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Grand Teton panoramic and photography challenges

Grand Teton panoramic. Every month I have a tips class in East Mesa.  About 10-15 people at all different photography levels come together.  I usually go over a photography related topic and give tips, pointers or suggestions.  However, my favorite part of the classes are the photography challenges and goal setting.  It’s been super cool seeing people challenge themselves and follow through with their goals.  I’ve seen wedding albums, portfolios, prints, business cards, smugmug sites, new fan pages on facebook, panoramic, time lapse videos and checks indicating that we are all up for the challenge of growing with our passion.  When you commit to a goal or a challenge with a group of people it feels more powerful somehow.  I have to be accountable at my next class, it’s really the execution, consistency and persistence that gets us closer to where we want to be in this profession.

I have been just as inspired by all of those that attend my classes.  Lately, I can’t seem to get enough!  My camera is helping me tell the story of my next chapter in life.  I’ve had a desire for many years to travel the world, so maybe I will.  Why not?  If I do make it to all 7 continents, you can count on my camera being my most intimate companion!

So there it is below!  A Grand Teton Panoramic.  Something moves inside of you when you stitch a panoramic together.  It’s a cool perspective and I wanted to share this with some of my fellow photographers and students.   Please send a link to your panoramic if you’ve put one together lately, I would love to see it!

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Grand Falls, also known as “Chocolate Falls” has created a frenzy with photographers in Arizona.

    Yes, it is true, Grand Falls, also known as “Chocolate Falls” has created a frenzy with photographers here in Arizona.  I had been waiting for the right water flow myself to take pictures and when I found out the water was flowing at 1,000 cubic feet per second, that was enough for me to pack up my gear and head to the falls.  The storms kept coming and the water levels kept rising.

     I did get very lucky to catch a beautiful sunset  the day I went and although the water levels have risen substantially, I am satisfied with my experience and excited to see the photographs from the other local photographers.  I thought I could give some helpful tips to those who haven’t experienced natures Willy Wonka fountain.

     It’s likely that you will pass the road leading up to the falls and run into the river, most people do the first or second time.  Don’t worry about it, just turn around and find the little road leading to the falls.  Below are the coordinates.

Grand Falls, AZ
Grand Falls is a Falls in Coconino County, Arizona. It has an elevation of 1,371 meters, or 4,498 feet.

Degrees Minutes Seconds:
Latitude: 35-25’39” N
Longitude: 111-12’03” W

Decimal Degrees:
Latitude: 35.4275054
Longitude: -111.2007011

Cell phone reception is limited by the Falls.  I have Verizon and had lost service in most of the area.   Depending on the wind and where you are standing you may need to be VERY mindful of your vehicle and camera gear.  My camera was filthy when I came home, I have to send it to Canon for a professional shower.  If you are interested in camping over night try staying at the KOA, it does have electricity.  That is the closest camping place near the falls or just stay in a hotel in Flagstaff.  The Grand Falls will be about a 45 minute drive from Flagstaff.  You can get to the Falls in a regular vehicle but it may get beat up a little.  I do recommend carpooling with a friend that has a 4×4.  If you are following the water flow charts be mindful of the 12 hour delay in the reading, the water levels may be vastly different when you arrive.

Below are pictures of the Grand Falls taken at different times of the day.  I am partial to the sunset pictures.  It will be tough to get an even exposure without doing bracketing at different exposures. The sky may be clear but the falls will be underexposed. I didn’t enjoy the look of HDR photography for this scene so I brought up my shadows and exposure in lightroom to get clearer and crisper shots.   Have fun and take lots of pictures!  It’s Arizona’s dirty Niagara! I think you will enjoy the uniqueness of the Grand Falls.

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October Fall Sedona Workshop

Join our October Fall Sedona Workshop

The weather  finally starts to cool off after another one of Arizona’s heat waves.  It’s time to grab the box of long sleeves on top of the closet and pray that my favorite jeans still fit!

The season has changed and I have to travel a short two hour distance to capture the magic.  My fall itinerary will include Sedona, Colorado and maybe Utah.  My mom keeps insisting I see Michigan in October too.  Maybe one day :)

I chose Sedona’s Oak Creek West Fork trail as my first Fall Workshop destination.  The location brings about a quiet peacefulness that I long to experience all year round.  The trail ground is vibrant, the  weather perfect and the colors are simply stunning.

This is exactly the place and setting I would love to teach photography.  The beauty and scenery are such a huge bonus for those who want to advance their skills too!  I am super excited about this workshop and can’t wait to see you there

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Arizona Sunset Dust Storm

Arizona Sunset Dust Storm. I thought this would be an impossible picture to take! I was 20 minutes away from what I knew would be an outstanding location for the evenings sunset and the sky was already changing colors. It’s illegal and highly inadvisable to drive like a lunatic to capture natures beauty. It’s the adrenaline rush of getting the shot at the right moment. It’s speeding ticket worthy and doesn’t have the same simplicity and Zen like qualities as the picture taken. Caught it just in time and found a new shooting spot on the way back too. Keep coming around, I may share it with you guys soon!

 

 

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Tips for Great Photography Part One!

Tips for Great Photography by Stacy LeClair

1.  Finding the right location-  Finding the right locations is imperative to a great shot!  Although many photographers don’t like to reveal this fact, it is true! Find a beautiful place and it’s hard not to take a good picture.

2.  Working with good lighting (studio, sunrise, sunset, storm lighting)-  Now that a great photographer has found a great location, they patiently wait for the light to illuminate their subject nicely.  With the combination of awesome lighting and a great location the results are rather stunning!

3.  Using a tripod for sharp images and less camera shake- A great photographer will know the importance of a sharp image.  Camera shake can cause a beautiful scene to look blurry or distorted.  Even with all the technical advances and image stabilization a tripod is still one of the most important tools for great photographers.  Start using one regularly and notice the difference!

4.  Extensive knowledge about their equipment-  How long does it take you to adjust your camera settings when the light is changing quickly?  A great photographer knows how to operate their settings accurately and efficiently when it’s necessary.  They end up with the shot!

5.  Working well with software and establishing a good workflow-  Software is used as an enhancement for an already well composed shot.  Great photographers use their software tastefully and artistically.

 

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Chasing an Arizona Dust Storm!

      Chasing an Arizona Dust Storm. It’s 6:30 PM on a Tuesday evening in July. I should be preparing for dinner right now but the dark clouds are rolling in from the east and the wind is picking up. The dust and clouds are also going to produce one heck of a sunset if the rain can be delayed another hour or so. Siri has confirmed it, Mesa Arizona is going to get hit with a storm! My adrenaline has taken over and I am ignoring the grumbling sounds in my stomach.
      A few minutes later my storm crew posy is blasting my phone with text messages. A dust storm is rolling in, lightening will follow! “Let’s go! Pack up your gear and let’s do it!” We discuss ideal locations, check out the radar and find the “active” weather spots to shoot.
      From time to time lightening gets a little close and I have eaten dust but while most people are dreading July and complaining about high weather temperatures, I am charging my batteries. It’s not just about capturing mother nature at it’s finest, it’s about living in the moment with a few people that see it as clearly as I do. I have had the best moments of my life chasing a shot that never produced anything more than a blurry flash of light but I wouldn’t change it for anything.
      In the future I may travel to Oklahoma and throw a few hundred little balls up a tornado but for now I am loving the furry and madness of a good ‘ol fashion monsoon storm in Arizona. I love my crew and I love my life as a photographer. A storm may be rolling in this Saturday, I will be ready, how about you.