Category: Workshops, Tours & Safaris

Photo Workshops and Courses

Point-and-Shoot–Digital SLR–Digital Darkroom
–Explore Outdoors–Fine Art Courses and Workshops

Through the advent of digital, I’ve noticed some significant trends in photography.

  • photography has become much more available to people. By using cell phones and inexpensive  compact cameras that do not require the expense of film developing and printing people are freer to shoot anything (for better or worse!);
  • photography has become much more technical. Yes, you can still “point & shoot”, but there are many more buttons on the average camera today than at any time in the past;
  • people are able to produce more higher quality images on a regular basis, due to the accuracy of auto exposure, autofocusing, face detection, image stabilization and the improvement of program modes and auto ISO;
  • unfortunately, there are still huge technological barriers to people actually enjoying the photographs they take.  It’s easy if you only want to see your photos on the LCD screen of your camera or mobile, and while uploading and printing may seem easy, it is more complex and time -consuming then dropping off a roll for printing. As well,  storing photos so that you can find them again is an even greater headache.

Cameras, however,  are still far from perfect, and the decision-making technologies in them still allow significant room for user error. For me, this is a good thing because if cameras were perfect, I would be out of work.

Point and Shoot: The average point & shoot user still ends up with a number of photos that are, at best, only average. Many are still poorly exposed – not due to user-error but rather camera-error. In the end, cameras are just machines (computers, really) that simply respond to commands. Luckily, with just a few hours of coaching, virtually anyone will see dramatic improvement in the photos they take. And, by extending that coaching to the on-screen editing of photos even more dramatic improvement are possible.

The bottom line is that with a few evenings of hands-on practice, you will see marked improvement in your pictures. If you’re new to photography, take a Starter course t really understand what’s happening when you take a picture and what you can do to ensure greater success. For those who feel more confident, take the Advanced courses starting in March.

Digital SLR: Over the years, with improvements in  camera technology, I’ve often wondered if demand for photo courses and workshops would decrease. It hasn’t and I credit this to those who have this burning desire to create. Each of you are experimenting far more than ever and discovering new ways of using photographic technology to produce images. This is great. You are pushing your equipment further and demanding more. However, despite this amazing technology, there are still gaps between what you see and what you get and that’s where a photo course or workshop comes in.

The DSLR courses are also split into Starter and Advanced. With a much more advanced piece of technology in your hands, there is more to consider so we’ll start with the basics and move into the complex.

Digital Darkroom: Photography doesn’t end with taking pictures. Even more can be done to enhance great images through the use of a good photo editing program like Photoshop Elements. For this reason, I offer a 4-session course to get you immersed in digital editing. Alternatively, you can get your feet wet with the Understanding series – one-session mini-courses on File Management, Picasa, iPhoto and Picnik.

Explore Series: Getting outdoors with a field session is the best way to learn nature photography. We’ll start in two weeks with a Winter Wonderland workshop and continue in the spring. The outdoor field session is bookended with classroom sessions to introduce and wrap-up our shooting weekend.

Lastly, the Fine Art Series will challenge you to start looking at the world in a different way. Photography is, ultimately, an art form that allows you to visually express yourself. Confidently expressing that vision is helped with specific exercises and assignments that force you to actually “see” and not just “look”.

Join me for a great winter and spring of photography and begin turning snapshots into photographs you are truly proud of.

Exciting Photo Tours and Safari Developments

This week has been a great one for planning photo tours and safaris.

On Tuesday I sat down with Stephanie and Karen  from Expedia CruiseShipCenters in Waterloo to begin planning a photo cruise for 2011 – probably January-February and probably to the south Caribbean where you will find gorgeous scenery and flowers and the wonderful colours of the islands.

This evening my friend Allan Phillemon and I sat down to start working on a photo safari to his home country and my home-away-from-home: Tanzania. What a spectacular place: Kilimanjaro – the jewel of Africa, the magnificent  Serengeti Plain and Ngorongoro Crater, not to mention the wildlife that is accessible at all times. If you haven’t seen my photo of Tanzania – have a look here. Allan is also known as Kiliman ( because of the excellent guided climbs of Mt Kilimanjaro. In fact, it was Allan who made all the arrangements for the IMAX crew for their ascent of Kili in making the film Kilimanjaro. Allan and I are looking at November 2010 and February 2011.

Travelling to these places is wonderful enough in itself, but a photo tour or safari designed specifically for photographers allows us to “take it up a notch”. Planning is done from the start to accommodate the needs of photographers — photogenic destinations; more time to get to know places; getting out when the lighting is ideal; plus photo tips and a workshop-like atmosphere where photographers are prepped ahead of time and questions answered in the field as they arise. A real win-win situation for all.

So start dreaming, start planning and start saving – there will be great opportunities for travel and photography in the coming year.