Last Saturday, I drove up to Zion National Park, which was about 40 minutes drive from my house, to attend a landscape photography workshop with David J. West. I woke up at 4.30am, got ready and drove up there in the freezing cold weather. The stars were still clearly visible and it was a full moon dawn. I could see the road way ahead of me even without the street lights. As I was driving the 40-minute journey, I could feel my eyes slowly closing. But I was very determined not to die so I sang Lady Gaga to myself as the song came on the radio. "You and me could write a bad romance....oh oh oh oh ohhhhhh..."
Anyways, the workshop was awesome. I learnt so much from Dave. He is one of my favorite photographers and I am inspired by his photography. I went to his gallery last year for the first time and had ever since been wanting to shoot great landscape pictures like his. I even went to Big Sur in Northern California just so I could take some of the pictures I saw in his gallery.
The workshop lasted for several hours. After helping us with our camera settings and some technical stuff about photography, Dave took us into the park and we started shooting. We were fortunate to see some deer close to the areas where we shot. It was an amazing feelings because they usually go away after the sun rises and when the park starts to get more people. After shooting a few pictures, the cold started to kick in and my knuckles went numb and my knees were weak. But I kept going because we were going on a few more easy hikes to get some good views. When the sun finally rose and we were no longer in the shades, I had never been happier to bask myself in the sun.
Here's a little information about Dave. He was from New Jersey and his father was a portrait photographer. He met his wife in Africa doing volunteer work and followed her to Utah. He has lived in Utah since then. They are expecting their first daughter in a few weeks!! Not only was Dave a talented photographer, he was also very humble and tried his best to teach us how to take great landscape photos. He told us about his humble start when he would sell his pictures at the back of his Subaru and go door to door to sell his art. If he hadn't told us about that, I would never have guessed he started out so humbly.
If you ever go visit Zion, which is a must if you come to Southern Utah, you should totally go visit his gallery. His pictures are fantastic! One of the things that he said that I think I will always try to remember was to be an excellent photographer and to set yourself apart from the rest, you need to train yourself to go the extra mile, wake up before the sun rises, and stay out way later after the sun sets. Go visit his online gallery at http://www.davidjwest.com/ He's having a joint photography workshop with another photographer in Africa. I wish I could afford to go!!! Hopefully I will be able to in a few years time.
Here are some of the shots I took. Hope you enjoy them :)