Jack Dykinga, Pulitzer-Winning Photographer, at Phoenix Library Tonight; We Pick His Brain for Photo Tips

Categories: Arts, News

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If you try to do a "drive by" shooting of something as majestic as the Grand Canyon and expect to get a picture anyone else will want to look at, "I think you'll fail," says photographer-extraordinaire Jack Dykinga.

Shutterbugs take note: When it comes to the state's most famous hole, Dykinga (that's his self-portrait at right) is a real expert -- something that's evident when you see his work. The Tucson-area photographer who won a Pulitzer back in the 1970s recently came out with a book called "Images: Jack Dykinga's Grand Canyon" containing his latest stuff.

You can hear him talk tonight in a discussion entitled "A Love Affair with the Grand Canyon" at the Burton Barr Library in Phoenix, 1221 North Central Avenue from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., which kicks off a Grand Canyon photography exhibit at the library running through March.

We caught him on the phone in Tucson this morning and bugged him before his drive north, seeking tips that will turn our (and maybe your) Grand Canyon pictures into something special. Dykinga tells us that even with an  average rig, we can probably take a picture of the Grand Canyon we'll want to proudly display in a frame. But it won't be easy.

The reason the Grand Canyon captivates tourists and professional photographers alike is that the "quality of the light is stunning," Dykinga says. And that's the main thing amateurs should keep in mind: pursue the best light, typically morning and evening.

"Horizontal light creates the texture and the color of the light," he says. "It shifts to a redder tone, juxtaposted against the blue shadows of the canyon."

Sure, you may have already known that. But applying that concept -- as in, actually getting up early -- takes some planning and effort. dykinga book.jpg

Dykinga literally went off the beaten path to find the pictures in his new book, travelling to the Canyon's most obscure overlooks to get views most visitors miss. Amateur photographers, too, should never settle for the same old viewpoint that will fester in the cameras of millions of tourists, he says.

"The other thing is: Go in there in bad weather," he tells us. "When the Canyon has a lot of emotion going -- ie., thunderstorms, snowstorms -- all the antes are raised."

While chances of success are minimal in a storm, there's also the possibility of snapping something spectacular.

We just want to take one picture -- one -- that's as good as this:

 

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