It’s been a Crazy, Busy Summer . . .

 Photographing Selenite Crystal Pedestals, Lake Otero, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico 2016 Photograph by Tye Hardison

Photographing Selenite Crystal Pedestals, Lake Otero, White Sands National Monument, New Mexico 2016 Photograph by Tye Hardison

It’s been a crazy busy summer that’s for sure. Work on Craig’s upcoming White Sands book, several private workshops, the creation of a new 2017 calendar (you’re gonna love these!), preparing for our upcoming workshop in Iceland and spending a little time with family and friends, have all made this summer rich and full and rewarding. How was your summer?

Anyway, the newsletter team is back on the job and we’re excited to be reaching out to you again. Here at Eloquent Light we have been planning some exciting things for 2017 including a return trip to incredible Iceland, a new photo workshop in beautiful Tuscany, and of course some of your favorite workshops here in New Mexico too. We will be posting our 2017 schedule in October.

Hoping you can join us,

Cindy Lane, Director of Karmic Activity
Eloquent Light Photography Workshops




I see these ways that photography has changed my life . . .

Suzanne Teegarden 0416lightexerciseedit

We love these insights into life and image making by photographer Suzanne Teegarden:

Each week the photography workshop I’m attending asks us to write something. Last week I wrote about the ways photography has changed my life.

I incessantly check the weather report – daily reports, hourly reports, sunrise, sunset, high tides, low tides.
I find money on the street – This has been a boon to the vendors of Spare Change since I assume unclaimed money on the sidewalk belongs to them.
I am using a backpack again for the first time in forty years
Like the Eskimos and snow, my vocabulary for light has expanded
My friends wonder why I get up so early – I wonder why they would miss the sunrise.
I look forward to getting lost in the woods.
I know more names and habits of birds, insects, and flowers.
I now walk the places I used to run.
I study the work of famous photographers to see how their pictures differ from mine – then feel pretentious for making such comparisons.
I see new places
I re-see familiar places
I see, I see, I see.

reprinted with permission



Politte-EL Colorful Hills

It was rewarding to share the landscape of northern New Mexico with photographer Janet Politte and her daughter Caitlin during our recent Photographing the Land of Georgia O’Keeffe Workshop. They both made so many beautiful images during their time with us and were so much fun to work with. We thank Janet for sending a selection of her favorite images along with these kind words about her time with us:

My daughter and I attended the “Photographing the Land of Georgia O’Keeffe” workshop with Eloquent Light Photography Workshops this past May. I found the workshop online through a Google search, took a chance and signed up for it based on the online description.

I’m so very glad that I signed-up because the workshop exceeded my expectations. Not only did we receive excellent individualized instruction from photographers Craig Varjabedian and Tye Hardison we got to see and photograph an insider’s view of New Mexico that would not have been available to us without Craig and Tye.

Eloquent Light is definitely a first class operation and I would recommend them whole-heartedly to anyone looking for a rewarding photography workshop.

–Janet M. Politte

Politte-EL road in canyon

Politte-EL Cross over Fireplace

Politte-Eloquent Light Rock




Underneath a Luminous New Mexico Sky


One witnesses something miraculous while sitting beneath a luminous New Mexico night sky, particularly at White Sands National Monument. As the sun slowly sinks in the west and night falls, billions of stars, like jewels, magically appear in the ever darkening sky. And the Milky Way too, which some Chinese philosophers refer to as the “River of Heaven,” eventually reveals itself. I made this photograph of a gypsum Sumac Pedestal underneath a magnificent night sky; the landform illuminated with a little help from a Nikon flash. What an incredible night indeed.

–Craig Varjabedian

Photograph was taken with a Nikon D810 using a Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED Lens on a Really Right Stuff TVC24L Versa Series 2 tripod with a BH40 bullhead with panning clamp. The capture was exposed for 20 sec. at f/4.0 at an ISO of 2500. The RAW file was developed in Adobe Camera Raw and Macphun’s excellent Noiseless plugin was used to reduce noise in the image.


TYE’S TIPS: Whites and Blacks and Exposure Adjustment

When making basic adjustments in the Development module in Lightroom, should I adjust the Exposure first or set the Whites and Blacks?

Short Answer:
Assuming you have a properly exposed image to begin with, when I start to edit a photo in Lightroom’s Development module I prefer to set the Whites and Blacks first before making changes to the other luminance adjustments or contrast. In most photographs there are areas that are almost pure white as well as parts that are pure black. With a few exceptions, knowing what part of the image is clipping in the whites and blacks will help adjust exposure and contrast.

Long Answer:
Look at almost every photograph and you’ll find areas that are pure white or black. Look at the sun-lit edges of clouds or the deep shadows in dense foliage or a rock formation, and you will notice there will be small areas within every scene with very little detail where the whites and blacks are clipped.

Starting Image - Blacks and WhitesBefore we jump into how to set the whites and blacks let’s first look at the histogram.  As you hover your mouse over the histogram in the Development module for Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw for Photoshop, you’ll notice the mouse changes to a double arrow, and there are sections of the histogram that are highlighted and below the names of the sliders that adjusted that range of luminance from blacks, shadows, exposure, highlights and whites.  What’s important to understand is the luminance range each slider represents and how it works.  Exposure shown to cover the mid-tone luminance values on the histogram will actually shift the entire image from lighter to darker.  Shadows and Highlights cover the range between the mid-tones and the shadows or highlights, but not to the far ends of the histogram.  While these two adjustments are great for recovering shadows and highlights, they will also reduce contrast in the image, making the image flat, because the adjustments apply more to mid-tone luminance values.

Now look at the Blacks and Whites sliders and how they are different. As you move the sliders you’ll notice that more of the histogram moves compared to the shadows and highlights, they cover a much wider range of luminance values, but it’s the far ends of the histogram or the extreme ends of the luminance ranges that are important. When I adjust the blacks and whites I look for the areas of the image that would be almost pure black, the deep shadows in the rocks that have no detail, and the same for the highlights. So my adjustments are to make the blacks darker and the whites brighter to find the settings where parts of the image start to clip. This will also increase contrast in the image because the mid-tones in the image are now spread over a wider luminance range. Once the blacks and whites are set then I fine-tune the exposure, shadows, highlight sliders and contrast if needed.

Adjusting the WhitesAdjusting the BlacksIt’s easy to set the Whites and Blacks in the development module in Lightroom or Adobe Camera Raw, and to know where and how much information is being clipped.  When you move the slider for any of the luminance adjustments you need to hold down the ALT key on a PC or OPTION key on a Mac, the image on the screen will change to all black or white, depending on the slider.  As you move the slider and hold down the ALT or OPTION Key, in the case of the Whites, to the right to increase the whites, areas of the image will start to change from black, no clipping, to white, or color like red or yellow, which indicates that area is starting to clip. Then it’s the same process for the Blacks where you look for parts of the image that are in deep shadow.

Final Image-Blacks and Whites

A final note.  If you are starting with a photograph that is over- or under-exposed by more than a couple of stops you will need to adjust exposure first.  Also if the white balance is way off, too blue or yellow, that first will affect the overall exposure and where the blacks and whites start to clip, so you may need to correct the white balance first.



Photographs by Workshop Participant James Fullerton


It was a pleasure to share White Sands National Monument with James Fullerton. A veterinarian by training and a photographer by passion, James made many beautiful images of this incredible place during his time with us. We thank Jim for sending along a few images as well these kind words about his experience.

White Sands National Monument; a vast area of continuous white dunes, surprising plants and beautiful light. It is easy to get lost in its beauty and easy to find yourself physically lost too. The light continuously changes the pattern and perception of the distance in the dunes.

Craig has a passion for photography, decades of experience and a willingness to share his knowledge with others. He loves the White Sands of New Mexico. His Eloquent Light Photography Workshop at White Sands was excellent. A small group gave all of us access to Craig. He was there to answer questions and to lead us to the best spots at the best light. Tye, his assistant, was there to lend advice, take photos of the group and make sure that we didn’t lose ourselves in the dunes.

Craig is a great guy and makes friends with a smile and a handshake. He is continuously in search of making the workshop the best experience possible. He succeeded. I hope to go on more trips with Eloquent Light in the future.

–James Fullerton