James was absolutely wonderful. I planned a sunrise photo session with James for me and my girlfriend out in Valley of Fire and told him I was planning on proposing out there. He was so unbelievably helpful to plan this trip and agreed to take photos of the proposal as well. He went much above and beyond by agreeing to reschedule after my flight was canceled which was a lifesaver.
He did such a wonderful job and showed us places in the park that took him years to find, on top of all that he helped my girlfriend to improve her photography skills and took great photos of the proposal that we will cherish forever! We made wonderful memories and James could not have done a better job.
I was looking to do some night photography outside of Vegas, fortunately I found James through his website. James picked me up at my hotel shortly after 8:00 PM and we headed to Lake Mead and the Valley of Fire and returned around 1:00 AM. James knowledge of the area is extensive and he knows many spots that are just off the beat and path that allow you to make some exceptional images (e.g. springs)
I could not be happier with the service that James provided and would highly recommend him to anyone that is looking for a guided Photographic anywhere in Vegas. I will be back and am looking forward to hiring James again.
Thank you for a great experience!
I found James by doing an internet search for photographers in Nevada and boy did I hit the jackpot!! We had an awesome day coving the Valley of Fire State Park. James knows every nook and cranny of the park and while we got many of the iconic shots, we also went to places that very few people are aware of to really see the true nature of the park. James is very personable and he knows his stuff. We were shooting in 101F heat and he made sure we took breaks and kept hydrated. Aside from the great images that I got, what I really appreciated is that James followed up with an email which contained extra information from the things we had talked about during our day! very valuable for me as a budding photographer. I highly recommend James for his incredible knowledge of the area and his skill as an educator and photographer.
I recently had James take me around for a day in Valley of Fire State Park, and couldn't have been happier that I chose him as a guide. Not only does he know the area very well and can take you to choice spots at the right time, but he also knows a lot about the area. He is very personable, interesting will take good care of you. I also learned some important points about photography and processing. He is also a really nice guy. I highly recommend using him as your guide to the area.
Recently, I searched for a professional, local NV photographer who could take me to Valley of Fire for an afternoon of shooting. I was extremely lucky to have found James through an internet search. During our short time together, we covered just about the entire park from the East end with Elephant Rock to the White Domes slot canyon and trail, The Wave, Arch Rock, Balanced Rock and just about everything in between. All the while James, shared his deep knowledge of the area which added wonderful context to each location and the resulting images. I've been on numerous photo workshops and It's not often I find a professional who did such a great job of making sure I got to the right location at the right time given the conditions of the day...especially with as much ground as we covered.
If you are looking for a great photography guide who knows the area extremely well and can make the day interesting and educational, is willing to walk miles and miles to get you to the best spots, and can provide expert advice so your images come out the best they can be, then James is the one you need to call. I was very happy with my trip and will definitely call James again when I'm in town. I'm looking forward to visiting other great locations with him.
James, thanks again for the great afternoon and for your willingness to stop whenever I saw something that looked interesting. I've processed some of my images and could not be happier.
I recently had the pleasure of spending a day with James, photographing at the beautiful Valley of Fire State Park.I say 'pleasure' as it was really a joy to meet James, who, within a few minutes it seemed ,felt like a good friend. He is so very easy going and more than willing to tailor his pace to yours. You feel that he truly is there to ensure you enjoy your day.( which I thoroughly did)
His knowledge of the Park was invaluable to me as a newcomer to that part of the world. I would never on my own have seen nor experienced so many special areas in the one day I had there: nor would I have found them at the golden times of the day.
Photographically, I was/am very thankful to James for checking and helping with my compositions, making sure they did not get too busy and cluttered.His guidance was very helpful and all done in such a quiet and creative way.
In short, if you find yourself in the Las Vegas area and have a day to spare, don't miss out on a day with James. It will be rewarding regardless of what level you are at with your photography. You will learn a lot and will come away with a smile and happy memories of a day well spent.
Thank you, James. Hope to see you again-soon, perhaps for Bryce or Zion.
Really enjoyed my time with James on our tour to Valley of Fire state park. I just love it when I get to a spot with so many awesome photo ops and there's someone like James, who knows every nook and cranny of the landscape, to get me to the ideal locations based on the light conditions. Better yet, he's truly a nice guy -- shares my passion for photography, was friendly, informative, engaging ... I could go on and on. I look forward to doing other tours with him in the National Parks.
James picked me up at my hotel around 5:00 am. We headed out to the Valley of Fire to capture the sunrise. Learning to read the light was one of my goals for this trip. Before this trip I was not getting the results I wanted in my photography so my secondary goal was to find out what I was doing wrong. I wanted to learn how to see. Part of my problem turned out to be the the equipment I was using. James knows how to tailor the shoot to individual needs and requests. He made several suggestions for equipment that would be suited to me. When I arrived back in Ohio the equipment links were already waiting in my email box.
I emphasized I wanted an honest opinion and no sugar coating on my images. His critiques and instructions were invaluable. I did not feel judged on my limited knowledge or questions on photography. The first part of our tour he would compose the shot in the camera to give me an idea of what he saw, then had me adjust the shot to add my own creativity. A short while later we reversed roles. Gently he reminded me I am the photographer and this was my photo. The Valley of Fire is so beautiful one can get overwhelmed as to how to isolate an area to make it an interesting photo instead of a snap shot. The ultimate goal of the shoot was to have fun with the photography and not to get hung up on rules but to follow my instincts. James' extensive knowledge of the area helped get the best photos in the best light and we covered the most noteworthy places.
After lunch we took the hour drive to Cold Creek Canyon to photograph the Wild Horses. James returned me to my hotel around 4:30 pm. What an incredible day, far beyond my expectations! James is very patient and personable and his easy going personality puts you at ease. Because of James I have a new direction in my photography. I highly recommend taking a photography adventure with James. I know Las Vegas is on my list of future trips and going on another Photography Tour with James Marvin Phelps is definitely on my bucket list.
On Thursday we set out at 4:30am to visit Valley of Fire State Park to try and photograph the sunrise, followed by photographing various sites within the park. James knows the park so well, not only where the best sites are, but when the lighting is best. Had I gone to VOF by myself, it would have taken me at least four or five visits to cover all of the excellent formations and vistas we covered in our 5+ hours. And, by myself, I would have caught many of them at less-than-optimal times for lighting.
James is a knowledgeable and accomplished photographer, and was both generous and thoughtful in offering suggestions, instruction, and critique whenever I requested some. This included camera settings, lighting angles, subject matter, and composition (including explanations of the principles of composition.) Most important, he quickly tuned into my needs and knew when suggestions were welcome and when I preferred to shoot without input. That is a special gift he possesses. He also encouraged me to trust my inner vision, even when it went against conventional photographic advice.
An unexpected bonus was James' extensive knowledge of the geology, the fauna, and flora of the region, as well as the social history of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas. He was a pleasure to talk with and to get to know, so that the short drives within the park and travel to and from the park were quite enjoyable.
I was extremely satisfied at the end of the 5-hour tour/shoot. And I look forward to post-processing and sharing my photos. I highly recommend James as a gifted photographer and tour guide to anywhere in the scenic southwest.
James is the best. If you want to get to the lessor known and hard to find places in Valley of Fire in the best light, James will get you there and help you take fantastic images. I've been on two tours with him during February and enjoyed both immensely. He is far and away the best guide I have every had.
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