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From Behind the Lens: My Work Consumes Me . . .

My work consumes me. There are few moments in my life when I am not thinking about pictures, processing and printing pictures, studying pictures made by others or working on a new project I want to pursue. To actually be consumed by my work, to be completely obsessed with it and incomplete without it, is the best way I know to describe my creative life. I can’t imagine it being any other way.

Author Terry Brooks said it best when he wrote, “I am incomplete without my work. I am so closely bound to it, so much identified by it, that without it I think I would crumble into dust and drift away.”

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens
Filter: B+W XS-Pro HTC Kaesemann Circular Polarizer
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod with BH-40 LR Ballhead
Processing: Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop
Lighting: Overcast Diffused Natural Light
Photographer: Craig Varjabedian

Check out our White Sands Workshop

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In the Bag: Pancro Professional Lens Cleaner

Photography isn’t always a clean business. Unless you’re shooting in a studio or indoors, dust, mist, mud, rain, sea spray, etc. can easily get on your lens. And don’t forget how easily your fingers can smudge your lens too. So of course you gotta clean it right?!

When it comes to lens cleaning fluid, there are many options. I’ve tried lots of potions to get my lens clean and Pancro Professional Lens Cleaner is by far the best I have ever used. I discovered this product at a movie equipment rental house in Hollywood several years ago and purchased a bottle to try out. Well let me tell you it works! No streaks . . . no smudges and simply a clean lens. What more could you ask?

I have been purchasing Pancro at Filmtools in Hollywood though I just discovered that B&H is carrying it now.

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Breathe deep…

There is something about this little church in Budir Iceland that intrigues and beguiles. On the overcast day that I made this picture, I kept hearing in my mind a line from a poem at the end of “Nights in White Satin,” a song by the Moody Blues. Written by the band’s drummer Graeme Edge, it beckons: “Breathe deep the gathering gloom, Watch lights fade from every room . . .”

With care, I finished the image out in Photoshop to evoke that feeling.

Camera: Nikon D810
Lens: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod with BH-40 LR Ballhead
Processing: Adobe Camera RAW and Photoshop
Lighting: Overcast Diffused Natural Light
Photographer: Craig Varjabedian

Check out our Iceland Workshop

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Sponsor Shout-Out: Think Tank Hydrophobia

Keep shooting in the rain, snow or blowing sand with the Think Tank Hydrophobia 70-200 advanced rain cover for your DSLR. You’ll have peace of mind knowing you can capture the moment regardless of the weather while keeping your gear safe and dry. Hydrophobia covers also allow you to look through your camera’s optical viewfinder or LCD!

While specifically designed for the Canon and Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 lenses, the Hydrophobia 70-200 does work well with other lenses such as the Canon 100-400 and Nikon 80-400. These covers are a must when photographing in wet situations. Both Craig and Tye used them while photographing waterfalls during last year’s Magic of Iceland workshop.


Learn more about Hydrophobia

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Join us at White Sands and stay for the Bisti

We specifically planned our White Sands and Bisti workshops to fall sequentially on the schedule. Sign up for White Sands and join us the following week at the Bisti Badlands.

White Sands

“Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated.”
—Terry Pratchett, from the book Jingo

Rising from the heart of the Tularosa Basin is one of the world’s great natural wonders – the glistening White Sands of New Mexico. Great wave-like dunes of gypsum sand have engulfed 275 square miles of desert, creating the world’s largest gypsum dunefield.

In this dynamic photography workshop, you will explore this magnificent landscape with award-winning photographer Craig Varjabedian, experiencing the legendary allure of rolling sand dunes and the stark beauty of this remarkable landscape. The harsh dichotomy of earth and sky makes the almost surreal beauty of White Sands a unique and impressive treasure, not only to witness but also to photograph.

Learn about the White Sands Landscape workshop.

The Bisti Badlands

Hidden away in the Four Corners region of New Mexico lie the Bisti Badlands and the De-Na-Zin Wilderness. For three days you can explore this 45,000 acre desert wilderness area that contains the eroded remains of an ancient inland sea with photographer Tye Hardison.

The Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness is a rolling landscape of badlands with some of the most unusual scenery in the Four Corners Region. Time and natural elements have etched a fantastic world of strange rock formations made of interbedded sandstone, shale, mudstone, coal, and silt. The weathering of the sandstone forms hoodoos—weathered rock in shapes of pinnacles, spires, cap rocks, and other unusual forms.

Learn about the Photographing the Bisti Badlands workshop.

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In the Bag: 4V Design SELLA Camera Strap

For the photographer who has everything . . .

I received one of these as a gift from our workshop manager Cindy Lane. This is perhaps the most beautiful camera strap I have ever owned. It holds my camera securely with a little style without advertising “EXPENSIVE CAMERA HERE” as many camera straps do.

I received the Sella model, a Professional Leather strap that combines beauty, function and comfort. The scented Tuscany Leather and sleek Italian Design hide unique technical solutions. The rich Slow-Memory foam padding, the “ultra-Grip” finishing and the exclusive Wide-V shape guarantee a surprising comfort. The ingenious adjustment system offers up to 13-inches of length range for a great versatility. The solid brass roller buckle adds an extra touch of quality and durability. 4V Design straps are in fact designed to last decades, not months. It is simply beautiful.

Cindy ordered mine directly from the company in Italy however select 4V Design camera straps are available here in the US at B&H Photo. as well at Amazon.