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Sunday, 27 January 2008

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never taken ws
no plan for 08
would like to but my location does not seem to offer any
are there any "online" workshops?

If the one Ken at zone-10.com is putting together on the Mich. upper peninsula comes together at the right time to mesh with other summer plans, I'd like to go. It's a long way from home, but might fit with a visit with friends in PA and Ithaca.

Less a workshop than a gathering of photographers to take images of beautiful nature and trade techniques and stories than one of the pro/expert led ones. I've never been to one of those, and don't see myself doing so.

Yeah, I know those places aren't all that close together, but nothing like the trip from Calif. Could be a big road trip year. :D

Moose

Hi Mike,
I know wizwow (Don Giannatti, http://www.flickr.com/photos/Wizwow) from flickr is giving lighting workshops. I heard they are great.
you can get a glimpse at Lighting Essentials (http://www.lighting-essentials.com/) to see some of his stuff.
- udi

I did one with Damien Lovegrove last year. Found myself shooting everything lovegrove-style (F4, 1/60th, 800ASA) for a week or two but I learned a lot and really enjoyed the experience.

Never taken one but have one booked for 2nd week of March. It's billed as an "advanced landscape" event - getting away from the mechanics and towards the artistic.
I'm open minded about it. I hope I learn more of how to discover the pictures around me and I've certainly had interesting email conversation with the leader of the thing.

If you want, I can report back on the whole experience when it's done.

I live in Australia and there are plenty of workshops to pick and choose from. I have never been to one (although I would like to) but I find the cost for these workshops to be very expensive and outside my budget.

I went to a couple of workshops. I have a mixed feeling about them. Without calling names on one of them host talked to much about his achievements and too little about lighting, techniques etc. I was disappointed.

Other workshop was fun, if you call photographing for a couple days for 14 hours every day fun. It was in Florida in November and it was crazy hot there, this is the only complain! I learned a lot from Florida workshop. For me it turned out to be not about photography though, I mostly learned new things about myself. And it was interesting to watch really creative person to show his world and vision.

I will probably go to other workshops in the future. I will be looking to workshops that help to learn very specific things, where I feel I need improvement.

I took a workshop with John Goodman at the Maine Photographic Workshops. It was an overall positive experience. It wasn't a technical workshop at all but kind of a soul-of-photography workshop. I hadn't really thought about my work very much in any depth before that. It helped a lot to show pictures to other photographers daily.

It was funny because everyone in the class seemed to be experiencing some change in their life or some doubt and that was continually talked about. Myself as much (or more) than anyone else.

The nicest part of the class was that many of us are still in touch, I made some lovely friends. This was almost 2 years ago. One in particular has been wonderfully generous and helpful with me.

The downside, to me, is arriving in a place and having to spend a week taking pictures. It was a challenege, definitely. I'm used to pictures sort of just arriving and the pressure to produce something during the week felt a little heavy. But of course that's a good thing too. I can't point to a single concrete thing I learned* but I definitely came away with a deeper sense of what I was doing.

*Ok I can. Two things
1) John harranged everyone into learning all they could about photography and more importantly, art in general. I knew a bit going in but I've definitely made it a point to go to as many gallery openings/shows as possible since then. And he's right, of course. Why not? It's pleasurable, rewarding and free.
2)I used to think of photography as distancing me from the people I photographed and people in general. John was all about photography as a way of connecting to people and to life. I'm not totally out of my original mindset, but making my goal connecting to people through photography has definitely re-alligned my priorities.

I'd love to do one this year, unfortunately I'm not sure if I will be able to swing it. I'd definitely recomend them.

Did. A short and crowded one. But it was fun and I did learn something.

Would take one again, but it hugely depends on the person in charge. For instance, you or Ctein, I'd gladly attend any workshop you'd care to organize. Morten Hvaal and James Nachtwey, too.

Er, that is, if y'all were closer to Zagreb. :-/

I took a Rocky Mountain School of Photography (www.RMSP.com) workshop in Baltimore in '06. It was held in hotel meeting rooms. While there was no opportunity for field work with the instructors, the information shared was excellent. They hold various workshops around the US each year, in addition to on site workshops in Montana.

And the quick answer is: yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

I am very excited to be signed up for a Freeman Patterson workshop this coming October in New Brunswick. I've read all of his books, and even though I've never met him, he's been an important photographic teacher. I'm sure I'll have a great time at the workshop, which will be my first.

-paul

Mike, I took a workshop with George DeWolfe two years ago. George is a nice guy and does good work. He pretty much covered his new book which was due in stores any day. He gave us a PDF of the book with the workshop. IMO, for the price of the workshop he could have provided the actual book instead of something that had to be downloaded and then printed - a real pain in the butt. I learned a lot of PS stuff I didn't know at the time, but for me, bottom line, the workshop was not worth the money. The kind of workshop I might consider again would be one in a location I would'nt ordinarily visit but would like to shoot.

I have taken many workshopd over the years. Ansel Adams Gallery, John Sexton (5), Ray MacSavaney, Howard Bond - for B/W (Film based). Philipp Stewart Charis, Lisa Evans and PPofA conventions for Prof Portrait.

All have been helpful. At this time, I am not planning any for the future. A Workshop with a qualified instuctor can be quite stimulating.

Jon ...

Not in recent times. I don't know about the USA, but here in Britain the heyday of the workshop was in the 80s and 90s, when wonderful places like Paul Hill's A Photographers' Place and Pete Goldfield's Photographers at Duckspool were in operation. I went to a number of residential workshops at the latter (most memorably with Thomas Joshua Cooper, Martin Parr, and Jem Southam) and benefitted greatly from close contact with committed creative individuals (and not just the tutors).

Was it "fun"? Well, roughing up the work of smug camera club types was an approved sport, and that's always fun, and the food and company at Duckspool was superb. But fun was not really the point, and sometimes the intensity of critique sessions could approach that of a therapy group. (Once, it actually did become a therapy group, complete with tears, shouting and recriminations. Brilliant!)

I did it four or five times, but eventually learned the Noble Truths well enough not to need to go back (i.e. that you're looking for a truth in your work that belongs to you; no-one but you can find this; finding it is hard work; the hardest work is ruthless self-criticism; even if you find "your" truth, no-one but you may care about it).

Workshops are not for everybody. There was a link between the residual desire in the 80s of us 60s/70s types for a communal, touchy-feely experience and the craft aspects of fine b&w printing, and both of these have become deeply unfashionable. Also, the Web has joined us all together in ways that were unimaginable then.

Yes--several over the years. Workshops with among others--Ansel Adams, Mary Ellen Mark, George Tice, Charles Harbut, Eva Rubinstein, Glen Fishback and a couple from the faculty at RIT. I found each workshop to have its own personality and each in its way useful. These workshops provided information and skills that enabled me to teach-college level-photography as well as become a professional photographer.

Yes, I have taken several workshops, about one every other year for the last few years. I may take a workshop in 2008. Style varies, from real instruction and inspiration to more being a guide to good shooting spots and time. And quality varies too, from excellent to awful.

If the criteria for a workshop is to get a bunch of photogs together to take images of beautiful nature and scenery while trading techniques and stories with one another, then our photo club has a workshop every month. Since some of us are more experienced than others, the "leaders" generally realize where they are relative and start offering suggestions, recommendations, and share tips and tricks that they know with those less experienced. But, that means I would be a "leader" and what I know about photography fits into a thimble compared to most of the pros out there.

I've taken a total of 8 workshops over the last 15 years, 6 of them week-long nature photography workshops in the field. All of them were enjoyable, and the first few in particular produced a rapid & dramatic improvement in the quality of my own photography. I still learn something new every time. The last was a digital printing workshop, and it likewise has markedly improved the quality of my printing. You can do a lot worse than spending a week in a beautiful photogenic location with instructors who know just where to be at first light, with other enthusiastic amateurs you can learn from. Being a great photographer doesn't necessarily make one a great teacher, so it helps to ask around to see who's good. I can't speak highly enough about Rod & Marlene Planck, both as instructors and as genuinely great people.

There are several kinds of workshops; weekend lectures are okay, but you'll get far more out of a full week (or at least a long weekend) that includes time in the field and on-site critiques of your work. Back in the day this meant on-site film processing was vital, but digital has simplified the situation.

I have three kids; the older two have accompanied me (separately) on week-long workshops as teenagers, and this was a fabulous bonding experience we still treasure. My youngest is really looking forward to a workshop I'll be taking him on next year.

If you can afford the time and the cash, a workshop will improve the quality of your photography more than a shelf of technique books or months of floundering around on your own.

I have taken 3 workshops with Craig Tanner of Radiant Vista and plan a 4th one in Death Valley in February. They are the greatest way to relearn how to look at the world around us in a different way (through the camera lens). The groups are exciting to work with and the participants as well as the teachers help bring new ideas to think about when shooting. For me they have been invaluable. Craig also brings into his teachings the concept of life energies and forces on the way we can see what we shoot.

Wes Norman

I took one from the Denver Darkroom ( http://www.denverdarkroom.com/ ) and have mixed emotions about it. The workshop was on Lighting & Portraiture and while I learned a few things it wasn't anything I wasn't learning on my own by following along with the Strobist website ( http://www.strobist.com/ ). That being said though it was neat to be able to play with the studio gear and see how a dedicated studio could work for some of the shots.

-- C

I'm considering it in '08 as a way to meet women....learning more about photography would be a fringe benefit !

Never did, although I toy with the idea once in a while. Most seem quite expensive, and since this is just a hobby, I guess I don't mind trying to figure stuff out by myself instead. If I was trying to make money from my pictures, though, I think I'd be really tempted...

Alternatively, I'd buy a good meal and a couple of beers to a good photog if they spent a few hours shooting with me and gave me some good pointers.

I've taken two classes with Alain and Natalie Briot in Arizona. I don't know how much my technique has improved as a result, but they got me to amazing places at the ideal times to make better images than before.

Knowing the territory is the key. I live near Yosemite and am there all the time. I wouldn't go on a workshop there. On the other hand, I'd love to go on one to Glacier National Park. I don't have months or years to explore, and a competent leader could get me to the right places in a short time.

About once a year for the last several years, and am now leading workshops myself as well.

Lots of reasons why a particular workshop might appeal--the last one offered some excellent opportunities in some arctic areas that would would be difficult to visit without a lot of support and infrastructure, something hard for me to afford solo. In some cases, it's also been an interesting opportunity to get a better glimpse into the way some photographers I admire think about their work.

But I think I enjoy the social aspect of good photographic workshops as much as anything, spending time shooting with other enthusiastic photographers is just fun, and I've met some now fairly long-lived photographic friends that way.

I've tried to fit a week long workshop into my schedule every year for the last 6-7 years. A "shoot and critique" style workshop with the right instructor can really take your work to the next level.

The cost of the workshop, travel, and lodging can add up (typically $2K total for a 1 week location shoot). But there really is no substitute for spending a week of 10+ hour days focusing on photography with someone lighting a fire under you to reach the next plateau.

Cheers,

Joe

I took one a few years ago with Darwin Wiggett in Banff National Park and thought it was great. He really knows the mountains and I learned a lot about framing shots and scouting locations. I highly recommend it. http://pbase.com/davidstl/banff

I've taken quite a few over the last 3-4 years; I average 3 workshops per year. Some are offered locally (here in WA state), but others get me to places I don't ordinarily visit (like the Smoky Mtns or AZ Slot Canyons). I've already signed up for 3 this year, with 1 more in the plans.

My objectives for attending a workshop are two, sometimes met in the same workshop: (1) to get to a place I've never visited, or want to visit again; (2) to learn more about a particular technique, often from a particular photographer.

I like workshops, in part because of the camaraderie of the groups. That's almost always the case, even if each individual goes their own way during a "shoot".

I went to Fred Picker's Zone VI Workshop in Vermont in 1977. (Footnote: I first took notice of the name "Michael Johnston" in the early '90's when I read your opinion of Fred in the magazine you were editing at the time).

Nevertheless, I regard my 10 days in Vermont with Fred, with the instructors he assembled, and with several of the other attendees, as key to my understanding of photography as "ART" and the beginning of my technical control of the medium.

The Zone VI Workshop:
-It was fun.
-I might do the "right" workshop again when my life yields free time in 10-day increment!
-No plans for attending a workshop in '08.

About half a dozen of the attendees at Fred's workshops were on the same track as I and we learned a lot together in our late night discussions. Many of the others had a great time comparing millimeters and attachments.


Most recent workshop experience was in 1997, pinhole photography during the week of the total eclipse of the sun, with David Gepp at the Duckspool Photography Centre that Peter Goldfield used to run in the UK.

But before that I have attended - and run - workshops since 1978. The most memorable have to be those during the 1980s with (now Professor) Paul Hill at The Photographers' Place in Derbyshire UK.

I have nothing but good memories of all the workshops I have ever participated in, either as student or teacher, and cannot recommend them highly enough. Even if the tutor turns out to be not so hot (rare), the contact with other, like-minded folk willing to pay to share experience and learn from each other more than compensates.

MIke,
I've taken three workshops. The first was a color management workshop by Andrew Rodney in Santa Fe in October 2003. It was very informative, but Andrew's style rubbed some students the wrong way, and a couple left as a result. But, it really helped me to get my color management for printing dialed.

The second was a sports photography workshop with legendary sports photographer Peter Read Miller; it was in Denver in April 2004. We shot everything from mountain bikers in a blizzard to high school basketball to pro soccer with credentials. The hardest thing we shot was pro arena football. That is a tough sport to shoot. Overall, it was excellent, Peter was a terrific instructor and it was really, really fun.

The third workshop was with Rick Knepp at Mono Basin in October, 2006. It was fun, too, but what it really taught was how important it was to get up at 5:00 AM to shoot Mono Lake in alpenglow.

http://photos.imageevent.com/puma_cat/landscapes/large/TufaIsland1.jpg


I am a fan of the Smithsonian Resident Associates Program courses, particularly the sessions ran by Mr. Kim Kirkpatrick.

Are they workshops? I dunno, depends on the definition.

I've taken two workshops, both at the Santa Fe workshops, one on lighting, one on Photoshop. I've never taken a conceptual workshop -- i.e. "making better landscape photographs."

The lighting course was excellent -- got to work with a lot of heavy-duty pro lighting equipment and light-altering stuff, learn how not to electrocute yourself, etc. Found what an amazing difference the simplest things can make when you're lighting somebody -- like how a cardboard reflector held just off camera can radically change the way a person's face looks, the depth you get in the shot. The guy who taught it also had a lot of little demos -- like how you can pose somebody in almost any doorway, balance the lights, dim some of them out, and make it look like the model's coming through the door in a seedy nightclub. Production-like stuff. He also demonstrated that you can get pretty amazing looks with just a few hundred bucks worth of gear, and you can make a lot of good stuff yourself, with material bought from Home Depot.

The Photoshop course was back when digital was a little young (I think we were using Photoshop 7) and had some problems. The teacher was good, and knew the material, but the students hadn't been carefully chosen, and the wide range of knowledge of computers seriously slowed the class. For example, we had one guy who was quite a good film photographer in the Arizona/New Mexico way (weathered fence boards and faces, cowboys, mountains) but literally couldn't click a mouse, and had a hard time catching on. For him, making selections was an impossibility, and a lot of time was taken helping him (and a couple of others) learn basic computer stuff. At the same time, a couple more of us had been working with Photoshop, and hoped to move on a lot faster, and of course, inevitably somewhat disrupted the class by pushing on, asking confusing questions. Santa Fe has now gone digital in a big way, and I suspect that problem will have been fixed.

I really got my money's worth on the lighting, not so much on the Photoshop, though even there, the teacher had good tips.

I think the biggest thing to worry about, when considering a workshop, is whether the participants are on somewhat similar levels concerning the subject matter. If you're taking a landscape class, you don't want to have the teacher explaining f-stops; if you need to walk, you don't want people who (earnest and serious though they may be) are not physically up to it, so the class winds up dealing with a physical problem, rather than photography. If you're looking at printing, and if it's not a beginning printing class, you don't want to mix people who are trying to get better at making fine-art prints, and who are dealing with advanced color control, with people who've never seen a printer before.

JC

I have participated in six or seven workshops, most about twenty years ago. At that point in my photographic studies that was a the best way to learn about photography as well as learn photography.

I don't plan on going to any workshops this year but I haven't looked at any.

What I would really like is go somewhere to photograph where the problem of access to something really spectacular has been worked out.

In the past two years I've taken:
Wet Plate Photography (Rayko, SF, CA)
Studio Lighting (Rayko, SF, CA)
One-on-one Seeing/Vision workshop by Paula Chamlee (Toronto, ON, Canada)

They were all very different. The Wet plate workshop was great. History/background, chemistry, lots of time making/shooting/developing tin plates. It was really magical.

Studio lighting - very informative with lots of examples shot on Polaroid. I wish it had been a little more hands-on, but maybe the use of the equipment/cameras/polaroid would have taken too much time away from the discussion about lighting.

The one-on-one workshop with Paula Chamlee was great. It was interesting to get personal instruction from an accomplished and published photographer. She comes from a painting background and has a unique view on how to use cameras to create images.

I would take each of these again plus recommend them all.

My priority this year is to work on printing.. but I definitely keep my eyes open for what's going on at Rayko. I feel lucky to live so close to such a place.

More years ago, I took a "workshop" on nude figure studio photography, which was basically two models in a studio with photographers taking turns. Only a little instruction from the workshop organizer. It was interesting.. my first experience working with models, so I don't regret it for that. It just wasn't too... structured.

I have taken numerous workshops, some substantive and some technical (the latter mostly dealing with Photoshop techniques). Most were at Anderson Ranch in Snowmass, CO; one was in Santa Fe (SF Photographic Workshops) from Joyce Tenneson, with whom I did not get along; most recently a workshop on "The Portrait and the Nude" with Jock Sturges in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico -- the workshop was great, even if Jock rather doesn't approve of my style of nudes. I've learned a lot from some of them.

For people with the money and a week to devote to either a substantive or technical workshop, I cannot praise Anderson Ranch highly enough.

None planned for '08 yet, but I'm thinking ....

I've attended a few workshops (pre-digital), one given by John Sexton, a couple given by Howard Bond and I enjoyed them. Considering cost, logistics, and my age, I've no plans to attend any more workshops.

I've taken three total, but only two were within the past five years (the first was 16 years ago). The two most recent workshops were both in Santa Fe: one with George DeWolfe and the other from Jean Miele.

I may take one this year, but am unsure. Most present day workshops are, for good or bad, instructional lessons geared towards the beginner to mid-level amateur. I guess that makes economic sense as the popularity of photography has created millions of potential workshop students, many of whom have the discretionary income available for the workshop expenses (I'm always amazed at how many participants are current or retired doctors, dentists and lawyers). The ranks of advanced amateurs or professionals pale in comparison, however, thus there is little incentive for the major workshops to cater to that group.

That said, I've always gained knowledge from my workshop experiences, and the inspirational benefits cannot be measured. So, in that vein of reality, I would like to take a workshop this year with Alan Ross through the Ansel Adams Gallery. Even though I shoot digital and he is hard-core traditional, I am sure much of his thoughts will translate nicely to Photoshop.

I do wish there were more professional level fine-art workshops available, however. Workshops that would be focused not on technical instruction, but rather on education, artistic merits, and inspiration with a healthy mix of shooting and critiquing. I would envision such a workshop based less on the student-teacher relationship and more on peer to peer relationships.

Oh well, a guy can dream, can't he.

I went on a workshop in the Bohemian Switzerland area, on the border of the Czech Republic and Germany in 2007. It cost CZK 3000, or about USD 200 for two nights and local transport. I feel it was worthwhile. We were able to stay at a lodge not normally open to the public and enjoyed a great dawn. I also managed to learn to use my 135 mm lens for landscapes, something which had been eluding me until then.


I participated in a one week workshop organized by The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops (http://www.santafeworkshops.com/) and led by Eddie Soloway (http://www.eddiesoloway.com/). The workshop I chose happened on the Santa Fe Workshops campus in Santa Fe.

Of the 150 or so people attending workshops during the week I was there, probably 25% were returning for a second, third, or fourth SF workshop. That many returning participants says a lot about the quality of both the SF Workshops organization and the instructors.

I learned a lot from Eddie and the other participants. I thoroughly enjoyed the week and would certainly repeat the experience with Eddie or another Santa Fe Photographic Workshops instructor. Earning a (non-photographic) living gets in the way.

I've signed up for Michael Reichmann's January 2009 Antarctic Expedition (http://luminous-landscape.com/workshops/antarctica-2009.shtml). (Yes, that's not quite in 2008.) The participants have already begun to interact on LL's message board.

Bob

Sometimes, the most valuable think that can be learned from a workshop is that (whatever you went to it for) it ain't for you.

Bill,
Okay, you got me. What does that mean?

Mike J.

Well I read the questions and thought "Nah, that's not for me", then came back to TOP later to see there were an enormous number of comments!
A very interesting read, most pertinent line is
"the Web has joined us all together in ways that were unimaginable then."
Indeed, for those of us who find group activity socially stressful or who struggle to learn from a structured course the average workshop doesn't appeal.
About 4 years ago when my photography interests were rekindled by the advent of affordable digital capture I joined the local camera club and an online forum.
I learned more from the forum in a few weeks than I would have at the club in 10 years.
Vive le Web!

Cheers, Robin

"Bill,
Okay, you got me. What does that mean?

Mike J."

Ah yes I understand this. Basically you might go to say, a workshop on figure studio work, and realize that really the subject is not for you for whatever reason, even if before the workshop you thought that this would be the greatest subject for you. This can be a very valuable result from a workshop because now you can put down that daydream/desire/curiosity about that form of photography and move onto something more appropriate for yourself. Invaluable!

I have taken three. The first two were on day events, the third was a two day event. The first two were not worth my time or money, the third totally was.

All involved some field shooting, along with in-class discussion and post-shooting review.

Quick takeaways from my sample of three workshops:

1) Understand what the workshop will do or expect of participants. If you were expecting "X", but it is really about "Y", you'll be less happy.

2) Instructor quality varies wildly. Some folks may have made a good name for themselves shooting, but can't teach worth beans.

3) Instructors have a taste/style approach that influences what they do strongly. If you have a taste/style mismatch, expect you may have a less than ideal experience.

I would take more, if they were a) not so long -- I don't have 5 sequential days to give to this hobby b) held so far away - travel of more than an hour or two is a real challenge.

Severian

I did a week-long Freeman Patterson workshop last year and really enjoyed it.

As well I do a few 1-2 days weekend workshops a year at Pikto in Toronto.

No, NA, No, No and No.

Why Not?

Expensive in terms of money which I don't have, and more me, possible difficulties entering
a foreign country (USA)due to my own past.

Besides as somebody else noted, on-line forums are often just as helpful.

I took a workshop with the Friends of Photography in Carmel in the 80s. Lectures by John Sexton, Huntington Witherall & others. It was fun, due in no small part to the icecube-filled tubs of beer brought to us in the evening at Asilomar. The main emphasis was on print presentation . . . most of the advice was applicable to black and white darkroom techniques, very helpful at the time. But I haven't taken any others and don't plan to . . . would rather spend my money on equipment and supplies.

Dear John,

Regarding providing books at workshops...

Books are expensive! We authors don't get them for free. If we've got a good contract we get them at a substantial discount, but it still adds up.

Instructors who give workshops run by others don't see the lion's share of the money. Day fees are usually under $1,000-- $500/day isn't an uncommon number.

I'm going to be giving four workshops at the Preston Center in New Mexico later this year/early next year (details will be forthcoming). I'll be doing a two-day one on photo restoration. The class can accomodate 20 students. Each copy of my book DIGITAL RESTORATION costs me $25.

See where the math goes? Nowhere good.

I can't speak to the folks RUNNING the workshops-- I've no idea what the profit margins actually look like. But I think providing something like a PDF is a very nice idea-- you get the content of the book and the instructor isn't out a large part of their income.

(Personally, I think it'd be a good business model to include books in the price of the workshop, with the price raised accordingly-- people always over-rate the value of the freebies they get. That's a question of sales strategy. Hmmm, mebbe I'll propose that to the Preston Center.)

pax / Ctein

I have taken several. The advantages are:
1) Someone has taken the time to find a good or even great location and work out the logistics.
2) You can immerse youself in photography and your results will show it.
3) You will learn new ideas and techniques from someone with greater (or at least different) experience.
4) You compare you results with your peers and get critical feed-back.

I am considering taking one this year again.
Leland Davis

I've been to one workshop - in 1980, with Fred Picker at Zone VI. I enjoyed it, learned a bit and I'd go to one again if the opportunity arose. It was a long way to lug my 4x5 gear to Vermont from Adelaide, though! I think it was the interaction with the other participants that gave me the most benefit. They were great, but there was a couple of PITAs to watch out for.

In the '70s I did a 3 nights-a-week, part time diploma course - that was much more valuable because of the variety. But if you just want to hone your skills in one direction, then a day or weekend should be good. Never done one of those, though.
Phil

I try to get 1 or 2 workshops in every year. All-time favorites are those hosted by Kim Weston (www.kimweston.com). In addition to the professional development, it's also great to just be in a creative environment with like-minded artists.

I have taken an "on-Line" workshop with Bryan Peterson and a "vagabond weekend" with Bryan as well. The on line was ok,the weekend was much much better, mostly to see what Bryan "saw" when the rest of the gang was "playing" photographer. Bryan taught a lot through his "set ups" and sharing his viewfinder with the group.

I have a Steve McCurry workshop on my list in the next year or so and a Maine Photographic Workshop course catalog nearby.

I also have a one day workshop booked with an outstanding Maine coastal photographer named Jack Kennealy. www.kennealy.com.

dale

I've been asked but refused .........I'd hate to clone myself

"Bill,
Okay, you got me. What does that mean?

Mike J."

Ah yes I understand this. Basically you might go to say, a workshop on figure studio work, and realize that really the subject is not for you for whatever reason, even if before the workshop you thought that this would be the greatest subject for you. This can be a very valuable result from a workshop because now you can put down that daydream/desire/curiosity about that form of photography and move onto something more appropriate for yourself. Invaluable!

Posted by: Scott Jones | Sunday, 27 January 2008 at 03:23 PM

Mike, Scott has eloquently answered this for me.
I'd like to add that the very best part of a good workshop can be meeting and interacting with other participants (as well as the gurus).
I took a long-weekend workshop from Michael Smith and Paula Chamlee and never expect to use any of the technical material they presented (LF on tripod, DBI in Pyro, contact print on Azo souped in Amidol), but it was one of the best experiences of my 60 years in photography.

I've done a few. The best have been on darkroom technique with a lot of hands-on work, and viewing and discussing of prints.

One thing to be aware of is that some "workshops," which may be led by good photographers, are really better described as "photo tours." You might not get much in the way of photographic instruction at these, but they can be a way of finding worthwhile photographic locations in an unfamiliar place, and you might meet some interesting people along the way who are as likely to teach you something new as the instructor is. If the topic of the workshop is some scenic location, (i.e., "Photographing Death Valley" or "Fall Colors in Vermont"), and if the workshop leader isn't someone particularly well known as an instructor, then it's probably worth asking around to find someone who has participated in it before and to ask what their experience was like..

Yes, I've taken one (wizwow's), and I have registered for one in 2008 and am trying to find one or two more for '08.

I think they have their place to fill in a specific skill gap, or stretch in a different way. It's useful to think about what you want to get out of the workshop, and be selective. Also make sure that what you get the workshop is something you can practice afterwards to actually make the skill stick. If it requires specific equipment or access to location, models, etc. think about how you will get your own access after the workshop.

The tricky part about finding workshops: many of the better ones are (1) not cheap, and (2) often require registration up to one year in advance in order to get a spot, and (3) are often not local, further increasing cost and time commitment.

My biggest issue is the lead time. It's hard for me to predict where I will be photographically 12 months from now. I may be focusing on something different than what the workshop is about.

All that said, I think they're worth it. But they're tools, they're not silver bullets.

We did an Artie Morris IPT in Alaska last summer. It combined a visit with friends there with a learning experience. The IPT was a full week. The first day or two my wife and I were wondering if it was going to be worth it as most of the other participants were worried about exposure compensation on their new 1D MkIIIs while we were shooting Nikon. However by the end we felt we picked up a lot as well as being able to get images of subjects we would never have attempted on our own.

Would I do it again? Probably but not necessarily again with Artie and that is saying nothing against Artie. Just I think that perhaps getting some varying points of view from another teacher such as Alain Briot, Thom Hogan, Moose Peterson, John Shaw or Michael Reichmann would be more valuable in rounding out my photographic education. If I was going to shoot birds though, there's no one I'd rather be with than Artie.

I would probably pick as an instructor someone who's writing about photography I admire rather than strictly someone who's photography I admire. If they can write about it, they will probably be good communicators at a workshop.

I've never signed up for a workshop.

They seem antithetical to the Elliott Erwitt quote you posted recently about the importance of cultivating the ability to notice. Most seem to be geared to making sure you get a few iconic shots, but what happens if you see something interesting on the drive to or from the location? Sorry, we're on a schedule, and besides, nobody else wants to shoot that old rusty car.

Another concern is weather. A few years ago, a group of friends paid a fee and signed up in advance to go to Babcock State Park in West Virginia. Oops, the fall colors hadn't arrived yet. Next year, I dutifully read the foliage reports on line and picked the right weekend on short notice.

Field trips organized by someone who can get access to a location, including tripod permits, are attractive. This past Saturday, I went to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space facility in Chantilly, VA. We had two hours to ourselves before opening time. They even waived the $12 parking fee, for some reason.

The primary purpose of workshops or classes that teach specific techniques are, of course, very different from field trips, as are critique sessions. All depends on your local resources.


I've never been to a workshop, although I've always wanted to go. Back in college, the MAC group (Mamiya, Pocketwizards, ProFoto, etc) came out and gave a mini-workshop to some faculty members, showing off some protoypes of 22-megapixel Leaf digital backs mounted on some Hassie's and Mamiya AF-Ds. I guess it doesn't really work as a workshop, considering I didn't get anything out of it.. other than getting to play with really expensive toys.

I WILL be attending a workshop in June in Mexico City, set up by various members of Lightstalkers.org. It's called the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop and features some incredible people onboard... from Brian Storm of Mediastorm to "big" photogs like Ron Haviv and Stanley Greene. The best thing is it's ridiculously cheap: $500 USD. The website is: http://foundryphotoworkshop.org

1) I have.
2) It was a great experience.
3) Yes I would.
4) Absolutely.
5) None, but not for lack of wanting, just lack of funds.

I attended the Ralph Gibson workshop with the Vancouver Photo Workshops a couple of years ago. It was great, I learned a bunch (not just technically either) and it made me realise that I should do them more often. To that end, I am joining Steve Anchell's workshop in May.

Never did, and never will. What is it good for? The things i am really interested in nobody can teach me. And i think i am not such a big 'socializer' to get fun out of something i consider to be a conventional, boring waste of time...

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