Updates from Death Valley

published7 months ago
5 min read

Hello Reader,


We are excited to share updates and photos from Death Valley National Park, where we have led several workshops over the past few weeks. You won’t believe the incredible images our attendees created - scroll down to see for yourself!


This year has been a wild ride for Death Valley. It has been much colder and wetter than usual. Right now, the temperature is only 55 degrees when it should be a balmy 85 degrees at this time of the year. We have also witnessed some crazy weather events, such as numerous brutal windstorms, snow at low elevations, and torrential rains that caused flash floods. It has been quite an adventure!


You may wonder if all this rain means we will see a super bloom in Death Valley - a rare phenomenon when the desert is covered with millions of wildflowers. Sadly, that is not likely to happen this year. While spring rain is essential for a super bloom, other factors also need to align:

  • Rain in October or November helps the seeds germinate and grow in winter. The massive flood event in August was too early for most seeds to benefit.
  • Spring sunshine and warmth: This triggers the flowers to bloom. However, it has been very cloudy and chilly lately. Without enough sun and heat, many seeds will not sprout or blossom.
  • Lack of strong winds: This protects the flowers from being damaged or blown away by the wind. However, it has been one of the windiest seasons we have ever seen here. The delicate flowers cannot withstand such harsh conditions.


As you can see, the circumstances have not been favorable for a super bloom this year. That does not mean there will be no flowers - just not a super bloom. We are keeping an eye on an area that looks promising for an isolated bloom where the hillsides are green with plants. Hopefully, we will get to see some flowers before we leave.


This month Jennifer will be traveling to Phoenix to help the Out of Chicago team at the Out of Desert Botanic Conference while I stay in San Diego to take care of our kitties and enjoy some craft beer. When Jennifer returns, we will head out to sea again to photograph dolphins and try out our drone over the open ocean 😬 - wish us luck!


As always, Thank you for your support and interest in our work.


Best wishes,

David and Jennifer

Join a Critique Session with David and Eric Bennett

Take advantage of this fantastic opportunity! Join us for a 3-4 hour Zoom session where myself, David Kingham, and the incredibly talented Eric Bennett will critique your images. You will receive valuable feedback on your work, and observing our critiques of others' images will significantly enhance your learning. This is the last chance to participate, so we hope you'll join us!


Spring Speaker Series: For the Love of the Landscape

Last month, I presented for the Winter Speaker Series put on by Nic Stover and it was a huge success! Now, Jennifer is presenting at the Spring Speaker Series along with an incredible lineup. Jennifer will be speaking about "Dynamic Dunes". If you have ever wondered what goes into creating stunning images of sand dunes, you won't want to miss this.

By joining this series, you'll also be supporting a good cause. 10% of proceeds will go to charities chosen by each speaker. Jennifer has selected the Death Valley Natural History Association, so you'll be making a difference while learning new skills.

You can register for individual talks for $27 each or all seven for $167. This is an excellent opportunity to improve your photography skills and make a positive impact.


Batch Processing in Helicon Focus

If you do a lot of focus stacking you need Helicon Focus, it is the best software out there. One of the many reasons is that you can batch process your images. It can be a slow, tedious process to stack a ton of images, but with Helicon it's fairly simple

To batch process in Helicon Focus, you can follow these steps:

  1. Open Helicon Focus and go to File > Batch Process.
  2. Click on the β€œAdd folder” button to select the folder containing the images you want to process.
  3. Select your rendering method (usually 'B'), then in the column to the far right there is a little tiny down arrow button, click this and select 'Split Stack', then select 'Split by time'. If you've ever used 'Auto Stack by Capture Time' in Lightroom, this is achieving something very similar. It will analyze all the images in that folder and find images that were taken within 1 second of each other (or a value you select). This takes out the manual process of figuring out which images to stack.
  4. Once you have selected your desired settings, click on the β€œStart” button to begin the batch processing.

Helicon Focus will then process all the images in the selected folder according to your specified settings.


Grand Teton and Yellowstone Night Workshop - 1 Spot Open

We are down to one spot for all of our 2023 workshops! If you want to join us, this is your last chance.

Podcast Interview with David

I enjoyed talking with Taya Iv on the Great Big Photography World Podcast. We covered topics such as how to offer and receive helpful critiques, how to design effective workshops, and how to travel full-time as a photographer.


Items of Interest


Featured Client Images

We had an incredible workshop season in Death Valley and have many incredible images to share from our participants!

Having taken many workshops and tours over the years it was refreshing to have two extremely passionate and knowledgeable teachers, guides and down to earth humans. I say this because many of us have "zoomed out". How refreshing it was to be treated to a workshop LIVE in person. Both Jen and David moved the narrative around Death Valley seamlessly. From someone who has visited this wonder of a park before I was excited to be back but more importantly to see with a new purpose. Jen and David delivered on all levels... not just picking the right spots, but showing the group WHY this place is special. I was able to see and create from a more intimate perspective... can't thank you two enough.
~ Mike




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