photo workshops

No Other Old Car City Photo Workshop Offers This Much!

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Above: Old Car City. Model photography is included in my October 2015 Old Car City/Southeaster Railway Museum photo workshop. Canon 5D Mark III, 17-40mm lens.

Registration is open for my October 2015 Canon EOS Destination Workshop: Capturing the Classics: Old Cars and Antique Trains. I can't wait to return to Old Car City and the Southeastern Railway Museum - both of which are located outside of Atlanta, GA.

I'll be teaching: composition (the strongest way of seeing), "croposition" (combining composition with cropping), storytelling,  lighting, HDR – and how to use reflectors, diffusers and speedlites when photographing a model.

My friends from Canon will be there to loan you the newest cameras and lenses (including fish-eye lenses and super-wide-angle lenses) to photograph some of the oldest cars in the country. You will also have plenty of time to process your images – for our group slide show/critique session. And, you'll even get to make a print or two on Canon printers.

No other Old Car City photo workshop offers this much. In addition to the teaching, model session, processing and printing, each workshop participant will receive an autographed copy of my three favorite books: Creative Visualization for Photographers, Exploring the Light and Travel and Nature Photography. In addition, everyone will also receive a free download code for two of my on-line classes: Master the Art and Craft of Bird Photography and Master Landscape and Seascape Photography - both available in my on-line store.

All participants will also received an SD card loaded with Perfectly Clear (see my Plug-in page) for both Lightroom and Photoshop. Thanks to my friends at Athentech for your support!

Total value of these items is over $250.

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Above: Lounge car, Southeastern Railway Museum. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 15mm lens.

Here's a look at some of my favorite photographs from my previous trip to Old Car City and the Southeastern Railway Museum.

The lounge car photograph (above) and the mail car photograph are HDR images, created in Photomatix. I recommend Photomatix for this workshop. You can get a discount on Photomatix on my Save on Plug-ins page.

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Above: Old Car City. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens. 

I removed some of the reality from my images in this post either by using a fish-eye lens, by altering the true color of a scene, by applying a plug-in, by shooting HDR, by selectively blurring parts of an image –  or by using a combination of all these techniques.

I can show you how to apply digital enhancements during the workshop. Of course, I'll show you how to get awesome in-camera shots, too.

Above: Southeastern Railway Museum. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens.

About removing some of the reality from a scene: When we remove some of the reality from a photograph, the photograph can - but not always - look more artistic.

Photoshop, Lightroom and plug-ins make creating artistic images relatively easy - if you have a creative vision. 

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Above: Old Car City. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 24-70mm lens.

On my workshops I stress light and composition, the topics of my two latest classes on Kelby Training. The picture above (taken on my previous workshops) of our model Hanna (she's coming back for this workshop) illustrates the benefits of shooting on an overcast day, when contrast is low. It also illustrates creative composition: shooting at an angle creates a sense of depth in an image, the Bel Air insignia adds a sense of place to the image, and shooting at eye level helps the viewer of the photograph relate to the subject.

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Above: Old Car City. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens. Effects added with Nik Color Effects Pro. Several Photoshop CS6 enhancements.

Above: Old Car City.  Like abstracts? You will find them in pealing paint and in rust at Old Car City.

Another element of photography we talk about on my workshops is the importance of cropping. In the above photograph, the extremely tight crop (I know it's extreme) emphasizes the fins and tail lights of this cool Caddy.

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Above: Southeastern Railway Museum. Canon 5D Mark III, Canon 17-40mm lens.

Yes, the railway cars and old automobiles are awesome subjects. But hey, I especially enjoy photographing people on location. That is why I was so glad our model Hanna is returning! 

I hope to see you at Old Car City and at the Southeastern Railway Museum - where we not only make good pictures, but where we also have a ton of fun.

If you can't make that workshop, all my workshops are listed here.

Explore the light,
Rick 

If you have any questions about this workshop, or any of my workshops, give me a call at 914 271-6132. Note: I'm in the Eastern Time Zone.

Canon EOS 5Ds Quick Field Test

Click images to enlarge.

At 9 AM this morning I took my Canon 5Ds, which arrived last week, for a field test. The location: The Chuang Yen Monastery in Kent, NY - which is about 30 minutes from my home in Croton-on-Hudson, New York and one of the locations on my Rick's Backyard Photo Workshop. Hey! I hope you can join me someday on this workshop, which I run twice a year. You will learn a lot and have a lot of fun. I promise.

My main goal for this quick test was to check out the sharpness of the files from this whopping 50.6 MP digital SLR - because one of the main reasons I choose a camera is image sharpness: I want/need the cleanest possible image. This is especially important, to me, when shooting in low-light/low contrast situations – which is why I chose this location for my test.

I created the opening HDR image for this post from a seven-stop, automatically bracketed sequence. To get the seven stops, I changed the Number of Bracketed Exposure from the default setting of 3 to 7. Setting AEB (Automatic Exposure Bracketing) is fast and easy with this camera. Note: you cannot set AEB when the camera is set to built-in HDR - and vice versa.

I used my Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fish-eye lens and my ISO was set to 160. My camera was set on a tripod.

I processed the series of images in Photomatix.

Above: To check the sharpness of my HDR image, I zoomed in on the two small sections of the original image you see here. Sharp and clean, as expected. And . . . keep in mind the statues are soft in and of themselves.

Above: Here's another set of images that illustrates the clarity of the images from this camera – as well as the sharpness of the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L lens. ISO was 160.

When I zoomed in (right image) the original file not only revealed good detail, but I noticed something I had not seen before: a small carving of a Buddha in the headdress of the larger Buddha.

I used Live View for this shot, as well as for the previous shot. I like the camera's Live View feature because it tells you to Press the Set Switch for AF. Kinda cool. Speaking of cool, here's a cool feature of the 5Ds: Mirror Lockup . . . with the option of choosing a delay from 1/8 second to 2 seconds after pressing the shutter release button. Want to get the steadiest/sharpest shot? Go for mirror lockup!

And speaking of clean, I used the in-camera Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature to get an extra-clean shot.

Above: To digress (from the Buddhist temple but not from cropping) for a minute, being able to crop an image for an end-result image with more impact is important for me. Why? Sometimes,  I simply can't get close enough to the subject. Cropping gives me (and you) a second chance at composition - so the 5Ds gives me even greater cropping possibilities.

I grabbed the shot above on the right with my Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 70-300mm F/4-5.6 IS USM lens (set at 300mm) while on safari in Kenya. I shot quickly because I did not want to miss capturing the leopard's intense stare. Cropping my image produced a photograph with impact.

Learn more about composition in my KelbyOne class: Composition - the strongest way of seeing.

Above: Continuing on quest to test the camera's image quality, I photographed these small (maybe two inches high) Buddha statues. This is a hand-held shot taken with my Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L USM lens. My ISO was set at ISO 500. When I zoomed in on a statue near the middle of the frame (my focus point), I could clearly read the writing under each statue.

Above: Here's another 14mm lens shot. Above the painting you'll see just some of the 10,000 Buddha statues that surround the main statue of Buddha. I could not ask for a sharper image.

Above: After my quick indoor, low-light/low contrast test, I headed home to check my results – but not before making this image. I set my camera to the HDR mode and then chose the +/- 2 EV setting and the Art Vivid mode. Here, the in-camera HDR worked beautifully. In much higher contrast situations, I use Photomatix to process my images.

Well, that's my quick Canon EOS 5Ds field test. There are many other camera features I want to test, including the AF system. But that will have to wait. My son is home for a few weeks and I want to spend as much time with him as possible.

Speaking of time, for someone as hyper as I am, the review time of the images is noticeably longer than with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III, which I used for the leopard image. That increased time is especially noticeable when it comes to in-camera HDR. But heck, everything in photography (and life) is a trade off, and I'd trade a few extra seconds for awesome image quality any day.

That said, my Canon 5Ds will probably be my camera for landscape, portraits and subjects that don't move – although at five frames per second, it's fast enough to capture all the action I need to capture.

I'll probably still use Canon 5D Mark III as my main camera for action shots. I used that camera and the Canon 200-400mm IS with built-in 1.4x teleconverter for this shot of two lions mating in Kenya.

Above: Here's a shot taken with my Canon 100-400mm IS lens (new model). ISO was 400. I converted the image to black and white in Lightroom.

Again, I hope you can join me someday on one of my workshop. Lots of shooting, lots of processing and lots of fun.

Explore the light,
Rick
Canon Explorer of Light

What's new? My new (and 36th) book: Creative Visualization for Photographers - which features lessons on Composition, Exposure, Lighting, Learning, Experimenting, Setting Goals, Motivation and more!

Day 6: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

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Today is the last day of the series here on my blog: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips.

I am running this series in preparation for my 2016 Botswana/South Africa digital photography workshop.

We will get up early for our game drives (above), so you can get great photographs of back lighted subjects (below). I'll help you with exposure.

Our expert guides will put us in the best position for our photographs (below).

When you are in the best position, you can get the best photographs (below).

That workshop is filling up fast! Here's why – from a few folks who have signed up:

Eric McCartney: There are several reasons why I’ve signed up, but the biggest factor has to be Rick Sammon, quite honestly. I’ve always wanted to go to Africa; it’s been on my radar for more than two decades. I so thoroughly enjoyed the Fossil Rim experience and I learned more about photography and in particular about photo processing in just a couple of days than in months, if not years, of practice. I can’t begin to imagine what a real African safari would be like so to have the opportunity to learn from the best, whom I also consider a friend, can only be an amazing experience. I’m thrilled to have this opportunity.

Diane Eubanks: Well, as the workshop "record holder" I could say that I am just a slow learner ;-). But the truth about what keeps me coming back to Rick's workshops is his great teaching skills, his style of photography and processing, and the fact that I feel very "safe" while in his company. Susan Sammon is an incredible organizer and is always making sure everyone is taken care of and that no one is left behind. Rick and Susan make an awesome team. Africa has been on my bucket list for a long time. I can't wait to see what Rick and Susan have in store for us all!!

John and Evelyn Davis: It boiled down to knowing you and a Botswana photo workshop being on our bucket list.

Dave and Cheryl Wilson: We signed up for many reasons:
– We’ve always wanted to see the amazing animals in Africa.
– We don’t seem to be getting any younger.
– I love photography, and I'm tired of taking the same old Northern California photos.
– We need some adventure in our lives.
– I want the best photography teacher I ever met: my friend Rick Sammon.

Mark and Donna Burdette: An African safari has been on our bucket list since we created it. We are attracted to your safari in Botswana
 and South Africa because we participated with you at Fossil Rim, and found your style of teaching and encouraging participants to be very helpful. We also like the idea of this region in Africa since it seems safer than the northern and eastern regions of the continent, while still allowing the variety of animals and experience that we want. Also, we like the small group nature, and the fact that you have teamed up with Kevin who also seems to have lots of experience in this type of safari. Also, after checking the camps online, it seems like they are of the high qualify that we would want and expect. But, mostly, we wanted this one because you and Susan are going along.

Chandra and Gregg Brooks: A photo safari to Africa has long been a dream for us, but when you consider a trip like this....it's not one where you want to come back with an average snapshot you could take at a zoo. What's that they say - go big or go home? Going to one of the premier game reserves, Mala Mala, with a reputation for incredible sightings of the Big 5 upped the ante. The chance to combine dream location, a small group size and learning from Rick with all of his talent, experience and inspirational teaching style - well, this is simply the opportunity of a lifetime.

• • • • •

Check out my Beauty of Botswana gallery to see more my favorite photographs from my two previous trips to this wildlife wonderland.

Also check out my on-line class: Capturing the Wild: Safari Photography. You can use my tips for making great pictures on a photo safari and at a wildlife park.

Today's tip: Be prepared with the right photo gear. All my gear is listed on My Gear Page.

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Two camera bodies - so you can always have a telephoto lens and a wide-angle zoom lens at the ready. Currently, I am using Canon 5D Mark III cameras.

Telephoto lenses:
• 100-400mm zoom - for distant wildlife;
• 70-200mm f/4 zoom - for closer wildlife;
• 200 - 400mm IS with 1.4x teleconverter;
• 400mm DO lens with 1.4x tele-converter - for even more distant wildlife.

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Wide-angle lenses:
• 17-40mm lens - for landscapes;
• 24-105mm IS lens - for landscapes and environmental portraits;
• 15mm fish eye – for behind-the-scenes shots.

Filters:
• Tiffen polarizing filter - to darken a blue sky and to reduce reflections on water

Accessories:
• Two battery chargers - for fast battery charging between game drives;
• Storm Jacket - to protect your camera from rain and dust;
• Blower - to keep your sensor clean;
• Head-mounted flashlight - for hands-free shooting on early morning and night drives;
• Plenty of memory cards.

All this gear does something very important for you on your photo safari: it helps you tell the whole story of your experience - as opposed to only taking lots of close-ups photographs of the animals.

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I hope to see you in Botswana or on another one of my workshops.

If you like the composition of the photographs in this post, and if you want to learn how to make the best possible exposure, check out my Kelby Training Classes on my On-Line Classes page.

If you can't make an Africa photo safari, I offer wildlife photo safaris at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. That's where I took the photos above. Shoot me an email for 2016 dates.

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Explore the light
Rick

This post sponsored by Adorama - great gear at great prices.   

Day 2: Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips

Today is day two of Six Days of Africa Photo Safari Tips here on my blog.

I am running this series in preparation for my 2016 Botswana/South Africa digital photography workshop.

Check out my Beauty of Botswana gallery to see my favorite photographs from my two previous trips to this wildlife wonderland. 

Also check out my on-line class: Capturing the Wild: Safari Photography. You can use my tips for making great pictures on a photo safari (and even at a wildlife park).

Today's tip: Go wide.

First-time Africa photo safari photographers often focus on getting super close-ups of the animals with super-telephoto lenses, and subsequently don't take wide-angle shots.

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Taking wide-angle shots on your photo safari is also important. These shots give a "sense of place" to your photographs - and for sure add interest to your slide shows. After all, you can take close-ups of lions and giraffes in a wildlife park or zoo. Right?

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Of course, you can also take "sense a place" photographs with a telephoto lens - as long as you include the surrounding area in the frame. Just shoot wide, and don't fill the frame with the subject.

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Getting back to telling the story, pictures of wild animals and beautiful landscapes are not the only pictures that tell the story of your photo safari. Behind-the-scenes shots, like the one above, do that, too.

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Behind-the-scenes pictures also bring back memories of your long safari drives and time with your guide - and how close the animals actually come your safari vehicle.

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I hope to see you in Botswana/South Africa.

If you can't make an Africa photo safari, I offer wildlife photo safaris at Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose, Texas. That's where I took the photos above. Shoot me an email for 2016 dates.

Explore the light,
Rick

"How to Run a Successful Photo Workshop" Workshop

We've been running successful photo workshops for more than 20 years, around the country and around the world. It's a ton of fun, but also a lot of work.

During those years we've learned a lot about running workshops - the business side, the personal side and the photography side.

In our "How to Run a Successful Photo Workshop" workshop we'll share all we know with the participates - so they, too, can run successful photo workshops . . . from start to finish. You'll leave the workshop  with an understanding of what makes a workshop work, as well as a handbook, which includes a workshop checklist.

The group is limited to 10 participants, so all your questions will be answered. The cost per person is $799 (workshop fee only) for the one-day session, held here in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, where I run my Rick's Backyard Photo Workshop.

Dates for the one-day workshop: November 7 and 8, 2015 (pick one).

Contact me for info.

Semi-private (minimum of four) sessions are also available.

Click here to learn more about my photo workshop photo philosophy.

Explore the light,
Rick