Someday is now…
I’ve been selling prints of my images for about fifteen years. I started at weekend art shows and in art galleries, and soon added a modest online store. The art shows in particular were very successful, but as much as I enjoyed them (I truly did), the shows required so much work that I stopped because they detracted from my primary bread and butter, the photo workshops.
Despite my workshop emphasis, I have maintained a small gallery presence, and continue to offer my prints for sale on my website (which I’ve upgraded significantly). While I still sell prints fairly regularly, I know there are many more people who don’t purchase them because they’re just too expensive.
I can explain
Though printing is a pretty labor intensive process, I’ve always insisted on doing it myself, largely because I’ve never trusted anyone else to create the print to my satisfaction. But the amount of work that goes into each print (even after it’s been processed and sized)—from constant maintenance (clearing clogged print heads, monitor calibration, paper and ink management, and so on) to careful packaging and shipping—results in pricing that’s prohibitive for many people.
Finally, a solution
For a long time I’ve sought a solution that would cut me out of the printing and shipping side of the transaction while still yielding quality prints, and think I’ve finally found one. I’ve spent the last few weeks creating a SmugMug website exclusively for showcasing my prints for sale: GaryHartPrints.com. On this new site, instead of coming to me, your print orders will go to the much acclaimed Bay Photo Labs, my longtime lab of choice for jobs my own printer can’t handle (such as prints too large, or paper I don’t offer).
Though these prints won’t have my personal signature, each print has been photographed, processed, copyrighted, and digitally signed by me. I can also vouch for the quality, which will be at least as good as what I can offer. By taking the printing process out of my hands and putting it in the hands of people who do this exclusively, you get more choices, including multiple papers (lustre, glossy, metallic, and gicleé watercolor) and many matting and framing options—all at a much lower price than I can offer by printing directly.
About this image
In a post announcing a new print sale website, I thought it appropriate to re-share my most requested image, captured on a chilly April morning in 2009. As with many of my images, it was captured during a workshop. And also like many of my images, it almost didn’t happen.
My workshop group was at Tunnel View overlooking Yosemite Valley, wrapping up our first sunrise shoot. A storm had moved through overnight, dusting the granite walls with snow down to about 5,000 feet (Yosemite Valley is at about 4,000 feet), and soaking the lower elevations with a light rain. With no wind to mix the chilly atmosphere, the coldest air dropped all the way to the saturated valley floor, where it found the dew point and condensed into a ground-hugging fog.
Because the parting storm’s cloudy vestiges covered the scene with a dull, gray blanket of homogenous clouds, our attention all morning had been on the fog in the valley. Experience has taught me that the dynamic range at Tunnel View is pretty unmanageable when the morning sun arrives, so I was about to move the group on to greener pastures when I noticed a golden glow rising behind Sentinel Dome. As the color expanded, I realized that the uniform clouds above were far more translucent than I’d imagined. I put a hold on our exit and stood mesmerized as advancing sunlight spread a buttery veneer that eventually stretched from rim to rim and reflected subtly on the fog below.
So caught up in the beauty was I, it took me a couple of minutes to come to my senses and remember I’m a photographer. Because I rarely shoot on the workshop’s opening sunrise, I had to race to the car to get my gear, then sprint back and set up far faster than I like. By the time I was ready, the sun was just about to crest the ridge. I worked quickly, using a Singh-Ray 2-stop hard graduated neutral density filter to subdue the bright sky. I stopped down to f16 thinking a sunstar might be possible, but the sunlight was diffused by the clouds.
Of all the pictures of Yosemite that I’ve taken, this is the one that makes it easiest for me to imagine how this heavenly location might have looked before human interference.