Favorite Tips for Photographing at Burning Man

Awakening by Ryan Elmendorf, Nick Geurts

August is when I prepare for another trip back to Burning Man. Despite the complicated logistics, endless details and physical challenges of photographing in the intense heat and alkaline dust, I am drawn to return again.  When I post my Burning Man photo galleries after each event, many people ask me for details on how I photograph there, and how I protect my gear (and myself) in such conditions. They also ask what gear I use, so I … more >>

Photographing Rural Industrial Abstracts in B&W

Abandoned Granary

I recently co-led a full workshop in Washington’s Palouse region, where landscapes are most people’s major focus. But when traveling in the countryside, I love the meditation of photographing graphic abstracts in abandoned and industrial spaces. Such details provide an opportunity for me to get close, and provide a mental balance to photographing grand landscapes, local people and rural life.    I try to seek out graphic compositions where various materials overlap with textural shadows, and where fasteners, cracks and holes … more >>

Capturing Historic Palouse in B&W

Sheep farm, Palouse

There is deep American history imbued within every stalk of wheat and worn wooden plank in eastern Washington’s Palouse region. I sensed it when I slowed down and quieted my anticipation. I paused intentionally and inhaled the sweet air to further inform my senses. The region is a must-shoot destination for thousands of photographers each year, and every one of them prizes the rolling fields and aging barns. But from my experience, few take the … more >>

A Realistic Photoshop Composite for Yankee Magazine

I was contacted by the art director at Yankee Magazine asking me to illustrate a feature for their 80th anniversary issue. The subject: “Inventions and Ingenuity from New England”. Nancy had seen several of my Photoshop montages over time, and believed that my style would be ideal the project. She especially liked my “Telling History” piece, a realistic montage project I’d done for the Baltimore Sun. I accepted the assignment knowing I’d enjoy another challenge of creating a illustrative visual using historic images. … more >>

The Story Behind Photographing “The Buddha of Borobudur”

This is the story of my favorite and most collected images: “The Buddha of Borobudur“. I’m often asked about the location of this unusual place, and also how I made this image. I’ll describe my personal process, the gear I used and my Photoshop technique. I’ve learned from photographic travels that my best images come when I manage the excitement that could otherwise occupy my senses. When I have attempted to capture the quiet essence of … more >>

Adventures and Tips From a Weekend Photo Safari

Cal Academy African Antelope

There I was, finally alone in the wilds on a photo safari.  Barely off the plane, I met the others in my group and we drove through the busy streets and markets to find some photogenic wildlife. Two hours into our tour, we huddled together, checked our cameras and stared across steamy African wetlands and grasslands. Suddenly, a territorial bull Antelope surprised me on the grassy hillock, staring me down from just yards away. My heart … more >>

The Creative Photographer: Composition and Design

Composition and Design are as important in a successful photograph as are light, subject, story and timing. Looking for inspiration outside of your medium is often the key to learning something new. I believe that crossing mediums helps strengthen the random access of ideas that is key to our natural creative process. It’s a bit like loading your conceptual quiver the way a painter loads the palette.

My June photography workshop: “Imagination Vision and Voice”

I love to teach workshops in beautiful locations, and none are finer than the coast of Maine. This summer I return for my seventh year to Maine Media Workshops. I’ll teach a workshop called “Imagination Vision and Voice”. Last year this workshop was very well received, and I was fortunate to have a great group of students at all levels or experience. We have a helluva lot of fun too!  

Shooting For the Love of Design

When making photographs, I love to use strong design to compose the graphic elements within the viewfinder. My experience as a graphic designer and art director has influenced how I see the world, and how I compose the rectangle of every image. One particularly memorable weekend taught me a lot about designing within the frame. Back in the mid-80’s one of my co-workers invited me to join him for a road trip to the Hershey … more >>

Standing in The Shadows

“When your subject needs the human element, why not step into the composition?” While on the phone during a walking break, I saw these pleasing branch shapes casting shadows on a concrete wall. I liked the shadows but needed another element. I stepped into the photograph, recomposed, and took several shots with my iPhone 4s. I am sometimes amazed at how this little 8-megapixel iPhone camera can make such interesting photographs that might take over … more >>