Tuesday, March 15, 2011

OX Ranch, Idaho, June 6-10, Western workshop

Shot right on the front porch of the Seven Devils Lodge

Join Eliot Crowley for a 5-day adventure into the old west at the historic OX Ranch (pronounced oh-ex) in Idaho, June 6-10, 2011. This is a great opportunity to experience a working cattle ranch. Spend the day making photographs on the cattle drive, movin’ head from one place to another, fly fishing on the Wild Horse River, white water rafting through Hell’s Canyon, walking through a pristine area called Wise Acres, or just hanging out around the lodge. Regardless of what your day revealed to you through your lenses Eliot will review your work and give constructive hints on how to make it better from proper exposure to composition and lighting techniques. Eliot has visited the OX and the Seven Devils Lodge (our accommodations) multiple times and knows the layout and workings of the ranch.

Meandering fence line of a pasture on the OX

About Eliot Crowley

Eliot has been a commercial photographer since graduating from Brooks Institute in 1976. His work has taken him all over the world. Growing up in southern California, Eliot’s love of traveling and taking photographs was introduced by his parents on multiple trips to Yosemite National Park. Even then Eliot was always with camera. In 1994 Eliot married and moved back to Santa Barbara and was asked to join the faculty of Brooks Institute in 2005. Brooks Institute asked him to address the graduating class and was awarded and honorary Master’s degree. Eliot accomplished his MFA degree in photography from The Academy of Art University in San Francisco in 2009. Eliot loves to share his knowledge about photography from the technical to the artistic, from exposure to emotion.

A Seven Devils' guest enjoying morning coffee

The Seven Devils Lodge, named for the nearby minarets overlooking Hell’s Canyon on the Snake River, is a friendly comfortable western style lodge. All meals are included as served family style in the dining room or out on the front porch when the weather is accommodating. From the front porch you can see Cutty Mountain miles away, which is part of the ranch. Depending on the time of year it could still have some snow on the top. Just across the road from the porch is the pasture where the horses for guest riding are housed. Just beyond that, the barn for hay and saddling the horses. Photographic opportunity is all around. All the bedrooms are double occupancy, housed under one roof; each has a private bathroom, and theme or decoration. The great room has a large stone fireplace and will double for our classroom. You will find most of your time not spent sleeping in the comfortable beds, or eating the gourmet food, outside enjoying Idaho’s mountains. The lodge is equipped with wireless Internet connection but your cell phone will not work in this remote area. Since the ranch is out in the hills of Idaho wildlife abounds. Giant herds of elk are seen often, bears, bobcats, mountain lions and even wolves are known to frequent the property. In nature opportunity may be just around the corner. Weather is always possible at this latitude and as image-makers we welcome it but we also want to be prepared as well. This means not only rain gear for our bodies but maybe also for your camera.

The old chuck-wagon

Travel arrangements are on your own. Boise is the nearest large airport and the OX Ranch is about a three hour drive through beautiful areas of Idaho. Also, on the Ranch is Geiger Airfield, which can accommodate small aircraft for charted flights. 

One of the full-time cowboys of the OX Ranch, Frank Anderson

Day 1: Arrival and getting settled into the Seven Devils. Afternoon is on your own but we encourage you to take a walk around the property and make photographs. This evening after dinner we will discuss the next day’s ride if anyone is interested in moving cattle on horseback as well as any particular interests in photography guests would like to cover in the next few days.  

Shapes, lines and textures are found even in the old barbed wire

Day 2: Dawn shooting is suggested, depending on the time of year the grasses can be tall and green in the nearby pastures, horses will be anxious to see if they will be carrying anyone on the trails today and could be acting up in the corral area. Water features like streams and ponds are nearby and will be reflecting the morning light. Breakfast is served at 7 am and our morning discussion will begin right after in the great room. We will be discussing any concerns about photography or activities planned for the guests. Our main topic this morning will be on maximizing your digital exposure.  This day will be filled with activities for those who wish, riding horses on trail rides or helping the cowboys bring in the herd. Fishing is available for those who wish. White water rafting needs a day or two to organize. A tour of the ranch’s main buildings, like The Lick Creek Headquarters, barns, ponds, airfield and other workings will be under way during this day as well to give the students a sense of what they can expect in locations for photography. The nearby village (a generous word) of Bear Idaho will also be on the tour and even the slightly larger settlement of Cuprum Idaho. Lunch is usually served around 1:00pm, again family style at the lodge. Or if you choose to venture into the town of Council you can lunch on your own. Afternoon activities are the same as during the morning hours. We will gather for dinner around 7:00pm and talk around the table about how the day’s photography went. Every evening we will project those images of each student they wish to share and Eliot will make commentary as appropriate to each submission.

Lodge guest and expert cowgirl, Sterling 

Day 3: Much the same as far as activities but the day’s after breakfast will be manipulating natural light through reflectors, scrims and flags. During the day the students will endeavor wherever possible use the techniques to enhance their images. As always, Eliot will be available to assist students who wish, with their lighting and composition efforts.

Day 4: Today some real live cowboys will be joining us as models. Some will be on the trail rides and others available to pose near the barns, lodge or other iconic places around the ranch. Eliot will introduce some artificial lighting techniques during the morning class period and be available during the day to assist students in using them.

Day 5: Our departure day. Dawn shooting and then breakfast as usual. Then plans discussed about when to leave for the Boise airport.

Ridin, the range

Contact Eliot to get a complete list of items you should bring, from cowboy boots to computers and cables. This photographic experience is open to all photographers. Eliot has experience from teaching beginners to inspiring experts. 

All this, including 3 square meals and lodging is only $1500.00 (double occupancy). Families are welcome and some of the rooms are appointed like suites with multiple beds.


Vegetable garden sunset, mmmm fresh vegies

To see more of Eliot’s work visit www.eliotcrowley.com

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