Workshop and Photo Tour Testimonials

"I had a fantastic time participating in your workshop, I came home buzzing with excitement and will fondly reflect on the time spent with you and the group. For me it combined my love of the outdoors, hiking, photography and meeting other like-minded individuals. It was a great introduction to Death Valley National Park, one that few first-time visitors get to experience without your guidance. Your location knowledge, preparation, skill, and passion were evident. I will enthusiastically recommend your workshops to other photographers...Thanks again for the unforgettable experience!" Dave Conner - Los Angeles, California

"Michael is a very engaged and committed instructor. His first priority was that we learn and be in the right place at the right time to take great shots. I really appreciated his approach of taking your time, finding the unique shot, setting up carefully, and making the time worth it. The group was great; it was fun having dinner together after a long day of shooting; the scenery, hikes, even getting up in the 4 o'clock hours was worth it - I loved every minute. Michael is a superb instructor and advocate; we could ask him anything and he gave us great insight and advice. Best workshop I’ve been to, and I’ve been to quite a few." Chris Walker - San Diego, California

"I just returned from a Death Valley workshop with Michael Gordon. I want to say it was a 10 in every respect! Michael was amazing and we all had a blast. Lots of learning and photography opportunities on this well organized trip! It far exceeded my expectations. Really the best!!!" Joan Haseltine - Beverly Hills, California

"Thanks again for your time, deep experience and workflow/technical advice....this was an amazing, albeit brief, photo adventure and worth every penny." James Richardson - Bothell, Washington

"My workshop with Michael was simply spectacular - on every level - his knowledge of Death Valley, his willingness to go "the extra mile" when needed, his ability to roll with all the changes in weather, his energy and enthusiasm never flagging for one moment, his technical expertise, his willingness to work with each participant in coming up with the "best shot" possible - I would give him the highest grade possible in each of those categories - and I look forward to taking another workshop as soon as possible." Susan B. Landau - Los Angeles, California

"I spent two days to and from the workshop, photographing both ways, and the homeward images better express my feelings for the places, the concept on which I received so much help from you and which was my goal...I am happy with them and appreciate that your approach validated my journey from the quest for epic images to images more in tune and resonance with the subtleties of the natural world. The workshop was the right thing at the right time for me...So thank you. Measurable results…how cool is that." Charlie Judson - Sebastopol, California

"I connected with Michael since I had seen one of his YouTube videos and I was impressed with his teaching technique. As an experienced large format black & white photographer I have taken other workshops from other know photographers and walked away with “the Nothingness”. The two-day private workshop with Michael Gordon in Joshua Tree National Park was amazing as we covered so much within those days. I was very surprised at how much we went over, such as the function and movement of the large format camera, and how to focus. We also discussed the Zone System and the dynamic range of the Zone System. In addition, how to “see” photographically (composing).This was one workshop that I walked away from with more than I expected. I know because the proof is in/on the negative. I highly recommend Michael Gordon’s photography workshops for those who have a high interest in photography." Dok Blanchard - San Diego, CA

"As someone with literally no photographic experience, Michael helped me start from the ground up and by the end of the workshop I was taking landscape photos I was truly proud of. He spent many one-on-one times with me in different locations helping me learn the camera and techniques to capture the images that I was most interested in, as well as helping me to see the landscape in new ways. More importantly, he's given me the tools and confidence to continue this hobby for a lifetime. I'm trained as a landscape architect, and Michael has helped me learn the tools to capture the power of the landscape that has drawn me to the profession in the first place. He is someone I'm looking forward to keeping in touch with and following his work in photography and desert preservation. His workshop was literally a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and one I will never forget." Nikki Springer - New Haven, CT

"I had a great time learning Large Format with Michael. I found him easy to get along with and I didn't feel he was just going through the motions with his teaching. He wants you to learn and makes an effort to have that happen. Also, his experience in Death Valley is obvious with an impressive knowledge of the area, including plants and animals. I wouldn't hesitate in recommending Michael for a workshop or tour of the area." Chris Badessa - Kodiak, AK

"Thank you many times over for another fabulous trip. I can't imagine any better people to be with in Death Valley. It is great to find people who so appreciate what a special place it is. I am blown away by your knowledge of the flora, fauna, history, and geology of the place [Death Valley]." Jim Machin - Memphis, TN

"Michael's Introduction to Large Format Photography workshop is more than just about learning camera movements. While his instruction is superb and his practical approach is easy to understand and demystifies the the use of the view camera, it is the passion he brings to the craft, and the environment in which he works, that inspires one to pursue the art of photography... His knowledge of the land and geology is impressive and he instinctively knows where to go, even in morning darkness, to position us for first morning's light and the grandeur to follow. I highly recommend this workshop to anyone who wants to immerse themselves in large format photography and increase their visual awareness." Greg Spier - Houston, Texas

"Just want to thank you for your thoroughly enjoyable, immersive class of last week. I feel we were presented with the best possible shooting conditions, weather guided of course, and that you placed us in areas/positions where the most potential for extracting the essence of the site were available. If I’m ever fortunate enough to return to Death Valley, I’ll know where to start." Trent Anderson - Los Angeles, California

"Thank you very much for all your help and guidance that you provided in the few days that we spent in Death Valley. You are a truly great instructor and I am very happy with all the pointers and lessons that you gave me. You were very organized and took us to places that I did not know even existed. You created a wonderful atmosphere within our group and we all learned a lot. It's been a week since I came back from the trip and I miss it already. I cannot wait to take more lessons with you." Lora Moss - Los Angeles, California

"I came to learn photography, and I did; your knowledge of composition as well as of every other aspect of photography is phenomenal. But transfer of knowledge, or simply put teaching, is an art by itself. And you are the master of it as well...Your dedication to your students is incredible...Your knowledge of Death Valley is incredible. If you had simply taken me to all the places in Death Valley we went, as a guide, and none of us had a camera, it would be a treat. On your workshop I got much more than I bargained for. I came to learn photography, but came out a definitely better person and hopefully a better photographer." Raf B. - Staten Island, New York

"Michael provides several quantum leaps of knowledge in all aspects of large format photography. He conscientiously and thoroughly covers every pertinent topic, so that you are in awe of how much you really do know by the end of your time with him. You will not only be able to spell Scheimpflug, you will actually have an intuitive understanding of the principle and know how to apply it to your photography. And Scheimpflug is just one of the seemingly arcane subjects that Michael handily clarifies. Michael is the best photography instructor I have ever encountered. Treat yourself to one of his workshops, and get ready for many AHA moments!" Susan Aylward - Davis, California

"With no disrespect intended to the instructors at the workshops I had previously attended, the tandem of Michael Gordon and Guy Tal were simply the best instructors I have had..." Rick Russell - California

"I was looking primarily for an experienced photographer who could show me several unique locations in Death Valley National Park, and help me get there at the right time of day. In addition, I was looking for regular insights to help me improve my photographic abilities and that help was continually forthcoming. I was impressed with your total dedication to me and with your desire to optimize the tour to my specific objectives. It was a real pleasure to spend a few days with you, learning from your unique approach to your art and discovering those aspects that apply to my style and needs. I plan to return for another tour." Stephen Naor - Ottawa, Canada

"The weekend was the most intensive photo experience since one of my NZ trips about 10 years ago. I was especially impressed with your conscientious preparation and attention to my aims and needs. It was a rare display of have earned a source of business referrals for life." David Fisk - California

"Michael is a walking encyclopedia of the Eastern Sierra geography and conditions. His professionalism, energy, attention to detail, and his passion for outdoors is extraordinary." Balaji Venkatachari - California

"Every part of the workshop for me was outstanding and useful. I hated for it to end. It was so much fun and informative there are not enough words to describe how great it was." Michael W. Ellison - Savannah, GA

"Michael is an excellent teacher and enjoyable person- it was a pleasure to spend time with him. He shared freely, was always available, and not shooting for himself. This was an excellent workshop - I was very pleased with the scope and quality of instruction." Richard Fee - Tempe, AZ

"I just wanted to thank you for the time spent with Kate this past week. She talked glowingly about the depth and breadth of your knowledge and talent and felt that her three days were extremely worthwhile. She feels that she has learned a tremendous amount." Les Millett (arranged a 3-day private workshop for his daughter, Kate) - California

"The workshop was very well done and entertaining, and Michael was able to cover it all thoroughly. I always find interesting people that talk with their hands - it shows enthusiasm for the topic." Harry Hicks - California

"Michael has a keen ability to help his students because of his wonderful personality, knowledge of photography, and attention to his students. You won't be disappointed by his courses!" Dr. Michael Manhard, D.D.S. - San Diego, California

"I enjoyed most Michael's willingness to provide guidance on subjects that were outside of the course syllabus." Paul Hayward - San Francisco, California

"I enjoyed the personal attention given to each attendee's needs and questions. I really appreciated Michael's willingness to help and his obvious mastery of the craft." Jay Hanson - California

"Michael tailored the day to meet my interests and needs it was outstanding. I learned what I wanted to and paid to learn. The day was an excellent investment and will quickly pay for itself in saved time and money not to mention results on film. Michael is an excellent teacher, guide and enjoyable person. Spending the day with him was a pleasure." Donald Newman - New York, NY

"I couldn't have been more pleased with the workshop! You're expertise and enthusiasm for photography, both in the technical aspects and the subject matter, was superb and "infectious" if you will excuse the term! In addition, the help in the digital arena was also great and you were a wonderful birding guide to top it off. We all had a delightful and very rewarding weekend." Sue Haake - California

" made accurate exposure seem so easy! Large Format is somewhat intimidating, but you made it all look easy and fun!" Leslie Koyama - California

"Again, thanks immensely for your generosity with your time - extending the session we had really helped me nail everything." Nikko Odiseos - Boston, MA

"I wanted to say thank you very much for helping to reignite my passion for photography. I think that I will be doing a lot more photography in the future." Erik Haake - California

"Once again I wanted to say that I received so much from the class [Introduction to Large Format Photography] that I can put to practice now and use out photographing later. The class was not only a great motivator but gave me several new ideas to practice and apply." Donald Hartwell - California

"I had a great time at our private workshop a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned, your art inspires me and I was glad I had the opportunity to learn from you. I feel much more confident now with the large format camera as well as the post-processing that is required of film. You have a great personality and you make it easy and a pleasure to learn. I look forward to meeting up again next time I am in California." Martin Stankiewicz - Chappaqua, NY

"I believe anyone who takes one of your workshops will walk away feeling fulfilled and satisfied knowing they are armed with the information they need to take great pictures...You are so personable and friendly that even though you were the instructor for the day I feel as though I was working with a friend not a teacher. I appreciate that connection and am very happy to have made your aquaintance." Hollyce Weber - California

"Just wanted to send a thank you note and let you know I really enjoyed the instruction yesterday [Introduction to Large Format Photography]. You were able to help me meet my goals and offered even more and I'm very appreciative." Larry D. Hayden - California

"I enjoyed how patient you were, and that you didn't have a set time limit. You explained everything thoroughly and your enthusiasm for photography showed." Sharon Gershon - California

"I had a great time at the workshop with you and thanks for sharing all the tools and techniques that are going to help me take nice pictures. I was really inspired by the landscape and now I feel more confident I can record some of that on 4x5 film." Teak Nichols - California

"Michael was great as a person and teacher – very informative, and very good in organizing and leading the group. His logistics were perfect. He is also a fun and delightful person to hang with, with a treasure trove of desert stories, and valuable geological, cultural and natural information to share." Rina Shapira
 - Los Angeles, California

I just want to say many thanks for the excellent workshop. Your coverage of pertinent topics, in-field help, and sharing of tips was comprehensive, friendly, and overall an excellent experience! You teach the stuff well.” Nino Aimo - Alberta, Canada

I want to thank you again for the most awesome large format camera workshop. I also watched the Vimeo video and have become inspired and motivated to start developing my own film again. It was a great group to work with and you have demystified the techniques of large format.” Helen H. - Washington, DC

"I want to tell you again what an incredible experience I had, and I can vouch for Dan that he felt the same way. Our time with you far exceeded my wildest expectations. Besides being knowledgeable about photography and Death Valley, you are just an all around nice guy who made the whole trip fun, despite, or maybe because of the early mornings and long days." Jim M. - Memphis, TN

I just finished up a Death Valley workshop with Michael and wanted to say what a great experience! My expectations were met or exceeded on everything from the technical knowledge of the team leaders and their guidance and recommendations about composition, to the photography discussions during down-time or in the car rides between sites, to the unbelievable amount of general knowledge Michael possessed about the history and geography of the place and of course the amazing sites we had the pleasure of shooting. Thanks again for the great experience - I look forward to my next trip.” Kalim T. - Houston, TX

"Thanks for all your one on one time. My confidence level with large format has sky rocketed! I just picked up my film, and I can see an improvement in my exposures after the class. It’s interesting… I find myself seeing differently. I really enjoyed my time with you." Mark DeWitt - Chandler, AZ

"Michael is an energetic, tireless group leader with an evident love of photography. His enthusiasm motivates his students to capture the best image possible in the most diverse surroundings.... He always goes the extra mile (both literally and figuratively) to help us capture the moment with the best possible light even if it means moving boulders along the way. His help with hiking in the canyons as well as suggesting correct camera settings was invaluable to me." Jovanna Hopkins - Dix Hills, NY

"Michael is extremely knowledgeable about Death Valley as he took us to places unlikely seen on a self-guided tour. Michael is a great guide, very friendly and very helpful to photographers of all skill levels. He does allow plenty of time for those of us wanting to spend more time in each location. This was my second workshop with Michael and I strongly recommend his workshops." Ken Hoffman - Tiburon, CA

"I can't thank you enough for the wonderful experience I had in your Death Valley workshop. You freely provided me with assistance that was invaluable." Jorge Gaj - Sacramento, CA

“Thank you again for an incredible Large Format workshop experience. Can’t say how much I enjoyed the weekend... And that magnificent landscape.” Kathy Cadigan - Redmond, WA

"I just attended the March 2014 Introduction to Large Format Photography workshop and it was great. My approach to both aesthetic and technical aspects of photography have been changed...all for the good. I really enjoy Michael's approach to teaching and the "classroom" is magnificent. It was wonderful to be immersed in this experience with other like-minded photographers. This is some of the best three days I have ever spent." Robert P. Sawin - Seattle, WA

“Thank you for one of the best trips I've had yet. You are a great person and guide, and I had an absolute blast... It was so tough leaving today! I am suffering from some intense Death Valley withdrawal right now, but I'll be coasting on the high this trip gave me for a good while.” Sarah Machin - Las Cruces, NM

"Michael’s studio and office is over 3.3 million acres in size, “Death Valley National Park” and he knows where all the points of interest are, not just the commonly traversed tourist areas but also off-road locations and hiking tails that would inspire a photographer with rare scenery found only in the park. My biggest bonus was the energy and passion he exudes as he shares his knowledge of photography and the use of the Large Format Field camera. His eagerness to impart his knowledge, familiarity of his office surroundings, the energy and confidence he imparts to his students made his photography workshop worth every moment of time I was there. I will certainly go back to Death Valley and improve my knowledge as one of his students. Well done, Michael, and thank you." Noland G. Payne - Alberta, Canada

"I just wanted to say thanks for the wonderful workshop last week in Death Valley. It truly exceeded all expectations. I now feel so much more confident handling my large format gear and with this basic grounding, I'm optimistic and excited about the images to come. Thanks also for your passion, enthusiasm, and thoughtfulness - it made all the difference." Roy Pittman - Portland, Maine

“I had a great time. Even though I have been shooting large-format for more than 15 years, I still learned several new things from you. I also really enjoyed meeting and shooting with all of the other students.” Les Allert - Markleeville, CA