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Moab Photoscape: Big Love
By Tom Till

Tom TillIf I could mention one key to successful landscape photography what would it be? Well, a tripod is near the top. Many times people have spent so much money on their camera gear that they’re tapped out when it comes to buying the tripod. They purchase a cheap, difficult to use tripod and this furthers their desire to avoid the darn things. I see it my workshops all the time. A photographer will have a $3,000 lens and a ten cent tripod, which is exactly the opposite of the way things should go. Because we work so often in low light, use stopped down apertures which further cut the light, and like crisp, sharp images, a good tripod is vital.

Another top tip, this time regarding composition, is simplicity. The more simple you can make your compositions, the better. Avoid uninteresting foregrounds, and extra “stuff” that doesn’t work toward the goal of your image. Telling a short, simple story can also lead to better images, especially if you remove everything in the composition that doesn’t work with your simple narrative. These stories can be things like: “The seasons are changing”, “the shapes of the clouds mirror shapes below”, “the storm light has created a red that is awesome..” You get the idea--simple stories without any frills or additives.

Tom TillThese tips and many more are very important, but I promised to divulge the most important and used suspense to hopefully keep you interested. It’s pretty simple. John Lennon said it best, “All You Need is Love.” If you fall in love with the landscapes you are shooting your images will automatically get better. Most photographers who start to shoot nature and landscape imagery have at least the seed of this feeling. It’s not like loving your family or your dog necessarily, but it’s a very human to have strong feelings about the beauty of the land and a desire to convey that feeling to others through photography. Honestly, if you don’t have these emotions, maybe outdoor photography is not for you. But if you do, the times when everything falls into place and it almost feels as if the landscape wants to have its picture taken are magical moments that you will want to experience again and again.

All Those Pastel Paintings at Gallery Moab
By Kathy Grossman

Walk into Gallery Moab, and you will see many works of pastel on the walls. Some visitors have commented that they’ve never seen so many pastel works in a gallery as they have here in Moab.

Gallery MoabUsed since the Renaissance, pastels gained considerable popularity in the 18th century, when a number of notable artists made pastel their primary medium. Pastel is not chalk. Pastel is an art medium of pure powdered pigments ground into a paste with water and a gum binder, then rolled or pressed into sticks. Pastel works are called “paintings”, though the “paint” is dry pastel. Pigments used in pastels are the same as those used to produce all colored art media, including oil paints, so the color effect of pastels is closer to natural dry pigments than that of any other process. Soft pastels are the most widely used form of pastel with a higher proportion of pigment and less binder, resulting in brighter colors.

Pastel techniques can be challenging since the medium is blended directly on the working surface, and, unlike oil paint or acrylics, colors are usually not mixed or tested on a palette before applying. Pastel errors and changes also cannot be covered or painted out the way a paint error might be. A pastel artist usually “erases” by lifting the pigment from an area with a kneaded eraser. However, pastels are easy to sketch and paint with en plein air (painting outdoors on location), with straightforward packing and cleanups. Even if a plein air artist is caught in a sudden Colorado Plateau thunderstorm, closing the pastel box and folding up a lightweight travel easel and tripod can be done in minutes.

Gallery MoabAnother reason Gallery Moab has so many pastel works is because of local artist and teacher, J.C.Borders. His local group and individual classes have inspired many local artists- even those who had never picked up a pastel stick before. Borders uses both hard and soft pastels for his own work, saying, “Pastels” ease of handling, deep colors, and light weight and versatility in the outdoors have always drawn me to use them for my landscapes.”

Come in to browse Gallery Moab, open every day but Tuesday, 1 to 9 p.m., and seek out the works by Moab’s pastelists. Take home one – or several! – of our gallery’s unique pastel works for your home, office, or workplace.

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