Thursday, December 31, 2009

Taking Photography for Granted?

We take so many things for granted.  Food – it comes from a grocery store; cars – just add gas, put it into drive and go; electricity – just flip a switch; heating – just turn it up. All of these things are part of our lives, we don’t question why or how, we just assume they will always be accessible to us.  Some feel that Photography is becoming like that, we just do it assume it will do it for us.

Digital Photography has revolutionized the Photography industry. Today’s cameras are smaller, faster, instantaneous and automatic. Do today’s Photographers take Photography for granted? Do they just Point-n-shoot?  This is a constant conversation amongst the pros, which say that because today’s cameras are getting so good, even on automatic, everyone thinks they are Photographers. They take it for granted since the camera will do all of the work. No one needs to learn anything about Photography anymore.  Shoot, even cell phones take great images, right?

The students who take our workshops want to learn Photography. They don’t take it for granted, nor do they rely on the cameras to do it all.  Our students come to us at all different levels of experience, from beginner to advance. We strive to teach them to do more than Point-n-Shoot and to accommodate all levels of experience at each workshop.  We teach technology, how to use today’s cameras, Photography principles, how to release their creativity, to rely on their instincts, and how to expand their talent.

Most importantly - to practice what they have learned and enjoy it. Then it’s time to take Photography for granted.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Are you Snap Happy and Buried in Photographs?

Capturing memories can be an important task for any photographer, whether you are a Professional, or just a person with a camera in your hand. Photographs are how we share our memories with friends, family and future generations. Photographs are an important way of capturing our lives.

With today’s digital camera and computer technology we have become a snap happy society. Instead of roll of 24 or 36 we take hundreds of photos. Over time our hundreds of images turn into thousands, and our computer becomes a crammed-full digital shoe box.

Now (besides having a pretty full hard drive) we have the overwhelming task of organizing our photos. Our good intentions were to keep up, but life was too busy, so we just downloaded and downloaded with the promise that we would come back to it later. Only when later comes, we decide that there are too many photos, so we put it off for another day, and our digital shoe box just keeps getting bigger.

There are a many software (and online) programs that help with organizing and cataloging images. For the Pros, Adobe has Lightroom and Apple has Aperture. For the amateur hobbyist and novice enthusiast, there are a lot more options. On an Apple Computer there is IPhoto. Online are Picassa (by Google), Flickr, Facebook, Snapfish, Shutterfyly, and the list goes on.

How do you decide which one is best for you? Determine your needs, including what kind of sharing you want to do, who’s going to see them (public or private) and how easy is it to find them later. Some of these programs cost money while others are free. Read reviews, try them out, ask family and friends what they use. Find out what best fits your needs.

You also need to determine the importance of the photo - are they just for fun and sharing, or it is an important moment in life that needs to be passed on. Back up the critical ones on external hard drives and CD’s.

Once you decide on what to use, make sure you stick with it. Stay on top of it, delete duplicates and images that are blurry or unappealing, create a routine, keep it from taking over and getting out of control. Learn it inside and out.

There are never too many photos, so go on and be snap happy, capture life.

Monday, November 16, 2009

This was a great one

This was the first time I remember seeing a workshop take on a life of its own. The old hospital, although closed 30 or so years ago, still had an aura about it. All of the photographers caught it. It was tremendous to watch people want to do more than just fulfill the assignment. Workshops are always fun, but this one became a very serious process that was even more fun. There will be more about this workshop and what it led to coming up.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A photography workshop with emotion

August 29, 2009

There are 2 types of black in photographs. The pigment, such as tires, black cars and burned wood. Then there is the black that is caused by there being no light - The Absence of Light. It was the second type of black this photography workshop explored.

Dick Garvey explained to the students how to use absence of light to give depth, texture, form to their images. Why this "negative space" can be a positive in our endless quest to mess with people's minds and cause wonder in our images.

Karla Locke, owner of
That Photo Shoppe of Anacortes, and Photographer, Dick Garvey chose to hold the workshop at the Northern State Mental Hospital in Sedro Woolley. We chose this location for its old history, the architecture, and its long-standing reputation among other photographers, as a place to photograph.

What was unexpected was the 'intensity' of the location and how it would affect the participants.

Imaginations ran wild as everyone walked the grounds. The eeriness of the place caused emotions in the photographers to run high. The photographs portrayed a mix of emotion, and portrayed some of the history. Most photographs revealed the loneliness, the desolation and some of the despair that must have been felt there at one time. A few found beauty amongst all of it.

It become a challenging workshop for participants, not only in the assignment (the absence of light), but also in the location. As a workshop coordinator, this was the first workshop where the 'location' created such an intense feeling amongst everyone. I originally thought it would be an interesting place to photograph but did not expect it to impact everyone like it did. What started out as a workshop on 'The Absence of Light', now became a workshop on the history of a mental asylum and what must of transpired there years ago. The feelings' of the location became a vital part of the workshop and showed up in everyone's work.

Photographers put a lot of emotion into their work and one of their goals is to evoke an emotion from their viewers. The images from this workshop do just that.

You can view the images at, or on Flickr.