photography not about light

Photography is NOT about light…

This is an astute observation by one of the best creative minds in modern photography.  If you don’t subscribe to LensWork or own one of his books, I highly recommend them.  Letting Go Of The Camera is required reading on all our workshops!

I had a conversation today with a fellow photographer in which we were comparing the Zone System to Postscript and Photoshop output, and how the differences in tonality don’t quite translate from one medium to the other. We got involved in all the details about trying to measure gray, etc. It reminded me how often we photographers get so hung-up in this technical aspect of what it is that we’re doing.

I once attended a workshop in which a very famous workshop instructor said the photography is “about light.” I couldn’t help but be thunderstruck by how silly that statement is. That’s the functional equivalent of saying that novel-writing is about words. Or that poetry is about fonts. Or that music is about notes.

Good art, meaningful art, the creation of meaningful art, is always about life. It’s about humanity. It’s about being a human being. It’s about the human condition. It’s about the struggles, the joys, the thrills, the disappointments of everyday life; that’s what art is about. It’s about God. It’s about the supernatural. It’s about relationships. It’s about the Earth.

But it’s not about light, because it’s not about technique and it’s not about tools.

There’s no doubt about it, light is the important tool, but photography is no more about light than painting is about pigments.

The next time you find yourself staring at a photograph that just captivates you take a moment and ask yourself, is it the tones that you’re interested in? Or is there something in there that just grabs your heart, makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, gives you the goose-bumps, makes your heart go pitter-patter, excites you on a much deeper, emotional level—not the mere tonalities.

At least in my opinion, that’s what art is all about.”  -Brooks Jensen, LensWork Magazine

Photos from Week 2 of The Dynamic Nude Workshop

After our amazing First Week exploring brand new locations that rivaled (and in some cases exceeded) those on the lake – it was a hard act to follow! Yet getting back on the lake (thanks to the State of Utah) was another exciting adventure! With the lake level (it’s always fluctuating) almost 30 feet lower than previous years – we were able to find new places to explore and photograph that previously had been under water for the past decade. !! Here are a few of the images made during Week 2 of The Dynamic Nude…

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Week 1 of The Dynamic Nude Workshop 2013

Greetings!

With the government shutdown during our first week’s workshop – we got to improvise and find brand new locations. And what a gold mine of visual stunnery we found!

We’ve been exploring and photographing the nude among Native Rock Art Panels, old miner’s cabins, epic slot canyons and grottos, sand dunes, hidden parts of Goblin Valley, plus all the twisted junipers and stunning rock formations of the Utah Landscape. We’ve enjoyed productive image review sessions and premiere film screenings under the stars each night, and have put together an itinerary that is starting to rival the best of both North AND South Lake Powell (which we do on our spring trip) locations combined! The slot canyons have been phenomenal… two of my new favorites based on all the visual diversity. Here are some images from the locations we’ve worked in the past few days.

We’re back on the lake now – ready for our second workshop – but I wouldn’t have changed a thing about the first week – it was THAT good. !!

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Best of our 2012 Lake Powell Workshops (October 7-13)

We had an AMAZING time at Lake Powell, Utah with our Dynamic Nude Workshops (two seven-day adventures) last fall!I wanted to share some of the photographs that were made during these adventures in the spectacular southwest United States!

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Tish and Yucca. Image © Joel Belmont

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Sara and the ruins. Image © David Wagner

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Gwen and Sara on a sandstone dome. Image © J Hoyle

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One of many beautiful sunsets over Lake Powell. © David Wagner

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Every night we enjoyed great camaraderie (and smores) around the camp fire. !! Image © Joel Belmont

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A view of our camp under the awesome desert sky. Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Taking a refreshing swim in the fabulous lake after an afternoon photography session.

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The models enjoyed yoga every morning – and you really can’t find a more serine backdrop. Image © Joel Belmont

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A view of one of our magical secluded campsites in the back of a canyon. Image © David Wagner

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Image © David Wagner

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Image © David Wagner

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Image © M Soler-Roig

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Image © H Roberts

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Image © G Edwards

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Image © David Wagner

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © M Soler-Roig

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © Joel Belmont

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Image © M Soler-Roig

If you would like to join us for this amazing adventure – register as soon as you can – as we’re almost sold out for both weeks again this year: https://www.dynamicphotoworkshops.com/registration

2013 Lake Powell Workshop Dates Released!

We are about to release our 2013 dates for our Dynamic Workshops at Lake Powell, Utah – and we wanted to give you first access to them.

Last year, both weeks of The Dynamic Nude with Kim Weston quickly sold out, so if you would like to join us for this amazing week-long trip in October – and see what everyone is raving about – check it out here: https://www.dynamicphotoworkshops.com/the-dynamic-nude

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We are also excited to announce that Craig Blacklock will be joining us for our Dynamic Landscape Workshop April 21st – 27th! If you aren’t familiar with Craig’s work – he is one of the most distinguished nature photographers in the United States, internationally renowned for his inspiring landscapes, nudes and technical virtuosity. Having worked extensively in the landscapes around Lake Superior – the largest lake in the world – he is a natural fit to join us on our explorations of the vast aquatic and landscape expanses of Lake Powell!

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The Dynamic Landscape is one of my favorite trips we make all year. We cover over half of Lake Powell (southern Utah and Northern Arizona) over the course of a week – hiking to spectacular locations, like Rainbow Bridge National Monument – the world’s largest natural arch; Labyrinth Slot Canyon (where you’ll have the canyon all to yourself – unlike its nearby over-photographed cousin – antelope canyon); “Three Roof” anasazi ruins (dating to the 1200’s); and a secret location of boulders covered in rare petroglyphs – known informally as the “Navajo Art Gallery”! And this only scratches the surface of what we get to explore with our cameras.

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If you would like to join Craig and I in April for an amazing week spent in some of the most amazing locations in North America – check out the info here: https://www.dynamicphotoworkshops.com/the-dynamic-landscape

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I hope you can get in on one of these amazing trips this year – to experience the photographic adventure of a lifetime – while we help you take your photography to the next level.

Regards,
~Joel

Allen Birnbach joins us for The Dynamic Landscape in May!

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We are excited to announce that Allen Birnbach – an outstanding photographer and photographic instructor will join us for The Dynamic Landscape Workshop in May at Lake Powell, Utah! Allen has taught at Santa Fe Workshops, Julia Dean Workshops, Anderson Ranch, UCLA Extension, Working with Artists, and leads private workshops in Iceland and here in the US.
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Allen Birnbach is a master of the trade, and will help photographers of any level dramatically improve their images – whether it’s learning how to better use your camera’s features, improving composition and training your eye to ‘see’ an image, dealing with technical challenges of natural light, or insider post-production ‘tweaks’ that will make your print jump off the wall. His wealth of knowledge, experience, and his friendly demeanor is a huge asset for any photographer attending this workshop.
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Allen has worked both as a commercial and fine art photographer for over thirty years. His commercial assignments for advertising and corporate clients has taken him to over twenty countries around the world. His photographs have been recognized in The New York Art Director’s Club One Show, The ARC Annual Report competitions, Print Magazine, Communication Arts Magazine, Photo Design Magazine, Photomethods, and Photo District News.
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Allen’s personal work has been exhibited in galleries internationally, and can be found in numerous individual and corporate collections in the U.S. and abroad. Most recently, one of his images was included in the book, “The World’s Greatest Black and White Photography.”

I hope you are able to join us in May as Allen and Joel Belmont take you deep into the hidden secrets and grand landscapes of south Lake Powell – stretching from Southern Utah to into Northern Arizona. If you are thinking of attending this photographic adventure of a lifetime, make sure to register ASAP – as our limited number of available spots are going fast!

The Dynamic Nude 2011 – a Phenomenal Trip!

We just had the most beautiful, inspiring and productive week-long workshop at Lake Powell.  !!  It was a pleasure teaching with Kim Weston… we rounded out a phenomenal itinerary and excellent instruction that helped take each photographer’s work to the next level – and we’re looking forward to bringing this exiting course to the lake again next year.  Also – we produced an amazing High Definition instructional DVD during the workshop… we’ll let you know as soon as it’s available.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will announce the dates for next year’s workshops in December… make sure you are on our mailing list so you don’t miss out.  !!

Forgotten Canyon at Lake Powell

Forgotten Canyon at Lake Powell is one of my favorite areas we visit during The Dynamic Nude Workshop.  Home to the best set of Anasazi Ruins on Lake Powell, as well as secret canyon nooks with amazing lines in the rock!  Just a few of the images possibilities…

Forgotten Canyon at Lake Powell has an incredibly diverse visual palette… From the Towering Grand Landscape, to intimate corners of reflection, these locations make for amazing backdrops with the human form.

 

Come explore Forgotten Canyon at Lake Powell with us this fall!  Join us for our Dynamic Nude Workshop, and experience these inspiring locations, while making some of the best images of your life.

Smith Fork Canyon Hike at Lake Powell, Utah

Smith Fork is one of my favorite canyons that we visit during our fall Dynamic Nude workshop. Though the slot is not as picturesque as Labyrinth Canyon, Smith Fork has a much greater diversity of locations in the canyon… from the slot, to an amazing grotto with a pool (rain dependent), to towering walls with desert varnish – this is an amazing canyon!

 

Smith Fork Canyon is probably on of my top two favorite canyons on north Lake Powell.  I’ve probably hiked it at least 10 times, and every time is as amazing as the first.  !!  Adding the nude human form to the phenomenal locations in Smith Fork just make it that much better.

Join us as we venture up Smith Fork Canyon as part of our Dynamic Nude workshop, October 2-8, 2011.  Experience one of the most beautiful places on earth, learn from world-class instructors (Joel Belmont, Bert Pasquale, and Kim Weston), and create your own magical images in these stunning locations!  Register now: https://www.dynamicphotoworkshops.com/the-dynamic-nude