Digital Photography Workshops

Action Shots at the Black Hills Photo Shootout

It's day two at the Black Hills Photo Shootout. This morning: action photography.

Again, we had great light, a great location and great riders! Thanks Les for setting everything up for the group.

Basically, we had two technical choices: freeze or blur the action. I tried both.

Les and I are doing a private workshop here next year. Shoot me an email to get on the list. I'll show you how to make images like the one below. If you can't wait, check out my post on motocross.

If you like the lighting in these images, I think you'll like my class on Lighting. Same goes for  Composition.

Scroll down for previous posts from the Shootout.

Explore the light,

P.S. All my events - workshops and seminars - are listed on my Facebook Events page.

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,

Dates Set For My January 2013 Florida Photo Caravan

St. John's Pier, St. Augustine, Florida - in HDR. See the heart?
Join the fun on my third annual Florida Photo Caravan. It's a traveling, photographic educational experience starting in historic St. Augustine and ending in Miami’s exciting South Beach. On the road, we stop, and shoot, in Merritt Island and Delray Beach.

Dates: January 18 - 24, 2013 (full but you can get on the waiting list). 

Possible send caravan: If there is enough interest, we'll do the caravan in reverse, starting in Miami on January 30th and ending in St. Augustine. Shoot me an email to get on the list

This digital photography workshop will be action-packed with photo opportunities, digital darkroom info, and, of course, fun! With such a small group, you’ll have a great opportunity to learn through personal attention.

Here’s how it works: You drive. You book your own hotel rooms (we will recommend the group hotel). You pay for your own meals. We provide photographic instruction and guidance. And, we arrange shooting locations, meeting times, conference rooms, restaurants, etc.

Old Town in St. Augustine is a cool Town.
You'll need HDR Efex or Photomatix for HDR. Discounts here. You can also order Topaz adjust on that page, which will add to your photo creativity.

Workshop fee: $850.00

We are limiting this Photo Caravan to 10 participants for personalized attention. Spaces go fast!

For information and an application: e-mail; or call 914-271-6132.

Tentative Schedule – Subject to Change
Friday, January 18
PM Arrive in St. Augustine
Details to come.

We shoot before dawn - so you snooze you lose!
Saturday, January 19
- Shoot in St. Augustine: Sunrise shoot - Horses running on the beach
- Old Town Shoot
- Download/Photoshop, etc.
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun.

Before and after HDR.
Sunday, January 20
- Second Sunrise shoot in St. Augustine. St. John's Pier
- On-location lighting – flash, reflectors, diffusers
- Check out and drive to Merritt Island (Fairfield Inn andSuites, Titusville, FL)

Bring your tripod and telephoto lens.
- Afternoon shoot at Merritt Island.
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun

Bring your tripod and wide-angle lens.
Monday, January 21
- Sunrise shoot in Merritt Island
- Bird photography
- Drive to Delray - meet for street photography walk.

HDR Rocks in the Colony Hotel in Delray.
Tuesday, January 22
- HDR Shoot in Delray
- Model Shoot
- Download/Photoshop, etc.
- Group lunch and dinner if you want to join the fun

We'll have models, too.
Wednesday, January 23
- Check out and drive to South Beach  
- Art Deco Hotel Shoot
- Street Shoot
- Night Shoot

You'll love the art deco lifeguard stands.
Thursday, January 24
- Sunrise Shoot in South Beach
- Model Shoot
- Download/Photoshop, etc.
- Final Download
- Group Slide Show
- Farewell Dinner

Workshop Ends. But . . . you can stay over for:

Below are some of my favorite photographs from South Beach.

New View at New Croton Dam

My Croton Creative Workshops students spent yesterday morning taking pictures at the New Croton Dam.

Here's a cool, new view taken by workshop participant, John Davis.

For more of John's work, see his site.

More pix to come.

I run the Croton Creative Workshop twice a year. For info, contact me.

Explore the light,

P.S. Below is a shot I took on a previous Croton Creative Workshop. Croton is a great place to shoot!

Canon 7D/5D Diaries from San Miguel de Allende #2

Day #2: Walked the city for about four hours this morning. Met many artists who live here. It's quite an artistic city.

Tip #2: Awaken the artist within with Plug-ins. Many plug-ins let you alter the reality of a scene. When you alter the reality, your pictures can take on an artistic look - and feel. 

Here's another tip when shooting in a city: Get up and out before the city "wakes up," and be prepared to walk for a few hours. Comfortable shoes are needed. A map, too.

I used Topaz Adjust on these two pictures. In each picture, the colors, details and contrast was boosted.

More on plug-ins at the Plugin Experience.

Explore the Light,