Wild in the West ~ A photographic journey in the USA

Jul 27, 2018 | Flash, GFX, Location, Travel | 22 comments

Pictures, lots of them! Sit back, go full screen, and join me on my recent workshop/adventure in Arizona and Utah.

01. The old Santa Fe Locomotive in Kingman was our first stop.

Our model: Yesenia Linares from New York
Photography: Damien Lovegrove from Bristol, UK
Event: Passion Photography Experiences Wild West Adventure 2018
Camera: Fujifilm GFX50s with GF 32-64mm lens, GF 110mm lens and GF 250mm lens
Tripod: Novo T20 with Benro ball head and Really Right Stuff quick release plate. I used the tripod for all these shots.

02. Simple beauty in a classic car restored by Dunton Motors.


03. “I know what you did” Drama, role play adds narrative to these images.


04. Simple lines and natural light worked well in this classic car showroom.


05. From Kingman to Hackberry on the old 66.


06. The rat rod at Hackberry General Store.


07. Top: I used a Godox AD600 with a 18cm reflector to Light Yesenia. Bottom: Natural light.


08. The GF 110mm lens was tight enough for me to exclude the sky in this portrait.






11. The Grand Canyon never fails to impress.


This screen grab shows our route that started and ended in Las Vegas. We got lost when we went off road but that’s all part of the adventure. I create maps and plan all my adventures to the finest detail, leaving nothing to chance. We use Walkie Talkies to communicate between vehicles, and we carry first aid kits and a tow rope. There is a lot of prep behind the scenes needed to make an event like this run smoothly.


12. We got a special permit to visit and photograph at the Blue Canyon on Navajo Nation land.


13. Top left: Evening light. Top right: Behind the scenes showing an AD600 key light rigged on a boom and an AD200 as a kick light.


14. Coal Mine Canyon was a fabulous place to spend time. A special permit was needed here too.


15. “Don’t step back”


16. Arizona was parched, arid and very hot.


17. I shot into the light for these simple shots of Yesenia.


18. A Navajo shack that was abandoned years ago.


19. Hot and dusty. 104°F and without any rain for months.


20. Fujifilm Acros film simulation gives a lovely rendition to these photographs.


21. I spotted this mountain on Google Earth and plotted it on our map.


22. That would be quite a trek in the heat. The base of the mountain is at 6000ft.


23. We shot in the famous Painted Desert too catching the afternoon sunlight perfectly.


24. I had the dress made for the shoot.


25. This is our group. I set the camera on a 10 second self timer and ran in.


26. The old 66 has many abandoned trading posts that make wonderful shoot locations for my style of photography.







29. The roof had given way on this one.


32. Wigwam Motel was a fun location to shoot at too.


33. The vintage bikini was from Ebay.


34. I spotted these simple high key tones and they worked well.




36. I like to mix up my exposures to create low key dramatic looking images as well as high key vibrant ones.


37. It’s all in the detail.


38. Vintage car glass is very green. It’s not something to notice until you photograph it.


39. Holbrook Arizona.


40. Snake country.




42.There’s no town for 40 miles across those bad lands.


43. One advantage of always using a tripod is I can get selfies either by using the phone app remote or by using the self timer.


44. Rocky scree.


45. The painted desert goes for as far as the eye can see and beyond.


46. A land carved by water.


47. Top: A train passes a rat rod in Holbrook. Bottom: Classic cars on the old 66.


48. A loud and wild rat rod in the evening sun.


49. Monument Valley is a bucket list destination now ticked off my list.


50. The wider view.


51. Afternoon light on the butes is just perfect.


52. Scale is hard to capture at times.


53. There are shadows from the clouds in the airborne dust.




55. I took multi shot panoramics as I went.


56. There are places in Monument Valley where you can just sit and ponder life. It’s a very special place to be.


57. This was one of our 4×4 SUVs and I thought it needed a portrait too.


58. Mexican hat on the left is a bit of sculpture for the sake of tourism. It has been reattached with a concrete support. The abandoned trading stall on the right is just north of Monument Valley.


59. Bottom: My first shot of the trip taken with the amazing GF 250mm lens. Top right: Behind the scenes showing the lighting rig.


60. I bought the red ball at Walmart and used it the same day for this interesting shot taken in a wilderness area I found near Page.


61. Yesenia at the Cliff Dwellers House.


62. The Cliff Dwellers House and Hoodoo.


63. Portraits taken with the 110mm lens.


64. Top left: The original concept. Top right: The straight from the camera version of the shot below: “Day for Night” A lighting and post production technique we used at the BBC when we needed to shoot a night scene in full sun. (Lit with a Godox AD200 with Fresnel head)


65. Yesenia is lit with a Godox AD200.


66. Light and shade. Texture and tone.


67. Grafton ghost town made an interesting shoot spot.


68. Beneath the mountains of Zion.


69. “You don’t know me at all”


70. “Chillin in the noon day sun”


71. Natural light used well can be wonderful. It’s a challenge in high contrast areas like this to find the perfect spots.


72. “Waiting”


73. Theres something about the medium format look that I love. It suits fashion and portraiture well.


74. “The long road out of Eden”by the Eagles, was the soundtrack to my adventure.

That’s it! My last Wild West USA adventure. My focus of attention will be diverted to other parts of that great North American continent. The Rockies, Canada, who knows? Where should you and I adventure next? Let me know below or sign up here to be kept informed of my next adventures.


    • Damien

      Thanks Joss,

      I did three Wild West road trip adventures and they were all fabulous :)

  1. steverolfephotography

    Wow, seriously wow – Thank you for sharing your truly stunning images. Congratulations to all who helped get this great set of images together. Your work is always inspiring and for me Canada would be a great location for your next tour, the Rockies are simply incredible.

    • Damien

      Hi Steve,

      Thank you very much for the compliments. The Canadian Rockies are indeed my next destination the other side of the pond. More details to follow soon :)

      Kindest regards,


  2. Alan Denison

    Amazing images as ever Damien. Lovely to relive our trip again through seeing these images. Wonderful memories.

    • Damien

      Thank you Alan,

      It was an amazing journey and after my third adventure I feel I know the system and the culture now. Fabulous memories from each adventure. I’m moving north next time to British Columbia. Greener country but no less spectacular. Keep in touch, we are very local :)

      Good times,


  3. John Costello

    Once again a lovely series of images

    • Damien

      Thank you John for your compliments.

      Cheers, Damien.

  4. Bob Gilmartin

    Damien, I echo Jesus’s comment – it was great to be on the Adventure with all of you. I suppressed all my standard ways of shooting and immersed myself in your methods which were so expertly and patiently taught. I have continued practicing your techniques back home, and am slowly improving. That said, I’ll probably never reach the level of artistry that you so easily demonstrate. Think of Yesmina and our merry band when you have your next cosmopolitan! Bob (Bib) Gilamrtin

    • Damien

      Thank you Bib,

      I loved having your company on the trip. Your advice over a beer or two was very welcome too. I will drink a Cosmo to you guys and our adventure for sure. Keep your photography fun and the rest just follows.

      My heartfelt thanks and kindest regards, Damien.

  5. Delaney H

    WoW! Your pictures are amazing! I really enjoyed browsing through them. The young lady is very beautiful. I want a pair of her boots!

    • Damien

      Thank you Delaney for your kind compliments. The boots came from the Walmart Supercentre in Kingman Arizona and cost $12. I found the receipt. :)

      Kindest regards,


  6. Jay Mijares

    Powerful images, Damien! The red dress set against the dark sky is my favorite. Though your last photo, #74, looks like a nice farewell to the Wild West. I wish I’d had a chance to go on this trip! As for future adventures, have you looked at the areas just north of Vancouver, B.C.? There’re various north of Vancouver that have been used as outdoor locations for movies and tv series that might make a nice background!


    • Damien

      Hi Jay,

      Thank you for your kind comments. As it so happens I’m currently looking at a trip starting from Vancouver and encompassing Whistler, Jasper and Banff. It will be a 9 or 10 day adventure. Any ideas of shoot locations in that area are certainly welcome :)

      Kindest regards,


  7. Jonathan Knights

    Great set of photos from the 2018 trip. Thanks for the virtual trip with you.

    • Damien

      Thank you Jonathan :)

  8. Tracy Edwards

    Another trip, another triumph! Wonderful images

    • Damien

      Thank you Tracy for your compliments :)

  9. Paul harrison

    Wow! Great set of photos, the best yet I’d say. You get a real feel for the locations, stunning work.

    • Damien

      Thank you Paul :)

  10. Jesus

    Awesome. So glad to have been a part of this. Fun times.

    • Damien

      Thank you Jesus :)


Ask a question or leave a comment. All comments get a reply.