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Tag : Photography workshop

05 Feb 2017

Lot’s of snow for Vermont Winter Photography Workshop

Today was the last day for this year’s Vermont Winter Photography Workshop. The weather was good, there is lots of snow on the ground and we had a great group of eight people. They came from all over, Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. We were prepared for the cold, so it didn’t feel like 15 degrees during the day.

We hit many locations during the three days, farms, covered bridges, towns, rural scenes and a couple of real Vermont country stores. Several of the group hadn’t walked on a lake before, so going out on Silver Lake to see people ice fishing was a bit of an adventure.

I always know it was a good shoot when my SUV is a filthy mess. After our breakfast stop this morning, I was surprised to see a lovely note scratched on my back window. Thanks gang.

28 Jan 2017

Shoot fun macro photos when stuck indoors

I like macro photography, getting up close and taking a different look at things. Today was my second macro photography workshop this month and it was a lot of fun, as usual.

I start off with a presentation and then set up five studio situations that anyone can do it at home. It is a great way to keep the skills sharp and have fun when you don’t feel like going out and fighting the weather.

I like putting a lemon in a glass and adding seltzer or mixing oil and water and seeing how it looks up close.

One of my favorite shots is putting glycerin on plexiglass and putting objects underneath and shooting the refraction. Peanut M&Ms are my favorite candy to eat and photograph, the colors are very cool.

10 Oct 2016

Making an island glow

Glowing islandAt Chittenden Reservoir in Vermont there is a pretty little island about 300 yards off shore. It is a favorite  place for photographers and I’ve photographed it on many occasions at different times of day and different seasons. I decided to try it at night and use a large flashlight to illuminate the island using a technique called light painting, where you pass the light over the subject many times during a long exposure, I usually do 30 seconds.  So tonight I started about 30 minutes after the sun went down and shot for the next hour. There was only a slight breeze which gave me the nice reflection on the water. Then I was lucky to have a shooting star which gave me a beautiful final touch. This is one exposure with only minor adjustments in Lightroom. As the sky got darker I needed to bump my ISO up to 400 and I was shooting at f/5.6.

05 Oct 2016

Last day of this year’s Vermont Fall Foliage Workshop

7936It is always sad to come to the last day of a workshop when I have met so many fun, nice and interesting people, but the 2016 edition of my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop came to an end today. Eight participants came from all over the country to enjoy Vermont’s beauty and hopefully improve their photography skills. My friend Nat Clymer joined us on Tuesday to share his photographic knowledge, it was great having him here.

04 Oct 2016

Meeting the friendly people of Vermont

7780-2We headed north today during my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop, to check out the area around Groton and Peacham, which has some of the best scenery in Vermont. There are a couple of ponds in Groton State Park that are amazingly scenic and they didn’t let us down. I’ve been there when the color was better but we still made some nice photos.

One thing that always strikes me about Vermont is how welcoming the people are. While in Peacham we were photographing around a church and a neighbor came out to show us some wild turkeys walking through his field toward us. Peacham gets tons out of town photographers and I’m sure many walk through this guy’s fields without thinking that they may be stomping on a fence, but he invited us come into yard to photograph his cows and the approaching turkeys.

While in Peacham, workshopper Steve Minden took a fun picture of me in the town’s information booth.

 

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03 Oct 2016

Making quick friends

7746-2As the week goes on the color gets better at my Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop. We hit several of the local hotspots and found some nice color and cool scenes.

We have a great group with two people from California, two from Florida, one from PA, Ohio, NY and CT. It is always fun to watch a group of people who don’t know each other quickly meld together with their common interest of photography.

07 Jul 2016

Tuscany photo workshop comes to an end

LF5S6415Today was the last day of a great Tuscany photo workshop. It was a long, hot week in Italy filled with great memories, making new friends, eating wonderful food and photographing spectacular scenes.

Tuscany is known for its light and it didn’t disappoint, we were out at sunrise and stayed up late shooting the Milky Way. We covered lots of territory, saw medieval towns with amazing buildings, rolling hills in the countryside covered with wheat and rolls of straw cut after wheat was harvested, vineyards and, my favorite, the cypress trees.

I love making beautiful landscape photos and I was lucky enough to get some decent shots. I also enjoy photographing people and the Italians were gracious when I asked them if I could make a picture of them. They weren’t so polite when driving a car but they always gave me a tender smile when I pointed at my camera and aimed it at them.

Some of my favorite photos are in the slideshow, I hope you enjoy them.

06 Jul 2016

Tuscany’s rolling hills, wheat and trees make great photos

LF5S6644-Edit-2The rolling hills of Tuscany are filled with wheat and it is being harvested as we tour the countryside in my Tuscany Photography Workshop. Toss in a few unique trees and great early morning light and it is a perfect recipe for beautiful photos.

We got off the main roads and got the rental cars mighty dusty as we kicked up the dirt while finding unique places to photograph. Our GPS unit didn’t always find the road we were looking for but it made for more adventure as we got off the beaten path.

We were looking for the long shadows coming across the hills, giving them shape and depth. Deep blue skies added to the scene when I could isolate a tree that was in a wheat field.

See a selection of my Tuscany photos.

 

 

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05 Jun 2016

Finding something different during Acadia workshop

The IslandDuring my workshop today in Acadia National Park, we were on top of the world, or so it seemed. Cadillac Mountain is the highest coastal peak in the Eastern U.S. and many times during the year it is the first place in the U.S. to see the sunrise. It is quite the panoramic view and during a late morning journey to the top the sun was shining through some clouds and making the water shimmer. A small island seemed so isolated in the water and clouds, so I knew I wanted to capture the feeling of it being all alone. As I was taking the picture in color I was thinking what it might look like in black and white, since the strong backlight on the clouds and water weren’t going to look good in color. But the black and white version emphasizes what I was feeling.

21 Mar 2016

A final look back at Guatemala

3814Now that I am back home after flying all day yesterday, I can take a good look at my photos from the trip and think about all the wonderful things I saw and people I met during my workshop in Guatemala. I can’t thank Edgar Monzon enough for putting us in great locations, driving us around, showing me how he connects with people on the street and for helping me get a new passport. Edgar worked hard to set up the trip and it showed, his arrangements were flawless, the hotels and meals were great. Edgar is a special person and I’m happy to be able to call him a friend.

Guatemala is a beautiful country, mainly due to the people. Most of them don’t have much money, many live in pure poverty but as Edgar says they might not be rich with money but they are rich with happiness. They greet each other, and us, on the street and seem to have a special spirit.

I put together a selection of photos below, I hope you enjoy them.

15 Mar 2016

Hang on to your wallet and passport when traveling

A mom and her kids perform at a busy Guatemala City street corner hoping for tips.

A mom and her kids perform at a busy Guatemala City street corner hoping for tips.

Like I said yesterday, the people of Guatemala are very friendly, except for that one guy whole stole my passport wallet, which, yes, had my passport, a couple of credit cards and some cash.

It happened Sunday morning while on the streets during the procession. I had a large passport wallet in my front pocket but it must have been sticking out some. We were wading through people elbow to elbow, so it got pulled while I was in the crowd. I noticed it was missing when I got back to the hotel but I thought I must have left it at Edgar’s condo. I contacted him and since we were going to be back near his condo yesterday, I didn’t worry about it until last night when we couldn’t find it there.

Crap.

So I spent some time online to find out what I needed to do. I’d never lost my passport before and had no idea what to do. Fortunately there are benefits to being American and the State Department is one of them. I needed to fill out a couple of forms online, print them and go to the U.S. embassy back in Guatemala City, 90 minutes away. I planned on taking a taxi but Edgar wouldn’t let me. His daughter drove down this morning and took me to the embassy while Edgar guided the rest of the workshop in Antigua.

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13 Mar 2016

Guatemalan Procession is like no other

procession carpetEdgar and I got up early and went to a large procession in a village not far from his condo. I have seen small processions in Hispanic communities in the U.S., but nothing like the way they do it in Guatemala. The procession is part of the Catholic’s Holy Week celebrations but on a scale I couldn’t imagine.

First, people stay up all night decorating the streets. I don’t mean hanging flags or banners along the street, they make intricate carpets in the narrow streets where the procession will go. They use fruit, vegetables and other plants to make beautiful displays on the street. But the most amazing is what they do with sawdust. They dye it in bright colors and spend hours, literally not sleeping all night, to do amazing artwork on the street. There are miles of these carpets and then they are destroyed as the procession walks over them.

procession streetThe procession itself is hard to explain. Men carry a large platform that has statues of Jesus during the crucifixion through the narrow streets. The platform they were carrying is larger than a semi-trailer and looks like it weighs as much as a loaded one. They had 40 men on each side of the platform and they could only carry it a few blocks before they needed to change carriers. The grimace on their faces told me they were struggling under the weight. They walked in unison so the platform would gently rock side-to-side in rhythm as they slowly moved down the cobblestone streets. Other men with long poles lifted power lines so the statues wouldn’t get snagged. Making the turns on the narrow streets was a feat in itself, they barely fit around the corners. They procession lasts about 12 hours as they slowly wind through the village. Nearly a million people pack the streets, making it nearly impossible to move.

procession bargeWe could only stay a couple of hours because we needed to get back to Guatemala City to meet the other workshop participants. This is one event I’ll come back and document right. Especially since Edgar said there are even larger ones during Holy Week.procession face

12 Mar 2016

Welcome to Guatemala

Vista Real HotelI arrived in Guatemala City today for my five-day Guatemala Photo Workshop. I was met at the airport by my friend and our host for the week Edgar Monzon. Edgar has an incredible itinerary planned for us and it will be an exciting week.

Almost as soon as we got in his car he started telling about a processional in a small town about 90 minutes away that happens tomorrow morning. He didn’t plan on us going since the workshop starts in the afternoon and we need to pick people up at the airport, but it sounds like an exciting event. The problem is we need to be there by 6 a.m. or we won’t be able to get into town because of the massive crowd.

We are staying at the fabulous Hotel Vista Real in Guatemala City. It is one of the nicest hotels I’ve stayed in and it is less than $100 per night. It is worth the flight to Guatemala for a long weekend just to hang out at the hotel.

But Edgar has a condo in the town next to the processional and staying there will let us sleep almost two hours later. Since this is the first night of the trip, it made sense to leave the hotel and stay at Edgar’s place, which is very nice also.

So tomorrow we are up early and heading into the crowds for some fabulous photos.

07 Oct 2015

Last day of Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop

black and redSeveral years ago I found this great little overlook in Bridgewater, VT, that has an easterly view of layers of hills all the way into New Hampshire. Each time I go there it looks different and I’ve made some beautiful shots from that spot. Today’s sunrise was pretty nice and shooting sunrise and hills can be tricky so I didn’t break out the camera, I just helped my workshoppers get the best pictures they could. And they did great, you can see some of their photos by clicking here.

After the sunrise, we went back into Woodstock to get breakfast and then did some photography at Billings-Marsh Farm, the only U.S. National Park that is a working farm, and then some shots around the village of Woodstock.

At noon it was time to say goodbye to my new friends, which always makes me sad. But it is great to know that I now have more people to visit when I make journeys around the globe.

06 Oct 2015

Vermont Fall Foliage Photography Workshop Day 3

pomfretWe started the day at one of the most famous Vermont locations for photography – Jenne Farm. The farm itself isn’t too outstanding, the first time I went there it was mid-day in the summer and I didn’t understand why anyone would ever take a picture. I went in the fall at sunrise and suddenly I understood. As the rising sun clears the hill, it spreads a beauty across the farm that is hard to imagine. When the surrounding trees are in full color, it is magical. There is always a crowd there but there were only a few people this morning.

The highlight of the day is going to a property in the town of Pomfret that is owned by my Woodstock neighbor. It is a special place and I’m so lucky that she allows me to wander the property and take people with me. Visitors love when I put them in my four wheel drive Explorer and make the 15 minute ride up a narrow, rocky trail to the pinnacle. It is a unique experience to see for miles in all directions and there are only a few buildings to be seen. I love seeing the church steeple sticking up through the maples.