Steve Chan

January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

Steve Chan 

Monument Valley Portfolio

From April 14 through the 17, I had the pleasure of making images with Michael Reichmann, Steve Kossack and 6 other photographers during our Monument Valley workshop.   I¹m proud to share a few of my favorite shots, although they pale in comparison to the landscapes that I actually experienced.

During the workshop we had an excellent guide, in Tom Phillips, who led us to some fantastic locations.   I can understand why this area is considered‚³Sacred² to the Navajo people.   Tom took us to numerous places that featured‚³windows.²   I like the composition of this image of Steve and Michael setting up for a window shot in Mystery Valley.   

Provia 100F, Nikon F90x with a 20-35mm zoom.

My cliché shot of a‚³Totem Pole² sunrise.   I decided to crop relatively tightly on craggy silhouette keeping the small cloud to add balance to the image.   

Provia 100F, Nikon F90x with a 80-200mm zoom.

Tom took us back to the‚³Totem Pole² and‚³Yei Bi Chei formation for this sunset opportunity.   Wow – what a photo op!   There were great images in all directions, with the dune ripples and brush in the foreground, jagged rock range/beautiful clouds in the background and the falling sun setting up the shadows.   It was hard for me to take pictures.   I just wanted to stand there and absorb all the beauty that was surrounding me. 

Provia 100F, Nikon F90x with a 20-35mm zoom and warming polarizer.

I chose this window shot because of the strong diagonals.   It would have been nice to have a red shirted photographer setting up a shot on top of the arch‚¯ Steve are you listening?

Provia 100F, Nikon F90x with a 20-35mm zoom.

I like this shot because of the curving riverbed acting as a visual separator between the vegetation encroaching on a hostile desert.   The Yin, the Yang.   I¹m glad that Michael limited the number of images that I could post.   I¹m struggling for things to say.   

Provia 100F, Nikon F90x with a 20-35mm zoom & warming polarizer.

A few lessons learned from the workshop:

In a hostile environment (blowing sand during this workshop) be diligent about protecting your equipment.   Keep your gear covered when not in use.   Protect the front element of your lenses from blowing sand with caps and/or filters.   Prepare in advance for film changes to minimize the amount of time that the camera back is open and the film canister exposed to the elements.   Keep film well protected before use and return exposed film to storage containers as soon as you can.   I had one roll of exposed film that was scratched through its entire length.   I believe that a grain of sand must have embedded itself in the fibers of the film canister light trap while I was loading my camera.   After a shooting session take the time to go through your gear to inspect and clean everything.

If your having problems with your gear at home the problems will be magnified in the field.  On my 80-200 zoom I had mounted a 77mm Cokin adapter ring.  I noticed that when I screwed the adapter onto the lens the ring was flush with the front of the lens and there was no room to mount the Cokin filter holder.  At home I would just unthread the adapter ring so that just a few of the threads were engaging the lens threads.  I my living room everything seemed fine even though I knew it wasn¹t a good idea.  On top of the Mokey Dugway those few threads were not enough to hold my adapter ring, filter holder and graduated neutral density filter which are now living down, down, down the side of the mountain. 

All text and photographs on this page are Copyright‚© 2000 by Steve Chan

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Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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