Hola everyone!

I have the honor of being listed in the recent issue of Photo District News as one of thirteen top workshop instructors. You can read the article here: PDN article    And an interview with me: PDN Interview

PDN Reader Survey: The Best Workshop Instructors. August 03, 2011

2-Day “Hands On” Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 3.0 Workshop

Dallas/Ft Worth        Saturday, September 17, 2011 – Sunday, September 18, 2011

The cost for both days is $295.00 with an early registration $100 discount. Early Discount is applied to all registrations before the start date of the scheduled.  For registration www.lightroomworkshops.com

Flash and Low-Light Photography  w/Nevada Wier & Carlan Tapp

Santa Fe Photographic Workshops    Santa Fe, NM     October 5 – 8, 2011  For more information: www.santafewworkshops.com 

Low-light, late evening, and nighttime photography are challenging and rewarding aspects of travel photography that are often overlooked. This action-packed, four-day workshop delves into long exposures; work with on-camera and off-camera small strobes, and painting with light. Geared to the traveling photographer who desires to photograph hand-held in low light, we work with accessories that are easily carried in your camera bag. No big heavy cases in this workshop! Nevada and Carlan use a lively blend of lectures, discussions, and assignments to support the challenges of tackling low-light photography with a digital camera. Their emphasis is on expanding your creative vision in the realm of low-light photography in order to elevate your travel photography beyond the ordinary. The historic town of Santa Fe is a perfect backdrop for our photographic forays. In addition, the workshop coincides with the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which provides abundant and exciting opportunities for late-evening or early-morning photography. The workshop includes group and individual critiques and personal assignments. Those who want to explore the creative possibilities of low-light photography, and don’t mind staying up late, are encouraged to attend.

The Dream Team Travel Photography Workshop

San Cristobal de Las Casa, Mexico    January 13 – 21, 2012  For more information: www.pixelchrome.com   Field Instructors: Nevada Wier, Brenda Tharp & Holly Wilmeth   Logistics: Jeremy Woodhouse & Ita Gelada

You are not going to want to miss this opportunity to photograph with four of America’s active travel and nature photographers – all together for six days in the wonderful colonial town of San Cristóbal de las Casas in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. This town is still remarkably “Mexican” and does not boast the crush of expat winter residents that many other colonial towns in Mexico do – on the other hand it is still well set up to take care of visitors who choose to travel beyond their comfort zones.

There are a maximum of 18 places on this instructional tour together with the 3 field instructors (and since it is billed as an instructional tour, the instructors are encouraged to photograph). Participants will be divided into 3 groups of 6 people and each group of 6 will be assigned an instructor for the day. The instructor will rotate every second day so that during the 6-day tour each participant will have the opportunity to work with each instructor for two days, giving them the opportunity to experience distinct photographic styles. Each instructor will make a presentation during one of the late-morning sessions. These sessions will include audio-visual presentations and there will be plenty of time for interaction with the instructors – they alone will be worth the price of admission!


Nevada Wier and Dan Westergren, Photography Editor for National Geographic Traveler Magazine, presenting a one-day seminar on LIGHT!

Have you ever anticipated getting to a beautiful location you want to photograph only to arrive and find yourself thinking, “The light’s not right, now what?”  Whether it’s a once in a lifetime vacation to a remote location or an important magazine assignment, you know you have to get the picture.  Join National Geographic Traveler senior photo editor Dan Westergren and world-renowned travel photographer, Nevada Wier as they demonstrate how to find great light and what to do when it’s “not quite right”.

Dallas    Sunday, September 25, 2011   Richland College, Fannin Hall Performance Center

San Francisco   Sunday, October 2, 2011   Fort Mason Conference Center

Philadelphia   Sunday, October 16, 2011   Moore College of Art & Design

$195.00 per person (includes lunch)      Sessions will run from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

For information and registration:  www.ngtravelerseminars.com/light/ 

Hola everyone: I’m sorry for the long absence from this blog. I had a heck of year  — car accident, boiler burst in my house, then a robbery, then I broke my foot, my mother died… so I did what any sane person would do … I went traveling! I have been to India, Myanmar, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, and just recently Sri Lanka. I’m happy to report that I am healed, although my neck does have restricted movement. I’m still doing different therapies and hope for more progress. My house is back together, looking better than before! No current tragedies and I plan on keeping it that way!

I will never be a one-a-day blog person (even one a week is pushing it) but I do plan on more consistent posts. So stay tuned!

Excelsior! Nevada

© nevada wier               Thimpu, Bhutan

I’m in SFO on my way home from Bhutan.

Can you believe… I now have a small fracture on my foot (a common fracture of the 5th metatarsal) and am wearing a fashionable cast courtesy of the Punaka hospital. I was collateral damage from a “yak attack”.

“The Yak” courtesy of Elizabeth Menzies (wouldn’t you run from him!)

The beast was going for someone else but he looked mean so I decided that I should move also. I turned to run but tripped down a hill. Thinking of my neck (see previous post) I propelled myself into the arms of a hefty Bhutanese but landed on a turned foot. Luckily I was with Hill Hastings, a brilliant orthopedic surgeon. I had an x-ray in Punaka and Hill put on a plaster cast and fashioned a walking shoe out of my Chaco sandal with a rocking piece of wood on the bottom. Hooray for Ortho Engineering. So I hobbled my way eastwards through Dzongs and high roads. I rode a horse on the Merak-Sakteng trek up and down thousands of feet of steep rocky trails (although we got snowed out from crossing the pass.). Hooray for Norbu and Rakpa. My driver painted a huge phallus on the cast to keep away evil spirits (a common motif in Bhutan — huge ones painted on houses, wooden ones handing from roofs, etc.) The Bhutanese were thrilled and giggled copiously at the sight. However, I was not so sure that the airport security would understand, so I shrouded it with a lovely blue scarf. The cast is being replaced on Tuesday with a boring western one which I probably will wear for another three weeks. However, I am making sure that “Dick” remains intact and upright and will have a place of honor as bathroom art!

They lie about “trouble only comes in threes”. Oh, they lie!

Nevada, Rakpa and Norbu


Read the rest of this entry »

Sorry everyone! there has been a glitch in my comments section but it is fixed now. I hope.

Hola I’m in Mexico City on my way to San Cristobal! I’m teaching a workshop in Mexico The Travel Photography Dream Team Tour (with Jeremy Woodhouse, Brenda Tharp, Holly Wilmeth, and myself)… I’m going to teach myself the i phone camera with lots of help from everyone here in Mexico!. So I got started yesterday with an app called Hipstamatic! This is going to be fun… and very challenging for me. It seems to require lots of fumbling and missing shots, but that’s the learning process! I know there are a zillon photo apps out there. Favorites anyone?

© copyright nevada wier       Mexico City.

(iphone 3; App: Hipstamatic; Film: Blanko; Lens: John S)

This one is very simple straight-on (not my favs as you know) but I’m amazed how good it works in high noon contrasty sunlight. You have to frame properly with the Kodat funky border lens and that is a bit challenging with Hipstamatic, as the frame box is teeny on the iphone.  I love that the new technology has opened up so many alternatives… but you still have to frame an interesting image. The funky processing helps, but only to a point. The first image is a more interesting photograph.

© copyright nevada wier       Mexico City.

(iphone 3; App: Hipstamatic; Film: Kodat XGrizzled; Lens: John S)

I returned a few weeks ago from five weeks in India leading a National Geographic Expedition photo group to Rajasthan (great fun, great group!) and then I was photographing tribal groups in Orissa and Chattisgarh for three weeks. I wore my neck brace 24/7 (see this post). I felt like a robot since I had to turn my entire body whenever I needed to look to the side; but interestingly, only a few people ever commented on it. I think most tribals thought the brace was a fashion statement (and I was accessorizing with a buff and scarves).

Nevada photographing in Orissa © Manoj Sharma

So how did my travel vest plus Lowepro Street and Field work for me? Thumbs up for Lowepro and thumbs down for the Magellans Travel Vest. (see this post)

Well, as I wrote in the previous post, I never found a suitable lightweight photo vest for tropical weather, so I tested travel vests and decided on the Magellan Travel Vest. It failed “the photo vest test”. In its defense, the Magellan travel vest is not meant to be a photo vest. However, it also failed “the travel vest test”. I love the fabric and cut of the vest. Yet for the pockets to be truly useable they really do need to be bigger (and there is room). I did wear the vest a few times when I didn’t want to carry my Eagle Creek Departure waist pouch (see this post) but needed a place to hide money in an interior pocket and stow my sunglasses. Otherwise the vest was not that useful and since it was hot in India I abandoned it most of the time.

Now the good news! I love the Lowepro Street and Field system. It was perfect for walking around markets and in villages. I brought all my gear over in my trusty Lowepro Orion AW bag (I may have to mount a campaign for Lowepro to resurrect this great camera bag from its discontinued status, join me!) but it was primarily a vessel for my equipment and stayed in the car most of the time. Honestly I usually only needed two lenses: the 16-35m f/2.8 and usually the 24-70mm. Occasionally I also carried the 24mm f/ 1.6 (I love it, so sharp!). I think I only walked around with my 100-400mm f/4.5 a couple of times.

Nevada photographing in Orissa © Manoj Sharma

Nevada photographing in Orissa © Manoj Sharma

So I had 2-3 pouches on the waist belt for the 1-2 lenses and one pouch for flash accessories. I also carried my Garmin GPS and Canon S95 on the belt. In addition, I usually had my converted Canon 5D infrared camera in an older TopLoad Zoom (it is not as bulky as the new ones) slung over a shoulder to my left side. So I still looked armed and dangerous (well, not so dangerous) but all the weight was off my shoulders and my neck. It really was just perfect.

Nevada photographing in Orissa © Manoj Sharma

I also found that I could slip my Canon 580EX flash into one of the pockets with the Rogue Flashbender – Small Positionable Reflector or LumiQuest FX diffuser and have a workable off-camera flash when I was kneeling and photographing upwards. The new Pocket Wizards Flex TT5 and Mini TT1 Radio Slave for Canon function so much better than the Canon wireless transmitter.

Now I’m on my way to Myanmar and am taking the same setup with me. I have some suggestions for Lowepro about the pouches but generally I am really happy with the gear.

I have graduated to a soft collar and am beginning to get some movement back in my neck. Bless the healing power of bones, and bless seat belts!

I am going to have to design a photo vest though.

…even when it seems impossible to handhold an image in the dark that if you put your camera on continuous and rip off at least five shots that the middle images has a high probability of being sharp even at 1/2 sec.

© nevada wier  Sri Lanka, Kandy Esala Perahera

sometimes there just are times when one needs a tripod! Some subjects beg to be sharp with a substantial depth of field in low light situations.

© nevada wier  Sri Lanka, Dambulla Rock Cave

95% of the boring photographs are taken straight on. Get low, get high, get a new lease on your physical perspective.

© nevada wier  Sri Lanka, Negombo Beach

and if you don’t have any idea what you doing, just try… if you don’t click the shutter you are 100% guaranteed to fail!

© nevada wier  Sri Lanka, Kandy Esala Perhera Elephant Festival

So here I sit in LAX, waiting for my plane to New Delhi. I won’t be carrying my usual retinue of gear; but having a creative perspective is of more importance than another lens. I’m looking forward to the simplicity of only using a lens or two, although I know it will feel quite strange. My new mantra: “Don’t forget to move…but move slowly and carefully!”

It has been six weeks and the neck is healing, but I still have to wear my fashionable neck brace to India. (I have discovered the best use for a Buff, those skimpy pieces of material that cost a ridiculous $20, is to cover the protruding pieces of foam that are sure to give me a wicked rash in the desert heat.)

And, what about the The Perfect Solution for a Crooked-Neck Photographer (sounds like a bird)? True to my hope, the new Lowepro Street & Field system is perfect for my “I’m going light!” plan.

I am going to use the Light Utility Belt (I don’t need the heftier S/M Deluxe Belt, plus it barely cinches tight enough and I’m certainly not petite). I have a Slim Lens Pouch 55 (for short lens), a Slim Lens pouch 75 (for long lens) a Quick Flex Pouch 75 (for flash) and a Utility Bag (for accessories). I don’t plan on wearing more than a couple of pouches, but it excellent that I can mix and match. It is all carried in a nifty Transport Duffel Backpack. I have to say that a lot of innovative thinking was put into this system. It is a bit more padded than I like, but it seems like everything is a bit too padded and foamed for my taste.

I’ll initially pack all my camera gear in my trusty Orion AW and then chose one or two lenses for wherever I’m going to photograph. I’m rather looking forward to going light. It might become a habit.

Now, about the travel photo vest… I ended up ordering three vests to test out. Not surprising, the Tilley Different Drummer Legends Women’s Traveller/Carry-On vest was the best made, but the pockets were small and the zippers were huge. I sent it back

The TravelSmith Voyager vest was backordered so I never got a good look at it.

I had to return the “small” Magellans Travel Vest and for an extra small (Good thing I’m not a petite woman; nothing would fit!). It certainly isn’t a robust photo vest that will hold lenses securely but it will hold flash accessories, filters, money (in a hidden pocket) and other sundry items that a gal (or guy) might need. And it is lightweight!

I’ll post a photo in my regalia when I get to India!

Oh.. and I got a new fast lens for low-light – the Canon 24mm f/2.4L II USM. I love primes!

I sure have done a number of posts about packing. However, since I consider myself a professional packer as much as a professional photographer it is not surprising. I am off to India in a few weeks but I have this pesky broken neck. So, how I am going to carry my camera gear has become more intriguing than usual. (Update: My back is 100% thanks to Rolfing, Acupuncture, Electromagnetic Therapy and Satanic Rituals. My C2 neck break is happily healing well, ensconced  in a fashionable brace wrapped with all those scarves I buy in Asia that I finally get a chance to wear. Have Brace Will Travel…off I go!)

Originally I was going to try Lowepro’s Slingshot 302AW (since my trusted Orion AW has been discontinued… curses!). But….. I really can’t carry my usual 20-25lbs of gear around all day. I am going to take it all with me but only walk around with a lens or two at a time. I have a number of small shoulder bags but even minimal weight on my shoulder is not a great idea. Luckily Lowepro just came out with a update Street and Field Series. Brilliant! I will use a padded waist-belt that can attach a collapsible (perfect for travel) lens pocket for an extra lens, if I want, and pouches for my flash and accessories. It was a cinch to figure out what pouches I needed (and there are lots of choices!). And, the BlackRapid RS-W1 (yes, they now also have designed one for women) camera strap is so much more comfortable than the usual strap that hangs down on the neck.

And, I thought I should bring a photo vest in case I wanted to use that instead of or in tandem with the belt system. This is where I came grinding to a halt, and hours have been spent online. I have a Domke Photo Vest that was “the standard” for years, but even though I have a small size, it is long, huge, and heavy with outdated Khaki fabric. I also have a Royal Robbins Field Guide Vest, (on sale now for $58) which is fine, but too heavy for India. So I started searching and searching and searching online. I looked at Vested Interest: no way was I going to wear a vest with padded pockets, definitely a guy thing. I checked out Humvee Safari Vest but it looks too big and hot (and there was also the Humvee Combat Tactical Vest Khaki Multi Pack!!!!). It became very clear that vests are made primarily for men (not surprising) and they are large, heavy, with a zillion pockets (I begin to lose things when I have too many choices). Actually I thought the BigPockets Tropical Vest ($89) looked the best of all of them; even though it is for birders I think it would also be great for photographers. But it might be more than I really need if I am using the S&F belt.

So I thought “Okay, forget about Photo Vests, look at Travel Vests. It may not be able to hold a lens but it can carry money, accessories, sunglasses, etc. That would be good with the Street & Field belt.” So back online for a few more hours. Last year I tried a ScotteVest Travel Vest for Women (a real nifty$100 vest with all kinds of pockets for electronics); but it became clear on the plane that it was going to be too hot for Thailand and India. I couldn’t even wear it in the airports; I was roasting, especially with fleece around the collar. I used to have a great TravelSmith travel vest but I lost it in Laos years ago and of course they don’t make it any longer. The Tilleys Different Drummer Legends Women’s Traveller/Carry-On Vest looks good but it is a $150 and I can’t tell how lightweight it is by the description online (it does say it dries overnight). Yet it is GUARANTEED FOR LIFE NOT TO WEAR OUT. You have to love Tilley products. The TravelSmith Women’s Voyager Vest ($69) looks okay and is a contender at 12 oz (but not sure I need “hand warmer pockets”). Then I saw Magellans Travel Vest for $52 that had the magic word “ultralight” (8oz), doesn’t have a collar, and seems to have all the pockets I would need for access and security. Sot that is what I ordered.

After the vest and the Lowepro S&F arrives I’ll give you a thumbs up or down about my choice.

And, if you ladies out there have any other suggestions. I’m listening! After what I learned,  I want to design my own vest. Someday I’ll get that WierGear rolling!

I am not a big telephone fan. I have three different numbers (land, mobile and fax) and rarely use any of them. There is a message on my cell phone “Forget about leaving a message because I rarely pick up this phone”. Verizon even called me a couple of years ago to ask if I had lost my phone since I had no charges on it. Last summer I decided to get an iPhone, not for the telephone part (ATT is hopeless in Santa Fe) but for the aps! When I first got the phone I learned how to use all the stuff on it, including the camera, but then never thought about it again. I know there are a growing number of iPhone photographers who are doing great images but I have never been interested. I did get some photo aps awhile back but never bothered to learn how to use them. Basically I am either out of the country in some back-water, side-lit, off the map place, where phone coverage is a whisper of an idea or I’m at home, near my land line, staring at a computer all day. When I get down to cans of tuna fish to eat and have to go into town then I take the iPhone with me, but mostly to get my email.

So there I was last Friday being wheeled into the Denver Health ER on a stretcher with a broken neck (more on this later) and I thought, “I should record this! I was holding my phone in my hand but couldn’t remember how to use its camera. I fumbled about and managed to make a photo. (I realized later that this was only the third photo I had ever taken with this phone.) It wasn’t easy doing a self-portrait, having to turn the camera towards me and twist my fingers around so I could push a button I couldn’t see. Somehow I managed it (you can see the photo after the jump) and I thought “Wow, I’m a convert!” (Yeah, it would have easier with new iphone, I know… but I’m not getting it until Verizon comes onboard; crossing all digits for that.)

Actually this is just a convoluted way of saying that I was in a car accident last week. Now before you rush to send me an email, text, pigeon, or flowers, I beg you to resist. Please go outside and wave all kinds of white light in my direction or scream “Get well Nevada” into the universe. The kindest thing you can do for me is not to email me, otherwise I will feel badly if I don’t respond (it is just the way I’m wired).

I have always said that I’m safer traveling overseas than driving in America. I sure hate that I was proven right about this.

Read On for more details

I have an inaugural post, Low Light and Flash photography, on the first-class blog–B&H Insights.

There is no doubt about it; India is a photographer’s carnival. The colors are kaleidoscopic; the scenes are cinematic; and the light is luminous. I’ve been traveling to Rajasthan for the past few years to lead the National Geographic Expeditions India Photo Tour—a tour that has focused on light and lighting.

However, even the best light sometimes needs a bit of enhancement or a creative touch. I don’t bring a lot of lighting equipment when I travel because I have to carry everything myself, on my shoulder, for hours. I use a Canon 5D Mark II and usually work with only one flash, 580 EX II flash, and an assortment of small, lightweight, but very important flash accessories.”

Canon 5D Mark II, Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 USM, ISO 800, 1/80 sec. at f/3.5

Read the rest of the post on B&H Insights. Enjoy!

And join me in Tampa, Florida Sunday, September 26th or in Chicago, Illinois Sunday, October 3rd for the National Geographic Traveler CREATIVITY IN LIGHT one day seminar. It is a blast of a seminar; I share my insights with the fabulous Dan Westergren, photo editor of NG Traveler Magazine. If you can’t make it one of these cities then hopefully we will be somewhere near you next season when we go on the road again.

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