I spent a weekend in Death Valley with photographer and Hoya brand ambassador Hudson Henry and it was awesome! Hudson had just finished a climb of Mt. Whitney, which took him from the highest peak in the lower 48 to the Western Hemisphere’s lowest depression. His was a journey of extremes, but there is nothing he loves more than an outdoor challenge.
We’d spoken on the phone many times throughout the year-and-a-half of working together, but I was surprised at how at ease I was with him. Hudson has a relaxed, positive, conquer-the-world energy that I found infectious.
Hudson’s passion for the outdoors takes him to some of the most extreme environments in the world so protecting his equipment is a necessity. He uses a large Sukha backpack made by F-Stop that holds all his climbing gear, camping gear and camera equipment. This thing was an impressive beast!
Our first afternoon it was super windy in the valley creating cloud forms that didn’t drift too much. I didn’t think much of the scene because of the clouds and flat lighting but he noticed something in the clouds and decided to set up his equipment at the top of a small hill near the campsite.
Hudson has a passion for time-lapse photography. He creates these great video clips in post processing that he uses for his social media and trainings. He uses a Duzi slider system from Cinevate with a Syrp Genie programmable time-lapse motor base to move the camera evenly between shots and give his videos a sense of movement. To enhance the sense of movement he frames a non-moving foreground subject adding even more interest to the time-lapse. When creating time-lapse Hudson frequently uses Hoya Solas IRND filters, slowing his shutter speed for a more cinematic look.
On day two, we went to see the sailing stones in an area called the Racetrack. It’s a dry lake bed that is visually interesting and also has some great rocks of varying size. The lake bed is located in a valley with pretty strong winds and when it rains the hard lake bed turns to a slick mud. The combination of the high winds and the wet are enough to move the rocks leaving a shallow furrowed trail behind them, which explains the name “sailing stones.” It also makes for some really interesting photographs.
The Racetrack is bone dry most of the year and the high winds kick up a lot of blowing dust and some sand. In these conditions it’s super important to protect your gear. Hudson uses a Hoya HD3 UV filter on the front of every lens for protection. These are the toughest filters made. They are chemically hardened optical glass and have an amazing 32-layer hardened Multi-coating. Hudson told me anything he gets on the lens is always easy to clean off and he’s used them in the harshest environments. He also told me these filters don’t create flare no matter the conditions.
Hudson also carries Hoya’s HD3 Circular Polarizer with him when he shoots or goes on a trip. Polarizers remove polarized light from the atmosphere and reflected light off leaves, glass and water. Hudson loves the way they enhance his photos and bring out the best color and clarity of whatever he’s photographing.
This weekend really brought me back to my roots in photography and made me realize how fun it can be to shoot with others. For me, it’s usually a solitary experience, but I’m going to try to shoot more with others. It gave me a new perspective on my own photography and I had a great time. Of course, my company had a lot to do with it. You should check out Hudson’s website at www.hudsonhenry.com and if you get a chance to attend his workshops, I highly recommend it! Right now he is giving away a free 25 minute video on light on his website. And, he also has a new video about photographing the Eclipse. Follow his journeys on Instagram at @hudson.henry and catch his videos on YouTube Hudson Henry.
~ Michael E. Burnham is a photographer who works in Marketing/Advertising at Kenko Tokina USA