Nevada Photo Tours
January – February 2017
Learn to shoot the Silver State through the eyes of professional photographers.
SERIES COMPILED BY KIPPY S. SPILKER
The bacon wave at Valley of Fire State Park. A sunset at Lake Tahoe’s Bonsai rock. The International Car Forest of the Last Church in Goldfield. Iconic images are everywhere in Nevada, but capturing them in photos can be tricky. Taking a photo tour with a professional photographer can bring it all into focus. This year, we’ll highlight some of the photographers offering tours and workshops across Nevada. If you take a tour or workshop, let them know you read about them in Nevada Magazine, and get ready to take some amazing photos of your own.
Larry P. Burton, Jr., in his own words
I moved to Ruby Valley in 1988 and started working part-time as a guide for Hidden Lake Outfitters in 1990. Prior to that I worked in the Owens Valley near Bishop, Calif., as a part-time guide for professional photographers helping them find wildlife. I retired from the Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW) in 2008 and started my business, Outdoor Adventures, in order to put my years of guide service to work with an emphasis on photography.
As a teenager, I was taking pictures with an assortment of point-and-shoot film cameras. My first “real” camera was a Nikon 35mm SLR. I was fortunate to meet several professionals along the way who mentored me as I guided them.
When I moved to Nevada, I had enough experience and confidence to start sharing my work. A second-place finish in an Elko contest resulted in positive exposure, and I was first published in a regional phone book with a photo of wildflowers, became a regular contributor to the Wells Ruralite magazine, and sold my first photos to the Elko Convention & Visitors Authority (ECVA). The EVCA has me attend sports shows to share my portfolio and encourage people to visit northern Nevada and see its many treasures.
My business since moving back to Carson City in 2012 has been photography. I continue to work with the ECVA, conduct tours, and just completed a two-year contract with the Nevada Indian Commission building a photo library with more than 30,000 images of all native properties in Nevada.
For my tours, I’m comfortable guiding in all areas of Nevada. I worked at NDOW for 20 years and during that time I covered most of Nevada, so I have an extensive knowledge of the state. I am known primarily as a wildlife and landscape photographer but I also do events, still-life subjects, and portraits on occasion. Giving lessons during a tour is fine if that’s what the client wants— the level is based on their knowledge and desire. I also adjust the level of activity and difficulty to the age and ability of each client. My clients have varied in age from 10–80 years old, and lately I seem to be getting more requests from beginning photographers.
My favorite tip runs contrary to digital wisdom, and comes from my training in film. I underexpose photos in the high-key situations often present in desert landscapes. This gives better color saturation in film and has been productive for me since the conversion to digital.
Photo tours are always interesting. On a trip looking for burros, I found some in a valley south of Tonopah but they had a bad reaction to my red truck; one of the jacks was braying, stomping, and trying to kick it. When I returned the following day with a client we brought his grey vehicle and got a completely different reaction. The herd surrounded us and a jenny stuck her head in my window while I was photographing one through the windshield! My client took a photo that I still have.
I have been traveling and working in Nevada most of my life. After living in one of the most remote locations, Ruby Valley, for 20 years and experiencing all that it has to offer—from desert heat to sub-zero temperatures—I am still fascinated by it. As a photographer I’m always looking for the perfect combination of light and subject, and Nevada offers more of that than any place I’ve been. Nevada is like a hardscrabble old miner—tough and grumpy on the outside but when you look close, you see a soft heart and generous spirit. This state has more mountain ranges than any state in the union, begging to be explored and appreciated. All you have to do is take the time to look.
Outdoor Adventures facebook.com/larry.burton524 775-389-9573
Cost: $200 per day, includes lunch and transportation within one day’s travel
Dennis Doyle, in his own words
For about three years, I have been teaching groups and giving photography tours. I try to keep them small and make it more of an experience than a class or a tour. I have given tours all over Nevada; from Gold Butte, Little Finland, and the far reaches of northern Nevada. I also like to focus on the area around Fallon; there are ghost towns, magnificent sand dunes, wide-open playas, old mines and equipment, and a world-class national wildlife refuge. The diversity of this area is beyond the pale.
I am a full-time photographer and this is my only job—if you can call what I do a job! I show in galleries in Canada and Scottsdale, Ariz. I am only one of three photographers juried into the Arizona Fine Art EXPO and have won numerous worldwide contests, including first place in photography at the American Art Awards. I have published two books, and this year I will be a presenter at the prestigious Shooting The West photography symposium in Winnemucca.
During my tours I like to focus on a landscape experience. I attempt to show the incredible vistas that can be captured in a small square viewfinder. I am a teacher in my heart, and my love of photography is only equaled by the desire to teach others the love of this craft. I love to wander around old buildings and encourage people to see the lives that used to exist in these abandoned relics.
Physically, my classes and tours are not difficult. I try to keep the areas we visit to those accessible by two-wheel-drive vehicle and keep the walking distance to one mile or less. I do offer a semi-private class that is more difficult.
In terms of equipment, I am comfortable teaching and touring with all forms and styles of cameras—from a camera phone to a top level DSLR, or a simple point-and-shoot to a medium-format film camera. You don’t have to be a master of your camera; all I ask is that you have a love of nature. I practice a “leave nothing behind but footprints” philosophy. One of my favorite photography tips is simple: Open your eyes! This means getting up before you are comfortable, stopping along the trail more than you are used to, and turning around and looking behind you. There is so much to see when you open your eyes.
During one of my tours at Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary, a participant was trying to photograph a particularly beautiful female Bengal tiger. He wanted to photograph this cat out in the huge enclosure, but she took a particular liking to him and followed him everywhere he went. She would run toward the fence as soon as she saw him approach. As we all were laughing, this fella got a lot of close-ups. I still smile thinking about him trying to get some distance from the cat. These things happen, and the beauty of a small tour/class is the ability to roll with the situation.
Shooting in Nevada is very special to me, as I’m a native Nevadan. I was born in Carson City and grew up in Lake Tahoe. I have lived and visited hundreds of places around the world and I keep coming back to Nevada. Our beautiful state has everything. We have very urban cities and a national park so remote it doesn’t even charge to get in. We have incredible playas and some of the highest mountains any- where. We claim Lake Tahoe as our own. We have Burning Man and the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. From the deep-red mountains of Valley of Fire State Park to the High Rock Canyon Wilderness, we are unique.
Dennis Doyle Photography
Cost: $150 per day, with a 50% discount for spouses
2017 Tours: May 11-14, Western Landscapes & Lifestyles – Fallon; Aug. 17-22, Dark Skies – Dixie Valley; Dec. 7-10, Funky Formations – Gold Butte