The best guide to the Grand Canyon is also a master of helping you get the most out of your camera.

February 8, 2022

The following is a guest post by David Wells, who has participated in several of my workshops, including Winter Moon at Grand Canyon, Monsoon on the North Rim, and my 10-Day Rafting the Colorado River expedition. David emailed me recently and offered to share his thoughts about what I do differently in my workshops.

David Wells on a workshop at the Grand Canyon with Adam Schallau.

I have been doing landscape photography for over 20 years, and I have traveled with some great photographers as guides. In all that time, I have never met a photo instructor who has taught me so much about getting high resolution, low noise, good color depth, and great composition in landscape photography like Adam Schallau. He has taught me an efficient workflow to get the most out of my equipment in fast-changing light. If you want to create images that can print large at museum quality, Adam is your guy. If you want someone who can simplify your decision-making in the field by helping you understand how your camera and other equipment work to capture the most information with the least noise, Adam is your guy. If you want a guide to the Grand Canyon, who was the Grand Canyon Artist-In-Residence, who has rafted the Colorado river eight times, driven to the most remote vistas, and hiked extensively, Adam is your guy. If you want an artist whose compositional eye has produced numerous covers for Arizona Highways, National Geographic Traveler, and many other magazines, Adam is your guy. Though he knows the Grand Canyon better than anyone else, the reason to go out shooting with Adam Schallau is that he will teach you how to get the best possible image from your equipment. That’s a skill that can be transferred anywhere you choose to shoot.

Since we photographers understand the world in visual terms, I am including a shot from a workshop I took with him last year. First of all, he planned the location well in advance to get light from the setting moon balanced with pre-dawn light to get the best illumination of the scene. Then he got me out to a spot I would have never found or had the courage to get to myself. The composition is my own, but the image quality is due to what I learned from Adam. ~ David Wells

Photo of Wotans Throne by David Wells made on a workshop with Adam Schallau.
Moonset and Wotans Throne. Photo © David Wells.

From Adam

Thank you to David for the great write-up! I love David's passion for photographing the landscape, and he is a fantastic student. David always comes to a workshop ready to learn new skills and see the world in a new and exciting way. It's been an absolute pleasure to work with him and to see his skills develop (pun intended) over the years.

Another crop of David's photo shows that he has achieved even sharpness throughout the image.

I appreciate David including these crops of the full image, as it's always fun to study the little details in a photograph. With the current mirrorless cameras capable of recording these extreme levels of detail, it's important to know how to take full advantage of them. It's great to see my workshop participants using modern techniques such as focus bracketing, allowing them to make the finest print possible.

A crop of David's photo illustrating that detail has been retained in the moon.

David has lots of trips coming up, and I can't wait to see what he makes next! If you would like to see more of David's work, I encourage you to visit his website!