Friday, June 16, 2017

Third Annual Photography Camp

Took a break in wrenching to travel to northern New Mexico for a week of bonding with three of my five grandsons (the other two are not old enough πŸ‘ΆπŸ‘Ά to be trusted with grandpa Abu πŸ‘΄, some day...).

Every day the four of us would have a morning class, hike, cook, play games and practice our photography skills.  The first rule here, no electronics, phones, iPads, etc  until the sun goes down.

My students, Anthony, Hudson and Harrison hiking in the high country tall grass of New Mexico.

Each day's hike would start at 8200 ft elevation in the lower valleys and meadows
 then work our way up.  Most of the time the weather cooperated, but we always kept an eye open for fast moving dark rain clouds.

When over 10,000 feet, a jacket is needed even though it is the middle of June. 

The boys were great at practicing in the afternoons and evenings what I taught them 
in the morning classes... 

... even getting creative with angles and techniques.

The mountains hold many surprises if one looks for them, from peaceful aspen glens where the elk, deer and bear bed down... (not all together, I assure you)...

to abandoned line cabins in the high country. Line cabins were where cowboys working the herd could spend the night, escaping the cold, rain and snow.

One evening about dusk we located a herd of twenty elk. With the light fading fast, we all quickly snapped photos until the light was gone. I always carry a cow elk call when up there to calm the animals and get their interest without spooking them. 

At this time of the year, the bull elk are off in their own or in small bachelor herds. 

This herd of cows had two spotted newborns calves who were always surrounded by the protective females. At any one time there were a dozen eyes on the look out for danger. 

Of course we had to walk out onto the Rio Grande River Gorge bridge near Taos. The concrete structure moves up and down with each crossing car or truck.  The bigger and heavier the vehicle, the more it moves. Our youngest found it too scary. He did not like it.

We arrived in time to see a rain storm move south out of the Colorado Rockies.

Moving on, next stop:  Earthship Biosphere. All of the structures here are built with recycled materials and partially buried in the earth for climate control and energy efficiency.  The several dozen homes are off the grid, generating their own electricity via solar and wind.

Looking out across the high plains of fragrant sage brush toward the Sangre de Cristo mountains and Taos.

Our last night out, we spotted a mule deer in velvet who cooperated for a standing portrait.

Was another good learning experience in photography.  The boys practiced with aperture, shutter speed and composition while I was educated on the world of fidget spinners. 

The youngest, Harrison, is the reigning Phase Ten card playing champion.

We all agreed to return next year for another week of North Country Photography Camp. 

Now back home, the wrenching on SideCamper continues. 



  1. This is a really cool project. Teaching not only the technical aspects of photography but encouraging the artistic side as well. If this was 30 years ago it would've been in B&W with darkroom techniques.

  2. Thanks Richard, not sure who has more fun, me or them.

    One morning I explained to them what a darkroom was. That it had nothing to do with Star Wars.

    With everything digital, the skills and mysteries of yesterday's darkroom are now the skills and mysteries of photo editing apps.

  3. That's a good skill and set of concepts to be teaching's not just "point and shoot"....I sometimes remark that folks should be required to learn photographic basics before going on their RTW adventures. The sometimes haphazard photography generated by most folks is quite distracting to me.

    1. You are right, Dom. Learning a few basic camera techniques would go a long way in improving the photos that people bring home.

  4. Very fortunate to have an Abu like you. I know the trip was enjoyed and someone is already making plans for next year.

    1. That makes two of us thinking about 'next year'.

  5. As I have said on different occasions, there are beautiful artistic photos, there are 'sense of location' photos, and then there are photos that move your narrative along. They each have their place and purpose.


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