Eat, Sleep and Take Pictures-What More Could One Ask For!
With Bill and Linda Lane
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
You can make our workshops as intense or laid back as you want. Locations vary from year to year. Select from locations including the Blue Ridge Mountains, the valleys of VA, the scenic highways and waterways of WV, The Great Smoky Mountains of TN, Chincoteague on the Eastern Shore, the Outer Banks, the waterfalls and surrounding areas of North Carolina, and the Potomac River in Maryland and Virginia. Take the time to indulge yourself, your body soul and mind, in a 3-5 days photography workshop devoted to YOUR own needs and interest. Relax and be rejuvenated. Develop a camaraderie with others having similar passions, sharing an appreciation for the little, often unappreciated and unnoticed creatures, inhabitants and occurrences in everyday living.
We have always found that photography attracts folks with a love of and concern for life, nature, people,animals and the environment, and who are trying to capture those images in photographs and on their souls. So many former places and images quickly being overshadowed by modernization and our fast paced lifestyles. A lack of knowledge, understanding and concern over the precarious balance needed between nature and man can be seen all around us and especially through photographs. A strong image can drive a point home, make us smile, cry, laugh, remember. We believe it helps develop a greater appreciation for the seldom-noticed webs of nature. Photography offers an opportunity, if not an excuse, to sit silently and savor the moment. There are times when the moment simply can not be captured in the camera but can be imprinted on one’s mind. It is then that one must learn to appreciate the moment. Photography records time and time becomes all too precious with age. It records history. A picture you take today of a grandiose mountain aglow with fall colors could tomorrow be a mountain whose top has been clear cut or blasted for coal known as mountain top removal. An unspoiled cascading river you photographed creating a soft, cottony, silky flow today, could tomorrow be dammed or worse yet polluted and dead. Photography connects the past with the present and the future. But best of all, it tells a story and fulfills the spirit.
Our workshop format has always recognized that people want more out of a photo workshop than just photographing 100% of the time. For the last 22 years we have been offering these three to five day “Field Workshops” that are all inclusive. Keep in mind they are not tours; we instruct and work with you the whole time. We do not take photos for ourselves. We fill our workshops with as much photographic information and hands on experiences as can be managed in a long sometimes 18 hour day, plus plenty of good food, a comfortable atmosphere and time for camaraderie and the sharing of information between participants and ourselves. The combination makes for a better, more relaxed learning atmosphere. We like to think of our workshops as therapy for the whole body.
As instructors/photographers, we work one on one with the participants, regardless of their skill level or equipment, to ensure that everyone leaves the workshop at least one step closer to their goals than when they arrived and that they had fun getting there. Our workshops are “Field Workshops” because we spend the majority of our time instructing and working in small groups as well as one on one in the field. One goal is to pass on knowledge in an easy, flowing, uncomplicated and relaxed manner. We are with you from before the early morning light even thinks about rising until the time we all retire at the end of the day. We believe that the hands on approach is the very best way to learn, which is why the group size is limited to maintain a comfortable, manageable, friendly atmosphere and encourage interaction. We enjoy helping others eliminate some of the same frustrating trial and error mistakes we made in the beginning. We enjoy teaching the combination of skills required to capture a unique image; exposure, the manual mode, equipment, creativity, artistry and the technical aspects of their camera. Classroom time is set aside for discussions and critiques; usually during mid day or evening. We try and touch on everyone’s subject of interest while exposing them to some new possibilities using stand alone software such as HDR and focus stacking.
We stress the importance of visual sensitivity and technical knowledge in the creation of a pleasing photograph. Developing a critical and artistic “eye” is a skill that can be learned and/or fine tuned. Such skills enrich the soul by exposing it through the eye of the camera to sujects possibly never before noticed, therefore, unappreciated. Your backyard, neighborhood, parking lot, babbling creek, junk yard or county dump can all present photo ops IF you have an open mind. “Like a great poet, nature is capable of producing the most stunning effects with the smallest means” (Heinrich Heine). A good photograph is one that pleases the photographer, not necessarily the judges. We stress the importance of using the total photographic experience to get that one of a kind image, and we demonstrate how simplicity is often the best way to go. We prove it is the person behind the lens, not the equipment, that makes the picture. We want you to shoot to please yourself.
We’ll hone in on subjects critical to making better photographs easily and consistently without guesswork or uncontrolled bracketing. Discover why what you see through your viewfinder is not always what you get. Become more confident with your camera and learn to trust yourself with exposures. Don’t become lazy because of the convenience of digital photography. The automatic setting and/or uncontrolled bracketing will seldom render the results you seek, especially in nature photography. And besides, where’s the challenge and creativity in guesswork?
Our workshops will help you view your subject from different perspectives. Listen, comment and participate as we demonstrate the unlimited effects of the art of design in composition and natural light, experiment with creative uses of equipment such as filters, diffusers, fill flash and reflectors; discuss how light, color, balance and placement play on composition; introduce the exciting field of close-up/macro photography and open eyes to subjects you may never have considered because you have never seen them. Join discussions and demonstrations on how light, color, balance and placement affect composition. You’ll learn the importance of researching your subject before setting out to photograph it. Participants also often discover features on their cameras they never knew existed thus enabling them to take photos they never realized they could. Comments such as, “Oh, so that’s what that dial is for”, “Push what button?”, “Which wheel is for f/stops?”, “Collar, I never knew it had a collar!” “I can really get that close?” are not unusual.
Our workshops cater to shutterbugs of all ages, all skill levels, having diverse interests. With the digital age come other realms of possibilities. With it also comes the temptation to forget the basics, guess at exposure and spend hours behind the computer trying to fix it all. Many participants return knowing that they have abandoned the basic knowledge they once had for what they thought was a simpler way. They are seeking control once again.
Talk with us before making any major purchases other than what is on our “what to bring list”. Rent a lens for the workshop if you wish. We want you to have the necessary gear but not purchase items you may find useless and regret. During the workshop you will have an opportunity to put your hands on a variety of equipment. After the workshop you will have a better educated as to what you like, want and can afford; a lot will depend on your interests and expectations. Coming with the basics and learning what is available is often the best road to take. We offer a large array of tripods for your use and experimentation whether you are in the market for a new one or looking to step up from your current one. A tripod is the single most important piece of equipment you’ll own. A good tripod is quite an investment. We try and make sure everyone knows what the market has to offer. We do recommend having a circular polarizer. And if you like macro/close-up work, we’d recommend purchasing close up filters appropriate for your camera. Don’t skimp on quality glass. It will cost more, but you won’t regret it; you will regret it if you don’t.
And trust us, after the workshop you will have a long “Gotta Have” “wish list”. Photography gear isn’t cheap so you want to make the right choice.
And lastly, many photographers, professionals and amateurs alike, use our weekend workshops as a means to get away from the stress of everyday responsibilities. “Eat, Sleep and Take Pictures for the whole weekend. These weekends of fairly non-stop shooting can serve as a sort of Band-Aid for the soul.
Come relish in the moment of the soft glow on a barn surrounded by fog, dew, deer and split rail fences, or the glow of sunrise and sunset. Convert a field of wildflowers or single subject into an abstract by using creative techniques. Create images with clean, non-distracting background by using the appropriate depth of field. Blur water, stop action and learn how easy it is to photograph fog, sunsets and sunrises. Lie in wait and watch as a ghost crab runs side to side while staying close to the safety of its tunneled home, or set up a macro of a tiny, colorful beetle forging through the soil toward its abode. Learn how to shoot a spider’s web full of dew, a tiny fawn lying motionless as instructed by its mom, or a beaver building his fortress. Take the time to see what you have not had time to notice. Extend the moment through your images. Do these things by learning how to make your camera dance to your tune instead of your being at the mercy of your camera.
Workshops usually begin on the evening before the field work begins. (dinner not included), a group discussion and slide show. We will prepare you for what to expect early the next morning. As previously mentioned, most of the workshop instruction is conducted in the field with time midday or in the evening for slide shows and/or discussions. We ask that each participant bring five to seven digital images to share. Meals are worked around the shoots as much as possible.
“A WORKSHOP CAN BE A WONDERFUL GIFT!”
So come and sit silently and savor the moment. Indulge yourself. Relax; be rejuvenated and take some of your best shots ever.