Joshua Tree 2019

Back for a second go round

Here I am back in Joshua Tree National Park during February with Don Messec from Making Art Safely in Santa Fe. It’s my second “on location” platinum/palladium (pt/pd) printing workshop in the park with Don and just a load of fun. He packs up the Epson printers loaded with piezograhy inks for making negatives plus all the chemistry, trays, brushes, etc for making prints. His next location trip is the Big Island of Hawaii. Wouldn’t want to pay the baggage fees for that trip.

Jim Hamstra was back as mentor and kibitzer. Jim has been printing in pt/pd for a long time and offered a lot of valuable insights into the process. He also drinks Diet Coke and likes chocolate chip ice cream so we had a lot in common.

The only other “student/participant” was Kim Richardson, also from Santa Fe. Check out her website, she’s a marvelous photographer. It was really fun watching her in the field. One afternoon she was under a big tree between some giant boulders for an hour trying to get the composition she was looking for. Ten minutes later I look up and she’s a 100 yards away looking for something else.

Waiting for the sun

Boy, there’s something about getting up at 4AM to head out to the park in 20 deg F weather to wait for the sun to make an appearance. How cold was it? My fingertips were numb within 15 minutes of getting out of the vehicle.

We park and start walking across the desert in the dark looking for that shot you hope to capture when the light is just right. The desert can be just magical in the morning. With long exposure times the stars come out and the colors can be both rich and subtle. And there’s geology so I’m in hog heaven.

Here’s some of the images from this years week in the park.

Just realized I hadn’t posted anything from last years trip, so here’s some images from that workshop as well.

Gear Talk

For those of you who might be interested in the gear porn, this years camera was the Fujifilm GFX50S which came out in September, 2016. This is a digital medium format behemoth with a 51.4 megapixel sensor. I paired this with two stunningly sharp Fujinon lenses, the GF32-64mmf4 and the GF23mmf4. Together this kit weighs in at almost 6lbs. Not a trivial amount when you consider the age of the guy lugging it around.

A huge shoutout to Matt Weintritt, the Fujifilm representative, for the loan of the GF23mmf4. This is a WIDE angle lens. I mean this sucker is equivalent to an 18mm lens on a 35mm camera. I’m back in the room looking at photos from the first afternoon’s shoot and wondering how come my feet are in all these pictures! In the selfie at the top of the page the camera is at most 4′ away from where I’m standing. This is a W I D E angle lens. 

On the 2018 trip I decided to travel as light as possible and focus on using a single camera/lens combination. That setup was a Leica M10 body and Leica Summilux 1.4/35mmlens. That combo weighs a tad over 2lbs or about the same as the GFX50S body. If you look up sharpness in a dictionary you’ll see a reference to this lens. Or you should anyway, it’s that sharp. Any softness is due to the knucklehead behind the camera.

So Where’s the Prints?

Well, the prints just arrived today. Thanks Kim for shipping them to me.

Now I just need to figure out how to photograph a print and post it. Stay tuned and I’ll send out an update.

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