Photography Workshops

10 Countries, 10 Days, 10 Tips: Day 8 - Cappadocia, Turkey

Rick Sammon photograph.
It's Day 8 of my travel series here on my blog. Thanks for joining me.

Location: Cappadocia, Turkey.

Tip: Go above and under ground.

Rick Sammon photograph
The two main attritions of Cappadocia are the spectacular landscapes and the intriguing underground cities.

Book an early morning ballon ride. Use a polarizing filter to darken the sky and whiten white clouds.

Rick Sammon photograph.
In the afternoon, explore the cities that are carved out of - and in - the mountains.

Rick Sammon photograph.
You may not be able to use a tripod or a flash in some underground cities, so you'll need to boost up your ISO, as I did below (boosting my ISO to 1000).

Rick Sammon photograph.
Don't worry about noise in your images. You can reduce it in Lightroom and Photoshop.

For over and under pictures, I recommend a wide-angle lens. If you want to take only one lens, I'd recommend a 24-105mm lens.

Here's a list of all my gear.

I hope to see you someday on one of my workshops. We shoot from sunrise to sunset.

For travel tips on the go, check out my iPad app, Rick Sammon's 24/7 Photo Buffet.

Explore the light,

Pros: Please Be Kind Part III

Readers of my blog know that I am big on pros being kind to aspiring photographers. Here are two of my previous posts on that topic:

First post
Second post.

Well, unfortunately, it's time for Part III in this series. Below is an email I received from a very serious and disappointed  student who had participated in a photography workshop. She did not want to be named and did not want to name the instructors or the school (in this post). I did a search on the school. Shocked.

On the topic of naming the school and instructors: I am respecting the wishes of the photographer who contacted me. 

Darn lucky for the instructors and school/workshop that she did not want to mention them, I'd say. And, I guess they never heard the expressions: "People want to know how much you care before they care how much you know." And, "If you have the choice to be right or kind, be kind."

One of her photos opens this post. It's probably not the best picture ever taken in the history of the world, but I like the mood and feeling of the image. More important, it's an important image to the photographer.

Check out the photographer's email. But first, after reading the Comments here, the photographer wrote this:

I will confess that I had considered just putting my camera down after this experience for many reasons.

Reading the posts on your blog from other pros has been a healing experience for me and I can't thank you enough for renewing my faith in there being the right people out there to teach those of us who desire to learn more. I may not have a gift but I have a longing and teachers like you probably don't even realize how important you are or what a difference you make.


• • • • •

This was supposed to be a series of multi-day classes with a.m. instruction in the classroom and a shoot in the p.m. with two instructors. They were "celebrity" instructors from out of the country. They actually stated in class that what they would teach would be "life changing."

In the classroom we were told things like "don't take too many shots because your camera only has so many clicks in it and then you will have to buy another." Yup, they were dead serious.

They said camera stores encourage you to take a lot of shots because they want you to have to buy a new camera.

If you don't shoot crap you won't need things like Photoshop, Nik or Topaz.

They said a friend of theirs had just returned from a trip to the Outback for 3 months and only took 6 shots the entire time.

Never shoot in RAW - it is a waste of time.

They would ask the students in each class how many other of their classes they had signed up for, and then dress them down for not attending more.

In the field I had one instructor choose a lens for me and then the other a few minutes later berated me for my stupid choice of lens.

I had one tell me the composition on one of my shots was "crap" only to find a nearly identical shot taken by the other instructor on their FB later that night lauded as great composition.

I have never had any instructor in the field actually step into students' shots to take shots themselves – as we were supposed to be taking our turn shooting a model. You would just hear from the instructor, "oh, that's good" and then there would be their back in your view.

The final blow was when my friends called me from a restaurant they were the instructors were also dining with some other folks. The instructors were trashing the students they had that day (that included me) calling them names and making jokes loudly about how stupid the students were. My friends asked their server if the loud group might be asked to tone it down and were told, "They do that here every night and I can't imagine why anyone would pay such awful people to teach them anything."

I called and cancelled the rest of the classes the next morning.

Rick, thanks for being the excellent teacher you are.  When someone can make learning fun, that makes all the difference!

• • • • • 

As always, I'd like to hear from you in the Comments section here on my blog. So would the student. Please use your real name.

Explore the light,

Sammon's Cyber Monday Savings

Today is Cyber Monday – so I figure I should offer a special. Here goes.

You can save $100 on my Croton-on-Hudson Workshop if you sign up before the end of the year. Click here for info.

You'll need to use the following code when you send in your application to get the discount: CM10.

I hope to see you – and shoot with you – in Croton-on-Hudson, NY.

Explore the light,

P.S. You can also save on Nik plug-ins and Photomatix - and you still have a few days to save big time on Topaz's lab's new InFocus plug-in. Click here for info.

Learn About a Subject When Travelling

One of the real joys of travel photography is learning about other cultures and sharing that new world with others back home.

Here is a natural light portrait of a man I met in Alaska. He was giving a lecture on Alaska’s indigenous people. Most of the people who saw him simply snapped his picture and walked away. I took the time to find out a bit more about him. What I learned gives the photograph much more meaning to me, and to those who read about this native culture.

His American name is David Ramos and his native Alaskan name is Aaskuwat'eesh. He is Raven, of the Gineixkwaan clan of the Owl house. His owl headdress is made of abalone shells, ermine fur, rabbit fur and sea lion whiskers. To signify the Owl house, David is wearing a sewn beaded owl around his neck. He is also wearing a copper necklace. David’s clan is called the “Copper Digging Clan” because he comes from the Copper River. The clan used copper for money.

I took this picture in a bar on a cruise ship. By carefully framing David in front of a plant and a wooden wall, and by using a Canon 28-105mm zoom set at 100mm to slightly blur the background, and by placing David near a window for flattering side-lighting, I was able to create the effect that the picture was taken on location in a village, and not a on a ship with 2,000 passengers.

As a way of saying “thank you” for posing for my picture, I e-mailed the photograph to David, which he greatly appreciated. When you photograph a stranger, sending a photo to him or her is not only a nice gesture, it’s very important, especially if you promise to do so.

Explore the Light,

Hudson River Photography Workshops Last Images: Painting with Light & Using Studio Lights

We ended Week I of our first Hudson River Photography Workshops with a "painting with light" session.

For the image on the left (taken by Eliot Nierman), we worked in a totally dark room. I moved a small flashlight around our model's head, painting her with light. The exposure was 5 seconds at f/8, and the ISO was 200. The camera was on a tripod and the model needed to sit perfectly still. Yes! Eliot used his  cable release to avoid any camera shake.

Before our painting with light session, we had a portrait sessions using Westcott Spiderlites. For the image on the right (taken by Chirs Philipps), Vered Koshlano, our guest instructor for the day, set up a single light in a soft box and used a reflector to expertly light our subject, the beautiful Bella Paula. Vered also brought a few props, which added greatly to the shoot.

If you are coming on a future Hudson River Photography Workshop (see the Events page of my site for next year's events), why not subscribe to this blog? You'll get a preview of the photo opps - and the fun!

Explore the Light,
P.S. We are also planning SLR HD video shoots. Stay tuned.