Hi and welcome to the August edition of my Instructional BLOG – Workshop at the Ranch. Many photographers ask me “What’s my favorite Workshop?” …the answer: Summit NATURE Workshop … September 24-29, 2017 https://www.photographyatthesummit.com/
The Summit NATURE Workshop faculty includes some of NATURE’s BEST: Michael Forsberg Outdoor Photographer Mag Magazine, Jodi Cobb Nat Geo, Ami Vitale Nat Geo, Melissa Groo Audubon, Bill Allard Nat Geo, Mary Anne Golon Washington Post, Wes Pitts Digital Photo Pro Magazine, Dave Showalter Outside Magazine, Bob Smith Nat Geo contributor, Allen Murabayashi Photo Shelter … and me too.
Maybe Summit NATURE tops my personal workshops list because we all get to photograph amazing landscapes in Teton and Yellowstone National Parks … or perhaps it is because I teach attendees how to make Lightpaintings … maybe it’s because I too learn something new, even though I’m part of the faculty … or maybe it is because I’m a cowboy at heart.
Actually, it’s all the above and also that some of my BEST friends teach during the 6 days at “The Summit” in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
SO, this Workshop at the Ranch article is simple … I love to make pictures. Here is a collection of some of my favorite images made at the Summit NATURE Workshops over the past 18 years.
The first Summit NATURE Workshop was in 1999 and ushered in the craft of Lightpainting to my business. This Lightpainting of former Marlboro Man Fred Crane was one of my first Lightpainted portraits made during The Summit.
Lightpainting for me began (and remains) an evolving experiment with light. Digital was in its infancy and so I used a Nikon Coolpix 850 and a 20 second exposure time during which I painted the subject with light using an old Mag Lite. I loved the “painterly effect” and so did everyone at the workshop.
It had only been a few weeks since the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia where I shot the entire games for Newsweek Magazine using Nikon’s NEW digital D1 camera.
Workshop owner Rich Clarkson wanted me to showcase the new digital technology to attendees and faculty alike. I spent most of the class time teaching classes concentrating on photographing cowboys and ranch life, but before I left town I drove out to the Park to photograph sunset light on “The Grand”
My first Summit NATURE Workshop was over, and like so many others I had fallen in love with the Tetons.
“The Summit” caters to those photographers who love the great outdoors and making pictures Moose, Bison, Antelope, Bears, Owls, and of course Elk.
Photographed early one morning in Yellowstone with fellow instructor Bob Smith who has a “sixth sense” ability to know exactly where the animals hang out. I’m a SPORTS photographer who knows nothing about wildlife, but even I can make a picture of an Elk when I’m along side the faculty of “The Summit.”
Image 4 Autumn Colors … Nikon Coolpix (stitched) PANORAMA, ISO200, 1/250 at f6.3, SanDisk Flash Card.
Fall is my favorite time of year and Jackson Hole is my favorite place to be (and I’m from Colorado.) Color in the Tetons is everywhere and I can leave my role as a professional-instructor and become a tourist in the twinkling of an eye when a beautiful scene draws me in.
Driving back with my class from our morning shoot with workshop attendees at Oxbow Bend I pulled off the side of the road near the Gros Ventre junction and sent the “troops” to capture some color … I used a Coolpix pocket camera that Nikon Corporate had sent me, with the simple instructions … “Make a nice picture” … so I did.
Image 5 Jingle Bobs … Nikon D3, ISO200, 1/500 at f9, NIKKOR 105 Macro lens, SanDisk Flash Card.
While I was teaching at “The Summit” in 2006 I took several students who had never been “out West” to the Jackson Hole Rodeo … about 5 blocks from the Albertsons grocery store.
This was more of a “documentary” style shooting experience of which each attendee was asked to photograph some details along with event coverage of the Rodeo action.
I wasn’t about to let them have all the fun … “Jingle Bobs” on a pair of Crocket Spurs made with a NIKKOR 105 Macro lens.
Image 6 Snow Shower … Nikon D800, ISO500, 2.5 seconds at f11, NIKKOR 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens, Manfroto Tripod, Lightpainted with two 2 Million candle powered spotlights, SanDisk Flash Card.
String Lake in Teton National Park is a favorite location for me to make pictures, and so in 2013 with my sunrise class on location we all expected that the clouds would part and Golden Hour (or at least a golden minute) would occur.
Well, the weather in the Tetons can be unpredictable at times … and thus it was that morning as the snow began to fall. The words of Summit NATURE Workshop owner-creator Rich Clarkson came to our minds … “Bad weather makes Great Pictures” … and so it did.
The lake water was glass and we could see the bottom laden with rocks and timbers. As the snow began to fall I decided that a little extra light would help the situation … and so I used two 2 Million candle powered spotlights to illuminate the water’s edge and boulders, and also the falling snow.
Image 7 Lone Tree Meteor … Nikon D750, ISO1250, 20 seconds at f 20, NIKKOR 24-70mm f2.8 zoom lens, Manfrotto Tripod, Lightpainted using Two 2 Million candle powered spotlights each with a yellow gel, SanDisk SD Card.
After the Summit NATUIRE Workshop had ended in 2015 I decided to make a Lightpainting that had escaped me for 15 years. Since my second Autumn at “The Summit” I had wanted to Lightpaint a lone tree that I had seen off of Antelope Flats Road.
Each year I planned to make the picture but each year the leaves were either green or they had fallen off by the time I got to Jackson Hole. This year the tree was perfect and full of yellow leaves. Then something unusual happened that made the picture memorable.
Just as I was beginning to illuminate the tree with my spotlights during the 20 seconds exposure time something very bright “flashed” through the scene. From my off-camera Lightpainting location 75 yards to the right side of the Lone Tree I only caught a brief glimpse of the streak and actually thought it was some kind of fireworks … how strange.
Upon returning to the hotel a closer look on the back of the camera revealed it to be much more … it was a meteor on route to earth, and a new image for my Lightpainting portfolio.
Image 8 Lazy Day Fishin’ … Nikon Coolpix and Simms waders, SanDisk SD Card.
As is a tradition after many a Summit NATURE Workshop, BEST fishing buddy Ron Taniwaki (Capt. Ron of Nikon NPS) and I suit up in warders and head down the Snake River to catch Cutthroat Trout.
Ron does most of the catchin’ … I do most of the snoozing’ as the float trip always seems to set my eyes to droopin. I don’t know if it’s the 6 Days of Teaching … or the in-depth Critique Sessions … or the Late Night Lightpainting classes that attributes to my eyes closing after I catch the first fish and get awarded the “Trout Buck.”
Maybe it’s all of the above … or maybe it’s just the peacefulness of the Snake River winding past the Teton Range. One thing’s for sure, I always look forward to the Summit NATURE Workshop: https://www.photographyatthesummit.com/
AND, don’t forget the Summit ADVENTURE Workshop: Sept. 17-21, 2017
I hope you have enjoyed how this edition of WATR … Come FOLLOW me on Instagram @daveblackphoto and learn about photography.
I’ll see you here next month here on WATR …Adios. Dave