Image and Platinum Print: Joshua Tree

Workshop with Don Messec

Image and Platinum Print: Joshua Tree

February 3-7, 2020

Limited to 6 to maintain a sense of seriousness and personal connection to place.

Workshop is made, a few spaces available, join us!

Supported by Hahnemühle USA

What happens if you go out on a shoot, then process your best shots, make prints while still on site then go out and do it again? You make an immediate and deeper connection to the location. And that is what this workshop is all about, create the complete photographic experience. Understanding how we see only starts with taking a photograph. If you never take an image through processing, deciding what to pull out, what to push back, you never confront yourself as artists. This workshop is your chance to go through the entire dialectic process and then go back out and do it again.

Destination workshops are a favorite of mine. I love sharing places I shoot and the opportunity to be outdoors with other photographers. The workshop will include heading out early to get into interesting shooting locations. The first day we will go together and get the lay of the land, after which you may prefer to head out on your on to explore at your own pace. Some days we may reprieve from shooting to get lunch, discuss digital workflow for platinum-palladium negative making, and other interesting conversations, returning to shoot during evening light. I will bring everything we need to make digital negatives using PiezoDN and everything to make prints. We will have a welcoming-orientation dinner Sunday night and lay out the week at that time. Two days will be for printing. Spouses and partners are most welcome, the fee is small to tag along. My photo buddy Jim Hamstra will join us. He too has extensive field experience but in places like Syria, Turkey, Australia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. We both live and shoot in the Southwestern US.

There will be a combination of group and personal instruction as seems appropriate. Some will desire being left on their own to shoot, others will want technical input, shot advice or digital workflow considerations. Time will be made for everyone to shoot on their own outside of group shoots. These moments are important interpersonal time to close off the sounds in our heads and connect with this special rugged but frail place. Groups shoots will be a matter of selected sites that allow, even promote, wandering off for personal shot selection. At the end of the workshop, your biggest whine will be “why can’t we stay!?”

Gallery of workshop prints.

Don Messec Direct images

What’s Included

Welcome and orientation dinner.

Each student will receive enough paper, platinum-palladium mix, and sensitizer for approximately 10-15 5×7.5″ prints. Metals spreader, developer, distilled water, transparency material, specialized negative printing ink sets and other communal needs to make Pt-Pd prints are also included.

The experience is equipped with Epson printer, trays, contact frames, and other needs of a complete and effect field setup plus typically lots of sunshine.

What you provide

  • Lodging. there are several ways to stay in Joshua Tree or Twentynine Palms. Options to be listed soon.
  • Local transportation. Those who fly in may want to share car rental. Happy to try and set that up between participants.
  • Meals except for Welcome dinner. Plan on snacks and lots of water for long days of shooting and printing.
  • Digital files in the following formats – PSD, jpg, TIFF, RAW. Most images we print will come from shooting during the workshop. For images you may want to see in platinum bring original files at original resolution in addition to any processed or manipulated versions. It can be useful to go back to an unmodified file to re-interpret the image once you have a print in hand.
  • Digital camera if you have one. There are no processing labs close enough to shoot film for printing during workshop. All forms of cameras welcome.
  • Thumb drive or other portable read/write media
  • Laptop if you have one. Especially if it has Photoshop and/or Lightroom. If you do not have any of this software consider downloading a trial version for the workshop.
  • Large enough luggage and/or box to pack prints, with stiff protector (cardboard or matt board). Paper will be torn down to approximately 7.5×11.” Remember this is field printing which means it works best with thoughtful limits. Examples of larger prints will be shown.

That’s it! Any questions about supplies, please feel free to contact us.

Workshop Itinerary

  • Sunday night we will gather for dinner, drinks, orientation, introductions and socializing. Time and place TBA
  • Monday morning at park entrance. This will be early, morning light is worth loss of sleep!
  • Remaining daily schedule will be set according to weather. Some evenings we will gather for discussions/demos
  • Bring a lunch everyday. If it works out that we are in town during lunch let’s haunt one of the few cafes.
  • Evenings select 2-4 images to process to B&W for printing.
  • Two days will be mostly if not entirely dedicated to printing.


Reserve your place! Make $400.00 deposit


Flying? look at Palm Springs or Las Vegas

Housing? The first couple registrants can contact me about staying at the same “Ranch” I use. There are 2 additional accommodations there. There are several fine options in Twentynine Palms from cute and dated to contemporary hotels and VRBO.