Sunday, June 1, 2008
The World Is Your Classroom
Photographic tours and workshops offer hands-on learning experiences with professional photographers in incredible and iconic locations
Rocky Mountain School of Photography likens what they do to workshops and photo trips with an outdoor flair. From the Upper Peninsula in Michigan to coastal California, Rocky Mountain instructors teach a hands-on approach to help their students maximize their photographic output.
Instructor Tony Rizzuto at RMSP says, “We’re out there in the field standing alongside participants, helping them work through technical and compositional problems, and they can expect to have at least one shoot, sometimes two in one day.”
Another instructor from RMSP, Tim Cooper, adds, “People come not knowing quite what to expect, and they leave with much more than what they expected. I often find that it’s in the form of rejuvenation or inspiration, or just a new way to look at the world. So they come wanting to learn photography and come to a place to be guided to the best spots.”
The Nature Workshops also cater to the nature photographer and lover, and offer workshops from North America to Africa for 25 to 30 participants per group. During the various workshops, emphasis is equal parts classroom time and shooting in the field to get students up to speed with their cameras and teach them what they need to get a good shot.
Attending a top photographic workshop is more than a mere vacation, it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in a new location and learn skills that will pay off again and again.
Roger Devore, cofounder of and instructor at The Nature Workshops, says, “We like to start with the classroom because that’s the best time to do it. We sort of assume you know nothing and start really basic with shutter speeds and ƒ-stops, and build up from there. We talk about digital camera settings and discuss histograms, just so everybody kind of starts out at the same level.”
Santa Fe Photographic Workshops have been around for a long time, bringing in some of the biggest pros to teach enthusiasts photography. Darcy Schwerin of Santa Fe says that students go to workshops for more than just learning. “People are coming here to learn photography, but they’re also coming here to be a part of a photographic community—to get to know their instructors and their fellow participants,” she says. “Most of our students stay connected after they leave here, so it’s a community experience as much as it is a technical learning experience.”
Robyn Noll, executive director of Arizona Highways Photo Workshops, says that participants, “can raft the Grand Canyon, explore the slot canyons, learn Photoshop in Sedona, swim and photograph the turquoise-colored pools and waterfalls of Havasupai, enjoy fall color-filled canyons near the Chiricahua Mountains and so much more. We always offer some of the more obvious workshop destinations like Monument Valley and Canyon de Chelly, but also try to offer specialty workshops like “Horses & Cowboys,” which is a portrait-oriented workshop at a respected Arizona dude ranch.”
Whether you’re looking for a full-fledged workshop with evening classes and all-day shooting instruction or a photo tour where you can be more on your own, there’s a company that’s just right for you. You can find a once-in-a-lifetime trip to a remote place like the Galapagos Islands or stay closer to home and enjoy some of the diversity of North America’s landscapes. Either way, you’re guaranteed to come home with some of the best pictures of your life and new skills you’ll have forever.
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