Leading a Photography Lighting Workshop   

getting-ready

photographers

reflector

modeling

having-fun

checking

American photographer David Hobby, author of the lighting blog Strobist that promotes lighting techniques, wrote about learning to use flash, “You may not realize it yet, but you have just stepped through a door that may change your photography forever…Photography is literally writing with light.” And he continues, “…you’ll learn how to take control of your electronic flash. If you can imagine it, you’ll be able to create it.”

I like using flash, and in my many years as a working photographer I rarely photographed people indoors or out without using a flash; and last Sunday with Hobby’s words in mind I led yet another interactive lighting workshop.

Actually I wonder if “study group” might be a better description of what happens when several photographers get together to experiment with flash. Nevertheless, these sessions are always an enjoyable whirlwind session for me as I try to present as much information as I can without reaching information-overload for the participants.

As photographers in the workshop begin to realize how much better, and more creative, their portraits are when they begin taking control of electronic flash they get excited. That excitement is contagious. So much so that I have to remind myself to slow down and explain what I am doing and why I am doing it when I add lights to a portrait setup.

Sunday’s group of photographers were quick learners and were demanding as they pushed limits and exhausted the model, then without skipping a beat, when our ever-so-patient model needed a break, one of the photographers took her place and the group kept on going.

I remember reading a book entitled, Teaching as a Subversive Activity, about student-centered learning over teacher-centered teaching. Sometimes one has to step back from being the center of attention and let people learn by themselves.

When I realized those photographers had reached the point where they were beginning to understand where I was leading them, I just got out of their way and let them be, besides that gave me some time to wander a bit and take some pictures of what was happening.

This first of two sessions, Modeling with Lighting in the Studio is now over.

Next Sunday we’ll be braving British Columbia’s cool October weather as we take our model outdoors to pose in several different locations with different lighting conditions in each. I entitled that, Balancing Lighting Out-Of-Doors.

In the studio we used large and powerful studio lights that recycled instantly. Next Sunday we will use much less powerful, small wireless speedlights that require waiting for batteries to recycle. The quick recycling studio lights are grand, but I like the slower speedlights because they force photographers to think about and plan their next shot.

Last weekend was a lot a fun. It is great being with other photographers and watching them get excited about learning something new. Saying that, I will add a quote by French photographerJacques-Henri Lartigue that I have used several times before, “It’s marvellous, marvellous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I’m going to photograph everything, everything!”

 

 

Another roadside photographer, again.

Thompson Valley  abandoned in the rain  Wet goat 1  wet goats 2  Forgotten in the rain  Rusting in the rain  Roadside in spring  Forgotten car  cows waiting in the rain  A wet road to Kamloops

Sometimes I just like to go for a drive. Rain or shine, it is always nice to just go out and look around.

We had been lazing around all day. I had put up one of those portable, collapsible canopies on the front porch hoping the day would be nice enough for us to sit outside for lunch, but the rain and cooling wind moved in. So I thought, what the heck, let’s get in the car and drive up the dirt road towards the forest ringed Hyas Lake and if the rain lets up a bit there might be a photo or two waiting to be made.

We packed our cameras in the car and set off. The day had a heavy overcast, but no low hanging clouds and the rain was, hmm…intermittent. Ya, that’s a good word for when its nice and dry till one gets about fifty feet from the car, then the rain comes down. And I forgot my hat. But I didn’t forget to bring a small kitchen towel and I kept wiping the camera down to stop water from pooling I places that might leak into the camera’s electronics.

Overcast days always make things looks much more colourful than bright sunny days. Not the sky, of course, but the trees, shrubs and grass do have a deeper color and I always add just a bit of contrast in Photoshop to bring out the damp colourful tones.

The dirt road was surprisingly dry till we started up the turn-off to Hyas Lake. Then it quickly became a snow covered, muddy rutted mess and we turned around.

There are some old abandoned buildings along that road that are fun to photograph, although for years I have expected to see them gone. Old buildings have a habit of disappearing. Sometimes because of vandals, sometimes the landowners take ‘em down and sometime they just get tired of many years of standing.

I remember when I first moved to the Kamloops area. I spent months photographing crumbling wood and log buildings. The next year I engaged a local printer to make calendars for me that I easily sold that December. Within two or three years every one of the old abandoned buildings in that calendar was gone.

I am of the belief that the most successful pictures come about when one has a plan, but a slow drive is enjoyable whether one points a camera at something or not. I could say the plan was to look at the long valley, find out if those old building survived the winter, see how far we go before the road was impassable, and if the time was right make a picture or two.

As it was I photographed a view of the snow capped Martin Mountain above my home, some goats playing on a mound of wet hay, a couple of rusting vehicles, some soaked cows in a field and another valley view. Not the most exciting day of photography I have ever had, but good enough for a lazy, rainy day I supposed.

Roadside photography is opportunistic and enjoyable, we talk, stop and look at things, make a few pictures. As we drove along the wet dirt road I thought of the many photographers I have known or read about that just pointed that camera and anything for the pure fun of it.

And I think many readers will agree with famous French photographer Jacques-Henri Lartigue when he said, “It’s marvelous, marvelous! Nothing will ever be as much fun. I’m going to photograph everything, everything?”

As always, I look forward to any comments. Thanks, John

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com