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Tuesday, 27 September 2016


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Have thought hard about joining Peter in Cuba. I always thought negatively about workshops in general. But, I went last April from Portland to Los Angeles to do one with Bruce Gilden -- it was transforming and I'm almost 67-years old. That said, Magnum & Peter, etc... are really pricey.

You will definately meet several women, I guarantee it !

(post to your descretion, I will not feell slightly)

I'm looking to press a "Like" button on this post. Have a great trip!

Well you've lifted it up a notch Mike - now those blandishments are strumming and picking and really going to town on my yearnings. Pity about my earnings.

Yes Mike, just the sort of photographic conditions you need to set your creative juices flowing. I also noticed in his Workshop Group Photo there were 9 ladies and only 4 guys. I have been on a few Workshops and that's the first time I have seen it.

Wonderful news Mike! I hope you find your muse while you're having a great time with Peter and the other participants.

Meanwhile we can be entertained with endless agonising about which camera and lenses to take, whether to shoot film or digital, and the merits of monochrome or colour. After which we'll look forward to hearing all about it when you get back - with pictures, of course.

This sounds like the right decision at the right time for you. Wish I could join in the fun, but can't. I'm envious.


It's about time.

Mike, I am so happy for you (and for us). Can't wait to hear all about it.

Excellent idea, Mike! We're both at the point in our lives when time is clearly not an endless resource so we have to ask, "If not now, when?" My only suggestion would be to learn a few basic words and phrases in Spanish. You don't want to have to use sign language to ask "Pardon me madam, where is the nearest restroom?"

Great! I'm sure I speak for a lot of people when I say I wanna hear all about it!

I think it's great.
So what cameras and lenses will you take ?
Getting completely comfortable with whatever kit it is, well before the workshop will make everything go smoothly.
I'm excited for you !

Mike, you might check out Tillman Crane's North Dakota workshop for next August. We have a number of excellent old and abandoned farms to photograph. Old churches and modern farming you can photograph to your hearts content.
Average summer temperatures are in the 70's. Summer storms. Will be during harvest so you see the combines in the fields working to feed a nation.
More than worth the time and cost and you get full access to old places - and NO poisonous snakes at all.

Sounds great. I fancy one of the Paris workshops, so if I can scrape the money together, I'll do it. As ever, it's the things you don't do that you regret.

I wish I could talk myself into it; or more accurately talk my wife into allowing me to go.

Good for you!

That's great news! I was thinking of posting my second (I think) ever comment to urge you to go after your last post on this, as it sounded like you really should. I'm sure I speak for most of your readership when I say that although I'll miss a week of blog posts, I'll definitely be waiting for your return!

Seize the day.

Mike, I always wondered if there was a way for you to angle for a lady friend thru TOP. You're too much of a principled person to do that. Too bad your readership is mostly male.(oh what a straight line-edit this if you want)
We have a niece who went thru a divorce. Her friends bought her a membership to a dating service. She was not really interested in following thru on making contact . So she responded to someone that she figured there was no way of meeting in person. She lived in Orlando. He lived in Scotland. You see what's coming? They are now married. Moral of this true story - if you do meet someone, do not despair if there is a long commute. Good Luck !

I did it by just wandering around. Lovely people. Trying to take photos as part of a group seems really odd to me, you must lose that one to one connection with your subjects.

Great. You deserve it, and we approve you leave request.

Keep talking Mike. Peter appreciates the advertising and the business.
Been there three times several years apart and each time was like going to a different country - the changes were that noticeable. You'll have a ball. Too bad you won't get to Trinidad down on the south coast - the old town is visually like a time warp.

Have fun! I found Cuba a wonderfully bewildering experience...


Great place to practice the art of avoiding photographic cliches, and a great place for Spanish immersion. The Spanish is pretty straightforward and clear, and the people will talk to you -- unlike any place I've been. Enjoy!!

Good for you!

I went to Cuba thru Maine Photographic Workshops in 2000 when the only entry into the country from the US was for educational or religious reasons. At the time I worked for a missionary organization so mine was both. I remember walking everywhere thru the narrow streets of Old Havana and eyeing the policemen standing on risers on nearly every corner. At first I thought they were spying on me to make sure I wasn't trying to take down Castro, but eventually came to realize how much safer I felt knowing they were there. I remember, too the power of soap and shampoo; but all that may have changed in 16 years. I'm sure a lot has. Or maybe not...at least not yet.

Good choice. Should be a great experience.

And, in my opinion, a much better use of money than a lens -- even a very fine, near-perfect lens.

I took this workshop with Peter in April '15. A few tips: Cuba is hot and humid. You will wish you brought enough clothes to change them 3 times a day. You'll need a laptop and a thumb drive to edit and give Peter images to review. You need a camera, and he would be more than happy if the only lens you brought was a prime with a 35mm FOV. If you shoot verticals, make sure it's for a very good reason. It is a WORKshop. It will be a great experience.

Good for you! I do think myself if I'm too old to go to a workshop, particularly after a few years when the kids are bigger, but it's good if people of all ages go.

You could always post some updates while in Cuba, more reporting that the usual carefully crafted blog post.

Good for you, Mike! I look forward to those stories.

Now a second difficult decision - what camera to take!

Now don't forget your passport.

I'm very happy for you! And yet ... a bit disappointed that you didn't wait and opt for a Paris workshop. That might have tipped me over to attend the same. You know me and Paris, eh?

I wish I had the money.
I would consider it money very well spent.
Please do not have buyers remorse :-).
A long time lurker.

OK, who shall look after the four legged family members while you are absent without a care?
You can attend as a nobody, cause hopeully nobody shall identify you as the refugee from Wisconsin living on a frozen lake in the wilds of upper New York State!

And one other note Mike, do these things while you are able, cause at some future date life itself will strike you down either with physical immobility or something else. In short, just do it.

Pity I'm not going to Cuba - I think we'd get along ;-)

Mike, If you do not enjoy the workshop, I suspect you will only have yourself to blame. Being in an environment that is conducive to trying new things is sometimes hard to do, as it mean confronting ones own self, and seeing within the reasons why one has not done something, that one has always wanted to do. I myself have been teaching photography since 2009, in this time I have found the people who get the most out of learning experiences are the ones who let go of preconceived ideas and immerse themselves in the learning of new things.
This is not always easy, especially as we get older, because we have to let go of our own baggage and reasons for putting things off.
Photography can be strange, as it is simultaneously both easy and hard to do. Easy, to get results, and hard to get the ones you want.
But invariably, it is us (the photographer), who is the one getting in the way of our progress as photographers. This is where a great teacher, one who can see this, helps in our developing and that they have to teach from a place of love. for the craft, the subject and the student. Then you will come back from Cuba, refreshed and rejuvenated with new idea and approaches, as I suspect that Peter is one of these photographer/teachers.

But remember, that the learning will also take time to percolate or sink in, and that you will find yourself, sometimes quite a lot later, realising what you have learnt and how it has changed your approach to your photography.

Learn, Enjoy and Bon Voyage.

Dear Mike,
Reading this post has made me feel so good! Your attending one of Peter Turnley's workshops makes so much sense to me, I'm happy to hear you've decided to do it. And please, pretty please, don't feel bad about leaving us without a new post while you're there. I know you'll want to feel guilty but please don't. You've given us so much already, you deserve all this break can give you. So, please, make the most of it. We'll love reading about it when you're back. And reading about your preparing for it beforehand ;)
I'm sure I'm far from the only one who feels so happy for you!

Great for you Mike, you'll enjoy Cuba.
I've been there five times and came back with great pictures (not yet all "published"). The second best activity in Cuba is biking, but I guess you won't have time for this!

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