Workshops bring a lot of different photographers together for a brief period of time. We photograph together, learn together, eat and drink together, laugh together, and then we part and go our separate ways. But hopefully each participant continues to work to improve their craft. As many of us stay in touch with those we have met via Instagram, Facebook, etc, we have the chance to follow along and stay abreast of our photography pursuits! As a someone who teaches photography, it is particularly rewarding to be able to observe this daily or weekly sharing of photography on the various social platforms. While the workshop environment does give each person a chance to share work during critiques and reviews, it is limited.
The FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER GALLERY will present the work of photographers from past "Leica in the Landscape " workshops, as well as anyone attending the new AMERICAN WEST WORKSHOPS. Here you will have the opportunity to share your landscape photography with all past workshop participants and other website viewers in a more "permanent" way. Unlike social media posts, your photography will be exhibited for a period of 3 months . Links to your website, or social media accounts will also be posted. Any number of photographs up to 25 are accepted as long as they have some relationship to the "landscape". No other restrictions will apply. Please contact me below if you are interested in joining the gallery presentation and I will provide you with more information.
Although new, American West Workshops is currently tracking almost 400 viewers every month. It is my hope that this audience can provide you with another way to share your work in a more comprehensive way with the photography community.
I met "Wally ", as he likes to be called , for the first time in California's Point Reyes National Seashore while leading a "Leica in the Landscape" workshop. This was my first time leading a workshop and we had a large group of 14 photographers. Nevertheless, Wally's method of working stood out among the many Leica users as he was about the only one who took every single photograph with his Nikon locked down on a tripod, while most others photographed in a "looser" , handheld, Leica street style. Additionally Wally carried a great deal of gear ! As a long time large format user I immediately took note ! Several years later Wally attended another workshop in Utah's Zion Park. On this trip, with only about 6 photographers, I became quite aware that Wally was prepared for any photographic subject. Whether climbing up sandstone slopes, , walking down the bolder strewn Virgin River, or backpacking trails, Wally generally carried 2 Nikon bodies, a large zoom, a 300 mm, extenders, extra batteries, 2-3 tilt shift lenses, and gosh knows what else. I was impressed.
Concerned about all the weight Wally shlepped around, I encourage him to go light and take only one camera and lens, be free, just like me !! Wally would have nothing of it...if he needed a certain lens to express his vision, he darn well better have it with him .
A year later Wally joined another of my workshops, this time in the beautiful Eastern Sierra's for the fall color. Enticed by the colorful Aspens around June Lake Loop, we took the Hummer up the dirt road off 158 to the Parker Lake hiking trail. This is about a 5 mile round trip trail maybe going up 500 feet in elevation to reach the lake. It was a very rocky path at times, but I eased up easily with my one small camera and lens. Behind me , Wally, carrying his typical knapsack full of gear, steadily progressed along. My earlier attempts to persuade him to lighten his load before the hike, especially after hearing how his knees were bothering him, again failed to deter his approach. This hike was longer than any of us thought it would be and the lake proved a disappointment . Wally and I had set up for one close up of leaves on our return , so we lagged behind the others in returning back to the Hummer.
The hike was much easier returning , but my gear laden guest was lagging behind while navigating the rocky trail with the Nikon store on his back. We finally made it back to the Hummer at sundown, tired, but feeling satisfied with our efforts. I think I was more relieved then Wally to see him finally lighten his load as he placed his gear next to the H3. It was here I learned exactly what some people are capable of enduring. Attempting to offer a gesture of kindness I shouted out, "here Wally, let me help you get that pack into the H3". What a gentlemen ! As I reached down to sling it up into the seat my good intentions were emphatically rebuked. I couldn't pick the darn thing more than 2 feet up off the ground ! It had to have weighed no less than 50 pounds ! After several huffing and puffing attempts I did manage to get it stowed away, but to this this day I still cant get over it the weight Wally was carrying on his back. I'd have to drag the dang thing on the ground just to move it 2 feet ! My large format rig never exceeded 20 pounds and I quit that gear in my 50's due to the weight..needless to say, I was really impressed with his effort now. !
Well I learned a lot about Wally after that.. He was not to be deterred. He was going to do things his way, and he was going to make the best photograph, with the right gear whenever he could. My attempts for him be more spontaneous fell on deaf ears. And its a dam good thing too, because Wally turned out to be one fine photographer and without too much interference from me!
After knowing him for 6 years now, through about 5 workshops together, the last one in Taos, NM, and gladly hearing that he made it through 2 knee replacement operations in 2018, Im very happy to be able to present some of his hard earned photographs to you on the FEATURED PHOTOGRAPHER page. . I hope the story of his dedication to craft, and determination to optimum results, is inspiring. People don't often realize the work that goes into creating beautiful landscape photography. It's a lot of sweat and hardship at times. But thankfully , due to Wally's perseverance to create art, we have the photographs ! I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Thank you Wally for bringing us this beauty through your eyes. Keep up the great work !
While Wally doesn't currently have a website He may be reached at his INSTAGRAM page.."wallyreichert"....or via E-MAIL <email@example.com> .