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Weekend Retreats

Short workshops and seminars offer fresh ideas and a new handle on techniques, plus help photographers overcome roadblocks to success—all in a brief period of time
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Weekend workshops and seminars present an opportunity for outdoor photographers to absorb and learn new skills and techniques over an intense few days. From lectures on mastering the digital print to shooting with pros in the field, there are ample opportunities to do what we love and learn something new.

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Weekend workshops and seminars present an opportunity for outdoor photographers to absorb and learn new skills and techniques over an intense few days. From lectures on mastering the digital print to shooting with pros in the field, there are ample opportunities to do what we love and learn something new.
Weekend Workshops
The Panasonic Digital Photo Academy offers weekend workshops in 20 different cities at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels. The Advanced workshop consists of four hours of field shooting and four hours of postprocessing to help participants nail down the entire workflow, says Program Director Jennifer Warren.

The instructors at the Digital Photo Academy are based in their respective cities, allowing them to provide experience and knowledge about the location. Allen Birnbach, an instructor based in Denver, Colo., describes these workshops as a quick immersion in digital photography. He says, “In the Advanced workshop, the students come in, and we look at their portfolios. The idea is to get a sense of their individual style and capabilities, and then from there, we go in the field and actually create work. It’s a very mentoring type of environment, where the instructor is able to work with individual students and give them guidance in whatever category they may need.”

Regions Of Focus
While many photographic workshops offer different locations, the Gary Hart Photography Workshops explore California in places like the Eastern Sierra, Yosemite and the coastline of Big Sur. Hart likes to keep his workshops down to three or four days and pack as much landscape photography as possible into a small amount of time.

“Most people who I deal with are spent after three or four days of photography,” he says. “They’re long days, and this isn’t a vacation, and maybe other workshops are structured differently. I give them full days, and I make it clear that we’re going to be out taking pictures. We’ll put you in the right place at the right time.”

Another set of workshops that explores various destinations in California are those offered by Don Gale. His workshops offer an entire weekend or a three-day program in places like Death Valley, Yosemite, Bishop Canyon and other photographic landmarks. “We go over a lot of metering techniques,” says Gale. “Of course, being outdoors, available light always will be the primary source, but we do fill-flash, reflector fill and a lot of other solutions for problems. But the ultimate would be if you could get a great subject and great lighting, and you don’t have to do anything except set up the tripod and figure out how you’re going to frame it.”

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Arizona Highways Photo Workshops offer various weekend workshops—from the basics to fieldwork in the Phoenix metropolitan area. One workshop is held at the Wildlife World Zoo, where J. Peter Mortimer instructs students how to photograph animals in captivity. “I have them for a short period of time,” says Mortimer, “and I want to teach them some basic things so that if they go to a book or a manual, or they’re talking to someone in a camera store, they have a foundation. I can’t teach them everything there is to know in five or six hours, but I can teach them where to look for what they want to know, and how to understand it.”

Palm Beach Photographic Centre offers dozens of weekend workshops, ranging from the Wakodahatchee Wetlands in Florida to nature-photography programs taught by Jim Zuckerman, Craig Blacklock, Vincent Versace and other pros.

Executive Director Fatima NeJame says there are pros and cons to a weekend workshop. “The interesting thing,” she says, “is that in a weekend workshop, people always leave wanting more; they always wish it had been longer, even though they signed up because it’s a short workshop. It’s concentrated and intense.”

If you want weekend workshops that focus on the eastern part of the United States, Nature’s Image Field Photography Workshops offer various field workshops in the Smoky Mountains, West Virginia, the coast of Virginia and North Carolina.

Says Linda Lane, cofounder and instructor at Nature’s Image, “They come to have a pocket of time or a weekend where they can do nothing but concentrate on something they love doing, and that’s photography. It’s hard to photograph when you have friends and family who aren’t interested in photography.”

Gary Hart Photography offers weekend workshops throughout California; here, Hart leads students during a shoot in Yosemite National Park.
Weekend Seminars
Among some of the other opportunities available on weekends are seminars from the pros that provide tips, techniques and ways to achieve better workflow as a photographer.

The Epson Print Academy helps photographers master digital photographic printmaking. It includes in-depth color management, advanced Photoshop techniques and fine-art printing.

Held on weekends in major cities around the country, the seminars feature a daylong lecture on handling advanced workflow and printing techniques with instructors who have mastered the art of the digital print. Instructors give lectures on image management and color theory, offering participants the opportunity to learn more about the digital darkroom.

Outdoor Photographer features its own seminars: the 2008 Outdoor & Digital Photo Seminars based in five cities—San Francisco, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Columbus and Raleigh. Instructors include Outdoor Photographer contributors Frans Lanting, Bruce Dale, Bob Krist and David Middleton. In these two-day seminars, which run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, the pros share their experiences in the field, tips on outdoor, landscape and wildlife photography, tips on buying the right equipment, judging digital photos and how to manage workflow from beginning to end. The seminars run from September to December this year.
ResourcesArizona Highways Photo Workshops

Don Gale Workshops

Epson Print Academy

Gary Hart Photography
www.photographcalifornia.comNature’s Image Field
Photography Workshops

Outdoor Photographer Seminars

Palm Beach Photographic Centre

Panasonic Digital Photo Academy