Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Journey of Healing

One Photograph, One Workshop, One Day at a Time

In February of this year (2010) we teamed up with Charles Needle and produced a workshop ‘Creative Macro Photography’. Attending this workshop was this extraordinary person who recently lost her husband. She was taking up photography to help her through her grief. This was her first workshop and the beginning of her journey to heal.

Since this workshop her journey into photography has taken her to different parts of the country, she has been exposed to a variety of instructors and has met some wonderful people. She has found some comfort during this time, but it was her photography that helped her the most while on this journey, it has given her a reason to live and carry on.

In September we did a workshop on ‘Creating a Photo Book’ using Blurb and other programs. Sally, again attended one of our workshops. With her, she brought some of the stunning photographs she had been taking during this journey. It was fun and exciting to she her growth as a photographer and to see happiness in her experience.

Her new book is an accumulation of her photographs - and maybe a touch of a memoir to her healing process and her husband.

Thank you Sally, for sharing this journey with us. You are a beautiful person and a wonderful photographer. We wish you all the best as you continue your photography and your life.

It is because of people, and photographers, like you that we enjoy having these workshops. We get a chance to live vicariously through your lens, and then watch you grow as a photographer.

From Sally:

I was with my husband for 18 years. He was my best friend, my husband, my cheerleader and my backbone. He was my rock and my sunshine. He was diagnosed with Cancer that had spread to his spine and after a yearlong battle with extreme pain and unimaginable hurdles he passed away.

When I say he was my sunshine, he was. He smiled everyday that he was here. It did not matter how much pain he was in - he smiled.

I loved him so much and miss him terribly, but I know that we must go on. It would have been so easy to just curl up in a ball and just let it all go. But I didn’t. I couldn’t. I still had a desire, a desire to live, as hard as it was and at times it still is I really did want to live.

I joined photography groups; they got me out of the house and kept me out of the malls. I needed to be around people that had my passion for photography. I needed to get out and make some friends, and I did. I can’t express enough how much this helped me. I can only tell you that through my photography I met some fantastic people, I reconnected with others and I’m living.

My first workshop was with “That Photo Shoppe” doing Macro Photography. I did another workshop with them that dealt with building books, books like this one. This book is a result of all the workshops I did, it was a way for me to get back to living again and to make something beautiful out of all the pain.

The journey of healing will never end, but I’m doing it the only way I know, “Through the lens”.

Thanks for being part of my journey...Hope this is not too long :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Living Local Economies and Communities

Local Living Economies – Sustainable Communities

This isn’t a new concept but it is something that all of us should pay attention to, especially now.

People are fed up. Fed up with the Government. Fed up with Corporations. Fed up with Banks. Fed up with the economy. We are just FED UP!! So what are some communities and small businesses doing about it? They are promoting a Local Living Economy – a Sustainable Community.

Way back when, communities worked together, they supported each other and built their lives and their businesses around their community. Their economy was local, they traded local, they lived local and they sustained local. It was a true – Relationship Economy.

Then the grocery store chains, the malls and the large ‘box’ stores came in and spending shifted to a more global economy. Our community dollars (and jobs) went somewhere else, causing some small (and larger) businesses and communities to struggle, or worse collapse.

There are some communities (towns) that are trying to shift back to the Local Economy. Those that are good at it are surviving and even thriving during these down economic times. One such community is Bellingham, WA. Through Sustainable Connections – a local non-profit – they have boosted Bellingham’s economy and small businesses are thriving. The local businesses are supporting each other and most importantly supporting their community. They are providing jobs, supporting their community and they are supporting their environment.

Everyone benefits from this movement, including the community.

We should all pay attention to this movement. Most importantly we should be supporting it and starting to do it in our own communities.

To learn more about Sustainable Connections visit their website at or visit - a national organization on Local Living Economies.

Watch this well-done video on YouTube about Sustainable Connections.

You can also watch a PBS special about this subject – to watch it visit this website

From Sustainable Connections Website:

What We Do, Values & History


We envision a thriving, collaborative community in which local businesses are prosperous and contribute to a healthy environment and the well-being of all citizens.

To be the local forum where businesses come together to transform and model an economy built on sustainable practices.

We work with local, independently owned businesses that have the autonomy to make any transformational change in their business that they can imagine… reexamining where we buy goods and services, how we consume energy, grow and distribute our food, build homes, and even, how we define success in business. Sustainable Connections is supporting a community of innovators in green building, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, supporting independent businesses in town centers, and mentoring a new breed of entrepreneurs that have designed their business with a sustainable vision.

Monday, November 15, 2010

New Book by Tiny Hands Art

In the summer we did a workshop on creating your own Photo book. We had an enthusiastic crowd of people who wanted to learn since that time there have been a few books published (one will be a feature story soon). For now though I am sharing my most recent book. I took the art produced by my niece and nephew during their Kindergarten through Third Grade period, and I made a book out it. It was a lot of fun being creative around their work.

This book is also a showcase of some upcoming services we will be providing through our new business "design MADNESS". We will be offering design services, such as children books created by their Tiny Hands.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Someone who has taken some of our workshop

This local person kept visiting our store during Art Walk. He loved photography and was just getting back into it. His hobby became a passion, and like so many passionate about their art he wanted to learn more and grow. He started taking a lot of our workshops, wanting to expand his knowledge and to learn more about photography. It was amazing to watch his growth. His photography with each workshop blossomed and grew. So too, did his style, his creative eye! It was after our 'Creative Macro' class with Charles Needle, that Per really blossomed. His photography took on a whole new look, he found his creative self.

One of the many things I love about producing these workshops - is watching students, like Per, grow. To see how their photography goes from just taking a photograph, to becoming art.

Follow Per Lea's blog and watch his photography soar to new heights. I know that you will enjoy it as much as I do.



Monday, August 23, 2010

Is learning photography no longer needed?

Is learning photography no longer needed?

I recently read an article by a Pro Photographer stating that the author believes that people don’t want to learn photography anymore, thanks to digital photography. The author basically said that with today’s cameras being so good that people can just keep shooting until they get some images they like. And with products like Photoshop you can fix most images that might need it. So why learn the principles of photography, or how to use the camera correctly?

As a Producer of photography workshops, I am not sure if I agree with this or not. Sure there are people who think they don’t need to learn. Pixels are free and you can shoot as much as you want, and if you get some goods ones great. And that’s ok, if that is the kind of photographer you want to be, mediocre or ok at best, that is just fine. But I find that there are still a lot of people who want to learn, even if it’s just the basics. It is not because they want to go pro, or become famous. They just have a strong passion for it and want to learn to do it better.

Taking a class or workshop on photography or camera basics, is not just about learning though. It is a great way to form friendships and explore this visual world with others who share your passion. It’s about growth, exploration, creativeness and fun.

There are 1000’s of websites and workshops on the subject. So that should tell us that people do want to learn photography. If anything, there are more of them because of digital. It has made it more accessible, in some ways more affordable and easier and a lot more fun.

Karla Locke

By instructor Matt Brown

I have had the same feeling for some time., Many don't want to learn photography. Their attitude is "trial and error" is just fine. The same people often brag, "you should see the shot I got the other day", and then go on to say they have no idea what happened, but one came out really good.

I have many conversations (when I'm on a shoot) with people that ask, "do you teach" or more to the point, "just what are you trying to do here", and I will take a few seconds to explain and they go, "oh yeah, I get it now".

The truth is that most people want to learn. They have learned that being frustrated, in not knowing why one came out, is indeed frustrating and learning is still fun. And cheaper in the long run.

By instructor Vince Streano

Here are my thoughts on the subject:

You are no more a photographer because you own a digital camera than you would be
an artist if you owned a paintbrush and some oils. The creative process happens in
your mind, not in the tools you use. The digital camera, as good as it is, cannot
compose your image, create your lighting, or snap the picture at the optimum moment
for the greatest impact. These skills are learned over many years of practice.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Getting comfortable with getting close

I sat down with photography instructor, Matt Brown, to plan out a photography workshop on Macro photography. As we were discussing the details and a list of equipment, the question that came to my mind was - what is the real definition of Macro photography? How does this differ from just getting close? Should we really be calling this a class on ‘Macro Photography’? After doing some research on the ‘definition’ of macro, I came to the conclusion that this was a workshop on both – macro and getting close.

The dictionary definition of macro photography - mac·ro·pho·tog·ra·phy / ˌmakrōfəˈtägrəfē/ • n. photography producing photographs of small items larger than life size.

This definition seems to imply that any close-up photograph, no matter how it was taken, is considered macro. After all, even close-up photographs seem larger than life size.

I found various ideas of what defines macro vs close-up photography. The common definition of macro photography is - photographing an object with an enlargement ratio of 1:1 or larger. It involves using equipment such as a Macro Lens, extension tubes, close up filters and teleconverters to produce a ‘true’ macro image.

Close-up photography on the other hand means just that – getting close to an object. Usually using standard equipment. Some point-n-shoots have a macro program on it, but doe that mean it is really doing macro photography, or is it just getting close to the object?

The confusion for me was that everyone was using the term macro no matter what equipment was used, or how it was done. It covered any photographic situation where the subject/object was photographed close up. The line of “true macro photography” has become blurred, and I am not really sure how important it is to really have a ‘”true definition” anymore?

To some I am sure it is very important, but for the purpose of this workshop I am going to just call it, “Getting comfortable with getting close”, no matter how you do it. Whether it is a true macro, or just a close-up photograph.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Planning of the ‘Unleash Your Creative Spirit’ workshop

After months of classes on the technical side of Photography, I realized one day that we needed a class that focused on the ‘creative’ side. I started formulating an idea based around “The Artist’s Way”, the purpose of the workshop was to help the participants find their ‘creative self’ and recognize it. I approached Cheryl Bruemmer, who teaches “The Artist’s Way” locally.

I then approached the Skagit Valley Camera Club with the idea. They thought it was a great idea, but maybe a hard sell based on just the Artist’s Way. One of the board members suggested that maybe we should turn it into a weekend retreat. I took that idea and ran with it. It was decided that Padilla Bay would make a great retreat and location. Not too far, remote, inspiring, and a beautiful location. I contacted them and found a date that worked.

I then started recruiting instructors that I felt would fit the theme of the workshop. I knew that Cheryl would start off the weekend. Her lively and fun spirit was a great way to start the workshop. I then asked Dick Garvey to do a class on the creative aspects of photography. Even though this was a workshop for Photographers, I realized I needed a different point of view, so I approached Al Currier about doing a class on a Painter’s point of view on being creative. I was so excited when he agreed. I then needed a headliner, someone that could draw in participants and would still fit our theme, I approached Brooks Jensen of Lenswork Magazine, with the idea and he immediately agreed.

Now we had a location, a fantastic line-up of instructors, caterers, sponsors and a schedule all that was needed was participants. It was decided to cap off at 40 max. I designed an email newsletter and emailed it out to all the local camera clubs from here to Bellingham. I then designed a poster to hang in various locations in Anacortes and Bellingham. The workshop was also added to That Photo Shoppe’s website, the Skagit Valley Camera Club’s website, and Glazer’s Camera Supply in Seattle’s website.

I had 15 people signed up within the first week. All together we had 30 paid participants, 4 instructors, 3 caterers, 4 sponsors, and 4 volunteers. I received very positive feedback, not only from the participants, but also from the instructors, who stayed for the entire weekend. The instructors not only enjoyed it as much as the participants but learned a lot from each other.

Overall, it was a great success. I learned that my ‘creative’ outlet was organizing and planning events such as these. We all have a ‘creative’ side, sometimes it is hard to realize just what that is.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Telling a story with pictures
Instructor Vince Streano

From the time of Mathew Brady and the civil war, documentary photography has been the primary means of telling the stories of our culture and history. Whether it's the child labor pictures of Lewis Hines, the saga of the Country Doctor by W. Eugene Smith, or the images of the depression by Dorothea Lange, documentary photography is the most compelling means of chronicling the human condition.

This documentary photography workshop will be all about telling a story with pictures. We will begin by looking at some of the great documentary photographers of the past, then discuss what makes a great picture story. We'll talk about capturing the decisive moment, how to put together your own picture story, and the elements needed to complete your story in pictures. We'll also discuss some contemporary documentary photographers, and how they are able to achieve their images.

Finally the class will discuss creating their own picture story,
"A Portrait In Time/Anacortes".

The goal is to produce a photo portrait of the city of Anacortes at this moment in time. Each photographer will be assigned one or more different aspects of life in the city. Assignments will include: night shift with the Anacortes Police Department, ship building, religion in Anacortes, night life, the routine of a typical family with children, Anacortes business community, harbor life around the docks, Anacortes history, the fishing industry, sports, the Cats Meow, and more. Students will also be able to come up with their own subjects. Participants will have two weeks to complete their assignment, at which time we'll gather again for a critique of the images.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Hero Shot

During our workshop, “The Art of Shooting Bridges”, instructor Vince Streano told the students that while on assignment he always looks for that “Hero Shot”, the shot that would make him and his clients look like “Heroes”.

Well our “Heroes” are our students and they always amaze us with their photography. During the critique Vince was blown away and excited by the “Hero Shots” from our students. They worked so hard in the ten days they had to complete their assignments and that hard work really showed in their photographs.

So to our students – thank you for the sharing with us your “Hero Shots”. We enjoy seeing how hard you work and feel such pride and honor in seeing such amazing photographs. Your “Hero Shots” make you and us look like “Heroes”.

The Talk of the Town

Social Media vs the ‘Grapevine’. Long before Facebook and Twitter, the grapevine was the way word spread. The power of the ‘grapevine’ is just as powerful today and just as fast as the Internet.

On Saturday, April 17th, Alternative Focus held a workshop in historical Pt Townsend, WA. The workshop was called, “How would Dick shoot this?” Using PT Townsend’s historical buildings as the backdrop and location; instructor Dick Garvey took our group of nine students/photographers on a tour of Pt Townsend. We visited four locations, already scoped out by the instructor, at each location Dick explained how he would photograph that location and why. Then he would give the students an assignment, which was to shoot the location based on their interpretation of how he would do it, then shoot that same location based on how they would do it. They were given up to one hour to complete the assignment.

Having nine photographers standing in one area with their cameras and tripods started to attract a lot of attention. Questions started circulating: What were we photographing? What was going on? Was this a workshop? Who were we with? People started to stop and photograph with us, others stopped to listen to the instructor and watch. This was as entertaining as the workshop.

By lunchtime we were the talk of the town. Word had spread that there was a large group of photographers photographing downtown. They were talking about us in the stores and coffee shops. In a very short time everyone was talking about us.

While photographing a series of old buildings a local passerby noticed us and took a photograph of us using her cell phone. She then emailed it to a friend, asking her friend “What am I missing?” Her friend then took the photograph and posted it to her Facebook, titling it, “What am I missing?” Thus spreading the news even further.

No longer were we just the talk of Pt Townsend, we were now the talk of somebody’s Facebook and her network of ‘friends’ and their ‘friend’.

Just goes to show how powerful these tools are and how fast they work. Too bad we didn’t get the name of the Facebook friend, it would be great to link to it.

Grapevine or Social Networking - useful tools for spreading the word.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

How about a portfolio?

In the last several workshops we have done, I have added an extra image to each assignment. Besides illustrating what we discussed and discovered during the class, I also asked each student to use this new information and create a photograph that would become a photograph in their "portfolio". This idea opened a whole new concept.

We all need a portfolio. When someone, anyone, asks you what you are doing with all of your new equipment, or why you are taking workshops, or just why you are spending so much hard to find time on this "hobby", you can show them. Sit them down and hand them something that in a single package shows what you are working on. Who you are.

A portfolio will also promote the development of a style. Each person is unique, and the images you make should illustrate that individuality. Some photographers already know exactly who they are as image makers. Those shooters should constantly be refining their work, and becoming even stronger. For photographers who are struggling to find an identity, putting together a portfolio is the most effective means of developing their own vision.

Building a portfolio gives you reason to keep learning , and to keep working on your passion.

A common question is, "What form will my portfolio take"? There is no single answer to that. A slide show. A thumb drive you plug into a computer. A DVD for your television. A scrapbook. A looseleaf notebook so you can change images. A hardbound finished book. The final form it takes is just as important as what it contains. It is up to you.

The moral of this? We are going to offer a continuous workshop on building your portfolio. It will meet monthly, but photographers will attend when the need or time allows. All of these ideas will be discussed. This will give the participants help, ideas, feedback and inspiration. I think this could easily be one of the most enjoyable workshops we have offered.

Do you want to know more about this? Try one or both of the following addresses:

Monday, March 1, 2010

Flashes of Inspiration

Ideas for workshops hit me at odd times, in short or long flashes of inspiration and excitement. Sometimes it is without question an instinct I know I must follow. Sometimes it is more like bits of information that needs to be assembled into a well-thought out plan. Sometimes it is a snippet of an idea given to me by someone else that then needs to be developed and produced into a full idea. All of these are creative energies that are bursting into my little universe and sending me spiraling into a direction of pure excitement and drive.

For someone who is a planner and organizer, this is a great calling. The creative juices and energy flowing out of me is liberating and thrilling. I get such a rush when these flashes of inspiration hit me. And the more I think them through and then plan them out, the more exciting the adrenaline rush gets. I am in my own little planning and organizing heaven.

The real rush comes from when a workshop is completed and successful. When the energy generated from the group attending is at such a high level that it takes days to come down from the high. The cumulative effect of which produces another “Flash of Inspiration”.

A perfect example of this is the workshop I produced over the weekend. The workshop was 'Creative Macro Photography' with Charles Needle. Last year I just knew I had to have a workshop on macro photography, and I just knew that it had to be held out at La Conner Flats in La Conner. And I knew that it had to be something unusual, not your typical macro class. I met Charles Needle at a conference, saw his work, and just knew that he was what I was looking for.

And it worked. Those bits of inspiration flashed through me and paid off heavenly.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Year of Great Instructors

I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing talent. Our team of instructors are the best in their fields. They are talented, smart, experienced and fun.

A big thank you to the best team of instructors. May we continue to spread the knowledge and the good times. I look forward to a Great 2010.

Dick Garvey-
Bio -

Vince Streano -
Bio -

Julie Burgmeier -
Bio -

Jennifer Bowman -

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Social Media for the audio/video Industry

In a previous life, my husband and I owned a small audio/video system integration company in the Seattle area. We established an excellent network of friends and business connections. We owned the business for over 14 years and it took us over 7 years to build up our network of clients, vendors, manufacture reps, subcontractors and other contacts that helped the business grow. Just imagine how much easier (and quicker) it might have been if we had some of today’s technology and social networking tools.

Today there is so much at our disposal to help us get ‘connected’. Linkedin is an amazing business tool – an online resume, so to speak. Then there is Facebook and Twitter for customer service issues and to stay connected with clients and manufactures. Photos of projects or some of the latest equipment could be posted on Facebook and Flickr.

And then there is Blogging. This opens up a whole new world for sharing information. New product previews, troubleshooting tips and tricks, discovering who’s who in the industry, what projects are in the works, design ideas and more could be posted on a blog. The ideas are endless.

The a/v industry is ever-evolving. Changes come and go so quickly that sometimes you feel like you can’t keep up. Today’s tools would have been a great way for us to share these changes with our ‘network’ of friends and business connections. These are tools that the industry today should be embracing and utilizing to its full potential.

Our a/v systems integration business is closed now, but we still keep ‘connected’ and current with the industry. Our specialty today is producing educational workshops. That is why we are combining our past – the a/v industry - with our present – educational workshops. Which include teaching businesses how to use today’s social networking tools to add value to their business.

I am ending this piece with a brief conversation I had with a good friend in the a/v industry. Bob Grawet, way back when, was our Da-Lite rep. Then he moved onto Smart Technologies. Bob, has become an icon in the Digital Signage world, and now Works for Eiki and Advanced Method. He’s always forward thinking and uses Linkedin to get connected.

Here are some of his views on Social Media Tools:

1. What tools in Social Media do you use to network with?

I have a limited presence on Facebook and Twitter, but my focus is 99% inside of It's my opinion (and many others) that Linkedin is the best business social media platform.

2. What results, if any have you seen?

I've had active business discussions with potential customers around the world as a result of connecting with them. I have made a couple of actual sales from them. I have really bolstered my presence and the aura around myself to the many people I already know. Just today I received emails from around 20 people who I know, who re-established our contact…. so they do not forget about me.

3. Would you recommend it?

I recommend it as 'one' of the things you do to help sell and market. I think it is imperative, and that many people now check you out on if they are planning to meet you.

4. You started a Motorcycle group on Linkedin and now have quite the following - How did you build that one up?

I've started 10 groups on Some worked, some did not. Some for fun, some to establish me as more of a well-rounded human, and some for pure business marketing.

My Worldwide Motorcycle Association has petered out a bit at around 450 members. It has become a fun place to talk about riding, and I have made many new friends there. I built it up by making regular announcements 'via' the update section of the main page of I update by saying something like: Join the Worldwide Motorcycle Association group on if you are a rider and want to talk bikes. Just generic stuff like that.

Everyone on that you are connected with will see those updates….and others will as well. It's a slow go this way, as it took a year to build up to the current 450 members.

On the other hand, my brand new group (started yesterday afternoon) called: Macworld 2010 Attendees, has 124 people signed up in less than 24 hours.
I have a paid membership, and you need that to be able to grow.
My Worldwide Digital Signage Network group is up to almost 1300 members now. I work on this constantly.

My Buddha site is never going to grow very far, but it is mostly to establish relations with people who think like me.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Do we Tweet?

I followed a tweet from  ce_pro to a digital media content article where a spokesman revealed that their  " client survey revealed that less than 10 percent had heard of digital content such as Rhapsody, Pandora, and Hulu. " And while it does beg the question 'who are their clients?'  that still seemed incredibly low. Only 10 percent were aware of the full range of video and audio possibilities on the interwebs? Could that be right?

So I got to thinking about new technologies, and how while we are rolling them out to our clients, we perhaps are not as adaptive to change as we expect them to be. How good are we at keeping up with technology outside our own narrow field? I decided to check out the new frontier of social media space and see how we as electronics professionals were doing in the adoption of the social media frenzy that has swept - well, social media. I started with Twitter.

I looked at a few of my favorite tradeshows and compared how many people they claim attended their latest trade show and how many people follow the parent group on Twitter. Here are the results:

Group                                  Twitter name       attendees       followers      Twitcentage*
Consumer Electronic Show         IntlCES            120,000           9,843              8.2%
InFocomm                                 InfoComm          30,000              843               2.8%
CEDIA                                       CEDIA               20,000              818              4.1%
NAMM                                       NAMM              13,000            1,808           13.91%

*I just made this up. I define it as the number of an entity's followers on Twitter divided by the entity's biggest exposure, in this case tradeshows.

Let's contrast our world with the larger one. Here are our Twitter stats stacked up against popular culture:

Pop Culture Icon/Current # of followers
Ashton Kutcher      4,463,303
Ellen Degeneres     4,193,971
Twitter                   2,936,264
Lady Gaga             2,580,692
Jimmy Fallon          2,467,780
Google                   2,123,872
The White House    1,697,058
Wolf Blitzer               345,402
MicroSoft                    54,883
Best Buy                     18,919
Sony Electronics           9,930
CES                             9,843
Control 4                       2,850
Crestron                        1,866
NAMM                          1,808
InfoComm                        843
CEDIA                             818

Word on the street is that Mr. Kutcher is the top Twitterdog, so he is our benchmark. Imagine your company with four million customers waiting to hear you tweet! Sweet!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Art of Bridge Photography

Bridges make up some of the most impressive architectural structures in the world. Often the identity of a city is tied to one of its bridges. Examples would be the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, or the Rainbow Bridge in La Conner. Bridges can make powerful images.

Vince Streano has been photographing bridges for some of the largest engineering and architectural companies in the United States for over twenty years. His bridge photography has appeared in publications throughout the world, and he has a reputation as an expert in the photography of bridges.

Vince will be conducting a three part workshop on the art of bridge photography.

During the lecture portion and discussion Vince will show a portfolio of his bridge images. Then participants will learn how to research a bridge using an actual bridge assignment from one of Vince’s clients. They will learn how to scout for vantage points before traveling to the bridge, and how to plan a shot list of subjects, including that one “hero” shot clients are always looking for. They will also learn about booking a helicopter for aerials or a boat for shots from the water. Vince will talk about lens selection, composition, best angles and lighting. The lecture will conclude with a discussion of the three bridges that participants will be photographing; the Twin Bridges, Rainbow Bridge, and Deception Pass Bridge.

For more info on this workshop visit us at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Looking back at 2009 Workshops

Last year was quite an adventure in this workshop world. Even though every time we turned around someone was pointing out the world economic issues, we discovered there is a strong desire by photographers to be involved in improving their photography. There was quite a variety of classes offered, from real camera basics, to multiple workshops with a theme attached. The most rewarding aspect of teaching these was that the people all worked extremely hard, and appeared to have a lot of fun doing it. The workshop atmosphere seemed to grow as the year progressed, and the pressure was put on to keep all of the students busy. We started the year holding a workshop on shutter speeds and aperture. With the vast majority of cameras being automatic, it is very easy for photographers to skip merrily along and not really grasp what those two controls actually do. We then moved onto a series of workshops discussing the emotions of color. Again this was because color is taken for granted today. This is a workshop I have taught at various levels over the years, and the result is always the same. "The world looks totally different to me now". All of this led to a workshop where the students could put all of these things together when we went to Northern State Hospital to work on the "Abscence of Light". More about how that evolved into something very intense in a later entry here. The moral of last year's experience is that "Alternative Focus" has been formed in order to offer more and diverse workshops. There will be a concerted effort to get the word out to a larger area which will lead to more opportunities and additional instructors with more ideas. It should be a wildly exciting year, so be sure to check this blog often to see what else is brewing. There are a lot of ideas for 2010, and you don't want to miss out.

Friday, January 8, 2010