Why Photographing Caddo Lake in Texas in Black and White
Caddo Lake is a huge wetland with an area of 10,300 hectares (25,400 acres). It is located on the border between Texas and Louisiana. It is the only natural lake in Texas. The lake is home to the largest bald cypress forest in the world. The black and white photographs are an ode to this beautiful natural region of the United States.
Landscape of Caddo Lake in Texas in United States.
Caddo Lake was formed according to the legend in 1812 following earthquakes. It owes its name to the tribe of Caddo Indians who lived in the area before being expelled in the 19th century by settlers following the discovery of an oil field.
Since the mid-1960s, many people claim to have seen Bigfoot in the bald cypress forest. A TV report has even been made on this subject.
We must admit that the spectral forms of the bald cypresses when night falls, have nothing engaging. The imagination runs at full speed. Even we thought we saw strange shapes as we took photographs.
A unique place in the world
Caddo Lake is not only famous for the appearances of Bigfoot. It is home to the largest bald cypress forest in the world. It is a remarkable tree that adapts perfectly to wet areas. It can reach 30 to 50 meters (90 to 150 feet) high and the trunk diameter can reach 2 meters (7 feet). He can live from 300 to 500 years.
For landscape photography, Caddo Lake offers extraordinary opportunities at all times of the day. The trees have very evocative and they have majestic forms. When you spend several hours contemplating them, you end up having the impression of a herd of men from another world.
Photographing Lake Caddo takes time
To photograph Caddo LAKE, it is possible to walk along some banks that are still public. Most of the banks are closed because they are on private properties. The second way and it is our opinion the best, is to rent a boat. But be careful not to get lost in the labyrinth of bald cypresses. Nothing is more like a tree than another tree. GPS is essential.
When you walk in the winding meanders of the lake, you must take the time to immerse yourself in this forest and let your imagination work. A good advice is to take the time to let go and be engulfed by the gaps in the forest.
We chose black and white because the branches covered with Spanish moss give a gloomy, strange, timeless atmosphere.
To make these photographs, we made several stays of several days each time. We had a tough time cracking the mysteries of bald cypress trees and reporting their beauty. By dint of patience and self-sacrifice, we ended up finding a rhythm and the story to tell.
Photographing Caddo Lake is not just about photographing trees. It's also playing with reflections and shapes. All the details are important. Wide shots are as revealing as tight shots.
Photographing Lake Caddo is a real challenge because you do not have to go into the simplicity of travel photography. When we walk in the woods, we can feel a strange rumor and strange sensations. The Caddo Indians have lived for hundreds of years in this region. They had to have their reasons. They certainly did not leave without leaving behind a trace of their passage.
That's what we tried to do with these photos. Show that Caddo Lake is more than just a lake for boating. He truly has a soul. Photography is certainly the best way to show it.
“The Grand Canyon”: A Collection of Fine Art Photos in Shades of Blacks and Whites
The landscapes of the Grand Canyon in the United States cannot leave anyone indifferent. When you contemplate for the first time the Colorado River that meanders more than 1,600 meters (5250 feet) below, you are literally caught in the spectacle that awaits our eyes.
We have always been fascinated by these unique scenes in the world. To create our art photographs, we spent weeks wandering the shores of the north and south of the Grand Canyon. These fine art photographs were not created during a single trip. They are the result of deep research and demanding work that has taken a long time.
To contemplate the Grand Canyon is to relativize our life and rediscover the essentials. Admiring the forms that have been dug for thousands of years, we say that finally, we have plenty of time to complete our personal projects. There is no point in rushing. We understand better than anything one tries to make us believe with the acceleration of time across the digital world is only an illusion from which one must turn away. Some people try to make us believe that the digital world is a way of being and living. It's a mistake. The digital world is just a set of tools that help us live differently and live better. These are just tools; nothing else.
The landscapes of the Grand Canyon show us what the reality of a life is: it takes time to create the foundations of a life. Everything is just a question of experiences and learning. The colorful geological layers are the image of a life: layers that pile up to finally create a well-made and well-balanced life.
Time is not accelerating in our modern societies. This is because many have become accustomed to flitting and moving from one occupation to another via the computer, tablet or phone that they think everything is accelerating. It is a mistake.
The Grand Canyon shows us how to build a rich and solid life.
This collection of black and white photographs was created with our theme shades of blacks and whites. We wanted to show ethereal, dreamlike scenes by highlighting the variety of shapes, structures and textures. Black and white allows us to create artistic photographs where the superfluous has no place.
Contemplating the infinite horizon from the cliffs of the Grand Canyon is an invitation to relativize our actions, our lives and the events of the world. Imperturbable, the river continues to meander and dig its bed in the most friable relatives. Nothing can stop it. It is the image of life that continues whatever happens.
Why It Is So Difficult to Judge A Fine Art Photograph
Judging or evaluating a fine art photograph is difficult. It is possible to establish a scale of values or levels to determine a value. But the criteria remain subjective. No photo will ever be unanimous.
Fine Art Photograph of a Tree in Kenya.
Two Levels to Judge
To evaluate a fine art photograph, we think there are two possible levels:
The message and the content that are a rational and an emotional interpretation.
The level of the conception that is based on all photo techniques: framing, composition, balance, colors, contrasts, geometric shapes, etc.
To judge an artistic photograph, an observer does not refer to its aesthetic qualities but to the information it contains and the interest it has in it. It is remarkable that the content of an image remains identifiable despite a bad technique.
The technique itself is only intended to support the process of identification. The techniques of designing a photo are only intended to improve the reading of the message and the content.
The Photographer and The Observer
Knowing the photographic grammar allows to a photographer to judge photos in an enlightened way but also to produce quality photographs. The application of the rules must not become an end.
Even if the photographic grammar must invest the photographer's mind or even his unconscious mind, he must only devote himself to the shooting, to the enhancement of the photographic elements as well as to their content.
For the observer of a photograph, the recognition of the content and the reaction that it provokes are the most important of the experiments.
The quality of the composition favors this process and sometimes makes it very pleasant. Sometimes certain elements of composition are so dominant as to disturb the observer's perception. For example, the point is one of these dominant or disruptive elements. In a composition, the point is a photographic element that is small, tiny. It is distinguished by its light, its contrast in the scene, its color. The point is static. It shows no tendency to move in a photo. A single point occupies a preponderant place in an image: it dominates the composition.
Creativity is Crucial
If a rigorous design quality helps to enhance the message or content of a photo, a good dose of creativity is essential to produce quality content.
The photographer's creativity is expressed in the content, the message and the design.
At the time of the shooting, the photographer must dwell on the content and the message to interest an observer.
It's a bit like a book. When you read a book, you are passionate about the story because of the content and the message delivered by the author. You will focus on the conceptual side, paying attention to spelling, grammar, paragraphs and chapters.
The Construction of a Photograph
To build a fine art photograph, the photographer must use reading reinforcement elements such as the point, visual lines, surfaces, details and structures. It must also consider masses and balances.
He must take care of the original plan. It is a material surface intended to carry the photographic work. It allows tonal and color values to cover part or all a photo. It can be the background or a shape.
The photographer must manage his negative space and his positive space. The positive space consists of the centers of interest of the image. The negative space is what supports the visual impact of the positive space.
Judging a fine art photograph is not an easy exercise. A photographer must practice doing this with a conceptual and message in mind. He must learn the grammar photography. When he becomes a good judge, he will become a good photographer.
“Leaving” – A Collection of Fine Art Photos in Shades of Blacks and Whites
Leaving. This word makes a lot of people dreaming.
Who did not want to leave a few days or weeks to discover other cultures, other horizons. Who did not want to leave to disconnect from everyday life to discover other horizons. Who did not want to leave on a foggy morning to meet someone on the other side of the earth.
Leaving requires courage, sincerity, pugnacity. Few people can leave to fulfill their dreams and choose their destiny. Saying it, is so easy but doing it really is a real challenge. Fear is the main obstacle. What will we find when we leave? How are we going when we get where we decided to go? Strange attitude because it is precisely to forget the daily, the routine that we want to leave.
Leaving is to agree to drop everything for at least one period. Leaving is to go to see that the grass is not greener at the neighbor. Leaving is to realize that everything was in our garden but that we did not pay and attention. Leaving is to seek and find our own destiny. Leaving is to create the foundations of our life. Leaving is never to have anything to regret when we arrived at the destination. Leaving is to choose to turn around to see that we have achieved the goals we set ourselves. Leaving is to take paths that we thought to be incapable of taking. Leaving is to climb mountains to better see the horizon that is offered to us. Leaving is to say that we are the only judge of our life. Leaving is to say to our self that we do not have to undergo the escapades of the others, of those who think to know what is good for us.
In our case, we have chosen to leave. The path was difficult, chaotic, winding. We had not planned anything. Everything was set up little by little. We have achieved some goals. Now everything seems infinite. Our dreams are even bigger.
This collection of black and white artistic photographs shows roads that symbolize the action of leaving, making a real choice in a lifetime. These photographs represent the emotions that we felt in tough times during which we doubted. The clouds represent those periods of unrest where fear has taken over our courage. These fine art photos show that paths can be winding or straight.
Leaving is also to never forget where we come from. Our roots are essential. They are the ones who shape our consciousness and allow us to relate to reality. These roots are stuck in our body. Sometimes they try to hang us on the ground by preventing us from going further in our quest. But the roots are only the bedrock of our life. The antlers and foliage that we build over time is the most important for us.
“Maze” – A Collection of Fine Art Photos in Shades of Blacks and Whites
A maze is a place where you can go astray. A maze is a complicated, inextricable place. Life can be considered as a real maze.
Some people life is entangled paths that it not possible to see the exit. It is an endless erring way. Every day is seen as a fight against regulations, laws, rules that must be overcome.
For others, and this is our case, everything is very complex because human nature is made like this. But it is always possible to find an exit then to go to other horizons. We believe that we must always be positive to look for and to find outlets for every unforeseen situation that arises.
We think that not seeing the positive side of things does not help to move forward and feel happy. As human beings, we are all very complicated when it comes to making choices. This is our strength and our animal specificity. At first everything seems simple. We feel that taking a decision is easy. When we begin to analyze the facts to take it, we quickly realize that the cross roads are numerous. The road will not be as straight as we thought. Making a major decision requires navigating through a maze of considerations that we did not see.
It is when we have found the outcome and we turn back on the road we traveled that we realize that nothing is easy. And yet, the outcome is often happy and full of satisfaction.
To illustrate the maze that arises when we have decisions to make, we have chosen to create artistic photographs in black and white with mineral landscapes. They imposed themselves. These are places we went to walk with the impression that we would never go out. We felt like we were lost forever. And yet, we ended up finding a way out. Each time we found our way. We hoped again. We created new projects in which we threw ourselves to pieces. We found the energy to move towards the unknown, towards others, towards other mazes.
“Divagations” – A Collection of Fine Art Photos in Shades of Blacks and Whites
To ramble is to wander from here to there, removing the focus of where one’s body is present.
Rambling is also the action of a mind that goes astray and wanders at the whim of its reverie.
This collection of black and white photographs symbolizes what it means to ramble. Most of us search in our dreams for answers to some of the fundamental questions that have been driving humanity for thousands of years. Where do we come from? Where are we going? Does life have a purpose?
Modern technology gives us answers to certain questions or at least allows us to approach possible solutions. This is particularly true for issues regarding aging, time passing, or social behavior. But nevertheless, the essential questions of life continue to remain unanswered for us.
Today, the development of transportation allows us to quickly and safely interact with other cultures. We can look elsewhere for answers to life’s deepest questions. We still hope that the distance will give us solutions to our ethical and moral problems, but unfortunately, we often return empty handed. We begin to wander again. Our mind meanders our memories, our lost illusions, and our dreams of success.
When our mind wanders, it is because we seek out the abstraction of our unconscious responses to our anxieties.
The realization of our desires to travel often motivates us to search beyond the boundaries of our garden. It is when we return to our roots that we become aware that the answers to our questions were merely beneath the tree we had been leaning against for years without noticing what we were doing.
We are satisfied for a few days or even for a few weeks. Then the time to work returns. We forget. Then we ask ourselves the same questions. We wander again on the sinuous roads of our thoughts. This is an eternal recommencement.
Ultimately, the ravings of our mind provide us with a way to live in harmony with others. They allow us to escape whenever we want. They allow us to dream about another place that may be superior and different than our current situation. But all this exists only in our imagination.
Why Photographing The Grand Canyon in Black and White
The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous landscape sites in the world. It is also one of the most photographed. The list of superlatives is not long enough to describe it. Black and white is certainly the best photo technique to show the richness and variety of landscapes of this mythical place.
The South Rim of the the Grand Canyon in Arizona in United States.
Out of the Ordinary
The Grand Canyon is in the north of the state of Arizona in the western United States.
The Grand Canyon is 450 kilometers long (279 miles). The average depth is 1300 meters (3900 feet) with a maximum depth of 1600 meters (4800 feet). It has been recognized as World Heritage since 1979.
When someone arrives on one of the rim of the Grand Canyon whether it's the first time or not, the sensation is always the same. Gigantism gives an impression of vertigo. The breath is cut. The eyes are wide in front of the show.
It is a dive in time because all geological layers reveal unique and extraordinary colors. The Colorado River took thousands of years to dig the rock to make its way through the colorful rocks. It continues to meander into the abyssal depths of the canyon. Its typical green color offers a striking contrast to the red colors lining the vertiginous walls.
The Grand Canyon is Handsome
The Grand Canyon is certainly not the largest canyon in the world. Others are deeper and bigger like those in Peru or in China.
But what is certain is that the Grand Canyon is beautiful. Its landscapes offer a magnificent harmony of colors and shapes. The Colorado River has taken its time to carve it and make it so desirable to the spectators.
The beauty of the landscapes are certainly the best assets of the Grand Canyon.
Yet, paradoxically enough, we meet many Americans who have never been to admire it. There is always a good reason not to go and discover the hidden treasures of his garden. The grass always looks greener in neighbors.
This is not our case. Every year, we will spend at least 4 days on the shores of the Grand Canyon to enjoy the spectacle we never tire of. But above all we go to try to capture the subtle nuances that are offered to us.
Everything Has Been Said and Yet Everything Remains to be Done
Often, we hear that everything has been done in photography on the Grand Canyon. It is a terrible mistake to think so. The landscapes are so vast and so varied that it is always possible to find an angle, a technique to make it different.
For years we have been strolling the shores. We have often tried to use the technique of color to show the different scenes. For two years, we have made another bet: the one of black and white.
As professional landscape photographers, the Grand Canyon is one of our greatest passions. But it's also a real challenge because we must create different photographs that express our emotions and send out personal messages. It's sometimes complicated. We need time and perseverance as in all our projects.
Sublimating the Grand Canyon in Black and White
As we have often said and described in this article, black and white photography is a difficult technique for landscapes because it requires special conditions. The Grand Canyon follows this rule.
First, you have to choose the season to photograph it. Fall and winter are for us the best times of the year. On the one hand, the days are shorter. On the other hand, the weather is more favorable with the presence of clouds. Finally, the low lights on the horizon perfectly highlight the details of the mineral walls and shapes of the Grand Canyon.
It's not so much the passing years that obsess us. What interests us most is why human experiences do not serve to make the world better. We have an impression that everything is only an eternal beginning. Technologies evolve rapidly. They render more and more services to human beings. But the faults of humans do not disappear with this technological progress.
What also amazes us is the acceleration and the multiplicity of activities of every human being. We have come to believe that everyone lives a real race against time, and there is a constant struggle between personal and professional activities. A mere twenty-four hours within each day seems to be insufficient for us to complete all that we have planned.
We live in an interconnected world in which information, movies, songs, books, and knowledge immediately arrive on our screens after we dictate a few words or tap a keyboard. Everything is available almost instantly without having to move from a chair. And yet, we have an impression to refrain from moving too quickly forward.
We live a real race against time. The acceleration is palpable day after day. How will it end? This is what we try to understand and highlight in our collections of artistic photos. This is one of our favorite themes in our artistic research.
We created this collection of black and white photographs to illustrate this frantic race against time, symbolized by this collection of photographs. In the end, nobody will win anything. We live a challenge that has been lost in advance. To us, it seems better to take advantage of the moment than to try and acquire a goal that has not been defined or does not seem perceptible.
“Whims of the Winds” – A Collection of Fine Art Photos in Shades of Blacks and Whites
Sand dunes form fascinating landscapes. Their forms depend entirely on the orientation of the winds; they move accordingly. We were lucky to hear them singing in the great desert of western Egypt, when we were at the top of a dune over 30 meters (90 feet) high. We started running and the sliding of the sand caused very short sound waves that we call “the song of the dunes.”
The sand dunes are also very symbolic. They are formed by the whims of the winds. They are the perfect symbol of human life. We try to leave an indelible trace so that someone can remember us, however, the wind will destroy our lost hopes. It will sweep our tracks and someone else will replace our footprint with his. This is an eternal recommencement. Is it not better to enjoy the moment rather than fight for chimeras? The dunes say that it is.
Walking in sand dunes is to walk in an absolute silence that only our words will disturb.
It is also the desire to let go of our lost hopes and disappointments that we would like to forget forever. The bare beauty of the dunes intoxicates us and gives us the impression that everything can begin anew. The whims of the winds will sweep away our worries.
Contemplating the infinity of sand dunes is also to wonder what path we will take to reach the goal we have set for ourselves. Ultimately, is this important?
Walking for hours and days in sand dunes allows us to face the unknown. All dunes are alike, and life seems to have vanished from such shapes covered with soft sand. Letting the grains flow through our fingers reminds us of how quickly and easily time passes. However, when we watch them for a long time, we realize that life is abundant. It is everywhere. To find it, you must simply take the time to watch. You must know how to observe.
The dunes are only a representation of our life. The whims of the winds will sweep away our hopes and our battles. Others will come to replace us. They will make the same mistakes as us. But finally, the dunes will remain as witnesses of our useless and lost fights. They teach us to enjoy the moment without worrying about tomorrow because all things will come to an end.
Photographic Voyage To Ethiopia To Photograph The Last Abyssinian Wolves, Mountain Nyalas & Gelada Monkeys
In the February of 2017, we accompanied, for the second time, a group of 5 photographers to Ethiopia for a wildlife photography workshop. The goal was to capture on camera the various species endemic to the African nation, including the Ethiopian wolves, mountain nyalas and gelada monkeys, but also including the numerous species of birds whom live upon the surroundings of the country’s immense poissonous lakes.
The participants of the photo workshop in Ethiopia: Laure, Ludovic, Yannick, Francis, Pascale.
Ethiopia’s Wolves & Gelada Monkeys
An important portion of this wildlife photography workshop lied in the chance to capture on camera Ethiopian wolves (Canis simensis), whom, to this day, still go by the name of Abyssinian wolf. It is the second rarest canid in the world, the runner-up only to the red wolf located within the eastern United States. With less than some 500 individuals left in the wild and in a state of nature, with approximately 300 of said animals living within the Bale Mountains National Park (Around Ethiopia’s geographic center, in the Bale Mountains at some 4500 meters, or around 14700 feet, in altitude) and none existing in captivity, such as in zoos or specialized preservations.
These wolves, whom nourish themselves primarily upon small rodents (Notably by hunting the giant mole rat) live in familial groups. Their numbers have considerably decreased in these last few years, primarily due to a variety of diseases passed onto them from dogs and the continued encroachment of pastoral activities on their traditional hunting grounds on these elevated plateaus.
For the last 20 years, a vaccination campaign has been in the works whilst also engaging a separate organization, creating and developing a new national park and its incumbent rules that has helped stabilize these wolves’ population upon the plateau.
Another strong point about this voyage were the gelada monkeys. This large primate ressembles the baboon and inhabits the high plateaus of Ethiopia’s mountains and throughout the northern neighboring country of Eritrea.
Despite the fact that the gelada stands just as tall, if not much taller than the baboon, that he possesses an elongated face and that he remains even subject to his own species version of sexual dimorphism, both it and said baboon do not belong to the same branch of species. Geladas live in small groups incorporating a single male and multiple females, as well as their progeny. It rests upon the vigilance and aggressiveness of the male gelada that the security of his harem reposes itself. He expends great deals of energy so as to conquer and maintain this power as fragile as it can be exhausting, all the while the females themselves attach themselves with far more devotion to their children rather than their mate. Fiercely loyal to their sister wives, they will not hesitate to leave an older, weaker male partner behind for a younger, stronger one.
Ethiopia - A Paradise For Wildlife Photographers
Landscapes of an incredible beauty, on one hand the high plateaus at more than 4000 meters (~13100 feet) of altitude, on the other humid forest bathed within a low hanging fog, an absolutely magical setting when observed through the photographer’s lens, lakes teeming with innumerable bird species yet but another portion of the incredible backdrop serving as the decor to this superb naturalist and photographic voyage organized by yours truly. This nation, in extra to its amazing natural beauties is rich with wild fauna, most notably the rare and endangered Ethiopian wolf. We were led to the center and beating heart of the parc by our specialist and naturalist guide, said man also charged with the saving and preservation of this endemic species when on the field.
For this trip, we dolled out the best possible photographic oriented advice. This expedition was both an artistic and naturalist tuned adventure. In other news, whilst patiently awaiting our painstakingly desired encounter with the famed wolves, we also payed tribute to the gelada monkeys by visiting them as well, themselves endemic to the Ethiopian nation. A grand voyage to a nation of origins!
Ethiopia is a country of dreams and wish-fulfillment for both animal and wildlife photographers. The country counts close to 280 different species of mammals and 280 species of birds. Yet the sheer biodiversity is such that some 6600 species of plants lay spread out throughout the nation’s borders. The lakes within the region of the Great Rift Valley retain a great numerous variety of bird species and other wild, untamed animals.
We also count an important number of species endemic to the countryside in terms of mammals and birds, both in equal measure and both constituting a large portion of Ethiopia’s total fauna. The available biodiversity in terms of species is notably due to human intervention through the importation of originally nonnative wildlife within relatively impressive sectors of the nation. Based upon what kind of wildlife can be locally observed, it is therefore possible to make the distinction between the highlands and ensuing mountains as well as those flatlands surrounding them.
A Tailor-made Expedition For The Realization Of The Highest Quality Images
Throughout the entirety of this adventure, we had nothing but a sole and single end goal; that the participants realize some beautiful snapshots and bring back some big memories.
During the animal photography sessions, we devoted ourselves to providing the best advice for improved techniques, both in function and practice. For example, in terms of capturing birds on camera, we emphasized the usage of cameras’ rapid-fire and autofocus capabilities. For photos involving the mountain dwelling nyala monkeys, we strongly suggested focusing upon the usage of lighting, both towards and against the incoming sunlight. We have always tried to present extensive thematic variety so as to make the photography workshop as broad, inclusive and educational as possible. Yet all of our advice always remained pragmatic and easily applicable whilst in the field.
Photographic Advice Uniquely Tailored To Each Photographer
For years now, as professional wildlife and animal photographers, we’ve organized this voyage to share and pass onto other photographers our passion for nature and fauna. Contrary to France, here the animals live in complete harmony and symbiosis with the Ethiopian nation’s human inhabitants. The wildlife does not flee from photographers.
It requires nothing more than to respect your distance for security reasons and so as to not cause them to flee. Of course this does not hold true for every species, examples including the Abyssinian wolves and the gelada monkeys. Yet they are cooperative. This permits the group to stick together. We are therefore able to present the best possible advise whilst at the same time being right there on the ground. This manner of broaching wildlife animal photography enables the participants to rapidly progress no matter the desired framing, composition, scene establishment or picturing birds in mid-flight. This expedition was a complete success from both the creative and technical planning aspects.
A Friendly & Welcoming Atmosphere
For this trip, themed as a “far adventure” dedicated to the beauty of Ethiopia’s endemic nature, we explicitly choose 5 photographers. We were therefore able to spend considerable amounts of time with each individual participant so as to provide them with the necessary advice, both technical and practical, but also rapidly establish a warm and welcoming atmosphere due to said groups inherently restricted nature. For this voyage, we opted for a single large car to encourage technical conversation between the photographers riding within and favor the growth of an open and amicable ambiance.
The act of sharing powerful moments such as tonight’s at an altitude of more than 4000 meters (~13100 feet) in our small refuge, permits for the creation of an atmosphere that could qualify as familial. After several days, we had the impression of having been upon a journey that had already lasted several weeks. Daily routines had emerged from the initial chaos. Each participant rapidly found their most comfortable place and position. The overall harmony of the group was perfect as indicated by said participants’ own thoughts as described further below.
An Expedition To The Height Of Each Participants Expectations
What most often came up within the various participants’ commentaries were the observations upon the sheer size, scale and number of animal species whom we’d passed by throughout the journey but also they’re sheer density within restricted geographic areas. Another common remark by these said photographers was also as to how in harmony the wildlife coexisted with the Ethiopian people. This proximity allowed for each of them to realize very distinct and creative snapshots.
Participants’ Written Testimonies
I signed myself up for this workshop as I was specifically focused upon the opportunity of being able to observe the gelada monkeys. It’s an animal that had garnered considerable interest from myself. I was not disappointed, whether it be in terms of their facial expressions, looks or attitudes; it’s a truly impressive animal. The surrounding decors also brought a lot to bear to the background, which, in this case, was the Great Rift Valley. There were also cliffs. I’d often have my breath taken away. There were some extraordinary mornings with beautiful lighting conditions while animals stood still by the encompassing cliff sides. I made some amazing photographs. Following these encounters, I had trouble projecting myself and vision onto the other wildlife.
I was surprised by the number of species I caught on camera. My head’s still spinning just thinking about it. I even had trouble just handling the sheer influx of pictures I took. This had never happened to me. What really surprised me was observing these animals so close to humans. It’s really astonishing as, in France, the animals flee when in sight of humans. Here, I was able to capture their emotions without any trouble.
I had never photographed birds. I’m rather more interested in land mammals.It was a little difficult at the start. However, I do recognize that, with your advice and help on how to capture birds in mid-flight, lighting, reflective surfaces and theme, I was able to get myself into the game. I have now found a goal and have created what I believe to be quality snapshots. In the begging, I took a naturalistic approach. Then, as I got farther along, along with your remarks, I started to broach birds in a different manner, in a more artistic fashion. This morning, I jumped off the deep end in terms of mid-flight snapshots and have held on to a select few.
During this trip, I was surprised by the overall number and density of animal species. It’s incredible. I had never seen so many birds in such a small and restricted area. The lights surrounding the lake were also just as incredible.
I was also surprised by the nyalas present within the Bale Province. It was also just as impressive to witness the sheer number of warthogs, baboons and southern reedbucks. It had never crossed my mind that we’d get the opportunity to encounter so many animals. It’s impressive.
Concerning organization, the guides were awesome. It was a really compact tour. I think I missed out a little in terms of meeting the locals. Yet the diversity of possible and varied photographic subjects was impressive. It was quite the novelty for me, personally.
I did not believe that we’d encounter the Ethiopian wolves as close as we did. I had accepted the fact that we would have probably seen them from afar. Yet, having them so up close and personal, that was extraordinary. In addition to his we had some magnificent lighting thanks to a setting sun. It was a great present.
If I had to conserve to memory a unique moment about this adventure, it would definitely be that of encountering the wolves. It was very powerful. The Sanetti Plateau is arid, its lighting beautiful. We scout out the animals. When they come in real close, it’s a real treat.
All of the landscapes traveled throughout this trip were magnificent, whether it be those including the monkeys, the birds or the wolves. We were always alone whilst in photograph mode. We never got in each others way.
I would never have believed that I could create such a large collection of photos. I now enjoy ornithology. It’s honestly quite surprising. I’m impatient to review all of these photos. I’m eager to start sorting through them.
I wanted to participate in this animal photography workshop in Ethiopia as I’ve been practicing underwater photography for a very long time and have never had the chance to practice its overland based equivalent, be it otherwise landscape or wildlife oriented. Having known you since ages ago and having heard the gossip surrounding your wildlife photography workshops, I was excited about uncovering this new discipline.
I’ll admit that upon my arrival to this workshop I was a bit worried about what I was going to find and if whether or not I would enjoy photographing these animals. Yet in the end, I left happy and content about this voyage.
In truth, I discovered a new world and another method through which I could approach photography. You have now permitted me to open a vast number of new doors for the years to come. I’ve uncovered a world of liberty, purity, nature, animal behaviors, tranquility and of peace, to put things simply.
What marked me about the animals in Ethiopia was the contact and proximity that I experienced with them. For example, I knew that I would be seeing monkeys but I hadn’t understood that I would be living amongst their numbers. I knew that I’d be observing birds but failed to realize that I would see dozens of different species and especially that I would be capturing them on camera whilst being to very close to them as well.
What marked me in Ethiopia was the harmony which exists between the animal kingdom and human beings. I let myself get dragged into the game. I forgot everything about France while I was on this trip. I went with the flow of Ethiopian life. I became part of this unique piece of the world.
The encounter with the geladas was exceptional. On one end it was my first encounter with the animals within Ethiopia’s borders. I was fascinated by the eye contact we maintained. It was as if we were talking to one another. I had this impression that I was communicating with them. It made for truly a both memorable and remarkable experience, very powerful. It’s quite the good idea of traveling this region on the first day for someone who is a novice like myself. This sparked my passion for animals.
Whilst during my encounter with the wolves of Ethiopia, It was just like being a kid again. With my eyes I was looking everywhere for them, on this immense plateau. Once I’d caught sight of my first wolf I was really ecstatic. My heart beat was frantic. I’d rediscovered my inner child.
I was impressed by the sheer number of bird species and their relative density throughout the area. There were the beautiful, the less so, the majestic and the colorful. It’s extraordinary. I hadn’t even needed to run after them. They’re right there next to us, living their peaceful lives as long as we don’t disturb them.
Ethiopia is a grandiose country. We are smack dab within the dry season. The colors are of an interesting nature. I enjoyed the contrasts between the landscapes of those farmlands and the mountains. It’s undoubtedly a wealthy country in terms of raw nature. There are many assets to choose from.
The trips organization was perfect. We were taken care of right from the plane’s landing and arrival. The guide and chauffer were always available to us and our various little needs. We were very well logged and in some quite family friendly locations. We were always close to the Ethiopian peoples. It was very relaxing and we felt great. It truly appreciated it.
However, I did have one small regret. I would have enjoyed spending a little more time photographing the daily lives of those people we passed by whilst being ferried around. It’s something you should put in place for next year’s trip.
It’s rather difficult for me to choose and preserve into memory a single specific moment as there were many. Most notable that of the time with the geladas. I had a blast with the kingfisher. It’s impossible for me to select a moment.
Yet the most important is that now, I’ve opened these doors for the years to come.
For this first trip amongst your company, my impressions were of the good kind. This discovery of Ethiopia was without fault. It’s my first time participating in a wildlife photography workshop.
In coming on this expedition, my first objective was to explore the country. Next, I wanted to uncover the true lifestyle of a professional photographer. I wanted to share with you your unique experiences. I wanted to learn your techniques and personal brand of approach to artistic photography that I had yet to broach. All of my objectives were met. Now I see wildlife photography from a new lens. For example, I have a better understanding of the usage of greyscale. I understood the deeper meaning behind the process of framing and varying techniques of image development. I had never done so in terms of wildlife oriented photography let photography alone.
I appreciated your advice in terms of the processes concerning digital photography, be it in terms or editing, development or otherwise.
I am passionate of birds and of the study of ornithology. Yet I was very moved by the Ethiopian wolves. On one hand due to their endemic and consequently rare nature, yet also as a result of the manner in which we encountered them. I’d believed that we would be seeing them from afar, that they would be difficult to find. Yet I shared a cool moment with them. It was magnificent.
I wasn’t all that excited by the primates yet I had to admit that the gelada monkeys were very attractive but must also conclude that the surrounding decors themselves must be noteworthy in order to capture them on camera in light of their true value. The encompassing photographic atmosphere were very inspirational.
In terms of avian life, the sheer scope of their density was truly impressive. They were very beautiful. I’d already encountered a number of species in Tanzania yet here I was surprised in our ability to approach them as close as we did. I was allowed to realize more creative images thanks to this proximity and based upon the fact that they did not flee as we steadily approached.
Throughout the duration of this wildlife photography workshop, I modified my usual approach to photography. I worked on my lighting and exposition. Both were techniques that I did not usually practice.
All of the locations you’d elected to choose were ideal. We were close to the birds. You were obviously aware your surroundings. Your advice on our methods of approach and image capture were well thought out.
The overall atmosphere surrounding the trip was great. The car was comfortable. The guides were experienced and very sympathetic.
If I had to hold onto a single grand moment of this expedition, it would most certainly be that of the encounter with the Abyssinian wolves. We were quite close. They accepted our presence. They demonstrated their hunting methods with an amazing lighting serving as the backdrop. There really isn’t that much else to say. It was perfect.
I participated to this voyage in Ethiopia as I’d seen your photos of the geladas. I personally found that this species of monkey was truly beautiful. Whilst diving further into the subject, I grew to want to realize photographs of them.
Concerning the wolves of Ethiopia, we had some incredible luck as we saw many and from up close. Our encounters with them were both memorable and unique.
As to the nyalas, I was less excited as I’d already seen a species relatively alike in South Africa. I was not as impressed.
Yet all of these encounters with these endemic animals were very cool.
In terms of birds, as a creature of habit I am not a great admirer of aerial fauna yet I do recognize that it was a charming experience. The concentration of numerous species and density of bird lives was truly incredible.
All of the locations that you’d chosen were well thought out. Everything was perfect. I was never bored.
The group of photographers were very pleasant. The ambiance was nice throughout the 10 days. Everyone was very calm. Many were contemplative.
The guides that you had chosen were very competent. The trips organization was top notch from all possible perspectives.
Thanks to your council throughout the duration of the workshop, I learned many new techniques in terms of photography. Now I know how to properly capture images of birds, for example. I also learned how to manually adjust my camera’s settings.
If I had to preserve into memory one of this voyage’s big moments, it would have to be the time where we were surrounded by geladas whilst on the plateau. I had this feeling of being part of the group. We had plenty of time to get up close and personal. They payed attention to us. It was a grand moment.
This trip and wildlife photography workshop in Ethiopia was an extraordinary voyage for me. I was amongst the animals, sometimes incredibly close to birds, monkeys and antelopes. I’d had the chance to participate in another wildlife photography workshop with you in the Dombes yet this was completely different as here it was often to catch sight of a bird and you have to approach them slowly as they are easily frightened. In Ethiopia, the number of species of animals is impressive but especially how densely located each species are located relative to one another. The animals live in harmony with the Ethiopian peoples. For example, once again this morning whilst on a birdwatching session, we observed some shepards and fisherman smack dab in the middle of the animals, undisturbed by their presence.
I participated in this adventure as all of the photographers I had met had told me that Ethiopia was an extraordinary country in terms of animal and wildlife oriented photography. I wasn’t disappointed.
The image that would have marked me the most during this trip is that of the colobe monkey who was literally right next to me. Plus I got to pet him.
Throughout this voyage, I believe myself to have taken anywhere between 4000 to 5000 photos. There never was a dull moment. I never got bored.
The workshop’s organization was excellent. The guides were the definition of professional in every definition of the term.
I found the wolves of Ethiopia to be very beautiful. The encounter will have left its mark.
I learned many new techniques thanks to your advice, notably concerning the usage of greyscale. Your recommendations were a real bonus.
The ambiance throughout the duration of the workshop was swell. We’d all come along with the same common goal in mind. All of the proper conditions were reunited so as to make this expedition a success.
When we create artistic photographs, we perform a deliberate, conscious, thoughtful act in pursuit of specific goals. It is a meticulous job before the shooting sessions, during and after. Creating a collection of art photographs requires time, patience and self-sacrifice.
Landscape of Caddo Lake in Texas. Bald Cypress growing in the lake.
The Time to Think
As far as we are concerned, the first step in creating a collection of artistic photographs is to define the theme that we will choose. We choose themes that will translate our emotions. But they can also affect messages that we want to convey.
During this phase of reflection, research is carried out in our house. We go through all the art books we have. We browse many websites on the internet to see what has already been done and how. We also use the dictionary a lot to put exact words to define our project and to avoid counter-senses. Our description should be as precise as possible.
Once the guidelines of our collections have been defined, we begin to think concretely about potential photos that we will be able to achieve. We draw on paper very sketchy little sketches with framing and compositions of nature scenes. With all these elements we have a clear idea of what we want to create.
At this stage of the project, our concerns are always artistic. We do not think about marketing or commercial actions. These are steps that will come much later when the products are finished. We are professional photographers. We live on a daily basis selling our works. But the act of creation is always the basis of any project we undertake.
The time of the Shots
This step, paradoxically, is the most random and the strangest one.
The first step, the time of reflection is always at home in the warm and comfortable conditions. After this phase, everything is theoretically perfect.
Once we are in the field, nothing ever happens as planned. For example, the weather may be different from what we had planned. In the case of animal projects, animals may be absent. In the case of underwater projects, currents can be violent, and visibility can be calamitous.
From experience, we know that nothing ever happens according to the established plans even if the hazards were foreseen. We must always adapt to conditions.
When a scene corresponding to one of the photographs we wanted to create comes up, we stop. We always take a little time to feel the atmosphere and make sure that's what we want. Then we install our equipment. Then we analyze the direction of light. We spend time choosing the right point of view, the framing and the composition. It often takes long minutes before the first picture. For us, setting up on the field requires time. This is the essential condition for making a good photo. All these choices must make it possible to grasp the precise moment necessary for the photo that we have in mind. We always know what we want to create.
For the same scene, we will make several photos; sometimes even tens. We vary the points of view, the framing and the compositions.
Often as conditions in nature change quickly, we stop because the light is no longer what we wanted.
Finally, we photograph very few scenes during a photographic session. Each scene will be photographed multiple times, but we will keep only one photo. Often, as the conditions in nature are not satisfactory, we return once or twice to redo the shots.
We do not have a scale for the number of shots taken during a trip. For example, for a trip that will last 6 days in the field, we can make 500 or 600 photos, but we will keep only 8 or 9 because they correspond to the scenes we wanted to transcribe our messages.
The creation of a photo on the field is very time-consuming and very energy-intensive. For us, the financial budgets are very important. We always must plan spending to see if it's viable or not.
The Time of Post Processing
Once the sessions in open spaces are over, we go home.
The sorting of technically bad photographs has already been done during the trip. When we returned, all the photos have been selected, sorted and organized. We perform backups on external disks. We will let the project mature. We will wait several weeks, months or even a year before starting the development. Time is very variable and depends on whether they are projects for clients or personal projects.
The rule we are set is to forget what we have lived to better transcribe our emotions and our messages. Experience has shown us that "hot" development never gives satisfactory results.
Once we feel ready, we move to the editing phase. The most appropriate photos to our collection and our artistic approach will be selected. Then we develop. The time of development also varies a lot. It depends on the complexity of each photo.
The Time of the Highlight
When our photographs have been developed on the computer, we choose the paper that will be most suitable for rendering the chosen tones. It is a complex and difficult step. It took time and a lot of bad experiences to get to know the different papers.
We have experienced a lot in our office with a professional printer. But we have the chance to meet some excellent people working in the different laboratories that are our partners. These specialists in print on paper explained all the subtleties of papers and inks. Even though we are not experts, we have developed skills that are very useful to us.
Once the printed photos have been received, we choose the frames for our collections. We also collaborate with companies specialized in this field. These experts will find us the most suitable products for our works.
Finally, after this last step, when one fine art photograph or a complet art photo collection is completed. We can move to the marketing and marketing phase.
The creation of an artistic photograph is very time-consuming and very energy-consuming. Financial budgets are sometimes substantial. These are for all these reasons that a beautiful photo art that makes you dream at a high purchase price. We think it is the price to pay for a high-quality work.
Why Photographing Race Track Playa in Death Valley in California
As professional landscape photographers, Race Track Playa is for us a place out of the ordinary. It is a small lost corner in the Valley of Death in the state of California in the United States. This dry lake contains a unique treasure in the world: the moving stones.
A sailing stone in the dry lake of Race Track Playa in Death Valley in California.
A Phenomenon that Took Tens of Years to be Elucidated
The mystery of the sailing stones phenomenon was clarified in August 2014. A time lapse video showed that the stones were moving in high winds while a thin layer of ice was present on the dry lake.
For years, researchers have been trying to understand how magmatic stones from the surrounding slopes, mainly composed of feldspar-rich donut syenite, can travel for several tens of meters leaving a trace of 30 centimeters wide and 2 centimeters deep.
Once the mystery is solved, the fact remains that Race Track Playa is a wonderful place to photograph.
A Dry Lake, Stones, Tracks and Mountains
Creating interesting photos of the Race Track Playa sailing stones is not as easy as it sounds. The best is to arrive early in the morning or to wait until the end of the afternoon. During the day the lights are very raw. The reliefs are crushed by the sun. Contrasts are almost absent when the sun is high in the sky.
We made several trips before understanding how to capture the supernatural side of the scenes to be photographed. Choosing a point of view is difficult because the stones are small. Finally, it was on the fourth trip that we understood how to position ourselves to properly manage the area composed of the lake and the surrounding mountains.
Photographing a geological curiosity is a possible approach for this site. But we are photographers who create artistic photographs. We wanted to go beyond documentary photography. We wanted a more symbolic approach by appealing to the imagination. These photos will create one of our collections of art prints "Around the Mind".
These photographs are part of one of our collections of artistic photographs. We chose to make them in our "Shades of Blacks and Whites" style because the lake, stones and mountains offer interesting textures and details to showcase. The most demanding thing was the management of the sky. Indeed, during our first trips, we have always had blue skies without any clouds.
Finally, our perseverance paid off because during a trip, we were lucky to have many clouds. As we often say in our landscape photography workshops, clouds are the language of the sky. They allow to accentuate the messages that we want to transmit in our photographs.
It is possible to use wide-angle lenses or long focal lengths because the variety of subjects is unlimited. We also recommend using a tripod because the choice of framing and scene compositions can be difficult.
Photographs are a Real Reward
Photographing Race Track Playa is a real reward. It is necessary to have a 4x4 because the trip takes place on a track dotted with pebbles and stones.
Temperatures in Death Valley are often high. It is essential to bring water to prevent dehydration. In addition, no telephone signal is available. If a problem should occur during the three-hour journey from the nearest hotel, one would have to wait for the next car.
Race Track Playa is a place that can quickly become dangerous if you do not take precautions.
Photographing the sailing stones of Race Track Playa in Death Valley is a challenge because the conditions to get there are difficult. But it must be raised by preparing well because the photographs are extraordinary and unique.
This Photograph of a Road in California Belongs to a Fine Art Collection named 'Leaving'.
The Need for Calm, Serenity for an Introspective Search
Creating fine art photos is very time consuming. It is an activity that also requires patience, a lot of humility and self-denial. In our case, this activity is also a job because we are professional photographers.
In addition, we are primarily entrepreneurs. Professional photography is a difficult job because nothing is ever certain. We must constantly make decisions, invest in activities that we are never sure will succeed. We must convince others to help us without any return being guaranteed. We are constantly creating products that we are not sure will sell well.
Our daily life is built solely on permanent uncertainty. However, one thing is certain: we have a real passion for nature and photography.
By creating artistic photographs, we find calm, tranquility, serenity allowing us to find the balance we need. We can continue to go forward and say that every morning is the first day of a new life that begins.
The Need to Leave a Trace of Our Passage
This idea may seem presumptuous to some people, but we always wanted to leave as small a trace on earth. We would like that some people will remind how we were and what we did.
That is why we published art books after our technical books. We have found that technical books are adapted to a given situation or to a technological trend. As soon as this trend is over, we are quickly forgotten. Technologies and techniques evolve quickly. A new book quickly supplants the precedents. Art books are more timeless because they do not reflect a technological state or a fashion.
Creating artistic photographs allows us or at least that's what we hope to leave a trace after we have disappeared. We felt the need to be part of humanity, to bring our little stone to the construction of a gigantic building that goes far beyond our little persons.
We have always wanted to not be mere witnesses of the life that passes and unfolds before our eyes. We have always acted as actors of our own existence. We have discovered that artistic photography can be a way to contribute to the wellbeing of humanity by giving emotions and transmitting messages.
We hope that some of our artistic photographs will allow some people to remember what we have been, what we have done and our moral values and ethics of life.
The Need to Create Beautiful "Things"
We love everything that is beautiful. We are aware that beauty is a very subjective concept and it varies from one person to another. It is a very relative concept because it is related to the culture and individual experiences of each personne.
As far as we are concerned, we like harmonious, balanced, simple "things" that everyone can look easily. We very much appreciate elegance which is above all an attitude.
We attach significant importance to works that respect a good balance of the masses, a beautiful harmony of colors and tones. We appreciate soft, rounded shapes. We like works with strong evocative power, which are suggestive, symbolic and parabolic. Above all, we like works that give off a lot of poetry.
We attend assiduously museums, exhibitions, all places where we can watch and admire beautiful objects. But we are not mere witnesses. Watching, appreciating are two ways to love beautiful things. But these are passive actions even if they are inspiring. As we are actors in our lives and decide what to do, we understand that artistic photography is a way of showing what we value. Moreover, it is a real means of expression to show the world as we see it. Art photography is a real means of engagement with other people.
We chose artistic photography to convey messages, express our emotions, our feelings and to describe our vision of the world. We have chosen the beauties of nature because they give us the peace and tranquility we need in our busy life of entrepreneurs. They give us strength and allow us to re-energize to forge a true conscience.
Why We Chose to Create Fine Art Photographs – Part 1
We started working as professional photographers in June 2003 when we were in the United States for two years. We have evolved a lot in order to take in 2010, the turn of artistic photography.
A moving stone in Race Track Playa in Death Valley in California.
Once Upon a Time …
We began our career as professional photographers by selling photographs for magazines specializing in underwater photography. We also wrote the texts in French or in English because we are bilingual.
Naturally, this approach has led us to publish technical books on photography but also to produce images for photo agencies that are more commonly called stocks. Today, we still have thousands of images on sale in different international stocks.
After seven years of demanding work, we realized that the days were always longer and longer, but our financial income stagnated. The competition between the photographers became harder and harder as their numbers kept growing. Moreover, we did not have the same pleasure to make photos because they were always almost identical.
Motivation gradually disappeared, giving way to a great weariness. We did not really have any more goals to achieve. The only we had was the production of new images of illustration. Which is not really a very interesting goal for us.
While we were in a state of fatigue and intense overwork, we decided to go back to the basics. We went on a trip to the coast of Charente-Maritime in France where we had spent a lot of time before coming to the United States.
It was winter 2010. We had the revelation during this trip.
In order to relax, to change our ideas, to find new energy, we decided to make some pictures of the Atlantic Ocean. We were seeking calm and serenity. From the first session, we started to live again, to breathe without being blocked. Despite the icy north wind and our frozen hands, we stayed out with our cameras until nightfall. For several days, we did this experiment again. Because it was just for fun and not for work.
During each photo session, we only made one or two photographs. We spent hours contemplating the ocean, watching the waves, feeling the sea air so special to this region. We were very far from the state of mind of shootings for agencies and magazines. First the first time in years, we took our time to create photographs. It was not for technical reasons because photography is an area that we mastered as professional photographers. We took our time to think, to understand, to make sense of our photographs. We experienced an immense, indefinable pleasure. Rather than making descriptive photos and testimonials, we were creating pictures that looked like us and that reflected our state of mind and our way of being.
It was during this trip of the winter 2010 in Charente-Maritime in France, that we decided to take the turn of the fine art photography. We realized that if we wanted to keep intact our passion for photography, we had to change completely our state of mind.
The Need and the Desire to Express Ourselves
As a result of this trip, we created a collection of 9 photographs that we printed, framed. When we looked at the final products, we realized that we had an irrepressible need to convey personal messages, our emotions and our feelings. We wanted to be in tune with the photographs we were making and not just be witnesses to scenes that would be used as illustrations for magazines or technical books.
We understood that nature would become a real vector to express ourselves. We chose to live by giving a meaning to our life. Our goal now became to show the beauties of nature through a contemplative and artistic interpretation. We wanted to transmit tranquility, peace, serenity away from the hubbub of major cities. It is for this reason that we chose for our artistic approach dreamlike and minimalist scenes, with ethereal atmospheres.
The Need to Build Sustainable Foundations
Gradually, after the winter of 2010, we undertook several photo projects including the great mineral landscapes of the western United States. It is not very far from where we live. Moreover, these landscapes as great as they are, offered us beautiful opportunities in relation to our emotions and our photographic vision.
Our artistic approach was strengthened by the fact that we finally wanted to build solid foundations for our professional, personal and artistic life. The three points joined naturally.
Each photo project became one of the pillars of these foundations that would support a much larger building. Our goal had become to share with the greatest number of people our passion for the beauties of nature. For that, we needed to register in time by creating timeless works. We finally understood where our artistic, ethical and moral values were. We had a real-life line.