Reports from the Field

Death Valley 2017

George Theodore, February 21, 2017

Death Valley! What thoughts are conjured up when you hear this? Bleak, desert, hot, sand, desolate, deserted, forsaken? Take a trip to Death Valley and have your mind changed. Our small group of 10 spent the greater part of five days roaming this magnificent landscape photographing everything from sand dunes to fields of borax.

The weather this year was typical 2016/7 California – wet. Death Valley gets around two inches of rain a year and our group agreed we had half of that during our photo adventure. Still, there were enough breaks in clouds to get images with great light and when it was overcast, the light was perfect for areas like Devil’s Golf Course and Rhyolite Ghost Town.

We had lots of wind too and boy did it blow up at Dante’s View at sunrise! The temp read forty degrees (actually warm for this time of the year) but the wind made it feel like the normal 25 degrees you get up there. All had a good time and here are some images created by our workshop participants. Enjoy.


Bryce & Zion

George Theodore, November 27, 2016

We finished off our 2016 calendar with a workshop at Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. The weather could not have been more cooperative and fall colors were just about at peak. Of course we photographed the grand vista of Bryce at both ends of the day. But some of our best shots came well after the sun had set during the beautiful blue hour. We also hiked down and among the hoodoos in the canyon and came away with excellent imagery.

Our time at Zion was equally productive with photo opportunities at Towers of the Virgins, The Watchman from Canyon Junction, along Riverside Walk on way to The Narrows, Checkerboard Mesa  and reflections in various points along the Virgin River.

Here are sample images from some of our workshop participants:

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George Theodore, October 23, 2016

Colorado Fall Colors Tour
Acadia National Park Workshop

Fall came really early to Southwestern Colorado – almost two weeks early. When we arrived the first week in October, we thought we had missed it all. But then we had an overnight snow that covered the area in a two-inch blanket. Sunrise at Dallas Divide was a lot different from what we’ve been used to seeing in early fall. As we roamed the area, we were still able to find lots of yellow and the snow was a bonus. Because Oak Creek Pass and Last Dollar Road were snow-covered, we spent one afternoon photographing in Silverton  - especially the trains running to and from Durango. Once the Passes were open, we found the area around Silver Jack Reservoir had plenty of fall color left. A clear – and not too chilly - night gave us an opportunity to photograph the Milky Way, or as it is often called these days, the Galactic Core.

We hit Acadia on the button as Mount Desert Island peaked mid-way through our workshop. It was interesting to see the colors change even through just a couple of days. From fiery red blueberry to stunning oranges and reds of maple, we had it all. Even with the drought that New England experienced this year, we found enough water in streams to make interesting images. We made that cold and windy journey for sunrise atop Cadillac Mountain and the colors all around were magnificent; cold and windy but definitely not disappointing. Our last evening found us capturing a full moonrise at 6:00 PM with the moon looking so much like a giant beach ball as it broke the horizon. Of course, we spent time photographing sunrise at Otter Rocks and an afternoon at the fishing village of Bernard.

Below are sample photographs from our participants in these events:

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The Palouse Spring Tour 2016

George Theodore, July 9, 2016

The Palouse is one of those places that one forgets, as Claude Monet put it, the thing we're looking at. Hills, valleys, trees, crops, sky, clouds all very quickly become line, shape, form, texture, pattern and color. It's so easy to forget the names of things. Our group enjoyed five days of wandering around the Palouse, visiting locations well known and others known to but a few. Between Eastern Washington and Western Idaho, whether we were photographing barns or silos, garbonzo beans or canola, it seemed the photo opportunites were endless. 

The best way to describe it all is through the images of some of our participants and here they are:

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Springtime in The Smokys

George Theodore, May 3, 2016

Great Smoky Mountain National Park is one of those “great at any time of year” places to shoot. Our spring workshop, which sold out well in advance, took us from the serenity of Cades Cove to the top of Clingmans Dome and a few locations in between. While we had on and off showers, the shooting was pretty good and, in addition to landscape, we were treated to several black bear encounters.

From our lodging in Townsend, TN, a short drive to Foothills Parkway provided us with sunrise images and Clingmans Dome gave us a pleasing sunset complete with the famous ridges of the Smokys. Cades Cove was, as always, a wonderful place to spend time both early and late and it was in the Cove that we spotted black bear relatively close – and cooperative – on several occasions. Dogwood was in full bloom and provided a great background to some of the old structures like John Oliver Place and the Carter Shields cabin.

Tremont gave us rushing waters and wildflowers and the Elkmont Historic District offered rustic vacation homes dating back to the early 1900’s. The “quiet side of the Smokys” delivered.

In between shooting we held classes on fundamentals and Lightroom and provided critiques for six images for each participant.

Here are samples of the fine work of our workshop attendees

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George Theodore, April 30, 2016

Patagonia – sparsely populated steppes, deserts and grasslands; a land shared by Argentina and Chile where katabatic winds can come up without a moment’s notice, a land where glaciers are still growing and where jagged peaks carved by millions of years of wind and ice thrust upward in defiance of their environment. Sound like a place to spend a week-and-a-half? Oh yes!

Our group of fifteen (including me and Tom) started its adventure in Buenos Aires where we had made arrangements with the renowned Tango pair of Yanina Muzyka and Emmanuel Casal to pose for us in the wonderful La Boca neighborhood and in Dorrego Plaza. In between shoots, we were treated to a wonderful Tango dinner show at Esquina Homero Manzi.

After an afternoon flight to El Calafate, we drove through the Patagonia Steppes to El Chalten – a small village close to Viedma Lake and Glacier at the base of the Fitz Roy chain of peaks. When we checked into Los Cerros, the wind was howling sounding much like a loud angry growl. But the morning brought calm and, to our amazement and with just a few exceptions, it stayed that way for the next ten days. Spending three nights at Los Cerros, we photographed Fitz Roy and its neighbors early and late, visited Salto Grande waterfall and took a half-day excursion out to the huge Viedma Glacier – one of two glaciers worldwide that is not receding – and covered other areas in Los Glaciares National Park.

Returning to El Calafate, we spent two nights at the wonderful Estancia Alice from where we visited Perito Moreno glacier – the other glacier not receding. This 200 foot tall, two-and-a-half mile wide expanse is awesome to behold. Cruising boats looked tiny and we’re told a helicopter flying near the glacier resembles a mosquito.

Our final destination was Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. Our lodging at Hotel Lago Pehoe put us within walking distance of magnificent views of the granite peaks of the Paine Massif and the Cuernos del Paine across Lake Pehoe which we photographed early and late and from different viewpoints. At other times we photographed other parts of this wonderful park. On our last day, leaving our hotel before dawn, we were treated to a spectacular sunrise and we stopped our vehicle for that “one more shot”. The conditions lasted less than a half-hour but it was a “sendoff” to remember. Looking behind us as we travelled, we noticed rain beginning to engulf Torres del Paine. Timing is everything!

In addition to the stunning landscape, our wildlife spotting and imagery included guanaco, grey fox and around 20 species of birds including Crested Caracara, Magellanic Woodpecker, Austral Parakeeet, Chilean Flamingo and Andean Condor.

Finally, all good things do come to a end; we returned to El Calafate and following a festive “farewell” lunch, boarded an evening flight back to Buenos Aires. The following day we all boarded our return flights home at various times of the day.

Our group is still commenting on this wonderful adventure and they continue to post their images on Facebook and other social networks.

Below are many images from our tour participants. Enjoy.

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