THE SOUTHWEST USA WORKSHOPS REPORT
I started exploring and photographing the Southwest USA in 2010, during the one-month trip that inspired me to become a professional landscape photographer. Few areas around the World offer such a number of incredible locations so relatively close together, all iconic and visually powerful, and few areas of the world have been immortalised in movies and photographs to such an extent. Since my first visit, the Southwest USA’s landscapes got an indelible place in my heart, and I returned many times for more. We started running Workshops in the Southwest USA in 2018.
DESIGNING THE WORKSHOP | Designing our Southwest USA Workshop, I focussed on the inspiring task of creating new interpretations of those iconic locations that we all know and love. Among the nearly infinite number of amazing locations available, as I always do, in the Southwest USA I chose all our Workshop locations both for their iconic, timeless beauty and for the artistic and technical photographic challenges they provide – the first of which being finding a new, personal approach to such well-photographed spots. 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 25+ available locations, during our two Workshops in the Southwest USA we photographed, among others and in no particular order: the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, various parts of Antelope Canyon, 4 different spots in Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, 5 different spots in Arches, 3 different spots in Canyonlands, and 3 different spots in Zion N.P.
Every time we go to the Southwest USA or to Death Valley for our Workshops there, we try and add some extra days to our schedule to keep exploring the Southwest USA, 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 Southwest USA 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.
IMAGE REVIEW & POST-PROCESSING | In the Southwest USA, thanks to our limited attendance, we had the opportunity to do in-depth image review sessions at leisure. These sessions allowed participants to go home with 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. Due to the distances we need to cover, on this Workshop we often did more hotel changes and more traveling than on other Workshops, unfortunately resulting in less time for in-depth post-processing sessions.
NO CROWDS | As customary for all our Workshops, during two Southwest USA Workshops we never had to work in locations crowded by other photographers, despite the popularity of this destination – and that includes Mesa Arch! Thanks to my knowledge of the Southwest USA, I carefully selected dates, locations and vantage points to make sure that even in the most popular spots there 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 Southwest USA 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 Southwest USA Workshops went, starting from the most recent one and going back to 2018!
THE SOUTHWEST USA 2019 WORKSHOP REPORT
In early February 2019, we returned to the Southwest USA for our second Workshop there, this time a 3-day Workshop One-on-One. The participant, a returning Alumnus, after exploring Glencoe & Isle of Skye with me booked one of my 2019 Death Valley Workshops and decided to add this Southwest USA Workshop One-on-One before our trip to Death Valley with the group.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One with a returning participant allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumnus’ level and requirements, giving her my undivided attention and choosing the best locations both for great photography and to continue the work we started in Scotland. During these 3 days we covered a lot of ground, working on some of the most iconic Southwest USA locations such as Monument Valley, Mexican Hat, Balanced Rock, Tower Arch, Mesa Arch and The Watchman. I was very happy about the work we did in the Southwest, especially in seeing our participant continuing enthusiasm and openness to learning new techniques as well as her ability to put them into practice immediately.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for us. During our Southwest USA Workshop One-on-One, first and foremost we really enjoyed seeing an old Alumnus again after less than a year. We had a great time working in the field and enjoyed our conversations about photography, politics, dogs and life in general, for a truly great short Workshop!
THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Southwest USA Workshop One-on-One kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with her testimonial about the Workshop. Enjoy the work she did in the Southwest and see what she had to say about our Workshop together!
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THE SOUTHWEST USA 2018 WORKSHOP REPORT
In early February 2018, I had the pleasure to lead our first Workshop in the Southwest USA, this time a 3-day Workshop One-on-One.
Doing a Workshop One-on-One allowed me to fully customize the Workshop on my Alumnus’ level and requirements. Upon his request, during these 3 days we covered a lot of ground, working on some of the most iconic Southwest USA locations such as Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley and The Grand Canyon, and I was very happy to see our participant’s interest in learning new techniques and applying them immediately to his photography in such a short time.
Last but not least, the social aspect and the human side of the Workshop, always very important for me. During our Southwest USA Workshop One-on-One, I truly enjoyed our social times together and our lengthy conversations about equipment (Nikon vs. Leica!), about photography, art and the facts of life, about politics and economics, for a truly great Workshop!
THE PARTICIPANT’S IMAGES AND COMMENTS | The participant in our Southwest USA Workshop One-on-One kindly sent me a few images to share here with you, together with his testimonial about the Workshop. Enjoy the work he did in the Southwest and see what he had to say about our Workshop together!
Click on the photos to enlarge them: