New Website and Blog

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And our new website (which is on the same URL as it always has been):

Michael Speaks at Google

A few weeks ago I had the honor to speak at Google as part of their Talks@Google program. I gave an hour long lecture on my work and how I approach my photography, as well as telling some stories about specific images. I was asked to come speak at Google by Marc Pawliger, whom I met years ago when I was contacted to shoot an assignment for Adobe. My sincere thanks to Marc and the Google-ites for bringing me out and taking the time to sit in on my talk. Check out my presentation YouTube.


October 7-10, 2010
Workshop Leaders: Andy Biggs and Michael Clark
Location: Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico

About The Workshop

This 4-day workshop will be a combined classroom workshop with outdoor photographic shoots. The workshop coincides with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which is the world’s largest balloon festival and will certainly be one of our photographic destinations. All classroom instruction will be centered around Adobe Photoshop Lightroom v3.x, as well as the craft of creating a fine art digital print.

Workshop Schedule

Day 1 - Morning
Lightroom introduction. The modules: Library, Develop, Slideshow, Print and Web

Day 1 - Afternoon
Portrait lighting sessions Part I, outdoors

Day 2 - Morning
Dawn Patrol: Early morning shoot at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Day 2 - Afternoon
Lightroom and the Develop module

Day 3 - Morning
How to select inkjet papers
Printing from Lightroom and Photoshop

Computers will not be provided but participants with laptops are encouraged to bring them. Following along on your own laptop is a hands-on way of learning what is being taught in the classroom.

Day 3 - Afternoon
Portrait lighting sessions Part II, indoors

Day 4 - Morning
Dawn Patrol: Early morning shoot at the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Day 4 - Afternoon
Hands-on printing with current large format printers on the market. Paper provided by Moab Paper.
Participants leave with one fine art print of their own work!

About the Instructors
Andy Biggs is an avid adventurer, conservationist, teacher, and outdoor photographer whose photography celebrates the African landscape and its rich wildlife, people, and culture. With a deep respect and understanding for African wildlife, Andy unfolds the world of the Serengeti onto our doorstep with striking emotional depth. His photographic safaris allow the traveler to not only enhance their understanding of photography, lighting, and wildlife, but to develop a life-long admiration for Africa 's beauty and culture.

Michael Clark is an internationally published outdoor photographer specializing in adventure sports, travel and landscape photography. He produces intense, raw image of athletes pushing their sports to the limit and has risked life and limb on a variety of assignments to bring back stunning images of rock climbers, mountaineers, kayakers and mountain bikers in remote locations around the world. He contributes to National Geographic, National Geographic Adventure, Sports Illustrated, Outside, Men's Journal, Backpacker, Outdoor Photographer, Digital Photo Pro, Climbing, Alpinist, Rock and Ice, Bike Magazine and The New York Times among many others. You can see Michael's work at

The Cost
The cost of this workshop is $1250 per person (inclusive of light breakfasts either in our teaching space or in the field). The same rate applies for each participant regardless of whether they are doing photography and participating in the workshop, or not. A nonrefundable deposit of $350 is required to secure your spot on the workshop. Final balance will be due no later than September 1, 2010.

Please note: We will attempt to adhere to this itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions, such as bad weather, may necessitate changes in the itinerary. We reserve the right to alter any itinerary at any time, if necessary.

The classroom portion of the workshop will be held at the Hotel Santa Fe. We have negotiated a group rate that is discounted from their advertised prices if you would like to stay at Hotel Santa Fe. Please inquire if interested.

Most major airlines service Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is approximately 60 miles south of Santa Fe. Once in Albuquerque, you can take one of the many shuttles to your hotel in Santa Fe. Shuttle costs are approximately $25 - $30. Rental cars are available in Albuquerque, Santa Fe and from the hotel. The Hotel Santa Fe is located in downtown Santa Fe, within walking distance to shopping, restaurants and entertainment.

We do not provide transportation during the workshop. Please plan ahead and reserve a rental car. Of course, we will share vehicles and car pool to make life easier for all of us. We are not responsible for reimbursement of non-refundable airline tickets in the event of a workshop cancellation.

Workshop Materials
All participants will be given a copy of Michael’s e-book entitled Adobe Photoshop Lightroom:
 A Professional Photographer's Workflow, which details his complete workflow from start to finish.

You will need to bring the following equipment with you:
• a 35mm digital SLR camera with interchangeable lenses
• a laptop computer with a USB memory key, DVD or external hard drive. Instructors will be using Apple Computers.
• Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software installed on your computer (you can download the 30-day trial version of Lightroom before the workshop if you don’t already have the software.)
• Digital memory cards with a card reader (preferably CompactFlash or Secure Digital Cards)
• power adapters and cables for laptop and digital camera
• camera manual
• batteries and charger for rechargeable batteries

It is expected that you know how to download images from your camera to the laptop, know basic editing techniques using your software, and are able to organize the edited images for critique.

If this workshop has your name on it, then now is the time to register. Remember, there will be limited space available for this workshop. When they're spoken for, that's it. If you have any questions before registering, send us an e-mail with any inquiries to Register for the workshop on Andy Biggs' website here.

Testimonials from last year's workshop

"Thank you Andy and Michael for a wonderful, educational, experienced based workshop in Santa Fe. Today I reread my notes from the classroom work and have been amazed at how deeply informative it was. Michael's Lightroom Book as well as yours about digital printing have given me a whole new level of understanding especially around the Lightroom Develop module as well as on the entire topic of printing and color management. I really appreciate how you and Michael showed your individual processes for image workflow. Comparing and contrasting both methods allowed me to take the best of both and adapt them to fit my needs. My increase in knowledge along with the additional hands on guidance we got in the three photo sessions for aspen fall colors, Albuquerque Balloon Festival, and Abiquiu landscape site, will enable me going forward to make the best photos I'm capable of producing. Showing the class the image evaluation image printed on many different papers was most informative as was printing a few of our individual "best" photos from the week.

Andy, I've taken several photography seminars over the past few years. Without a doubt your's has been the most informative, well organized, openly sharing event I've attended.

Thanks again for all your help and guidance. It's clear you don't hold back when teaching and sincerely want all attendees to get as much out of the seminars as we're able to absorb."

"Andy & Michael - It was a pleasure to meet you both and I enjoyed the workshop a lot. I found Michael's well written e-book and in-class lecture on Lightroom very informative and I gained new insight it's operation features that I wouldn't have discovered on my own. The full printing workflow has always been a mystery to me, and thus I dismissed printing and never did much of it. When I first signed up for the workshop I considered the "fine art printing" aspect to not be the main reason why I attended, but this was the part of the workshop that I learned the most from - Andy's explanations and experience helped me to appreciate and better understand the full workflow from the proper paper selection (I didn't realize there were so many choices) to correct evaluation of output and will serve to encourage me to print more of my pictures.
Thanks for the great workshop!"
"Your workshop at Santa Fe was too good and I came away with a lot of knowledge and renewed energy. The level of expertise that you and Michael shared was topnotch and I hope to repeat this experience again. Thanks for such a great workshop!"

" mind is still spinning and I can't help but smile every time I think of the wonderful experience garnered from our workshop. Between what I learned from the two of you, as well as from my talented classmates - this was a great experience, and I would do it again."

Digital Masters: Adventure Photography - Extended Interview

Lark Books has put up the full interview that I did with Corey Rich for my book Adventure Photography: Capturing the World of Outdoor Sports. This is the raw (or very near to it) and unedited version of the interview. For the book, the interview had to be cut down for space considerations but it was such a great interview and so insightful that we have planned all along to put the full version online. My thanks to Corey for taking the time sit with me for this interview and letting us include it in the book. It was an honor to have his input. And I think if you have the time you'll find this interview to be well worth the read. So with out further ado, check out the interview here.

2010 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race

hypothermia (noun): the condition of having an abnormally low body temperature, typically one that is dangerously low.

Half way across the Beagle Channel, just south of Tierra del Fuego and not too far from the Drake passage, I learned what it really means to be cold. Jim Wedlake, Gabriela and I were in a zodiac photographing team Helly Hansen-Prunesco as they sea kayaked from the southern tip of Tierra del Fuego down to Isla Navarino. I got into the boat wearing every piece of clothing I had with me knowing it was going to be cold. When we pulled away from the dock, I was wondering why the Navy officers were wearing neon orange survival suits and we weren’t. The wind was blasting the boat from the west as we headed south across the Beagle and each time we dropped into the trough of a wave the spray would douse us with ice-cold water. I was wearing Gore-tex and several layers of synthetic insulation but it only does so much when you are being nailed time and again by small waves. After an hour or two of wind and spray, we were all starting to get a bit punchy. It took everything we had just to keep the cameras dry – and even more to keep the lens clean.

Team Helly Hansen was having no problems with the cold. They were wearing dry suits and were sweating like crazy. In fact, Bruce Duncan was so overheated that he even took his neoprene gloves and hat off. It was at this point that I started to tell the Navy officers we had to deal with Gabi and the onset of hypothermia. They didn’t want to leave the sea kayaks out in the middle of the Beagle Channel since they were there to act as the rescue boat and as such weren’t supposed to leave their post. But after the fifth or sixth mention of hypothermia, the officers finally got the point and could see that Gabi was freezing quite literally. I myself wasn’t far behind. I was freezing my ass off as well. Jim, who was shooting video, was dressed in a massive Gore-Tex down jacket and faired a little better but was still feeling the chill.

As it happened there was a Naval outpost in the Murray Channel, just ahead of us – and through which the sea kayakers would pass. Once we reached the channel we were kindly escorted to the outpost, greeted by a very kind family and warmed up with fresh coffee, bread and hot showers. A few hours later we rejoined the sea kayakers and tried to keep ourselves a little warmer in the protected channel. Back in our zodiac, and on our way to the next checkpoint I realized we weren’t far from the Drake passage and I thought about Shackelton’s men who had crossed those chilly waters over a century ago in an open lifeboat. It was then that I realized we hadn’t even begun to suffer, hypothermia or not. Perspective is a wonderful thing, though it doesn’t stop the cold.

Such were the grueling conditions we encountered while covering the 2010 Wenger Patagonian Expedition Race. As it turned out the weather was some of the coldest ever experienced for the race. And the wind, nicknamed la Escoba de Dios, which means “the broom of God”, was howling pretty much the entire race. With gusts upwards of 80 mph, the racers had to walk their bikes through several sections of the race. Even standing up on some of the higher passes in the Cordillera Darwin was difficult. The wind began to play with our mental state. Even when you got out of the wind for just a moment you could still feel it and hear it in your head. Other than the wind and the cold, this year’s race was at least blessed with decent weather. It only rained a few days, but it did snow over a foot one evening making trekking difficult. Even so, I’ll take cold and snow any day over rain.

This year’s race featured some rough terrain as you might expect. After the first few “warm-up” sections the racers took on a 178 km (111 mile) mountain bike ride in fierce winds, then picked up their gear and hiked through a 120 km (75 mile) trekking stage, only then to be greeted with a 46 km (29mile) sea kayak across the ice cold waters of the Beagle Channel. While these three sections were the “meat” of the race, by the time the teams hit the last trekking section on Isla Navarino there were still four teams within 2 hours of each other and second place was up for grabs. The main 120 km trekking section in the Cordillera Darwin this year was the hardest and longest trekking section ever in race history but it felt pretty tame compared to last years “forest of death”, which included climbing under and over thorny trees while having to deal with sideways rain and poor footing.

For the second year in a row Team Helly Hansen-Prunesco, who also won the adventure racing world championships in 2009, ended up winning the race by almost a full day ahead of the competition. In fact they were so fast that they had to bypass some of the checkpoints because they weren’t even set up yet. They are indeed superhuman and masters at ignoring pain. My congratulations to them on a superb accomplishment.

While I did do a fair bit of hiking this year in the trekking sections I was mercifully airlifted out by helicopter and spent several hours shooting from the air. This year’s race went over some huge passes in the mighty Cordillera Darwin, a.k.a. the Darwin Range. The racers also had to deal with huge swaths of turba, a sponge like ground covering that sucks you in up to your ankles or sometimes up to your waist. Either way you are wet from the waist down. And if the turba didn’t get you then the river crossings would surely keep you moist. In fact, some teams, depending on when they arrived at certain rivers had to swim across them because they were so deep. Most stripped down to bare skin to avoid soaking all of their clothing in the glacier fed rivers.

The race organizers had also contracted Hatch Entertainment to produce a video of the race – and I have to say those guys were shooting around the clock and worked their asses off. From what little I saw of their footage they should have an amazing show. The aerial footage in particular was stunning – I know because I was sitting behind the aerial cameraman contracted by Hatch, as he shot out the open door of the helicopter. Of course, I’ll keep you posted when that airs later this summer or fall.

All in all, this years race was a grand adventure just like last years epic. There weren’t any close calls this year. No teams almost died (a good thing) and even though loads of racers and some journalists were hobbling around after the race, no one was seriously injured or required a hospital stay like previous years. I have to say a huge thank you to Ann and Stjepan who invited me back this year (my third year down there) and also to Wenger who is the main sponsor of the race.

Of course, I’ll have a more extensive write up on the race in the next issue of my newsletter and will post an image gallery on my website here as soon as possible. Stay tuned…

Going to Extremes on

Nikon USA has published an article on what you can learn from an adventure photographer titled Going to Extremes on the Nikon USA website in the Learn and Explore section. The article includes twelve images shot digitally with Nikon equipment and also talks about my recent experiences shooting surfing for my book Adventure Photography: Capturing the World of Outdoor Sports.One specific quote from the article really caught my attention:

"...when we talked to him recently we wondered how he'd approached what was for him an entirely new area of sports activity (i.e. Surfing). His answer made us realize that no matter what our photo interests, there's something to be learned from the techniques and methods of the extreme sports shooter."

As always, it is an honor to work with Nikon and see my images on their website and in the mix. My thanks to Nikon USA.

Manfrotto Distribution

Last week I had the honor of spending three days with the folks at Manfrotto Distribution (Formerly known as Bogen Imaging). They invited me out to their corporate annual sales meeting do a mini workshop with their reps and also as a keynote speaker. All in all it was a fantastic three days of talking about gear, photography and camaraderie. Manfrotto distributes a wide array of photo gear including such iconic brands as Gitzo tripods, Elinchrom strobes, Manfrotto Tripods, Avenger light stands and grip gear as well as Lastolite, Gossen, Datacolor, Lite Panels and many other fine brands. I have to say thank you specifically to David Fisher and Mark Astmann for bringing me out.

For the mini-workshop, with the Manfrotto reps, we went to the Bathhouse Studios in New York City. This is the Eddie Adam's Studio and it was quite spectacular. Manfrotto had lined up three belly dancers for us to shoot and they were an absolute pleasure to work with. I used a 6x7 foot white Hilite background for the images you see here, along with Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed and Ranger Quadra strobes. We had everything under the sun it felt like at the workshop - octabanks, beauty dishes, reflectors, every Elinchrom strobe they make, Lite Panels (very cool), light meters, Spyder 3 calibration equipment and well, you get the point. It was an orgy of gear. Of course as you might expect, I will have some new equipment reviews in the next few issues of the newsletter. Stay tuned for more on that.

Manfrotto also brought out Stacy Pearsall, a combat photographer, as well and it was a blast swapping stories with her. I must say this was the first time my stories seemed "casual". Stacy has been through a lot and served on three tours in Iraq, being injured twice as a combat photographer. And her images are stunning. Check out her website if you have some time.