Category Archives: Workshop

Red

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I’ve photographed this car in Havana on previous trips. It is hard to pass up, so here is another take.

I have noticed a fair amount of construction going on in Havana over the past three years. This is good news. The wiring we saw in homes three years ago looked dangerous. Now, we see lots of new electrical boxes and wiring that does not scare me. This year, many streets were torn up. It appeared as though work was being done on the infrastructure which is sorely needed. It will be interesting to see what changes are in store with the rekindling of our relationship with Cuba. I hope the “people” receive some benefit, but I have my doubts.

Waiting

If you get up early enough, and you should, the streets of Havana are quiet and void of activity. And then, as you roam the vacant streets with dawn approaching, you’ll encounter small groups on their way to work, or to catch a ride, or to catch the bus, or to get a cup of coffee. It is during these early hours that you’ll likely find little vignettes such as this one.  Of course I was drawn to the wonderful red car with tons of character, but then the door opened and the woman poked her head out. Then she stepped out, obviously waiting for her ride. An already good image now a better one. And then, after she left, a neighbor stepped out of his home and shared that the car was his and did not run. It too is waiting, waiting for another talented, industrious Cuban to come and fix it, so it will ride again.

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I’d like to draw your attention to a very special new tour that Dan and I are offering in January of 2016.  A full week at The Hideout Dude Ranch in Wyoming!  Lots of details can be found on my tour page here!  (scroll down to the bottom when you get there.)  We are VERY excited about this one!

Mindful Photography

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One of the participants at our recent “See the Light” workshop was Flint Sparks. For many years, Flint has been leading his own workshops at the Hui Ho’olana (on Molokai Hawaii), teaching mindful embodiment and meditation. This time he was a participant wanting to learn more about photography. On the first day as we got to know each other, Flint shared his lack of camera knowledge as well as his excitement about learning. He portrayed himself as a “new” or “beginner” photographer. Later that night when the participants shared their 10 favorite images, I was anxious to see Flint’s. His first image came up and I heard an audible gasp from the group. My reaction was the same, the image was magnificent. Then, 10 seconds later as the slideshow continued, his next image appeared. Another gasp, another stunning image. In the end, all 10 of Flint’s images were truly amazing. They were full of emotion and connection with his subject. They were not just snapshots from a “beginner,” but rather images that clearly expressed who he was, what he saw and how he felt. I sat there wondering how could this be? Flint had made it clear that he was a new or beginner photographer.

The next morning we had our first “porch sharing session.”  In this session we asked the participants to think about and then share why they photograph. It was a lively and interesting discussion during which Flint and others shared insightful, thoughtful and meaningful ideas. The next day we had another porch sharing session. This time with the focus on connection with subject. Again Flint shared marvelous pearls of wisdom. Really good pearls, pearls that got me thinking. Here, I was a “leader” clearly being taught by a master teacher! And then, in quiet reflection after the sharing session, it dawned on me why Flint’s images were so good. Flint had already done the work we were asking the group to consider. The work of becoming a mindful photographer. The work of learning to be still, quiet and open. Flint embodies these principals. He teaches them, he lives them, he is them. As such, Flint is already in that place where images just being to appear.

Flint shared his thoughts on the way we have evolved as humans. And to humanize what our brain is constantly doing said, “our brain is like wifi that is constantly scanning and asking the world these three questions. Are you there? Do you see me? Do you choose me?” Isn’t photography much the same regardless of the subject? I can imagine the person in the street that I’ll be photographing in Cuba next week essential asking these very questions. Hello, are you there? Do you see me and do you care about me? Do you choose to photograph me and will you be careful with me?  And while it might be more difficult for some to think of a a dune at Mesquite Flat in Death Valley this way, is it not the same? Isn’t the dune asking, are you there, do you see me, do you choose me?

It was said during the week that we don’t take a picture, rather the picture takes us. Freeman Patterson says, “when we take a picture, the camera points both ways.” During the week, we invited participants to pay attention to what turns their head. In other words, what grabs your attention so viscerally that you must make a photograph. So, I ask you, what are you being taken by?  And, are you being mindful enough to be open to what you are being taken by, so that you can make an image that makes your heart sing? Or that others will connect with and that will make their heart sing?

As a side note, Flint has done and excellent Tedx talk which you can view by clicking on this link.  You might also check out his excellent blog where you can read his comments about his week as a student in our workshop.

One Magical Day

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While co-leading the Cape Cod workshops with Betty Wiley, we were treated to some of the best light I have ever seen. “Cherry light” as some might say. What I found interesting was when I want to process the images, very little needed to be done. In thinking about this, it makes sense. Our sensors are optimized for “perfect” light and this was as close to that as I’ve seen, thus little to no processing was required. The light was that good! (Don’t forget much bigger images if you click on them)

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Add to the great light our new friend Mike Orbe and his RED Dory, and you have the makings of an epic morning. But it didn’t stop there!

After the red Dory shoot, I had breakfast with the group and the workshop was over. Being tired, I decided to take an afternoon nap. I awoke about 3PM and wondered what I should do. I peeked out the window only to see thick overcast skies. Maybe I’ll stay in and relax I thought. Then about an hour, later I reconsidered. I’m here, just go and see what happens. The drive to Paines Creek did not looking promising, however, when I arrived this is what was beginning to brew. (below)

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At this point I was glad I decided to go. And then this happened (below) just before the sun went down. This is what I call the backside sunset, looking away from the sun. The sky and the ocean were screaming with color and someone just happened to leave a lone boat out there just for me! How nice of them.

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And then, I decided to look at the sun and see what it was going on in that direction, are you kidding me??? 

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Heck I’m not going anywhere at this point, I am giggling I’m having so much fun. I turned around one more time to see what the backside was doing and what do I see? The grasses in the foreground lit up with the same quality of light I had in the morning with Mike’s Red Dory! The sun had decided to make one last appearance just before it disappeared below the horizon. It lasted for about a minute and was amazing. A magical day on the Cape!

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Mike Orbe, the owner of the red Dory, owns a wonderful Woodshop in Brewster called Capt. Mike’s Woodshop. It is located at 20 Long Pond Road, at the junction of Rt 137 and 6A. Please go visit if you’re on the Cape. Wonderful items for sale and Mike is a gem of a guy! 

Betty and I are planning another Cape Cod workshop in 2015. If there is enough interest, we will do two back to back again just like this year.  Having grown up vacationing on the Cape, I love it and can’t wait to go back. 

 

Fall Pocono Workshops – Topaz Adjust Sale

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Fall is fast approaching with spots left for both the week long and weekend workshop in the Poconos. Come on and join the fun! All images in this post are from the Poconos.

Through the end of the month my friends at Topaz are offering their award winning ADJUST for 50% off!  Click on this link and use the code augadjust at check out.

There are still a few spots left for our B&W focused February tour with special guest Chuck Kimmerle.  Click on the TOURS tab above to see the details.

 

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The Palouse Tours Begin

Dan and I have finished our scouting and are getting ready for our first tour to begin. We have visited our favorite locations making sure all is well. We also scouted new roads in hopes of finding hidden treasures and were not disappointed. The blog image is from a favorite location. This little barn is leaning even more than last year and is not long for this world. I’d be surprised if it is still standing next year.

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200,000 Views! THANK YOU!

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First, a big thank you to my blog family for being so generous with my friend Roxanne and her battle with cancer! You are wonderful and did not let me down.  If you’ve not had a chance to donate, you can still do so by clicking on this link.  And PLEASE pass the link along or share my post so others can be blessed with the opportunity to be of service too.

With my last post, I rolled over 200,000 views on this blog!  Thank you to everyone who finds value in what I do and keeps coming back. You are what makes doing a blog fun and worthwhile. With this in mind, might I ask that you consider sharing my blog with your photo friends, clubs, etc?  The more the merrier!

The image is another from Steptoe Butte in the Palouse.  Here we come!

Speaking of tours.  Its not too early to be thinking about fall foliage tours.  Dan and I will be heading back to Colorado at the end of September and we have a few spots left for that tour.  We’d love to have you along!

I’d like to give a shout out to my friend Brian Reitenauer who had his project “Amusement Park” published in my favorite magazine “Lenswork”. Way to go Brian!! Click the highlighted link to see his blog post.

The Smoky Tour Begins

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Tomorrow we start shooting with the group.  Looks like we will have a week of mixed weather which should be good for varied opportunities.  Looking forward to some great shooting with a great group.

The blog image is from the iconic Sparks Lane in Cades Cove.

 

Lectures, Tours, Workshops and thoughts on the Fuji X-T1

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Fonthill – Fuji X-E2 and 23mm 1.4 lens

Its been a busy couple of weeks.  I had the pleasure of speaking at the Churchville Camera Club meeting on Monday as well as the Digital Image Makers last week. This coming Monday, I’ll be at the Doylestown Camera Club presenting my program “Discovery and the Creative Process”.  

Next week, Dan and I are looking forward to leading a group in the Smoky Mountains!  I am so looking forward to this tour after this LONG cold winter.

Speaking of tours, due to cancellations, we now have a spot open for each of our Palouse Tours.  We know the Palouse very well and would love you have you along!  We also have a few spots available for the fall Colorado tour.

Just a reminder that I’ll be in Hawaii co-leading the “See the light” workshop with National Geographic Photographers Jonathan Kingston, Dewitt Jones and Rickki Cooke.  Who doesn’t want to be in Hawaii the first week of December?  Very excited about this workshop!

FUJI NEWS AND THOUGHTS

Lightroom 5.4 was released yesterday along with ACR 8.4 which now supports the Fuji X-T1!  Good news.  A tip, you can now apply the wonderful Fuji film presets to your RAW images.  In both ACR and LR simply go to the camera calibration module and then click the profile drop-down dialogue.  There you will find the film choices.  COOL!

Really Right Stuff will start shipping “L” brackets for the X-T1 next week!  WOO HOO!

I am loving the Fuji X-T1.  Was playing with the face recognition with Abby and its pretty darn good. (see below) Always tracking her face allowing me to not worry where the focus point is.  Its not perfect, but I would venture to say it allows me to capture more “keepers” than if I were not using it.

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The EVF on the X-T1 is CRAZY GOOD!  So big and bright.  It really is as close to an optical viewfinder as I’ve seen. And when you rotate the camera to vertical,the data in the viewfinder rotates too.  A first for a digital camera I believe. For handholding I’ve been using the optional grip along with a Gordy’s Strap, really great for folks with big hands like mine.  The images coming out of this camera are really quite stunning.  The image below of Kara was shot with the 35mm 1.4 lens shot at f/5, click on it to make it bigger. This is a jpeg straight out of the camera, no post processing applied, NONE, okay I cropped it.  Look at the skin tones and sharpness!  Crazy.

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The image below is another made with the 10-24mm f/4 Fuji lens from ESP.  I’m in love!  I love to shoot wide and have been waiting patiently for this lens.  A comment about the files I’m capturing with the Fuji X-T1 and X-E2 which this image was captured with, the dynamic range is very good.  Imagine the range in this particular image.  Bright light from the skylight streaming into a dark cell at the prison all captured with one shot. With the limited time I’ve had with this lens, I would say it out performs my Nikon 16-35 f/4 in terms of distortion and sharpness. Oh there is some minor distortion at the edges but most wide angle lenses do.  Overall, I’m a very happy camper!

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Cape Cod

I’m on the Cape co-leading a workshop with a group of photographers willing to get up early and brave the elements, especially the  windy weather!   During my scouting time, I stumbled upon this late day scene.  I had made the decision to call it a day and head back to my room for some much needed rest when this blast of gold light spotted the front of the building on the pier.  And of course the sky was nice and then some birds flew into the scene!  So much for rest!  (Click the image to make it bigger)

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Fuji X-Pro1 – 14mm Fuji