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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Inside A High-End Workshop

In April 2009, we sent a photographer to Frans Lanting’s workshop to give OP readers a sense of what a multiday workshop with a top pro is like. There’s much more than just learning how to use your camera.

Labels: How-Toworkshops

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UCSC Arboretum
At 4:45 a.m., the studio opens with pastries and much-needed coffee waiting for us.

By 5:30 a.m., we’re in our respective car pools and headed south to Moss Landing, located at the mouth of an estuary loaded with marine wildlife, including sea otters, seabirds and sea lions. Lanting points out that this location is particularly fertile with opportunities to document the human interface with the wild and suggests that we seek out photo opportunities to illustrate this.

By 10:30 a.m., we’re back in the studio to process our files and to pick five images for our first formal image review. Lanting critiques the work aesthetically, technically and conceptually. After the critique, we’re given individual and informal group lectures on using Apple Aperture by Yann Nicolas and Lightroom by Jason Bradley. Fine-tuning of our RAW images projected on the big screen seems particularly helpful to the group.

In the afternoon, we break up into small groups and head to various locations in the area and then rendezvous after the sun sets for our first group dinner and a chance to catch our collective breaths.

By now, the alarm clock doesn’t come as a shock. In fact, it’s something to look forward to. The early-morning field trips to visually stunning destinations throughout the Santa Cruz area have been a treasure trove of photographic opportunities. By 5:30 a.m., we assemble in small groups. Some opt for more work among the redwoods; others, the beach and tide pools; others, back to Moss Landing to photograph native mammals. It’s time to start focusing on images that will best illustrate our individual photo essays.

By midday, we’re back in the studio. We’re treated to an intimate presentation by Lanting of his LIFE project. In 2006, he launched this epic interpretation of the history of life on earth as a book, an exhibition, an interactive website and a multimedia orchestral performance with music by Philip Glass. Lanting explains, “Ernst Haas was pivotal in my own growth as a photographer, and his seminal book, The Creation, was one of the sources of inspiration for my LIFE project, which culminates in the celebration of our living planet, a place we all share as our home.” The evening turns into another celebration of photography, this time over pizza and beer.

We head together to a nearby beach with tide pools, sea life and dramatic rock formations. Lanting demonstrates the use of both hard and soft circular, warm graduated neutral-density filters made by Singh-Ray, as well as a polarizer. Lanting feels that these two are the only “mandatory filters” to have in your camera bag in the digital era.

About The Frans Lanting Monterey Bay Photographic Workshops

Lanting’s photographic workshops are conducted at his Santa Cruz, Calif., studio, giving attendees the opportunity to tap into this award-winning photographer’s vast knowledge and talent, and put their newly acquired knowledge and techniques to the test in this beautiful coastal area.

The beginning course focuses on developing photographic techniques and awareness. “[It’s] the process of making people aware of their own thinking process,” explains Lanting. “We show them the importance of their own point of view, which is something people don’t often reflect on before they start taking pictures.” The advanced course concentrates on the telling of a story through pictures.

Workshop enrollment is limited to 15 participants. The workshop fee includes the services of Lanting and his teaching assistants; morning tea/coffee and pastries each day; afternoon snacks and refreshments each day; lunch each day and dinner on Saturday.

One qualifies for the advanced workshop by completing an introductory workshop or a portfolio review.

Each participant needs to bring a digital camera (D-SLR preferred) and related equipment for field sessions. A laptop with digital-workflow software is required to take advantage of the group-review sessions.

You can find out about the 2010 workshop schedule at www.lanting.com.

Frans Lanting Studio
207 McPherson Street, Suite D
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Tel: (831) 429-1331 Fax: (831) 423-8324
gallery@lanting.com www.lanting.com


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