley, I carefully selected dates, locations and vantage points to make sure that even in the most popular spots we either were alone, or we had enough room and distance from other photographers to make working easy and pleasant. Not having to deal with crowds definitely made a great experience even better!

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AFTER THE WORKSHOP | Our Workshops never end on the last day! As we always do, once every Death Valley Workshop ended, we kept working on post-processing and image selection with those participants interested in that, either on our private Facebook groups or via the email.

Let’s see now how our Death Valley Workshops went, starting from the most recent one and going back to 2017!

DEATH VALLEY 2020 WORKSHOP REPORT

In late January 2020, I returned to Death Valley for our sixth Workshop there, this time a 5-day Workshop One-on-One with two participants, both returning Alumni. After working together in Iceland a little over a month before, for a complete change in scenery they decided to join us in Death Valley for their second Workshop with us.

Doing a Workshop One-on-One with returning participants allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumni’s level and requirements, choosing the best locations both for great photography and to continue along our learning path together. As always, I have been very pleased to see two of my Alumni coming back for more, and I enjoyed working together to help them develop their vision on a completely different set of locations compared to Iceland. After five days of intense work, I was happy to see how everyone’s level improved, as well as their confidence working in the field. Thanks to staying in just one hotel for the whole Workshop, in Death Valley we could dedicate a lot of time to image review and post-processing, and I had a chance to demonstrate how to wet clean our sensors as well.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for me. During our Death Valley 2020 Workshop One-on-One, I really enjoyed our social times with the group, and the fact that we all knew each other from a previous trip also helped a lot with that. Our conversations on the most varied topics, from photography and art to social life, politics, technology and economics were always interesting, for a really great Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | One of the participants in our Death Valley 2020 Workshop One-on-One kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in Death Valley and see what he had to say about our Workshop together!

DAVID NEWMAN

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I attended my first workshop in December 2019 and enjoyed it so much and learnt so much that I went on a private assignment with someone I had met in Iceland six weeks later to Death Valley. The contrast from extreme cold (Iceland in winter) to Death Valley in January was amazing and once again I learned a lot. The landscapes were varied and interesting and some of them were incredibly challenging but with Vieri’s help I managed to get some nice photographs. Between our dawn and dusk shoots Vieri helped me to improve my Lightroom and Photoshop skills and I even had a lesson in sensor cleaning.
David Newman

DEATH VALLEY FEBRUARY 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT (2)

In mid-February 2019, we returned to Death Valley for our fifth Workshop there, the second in February 2019, this time a 5-day Workshop with a full group of three participant. Two of them were returning Alumni, one on his fifth trip with us, the other one on his second.

Death Valley 2019

During our Death Valley February 2019 Workshop (2), it was great to continue developing the work previously done with my returning Alumni, and I really enjoyed meeting our new participant and sharing my knowledge with him. As always, I have been very pleased to see some of my Alumni coming back for more, and previously knowing them allowed me to tailor my tutoring on their specific level and requirements.

Thanks to staying in just one hotel for the whole Workshop, in Death Valley we could dedicate a lot of time to image review and post-processing as well. I truly enjoyed working with participants all very enthusiastic about landscape photography and about Death Valley’s beauty, working together was very rewarding and after five days of intense work I was extremely pleased in seeing how everyone improved their skills, learning something new according to their different starting levels and all going home with some great images.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. During these 5 days in Death Valley we truly enjoyed our conversations on the most various topics, from the art and craft of photography to equipment, from history to politics, and more. Most of all, we had a really great time, with lot of fun both in and out of the field!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | Two of the participants in our Death Valley February 2019 Workshop (2) kindly sent me a few images each to share here with you, together with their testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work they did in Death Valley and see what they had to say about our Workshop together!

MIHAI FAGADAR COSMA

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From the moment you arrive on the scene with Vieri, you know you’re in for a photographic treat! Everything is well taken care of, such that one can focus solely on taking the best possible shots. Vieri’s tutoring is subtle and it gives the feeling of working together on a project rather than being with an instructor. I definitely look forward to my next photographic endeavor with him!

J. PHILLIP FRAZIER

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Terrific Workshop. Great organization, attention to detail and back up plans for location shoots. I learned a lot: composition; shooting techniques; filters, including grad. neutral density, neutral density, long exposures; and post-processing. Vieri and Zeynep are great to work and socialize with as were my two fellow students. A memorable experience!
J. Phillip Frazier

DEATH VALLEY FEBRUARY 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT (1)

In early February 2019 we returned to Death Valley for our fourth Workshop there, the first of two 2019 Workshops in a row, this time a 5-day Workshop with a full group of three participant. One of them was a returning Alumnus, on her third trip with us.

Death Valley 2019

During our Death Valley February 2019 Workshop (1), it was great to continue developing the work previously done with my returning Alumnus, and I really enjoyed meeting our new participants and sharing my knowledge with them. As always, I have been very pleased to see an Alumnus coming back for more, and previously knowing her helped me tailoring my tutoring on her specific level and requirements. Participants in our Death Valley Workshop had very different personalities and approaches, but most importantly they were all enthusiastic about landscape photography and about Death Valley.

Thanks to staying in just one hotel for the whole Workshop, in Death Valley we could dedicate a lot of time to image review and post-processing as well. After five days of intense work I was extremely pleased to see how everyone improved their skills, especially compositional, learning something new according to their different starting levels and openness to listen. More, I was very happy in seeing them going home with some great images!

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. During these 5 days in Death Valley we truly enjoyed our conversations on the most various topics, from the art of photography to equipment, from politics to science and more, having a very good time in the process too!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | Two of the participants in our Death Valley February 2019 Workshop (1) kindly sent me a few images each to share here with you, together with their testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work they did in Death Valley and see what they had to say about our Workshop together!

ANNE FERARA

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This was my second small group workshop and it didn't disappoint. In crowded National Parks, once again, Vieri showed the high level of preparation and planning that goes into each workshop as went to incredible locations not as common in the park. And those famous locations? Vieri found his own path to explore them with fewer people (often none) and better photographic opportunities. Educational, fun, well executed and a wonderful way to explore and photograph the many unique landscapes in The Southwest USA & Death Valley. I look forward to my next workshop!
Anne Ferara

ROBERT PITT

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I try to travel to Death Valley periodically and was impressed by your knowledge of the area and your photographic skills which you taught to our small group. The trip was invigorating from a photographic standpoint, especially by being exposed to new areas and approaches to photographing old standbys. This trip was special due to the attention given to the participants, especially due to our small group size and traveling together in one vehicle. I am sure you will be interested in seeing how each of us interpreted each of the many areas we visited! Even though I have been to Death Valley many times over the years, I certainly gained additional knowledge and skills by attending this excellent workshop.

DEATH VALLEY FEBRUARY 2018 WORKSHOP REPORT

In early February 2018 I returned to Death Valley for our third Workshop there, this time a 5-day Workshop One-on-One.

Death Valley 2018

During our Death Valley 2018 Workshop One-on-One, we covered a lot of ground, especially as far as facing the compositional challenges posed by the Valley’s landscapes, and I was very happy to see our participant’s interest in learning new techniques and his ability to apply them immediately to his photography in such a short time.

Thanks to staying in just one hotel for the whole Workshop, in Death Valley we could dedicate a lot of time to image review and post-processing as well, making for a intense 5 days of work on all aspects of landscape photography.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for me. During our Death Valley 2018 Workshop One-on-One, I truly enjoyed our social times together and our lengthy conversations about equipment, both Nikon and Leica, about photography, social media and the facts of life, about politics and economics, for a truly great Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Death Valley 2018 Workshop One-on-One kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonial about our Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in Death Valley and see what he had to say about our Workshop together!

MARCO BERTAZZONI

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Great Photo Tour! Death Valley & Monument Valley Photo Tour was perfectly organized and Vieri taught me new interesting techniques. Looking forward to joining him for another great experience. Highly recommended!

DEATH VALLEY 2017 WORKSHOP REPORT (2)

In early February 2017 we returned to Death Valley for our second Workshop there, and the second in 2017 as well, this time a 5-day Workshop with a full group of three participants.

Death Valley 2017

During our Death Valley February 2017 Workshop, I enjoyed working with participants sharing their love and enthusiasm for landscape photography and for Death Valley. Thanks to staying in just one hotel for the whole Workshop, in Death Valley we could dedicate a lot of time to image review and post-processing as well. After five days of intense work, both in the field and during our computer sessions, I was very pleased to see how everyone improved their skills, according to their different starting levels.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. During our Death Valley February 2017 Workshop, we had a good time both in and out of the field, for a very pleasant Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | Two of the participants in our Death Valley February 2017 Workshop kindly sent me a few images each to share here with you, together with their testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work they did in Death Valley and see what they had to say about our Workshop together!

EIKE-OLIVER STEFFEN

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The opportunity to take some images in Death Valley is definitely one of my personal highlights since I'm interested in photography. It is not only because of the beautiful scenery of the landscape. It was also because of the way how Vieri conveyed his opinion what landscape photography can be about. Always very respectful and always interested in what we were doing. Also the small size of the group did foster a very intense learning and discussion culture, while having lots of fun. The event was so convincing that together with a friend of mine I immediately did sign in for the next class with Vieri and Zeynep!
Eike-Oliver Steffen

JORN SCHEWSKI

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The most impressive thing for me was at first the variety of colors in a DESERT. Marvelous, also the landscape. As we had a bad trip to get to Las Vegas (I think you remember our small problems...) I really enjoyed the silence (very important for me!) and the panorama. And the silence. And - did I mentioned the silence?! You and your wife did a very good job (being prepared for the spots, giving the third hand holding the equipment and ideas for the pictures), and did not give me the feeling of being a typical customer (as I told you in Death Valley). The guidance was perfect to me and I think as well to Eike (I do not know his report but his pictures). If I have to rate this trip over all, with maximum 5 stars I would give 6. Thanks to you and your wife.
Jorn Schewski

DEATH VALLEY 2017 WORKSHOP REPORT (1)

In late January 2017, I had the pleasure to lead our first Workshop in Death Valley, this time a 5-day Workshop One-on-One with two participants.

Death Valley 2017

During our Death Valley 2017 Workshop One-on-One, I really enjoyed working with participants sharing a lot of enthusiasm for landscape photography and for Death Valley. Thanks to staying in just one hotel for the whole Workshop, in Death Valley we could dedicate a lot of time to image review and post-processing as well. After five days of intense work, both in the field and during our computer sessions, I was very pleased to see everyone improving their skills, according to their different starting levels and openness to listen.

Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. During our Death Valley 2017 Workshop One-on-One, we had a great time both in and out of the field, enjoying our conversations about photography, art and literature, about racing cars and more, for a very pleasant Workshop!

THE PARTICIPANTS’ IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participants in our Death Valley 2017 Workshop One-on-One kindly sent me a few images each to share here with you, together with their testimonials about our Workshop. Enjoy the work they did in Death Valley and see what they had to say about our Workshop together!

GIAN LUIGI SCARFIOTTI

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A wonderful week of Workshop in Death Valley, and what a very pleasant surprise it was to meet Vieri and his wife Zeynep.

Hospitality and organisation have been perfect, and every day different from the previous ones, with a spot on choice of itineraries in amazing Death Valley.

Vieri guided us (also as a driver) with great experience and attention through itineraries and alternative routes to get to photograph from very different angles than usual, always away from the classic “touristic” spots. We have practically seen other photographers only from afar, something that rarely happened in my previous Workshop experiences.

The atmosphere has been pleasantly friendly from the beginning, not only in the hours spent photographing but also during the rest of the time, either during meals or when analysing the images we took. I greatly admired Vieri’s patience and tact in suggesting me and my friend John Brewton different ways to shoot our photographs while working, some very useful suggestions that helped me to reflect with more attention on my compositions and to stop the very well known habit of “I want to photograph everything immediately”!

My congratulations to Zeynep as well, always kind and ready to help me with the excellent Formatt-Hitech filters to try them on the field, as well as taking care of supplying us with coffee and biscuits before our sunrise start.

To end illustrating this wonderful experience all I can say is… let’s start thinking about next time!

JOHN BREWTON

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A most enjoyable experience in Death Valley. In spite of the cold winds we persevered and were able to immediately appreciate you and your wife (she is charming and most brilliant!).

Your previous experiences in Death Valley meant we wasted little time chasing around and were able to go directly to places of photographic interest. In a location as vast as Death Valley this was imperative to a successful workshop.

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