Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hot Air Balloon Adventure

West Temple From Above
A photo my brother Steve took of us taking off
Steiger, The Balloon Captain
It's not every day you get to go up in a hot air balloon, even less likely over one of the most rugged beautiful landscapes in the world. Recently I was fortunate to experience such an adventure with one of the most adventurous balloon pilots out there, Steiger. It was a surreal journey floating over the landscape I've been studying from the ground for the past 10 years, always trying to show it in a new and unique perspective so naturally I was drawn to the idea of seeing Zion from above.  The two journeys I did were just outside the park taking off at the mouth of the canyon and landing one time up on Gooseberry Mesa and the next in Colorado City. Check out Steiger's website for more information regarding going up on a hot air balloon.

End of Year Sale

From now until the End of the Year I will be doing free shipping within the 48 states on anything over $100! This includes orders online or at the gallery. Also, if you are in Springdale Thanksgiving Week I have a variety of pictures on sale as I make room for some of my newer photographs on the wall. See you around! - David

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rafting through the Grand Canyon

The hot sun glared in my face as I turned to look back from the front of the small raft. There were three of us on the raft and we were all focused on the tumultuous river in front of us, scanning for the tell tale signs of the upcoming rapid, Lava Falls Rapid. Our guide was straining with the oars, trying to head us over to the left bank of the river, but our raft wouldn’t budge. We all seemed to realize at the same moment that we were too late in turning and our future was no longer in our hands.

Lava Falls Rapid is the most dangerous rapid to maneuver through the Grand Canyon, particularly a section called the Lava Ledge Hole. Few are able to go through the Lava Ledge Hole and live to tell about it. Of course, as chance would have it, I was in the raft that would hit the Ledge Hole dead center. With barely a moment to take a quick breath we were tossed to our fate like rag dolls in a washing machine. The churning water chewed us alive as we were repeatedly dunked in the water, only to be completely sucked under and shot out further down river. It was humbling, to say the least. Obviously, I survived. I was told when I was pulled out of the river I was gray. I only remember thinking, "I’m alive", and then I thought about all my camera equipment. Gratefully, my cameras were on a different raft and made it through untouched.

Rafting 279 miles on a river is an experience of a lifetime. Chores are second nature, the absence of the digital world not as glaring, and your life becomes in tune with the pulse of the river and the landscape. Mornings consist of a quick stretch of the legs on a hike, maybe a few shots of the sunrise and breakfast. Packing up is organized and efficient. Then, there is the river, all day, everyday. A few dips in the slower moving sections, and focused scanning on quicker rapid days. But, throughout it all there is the never ending conversations. You leave knowing not only yourself better, but everyone else in the group. The end of the day on the river begins with the placement of the groover, the portable toilet. I am quite proud to be awarded the most scenic toilet spot on the whole trip. Dinner was a variety of gourmet dishes. Don’t tell my wife, but I think I ate better on the river than at home. Though, near the end, the food became a soupy mess in the coolers.

Day to day life was pleasantly rhythmic, but knowing at one time John Muir, Thomas Moran, and numerous other adventurers once roamed the Grand Canyon was truly exciting. I happened upon an old campsite littered with cowboy junk that once belonged to the famous river scout, William Bass. Bass was known for guiding Muir and Moran throughout the Grand Canyon. I saw the ancient ruins of the Anasazi on the cliffs above and the amazing death defying heights where they lived. I loved looking at the many colorful layers of the sandstone and feeling as if I was rafting through time.

History was wonderful to see firsthand and there is so much I want learn of how the Colorado River effected the history of the American West. But, the landscapes of the Grand Canyon are what really occupied my mind throughout my adventure. The ever changing color of the river, the brilliant blue sky, and the sheer redrock cliffs kept me engaged in my surroundings. Sunrises and sunsets were beautiful, I was spellbound watching the redrock come alive as the sun illuminated the cliffs in the morning. I loved watching the clear water thunder out of the springs. I was entranced. Although I don't know when I will raft the Colorado River again, I look forward to my next trip through the Grand Canyon.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In the field: Bryce Canyon National Park

David has been busy the last couple months taking pictures in the Grand Canyon National Park, Wasatch Mountains, Grand Teton National Park, and most recently in Bryce Canyon National Park. This picture is a view from David's camera taken today that he just emailed over!

Friday, July 8, 2011

On the River

A quick peek of David on the river in the Grand Canyon. Just wanted to update that he made it out alive and he has lots of pictures to share. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers out there in the world.
 I am so thankful that my daughter has an amazing father to help guide her through life. 
I love watching the interaction of father and daughter and the special bond they
are developing together. David is still rafting down the Grand Canyon and so
is missing Fathers Day today, but I know he is thinking of his daughter today.
Happy Fathers Day, David, we love you!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rafting the Grand Canyon

The fun part of being a Landscape Photographer is getting out and taking pictures. David is currently rafting down the Grand Canyon snapping away at the unbelievable landscape on his 21 day journey. He just sent me this picture as he was loading his numerous photography bags onto his raft. Can't wait to see what he comes out with, and to share with all of you his new photographs! 

Grand Canyon... note this was taken with an Android phone.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Gallery Party May 21st!

Gallery Party

Saturday, May 21st


801 Zion Park Blvd
Springdale, UT 84767

We will be having two of our favorite musicians
performing at the party, Dave Tate and Victoria Lagerstrom!
Click here to visit their website.

We hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Elite Immortal

Anyone who has visited the gallery recently will have noticed the Clik Elite photography bags that we showcase in our gallery. David personally uses the Pro Elite Photography bag as his primary photo backpack.

We just received a shipment of the 2011 line, and they are awesome! Each of the bags are well thought out with quality material and great organizational potential. They are sure to please the most discerning photographers.

Something fun is David was chosen to be part of the "Elite Immortal"  group of photographers featured in the 2011 catalog and on their website. Stop by the gallery to check out the latest bags and pick up the 2011 Click Elite catalog.

David J. West
Photo by Jim Speth

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adopt a bighorn.

Bighorn 1

Bighorn 2

Bighorn 3
 I have decided to donate 100% of the profits from the first sale of each of these new Bighorn images to the Adopt a Bighorn program which is designed to protect Zions Desert Bighorn Sheep. Adopt A Bighorn

Zion is still open

Zion is still open. As of 8:00pm MST 4/8/11. 

 Vehicles are still allowed in Zion National Park.

Road Closed signs... are these for closing the park?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Looking back and Giving back

  My travels awhile back to the Middle Eastern countries were mostly peaceful, until I stayed in Northern Israel and suddenly the border with Lebanon became a war zone. The above photograph is one I took while in Northern Israel, the men were burning tires to protest Israel's ongoing war with Hezzbollah. Staying in a bomb shelter for a few days was an experience I don't want to repeat, yet many people have to live with this on and off their whole life. I'm not about to take sides or try to explain the conflict, to be honest wars in the Middle East confuse me. All I know is that many innocent people suffer, people that want nothing to do with war at all.

Burning tires blocking traffic

  As a professional landscape photographer I feel I'm only suppose to show beautiful scenes of Mother Nature, yet as I look back through my old slide film from trips I've taken over the years I see I was also inspired by people along the way. There was even a time I daydreamed about being a photojournalist traveling the world covering stories, like war and innocent people dying, and the front lines of disease and poverty. I guess you can say I wanted to save the world through my photography, or at least make it a better place by exposing the world's most pressing humanitarian needs.
  Yet, in a way I do help make the world a better place by creating art through which people feel uplifted and by teaching others how to do the same. As an artist and also a citizen of the world I feel it is important to know what is going on in the world around me. I feel grateful that my life with Landscape Photography as well as with my family and friends is peaceful. When I look back at my past slides I am reminded of how I got to where I am today, and where I want to be tomorrow. I look forward to new travels and sharing images from past journeys.

Zambian Grocery Store
My time spent in Zambia and Mozambique was amazing. Although I've seen the worst of what poverty and disease can do, I've also witnessed true happiness in people being content with nothing but food, water, shelter and each other.

Zambian family
Here's a link to an organization we have supported- This company does humanitarian work all over the world with an emphasis on development and education.

Snow Dreams
Here are a couple other organizations we like to support.
These two organizations help protect the landscapes I've come to love.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Bad Weather = Good Pictures, Sometimes.

 Dusting of Snow
 A light dusting of snow coats the foreground while low clouds linger below the rim of the canyon.

Bad weather, or what some refer to as bad weather is actually good weather for landscape photographers seeking to stand out from the crowd. Good landscape images can also be made without a cloud in the sky, but clouds and moisture help add drama and a distinct mood. Although every storm I venture out into may not result in an image, at least I get some exercise and fresh air. Many times I find myself soaking wet from head to toe, or shivering cold waiting for an image in my minds eye that never materializes. It's OK though, that just means I get to return to the same beautiful spot and try again when the next storm rolls in. Both of these images are taken with my H4D.

Flooded Trail
Taken along the East Rim Trail during the recent torrential Rain storm, this image shows the trail covered by flood water. To get here during the storm was an adventure. I had to cross a narrow space where the water ran deep, it felt like I would be washed away into the canyon with one wrong move. When I came to the deep section I debated on turning around and calling it a day on this trail, but my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to wade through it. I wanted to see what was further up the canyon. When I reached the top of the east rim it was covered in a dense fog and the image I imagined was nowhere to be found, so I came back to this location and composed the image you see here. I've hiked this trail many times and never have I seen it flood like this.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Film or Digital?

Snow Covered Court of the Patriarchs

Camera- Hasselblad H4D40, Lens- HCD 35-90mm Lens @ 35. Exposure- 1/30 sec @f-27- ISO 100. It consists of 5 images, each a 40 megapixel image taken with the same exposure merged together in Photo Shop, making it a 200 megapixel image.

I'm often asked whether I shoot digital or film, the answer is both. Lately, I've been shooting with my newest camera, a Hasselblad H4D40. It has a 40-mega pixel medium format sensor that produces unbeatable image quality. Yet, I also cant seem to pull myself away from film, even though there is no doubt digital technology is stunning. As a professional, I feel Its important to know where photography came from and to where its going. There is nothing to compare with a perfectly exposed piece of transparency film and the way it seems to jump out off the light box. The image below was taken with my Linhof 6x17 film camera, which produces a piece of film about 2x7 inches. The film is then professionally scanned. An Imacon or Tango Drum scanner creates a ultra high resolution digital image from the original transparency. Is film or digital better than the other? It depends on whom you ask. You can come to my gallery and see they are both capable of producing large high quality photographs with exquisite detail,  especially when higher end lenses and cameras are used.

Wall Street

For this classic location in the Narrows of Zion, I wanted to expose it in a unique way I've never seen before and show off the steep- canyon walls and the Virgin River below so I chose my Linhof Technorama 617. The lens used was a 72mm Schneider Super Angulon XLS. Exposure was 14 seconds at f-32 on Fuji Velvia ISO100 Film.


Camera- Linhof Technorama 617, Lens- 72mm Schneider Super Angulon XLS. Exposure not recorded. Film- Fuji Velvia 100. Photographs like this never cease to amaze me when I see a landscape so beautiful it's able to draw my eye away from such an epic sky.

Sandstone Falls

Camera- Hasselblad H4D40, Lens- HCD 35-90mm @35,  Exposure- 32 seconds @ f-27 ISO 100
In this image I wanted to make you feel as though you can touch the sandstone wall and here the water rushing by. To achieve this, I composed the image close to the canyon wall and set my aperture to allow for a sharp foreground and background. The small aperture opening also enabled me to create a longer exposure making the water appear silky. The dynamic composition of water and stone help pull you into the image.