As of today, January 15, 2016 registration is open for the 2016 editions of the Badlands Photography Workshop with 3-Time Badlands Artist in Residence, Rikk Flohr.
This year, I am adding a new workshop to the series: September Night Skies at Badlands. In the traditional Spring Workshop the sun sets too late and rises too early for effective night sky photography. On the traditional Winter dates, the times are fine but the nights are so darned cold! I thought to my self, when can we have light jacket weather, great night skies and decent shooting hours? The answer was Dark of the Moon in September.
To mix things up a bit – especially for returning alumni, I’ve decided to add a printing component to the Badlands Spring workshop. December will remain my traditional Winter Wildlife workshop
Spring: Badlands in Print – May 21-25, 2016
Fall: Badlands Night Sky – September 24-28, 2016
Winter: Winter Wildlife – December 3-7, 2016
There is a $50.00 early registration discount for each of the workshops in the series so don’t delay. Last year, both workshops sold out well in advance of the workshop date.
Complete information can be found at Rikk’s Badlands Website.
I look forward to seeing you all in the Badlands!
Rikk Flohr © 2016
The Holy Crop team just returned from our annual winter workshop to the Badlands of South Dakota. While there are many crops yet to come from the careful framing of our photographs in the Badlands, I thought I would share this image. Workshop participant, Kevin Hawkins, pauses on a ridge to consider the emerging light on this small peak. I captured him and then cropped him into the scene I wanted.
The original camera framing is shown here. Note that there is a vast amount of sky and an additional small peak on the far right. This original framing is pretty nice. The muted colors in the sky add to the photo. As I looked at it, though, I wanted a tighter crop – to pit man against the light in a much closer struggle. At least, that is the story my mind wants to tell when looking at this image.
In Lightroom, I did a rough crop to carve away some of the unneeded sky and get rid of the far right peak – as I thought it a little distracting. When I was satisfied with the rough crop, I started to fine-tune the placement of the peak on the right edge of the frame. The diagonal of the peak flowing down into the center spoke to me and suggested a course of action. I decided to use the Lightroom crop overlay called “triangles” to help me exploit this diagonal.
The Triangles Overlay is accessible by cycling the [ O ] key while in the crop dialog. Placing the RH edge of the image frame in the deepest part of the valley between the two sunlit peaks, I worked my way upwards. I didn’t want to crop up from the bottom as the lowest ridge added some visual depth to the composition so I limited my work to above. It was then a matter of intersecting the perpendiculars to the diagonal with the photographer’s camera by coming in from the left. .
The finished crop is show above. The man against the mountain is isolated from the extraneous material. The Photographer and the Light are dueling in opposition.
In the original framing the horizon occupied the Rule of Fifths. In the crop, the horizon is now at the Rule of Thirds. Rule of odds has been maintained to keep the image as eye-pleasing as possible. The final aspect ratio was left to float to the strongest position and ends up very nearly panoramic at 1.91:1.
News on additional Badlands workshops should be coming soon…
Rikk Flohr © 2014
“Sometimes deciding upon the perfect crop means tossing away an equally valid version.”
Badger in the Grass is a photograph from my recent workshop to Badlands National Park. As an instructor on the Badlands Winter Wildlife workshop, it is important to get my clients close to compelling views of wildlife. A participant and I followed this badger for nearly a quarter mile to get this shot. Badger in the Grass went through surprisingly few iterations. The uncropped image shown below is very simple — which complicates things. Blue Sky, razor-thin depth of field and an obvious subject give us the old Bob Seger quandary “… what to leave in, what to leave out”
A closer examination of the uncropped original above shows a dead-center subject that doesn’t quite work. The reason for the in-camera framing is that I shoot wildlife with only the center focus point enabled. I want to chose where the image focuses to ensure the tightness of the focal lock on the animal’s face. That leaves us with the ability to chop off non-contributing portions of the image to improve our composition. Those portions are not always obvious.
This crop was actually my second crop. Ultimately the first crop became my final choice but not before I agonized over this crop. The American Badger has been moved to the lower-right power point to emphasize the uncovered eye. I left unfocused grass, sharp grass, unfocused hillside and finally sky to give myself depth.
In final analysis of which crop to use, the two dark bands in the blue sky offered enough of a distraction for me to sacrifice the depth of having the sky in the scene and the Rule of Thirds composition. Those two shadows are actually very nearby out-of-focus strands of prairie grass. I was laying on my belly for these captures meaning not only was there a badger in the grass — there was a photographer in the grass as well.
Here is an overlay of the crop I decided upon. I decided to omit the sky and with it the depth. The badger is long and low and the crop needs to be long and low as well. This allows space in our mind for the long badger body, hidden in the grass, but within our expectations, to occupy. The nearby grass shadows aren’t as obvious without the sky and that solves another dilemma. The closer crop makes the badger encounter seem more personal and engages the viewer.
When all is said and done, I have a very mono-tone image because I have left out the blue skies, which, while natural, took away from the overall golden tone of the image. Black. white and gold, and a badger in the grass… staring at a photographer in the grass… and ultimately you.
Rikk Flohr © 2012