David Muench Workshop Photos

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
If anyone doesn't know, David Muench has blown me away with his photos since I first opened a Sierra Club calendar at age 15 or so. I worship the ground he photographs. So I was amazed when I began to seriously learn photography that I could take a workshop with him. I took my first one in May 2012 when I could barely use my camera, and it was a fantastic experience. When I found out that he was having an autumn workshop in Zion National Park, I signed up a year in advance.

The workshop was scheduled for November 7-11, but I was jonesing to get up there so badly, and when I read that Bryce Canyon was supposed to get snow the weekend before the workshop I had to get out of town ASAP. First I had to buy a car, since my current car was held together with duct tape and had 308,000 miles on it and had no heat, among other things. I definitely didn't want to be in Bryce Canyon in snow without heat! I bought a 2012 Escape with AWD-woohoo, my first AWD car! The first thing I did was affix my Backcountrypost sticker-I was ready to go!

I got to Bryce Canyon just in time for the snow. It only got a dusting, but the light was still beautiful:

Sunrise at Sunset Horizontal.jpg



At this point I wasn't really happy with my photography and felt like I was in a creative rut. I was really hoping the workshop would help me break out of it, and I was looking forward to the fall colors, which hadn't yet started when I last saw Zion October 19. Imagine my disappointment when I got there and saw that it was practically barren, or so it seemed. I went into the Narrows because the colors there seem to last longer than in the valley, but it was barren as well. That turned out to be a blessing in disguise because I made good time up to Wall Street, which I don't usually do because I am always stopping to take pictures of trees! I got there just in time for the wall glow:

Narrows Edit.jpg


Narrows Rock Edit.jpg



Narrows Glow and Rocks.jpg



Even though I was happy with the way they turned out, I still felt like I was taking the obvious shots. Later that day, before the start of the workshop, I ran into David Muench at the local coffee shop. I told him I was excited for the workshop but disappointed we missed the colors, and he told me there was still some color in pockets. I was skeptical, but headed back out into the park. I realized he was right-where I was only seeing barren trees, he found beautiful cottonwoods in just the right light. I found some of the pockets he was referring to:

Autumn Leaves Edit_.jpg



Autumn Abstract 2.jpg



The workshop started and I was amazed by the caliber of photographers there. I got a lot of really good feedback on my photos and learned a ton, both compositionally and post-processing. Even better, I felt like I was finally out of my creative slump and seeing things differently. We had several field sessions, and it was amazing to see what David could pull out of a scene, and how he saw things. Some photographers have workshops where they point out what to shoot, but the really good ones encourage you to develop your own eye while giving you tips on how to get there. Getting feedback from someone with a master eye is priceless. We shot all day, broke in the middle for critiques, then back at it. It was intense, exhausting, and something I'll never forget.

I went off on my own and went to Water Canyon, hoping for some leaves on the trees. No luck, and not much water, but there were still some pretty scenes:

Zion Day 3-4.jpg



On my way out I came across some teenage boys dressed in the weird pioneer style of Hildale. The younger boys wouldn't look at me, but the older ones said hello. It was obvious they were told not to talk to outsiders. About a 1/2 mile later I came across a little boy who was crying. When he saw me he got fearful, but I asked him what was wrong and where his mom was. He told me those boys were his brothers and they had left him behind on the trail, and he couldn't find his way out. Well, I couldn't leave him there, but he couldn't tell me where he lived, couldn't even tell me what town. I finally confirmed my suspicions that he lived in Hildale, but he didn't know his address, his phone number, not even his own age (which looked to be about 7). He told me his mother lived in another state, but he didn't know which one. He said he could tell me how to find his house so I told him I would drive him there.

A few weeks ago I made a comment on this forum about getting chased out of town by wacko Colorado City sheriffs, but now I was hoping a sheriff would follow me so I could turn this boy over to him. He got in my car and he told me what turns to take, but it was obvious he wasn't sure where he was. I asked him where he went to school and he said his mom taught him-yikes, I've never met a kid who didn't know how old they were. He didn't have any basic education at all-he may not have known his address because he was illiterate. We drove around Hildale, with me being afraid someone would see him in my car and think I was abducting him, but he couldn't find his house. At this point I had to call the sheriff's dept., not knowing what I was in for. They sent out a deputy who turned out to be related to this boy-they even looked alike. The deputy was very nice, no worries there. I turned the boy over to him and headed back. Later I looked up this boy's name and found that half the town has his last name-he was from one of those enormous polygamous families. Weird experience......

Back to the workshop and more field sessions:

Sentinel Sunrise.jpg



Watchman Moon 2.jpg


So which one of my photos

did David Muench like best? No surprise, this one I took in Water Canyon, which was inspired by a photo
he took in Neon Canyon:

Water Canyon Reflection.jpg



I'm still in Zion as I write this, taking in the whole experience. I think this is one is going to stay with me for a long, long time.

Post script: after I posted this report I went and just goofed off. No tripod allowed! I got this-kinda artsy-fartsy but I think it works:

Moon Cliffs s.jpg




Featured image for home page:
slide.jpg
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
It wouldn't be a good Water Canyon hike without a polygamist sighting. Glad to hear the LEO was understanding.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
It wouldn't be a good Water Canyon hike without a polygamist sighting. Glad to hear the LEO was understanding.

I went back today to reshoot some stuff and was overtaken on the trail by 5 Lost Boys (different ones) ranging in age from 19ish to 13ish. The older ones said "howdy" but barely looked at me, and the younger ones took another trail to to go around me. Freakin' weird out there! :frantic:
 

gnwatts

Member
.
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,881
I am not familiar with Mr. Muenchs' work but your 2nd,3rd and 4th images are spectacular.
 

gnwatts

Member
.
Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,881
I did google him before my post. I like your shots more, at least those three.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,812
great pictures!!! And a great report!!
I always wanted to sign up for a photography workshop and learn how to take good pictures.
But more important, I need to learn first how to post process my pictures.
I have taken so many pictures this year but can't process them due to lack of knowledge with software and also not having any good software. o_O

@Laura

are there any important things to consider before to decide what kind of work shop you want to sign up?
Are workshops generally open for everyone or more for professionals?
There are so many offers everywhere, it's really hard to pick the right one where I would benefit the most.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
great pictures!!! And a great report!!
I always wanted to sign up for a photography workshop and learn how to take good pictures.
But more important, I need to learn first how to post process my pictures.
I have taken so many pictures this year but can't process them due to lack of knowledge with software and also not having any good software. o_O

@Laura

are there any important things to consider before to decide what kind of work shop you want to sign up?
Are workshops generally open for everyone or more for professionals?
There are so many offers everywhere, it's really hard to pick the right one where I would benefit the most.

I've taken all kinds of workshops, some good, some not so good. Generally the ones through galleries are top notch, but expensive. There are some photographers who do workshops without a permit and are pretty fly by night so watch out for something that's TOO cheap. I picked David Muench because I worship the ground he photographs, but any reputable photographer can give a good workshop. Also, there were several critique sessions that included processing tips. There were 12 people signed up (they limit the size, which is important) and they ranged from novices to professionals that did amazing work. No one was favored. The first workshop I took I felt so intimidated, I barely knew how to use a camera and didn't know any processing at all. I expected it to be a bunch of camera snobs but everyone was wonderful and I met some really interesting people. This time too, I really enjoyed everyone.

This is where I've taken the workshops: www.mountainlight.com Also, the Muench family gives a workshop for just Lightroom which I'm going to take through here: www.muenchworkshops.com Jerry Dodrill was the assistant on the David Muench workshops but he is giving a few of his own through Mountain Light and he is a wonderful instructor, and gives lots of processing tips. If you don't have a favorite photographer you might want to take one of Jerry's workshops to start.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
I thought of one more thing: I'd avoid workshops where they guarantee you'll get great photos. What happens is that the photographer takes you to a location and tells you what to shoot. You just get their great shot, but you haven't learned a damn thing about how to take your own photos. I'd look for a workshop that emphasizes the learning process and has critiques. Having someone with a master eye look over your photos and critique them is invaluable, but I've had to emphasize that I want their honest opinion, not just a pat on the head for my money.
 

Yvonne

I lava it!!!
Joined
Jan 19, 2012
Messages
3,812
I thought of one more thing: I'd avoid workshops where they guarantee you'll get great photos. What happens is that the photographer takes you to a location and tells you what to shoot. You just get their great shot, but you haven't learned a damn thing about how to take your own photos. I'd look for a workshop that emphasizes the learning process and has critiques. Having someone with a master eye look over your photos and critique them is invaluable, but I've had to emphasize that I want their honest opinion, not just a pat on the head for my money.


that's exactly what I'm looking for.
I want to learn of my mistakes and how to avoid them and to make a shot better the next time and not, how to copy one of the pros.
I rarely take pictures of popular places where everyone wants this particular shot. It wouldn't be my work just being a copycat.
I prefer my own creativity, even on places that are popular.

It would be nice to attend a workshop hosted by David Muench or my hero, Jack Dykinga, but I need to see if I can afford such an expensive workshop.
And I like the fact that at your Muench workshop even a newbie has no reason to feel intimidated and that you learned a lot from everyone.
One of my biggest fear was that I'm the one with the least experience and maybe feel too overwhelmed with all the professionals around me. But after reading about your experiences I feel a bit more comfortable about it. :)
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
that's exactly what I'm looking for.
I want to learn of my mistakes and how to avoid them and to make a shot better the next time and not, how to copy one of the pros.
I rarely take pictures of popular places where everyone wants this particular shot. It wouldn't be my work just being a copycat.
I prefer my own creativity, even on places that are popular.

It would be nice to attend a workshop hosted by David Muench or my hero, Jack Dykinga, but I need to see if I can afford such an expensive workshop.
And I like the fact that at your Muench workshop even a newbie has no reason to feel intimidated and that you learned a lot from everyone.
One of my biggest fear was that I'm the one with the least experience and maybe feel too overwhelmed with all the professionals around me. But after reading about your experiences I feel a bit more comfortable about it. :)

At the first workshop I went too I was so intimidated I couldn't even look at David Muench, but he is so unpretentious I felt comfortable by the first field session. Jack Dykinga gives workshops, one of the guys at this workshop had attended one of Jack's as well and loved it. If he's your hero then save up and take a workshop as a once-in-a-lifetime experience-it'll be worth it! I think Jack will get the same type of people that David does, people that want to improve, not show off their new camera. Both workshops had really, really interesting people there that I wouldn't have met anywhere else (the first workshop included a quirky genius composer for television and movies and a Hollywood sound engineer. The sound engineer was one the nicest guys I've ever met). Go for it! :dance:
 

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