Friday, September 5, 2014

Exposed: Canyons, Creeks and Piñon Trees

-left or being without shelter or protection
-laid open to view; unconcealed

'I have always loved pinion pines that were large, knurled, and dead and when we passed some on our way to “the creek”, I suggested we stop and take some photographs. It was about the worst condition you can imagine for photographers: dry, a bit dusty, full sun and it was about one o’clock so the sun was beating down on top of us. And yet, I was amazed to see what wonderful photographs my fellow photographers were able to capture under those difficult conditions. It was a great warm-up for the rest of the day for all of us.'
Aaron & John by Gordon Nebeker

'It was here, against this backdrop of beauty (Southern Utah) that we had come to create...'
Mark Grantham

Aaron, Jed & John by Gordon Nebeker

'At, “the creek”, it was with some nervousness that the model's undressed, not knowing when, or from where, members of the horde might appear. This being Utah, I think “the Creek” was officially a river. Either way the water was briny enough to leave a salt encrusted "bath tub ring" when river floods recede. The red rock was spectacular. Up one of the side canyons was private enough for lots of photography, at least numerically our most successful spot. Here also was “the podium”, potentially a very public spot, but miraculously, the hordes did not appear.'
Mike Tossy

Aaron by Mark Grantham

John By Gordon Nebeker

'Our first stop was seemingly nowhere special. Just some gnarled old Piñon trees with far distant mountains in the background. The harsh lighting yielded some of my favorite Black and White images of the trip. A red filter gave them an almost infrared look.'
Mike Tossy

Aaron by Mike Tossy

'We had arbitrarily hiked upriver trying to avoid the crowd. This turned out to be a lucky guess. One of us ( a bearish photographer - not a hot model ) was wearing a Hula's ( the Honolulu gar bar ) t-shirt and was cruised in the horde’s camp that evening. A lucky choice indeed! According to this informant, the the horde was all downstream! They were a TV crew filming a nature documentary for, I think perhaps, the Discovery Channel. The scenery is that amazing!'
Mike Tossy

Jed by Mike Tossy

'The first night of our shoot (Sunday), we all got back very late to the motel where we were staying in Hanksville, owing to a side trip to get gas for two of our three cars that had run out. I know there are some out there who would like to think that on a photo road trip like this, the ‘over nights’ are an occasion to party hearty and with abandon. Had we been so inclined (which we were not!) I am not sure anyone of us could have kept our eyes open more than five minutes after we got back to the motel. Tromping through the desert on a warm day is hard work and we were all exhausted!'
Gordon Nebeker

Aaron by Mark Grantham

 John by Mark Grantham

'I was having some health issues before the trip which were exacerbated by the failure of my mail order pharmacy to deliver my prescriptions before I left for the trip. I thought I could push through for the two days and not be too worse for the wear but on the second day in the afternoon in the middle of the slot canyon, I hit the proverbial brick wall. I had become dehydrated and nauseated and my vision became quite blurry. With the help of my shoot-mates, I managed to hike back to the cars but I realized there was no way I could drive the four and a half hours back to Salt Lake City.'

'Fortunately, one of the models (Aaron) rode down from Salt Lake with me for the shoot and was planning on riding back with me as well. Bless his heart, I just handed him my car keys and told him he was going to have to get us home because i was in no condition to drive. I will be eternally grateful he got us back (I remember almost none of the trip back) and then the emergency room was the next stop for me which led to a two day stay in the hospital. All is well now and in spite of the ending, I do not regret making the trip. We all had a great time together doing what we love to do (making photographs) and I have heard talk of another photographic outing in 2015. Stay tuned!'
Gordon Nebeker

John, Jed & Aaron by Mark Grantham

'Photographers Mike, Mark and Gordon are all friends both personally and professionally and I've done tandem shoots with all of them before. Ditto for our three models who are all close to my heart and mainstays in my work. This was a bigger adventure than our other shoots together though and even with the challenges that we faced we had a great time together. Our yearly outings into the wildlands of Utah for pictures are proving to be highly anticipated and productive and the wheels are already turning for the summer of 2015.'
Tom Clark

Jed, John & Aaron from Tom Clark

'My experience with models like Aaron, John and Jed is that if I give them a context and then turn them loose they will gift me with ideas and poses that I would have never come up with on my own. Watching the three of them work and play together was as entertaining as it was productive and I spent a lot of the time we were shooting smiling and giggling at their antics. With experienced models like this the trick is to not get too involved in posing them but rather fine-tuning things once they had nailed what they were after; a foot turned slightly inwards here, a hand lower on the thigh there or a head thrown back on occasion. But by and large letting them do their thing and being ready to trip the shutter when the moment was right. '
Tom Clark

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