by Ben Willmore | May 6, 2013
The past week was spent in sunny Palm Springs, California! That’s where we flew after visiting Karen’s family in NJ. This year marked the 8th Annual Palm Springs Photo Festival, and I was teaching two classes, on masking and retouching in Photoshop. This event is very different from a lot of the other photography/Photoshop events, and for a few reasons. First, there aren’t as many classes on software and post processing as there are on photography and the business of photography. Second, there are a lot more classes and panel discussions that are geared toward fine art photographers, and it encompasses much more of the LA photo scene. It also has a more intimate feel, with elegant outdoor networking dinners and smaller class sizes. This is also probably the only event where I don’t want to share a dinner table with people I know. Instead, I’d rather sit with folks I’ve never met before because I always end up making meaningful connections.
In addition to teaching some classes, I also enjoyed being a participant in this year’s festival. I attended a few classes, on getting a photography book published, the business of fine art photography and digital asset management. I also was able to get a few portfolio reviews, which was very insightful. The reviews are a big part of the event, and the reviewers have all kinds of backgrounds, from museum curators, to advertising agencies, to magazines, to book publishers and more. I am looking to do more with my work, and am exploring several of these outlets for it.
Here I am teaching a class at the Palm Springs Photo Fest.
I had to do some last-minute preparations to get my portfolio ready for review.
And of course, in addition to the classes, portfolio reviews and networking events, there was a fair share of fun. One afternoon, I went with Karen and fellow instructor Colin Smith to ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, which climbs to an elevation of ~8,500 feet! I think the temperature dropped something like 35 degrees on the way up. The views are pretty great up there, and I’d recommend taking the ride if you’re ever in Palm Springs. After the festival ended, Karen and I also snuck off to see Iron Man 3, which turned out to be pretty good. Karen is a movie nut and huge Iron Man fan, so that was pretty high up on the priority list for her!
After the festival ended, we hopped on yet another flight, this time bound for Seattle. I am presenting my Photoshop Mastery: Color & Tone online class at creativeLIVE on Monday and Tuesday. It’s free while it’s live so be sure to tune in, 9am-4pm, PST, May 6 & 7.
Me and Colin Smith on the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.
From left, Colin Smith, Peter Krogh, me and Jeff Dunas. Jeff is the one who puts the entire festival together, and he does an excellent job!
by Ben Willmore | Apr 22, 2013
Hey gang! I just wrapped up another Photoshop World Conference and Expo. This one was in Orlando, and Karen and I flew down from Oregon on Monday. After seeing so much gray sky up in the Pacific Northwest, the Florida sun was a welcome sight!
Photoshop World has become so much more than just a “Photoshop event.” In fact, you can go to PSW, attend a class during every time slot and never hear anything about Photoshop. There classes have been split up into “tracks” or subject categories. There are tracks on Lightroom, Lighting, Graphic Design, Business, General Photoshop, Photoshop for Photographers and Photography Techniques. There are even more classes on the trade show floor. In addition to classes, there are much more relaxed events for attendees. I would call them “networking” events, but let’s just be honest: They’re parties. The main ones would be the After Hours Party and Midnight Madness.
For me, this event is always a good mix of work and fun. I taught three classes, on Camera Raw Essentials, Advanced Camera Raw and Hidden & Hard to Find Tweaks. I also spent a good amount of time at the trade show, networking with many of the vendors and checking out new products.
Here I am presenting one of my Photoshop World Sessions. Many thanks to NAPP Photographer Anthony Newman for getting this shot!
One of the lighting setups on the trade show floor. Attendees can brings their cameras and shoot to their hearts’ delight!
The fun part really comes down to hanging out with long-time friends AND new friends. I have been seeing many of the other instructors at each of these events (and at other events as well) for years. Since I live a mobile lifestyle, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet up with many of them in their home towns as well. So Photoshop World is something of a reunion for us, and I spend many of the nights having dinner and catching up with friends.
At the After Hours Party, Adobe set up a “photo booth.” It usually only takes a photo booth to bring out the goofiness in most people.
We also got a special treat at the end of the Photoshop World Event, and it has nothing to do with photography or Photoshop! Our great friends Chris and Cherie have been “parked” in Florida for some time now and they drove to Orlando to spend the day with us. I say “parked” because Chris and Cherie also live a mobile lifestyle like we do. (They’re actually pretty well-known in the Technomad community, as they’re a great resource for anyone looking to become nomadic. Check them out at Technomadia.com). We’ve crossed paths with them all over the country, but it’s been nearly a year and a half since we’ve seen them last. They came over in the afternoon and we spent a lot of time catching up. We also did some goofy stuff… like playing a round of mini golf and going bowling!
Here I am with Chris and Cherie after finishing up a round of mini golf. I won! (The highest score wins, right?)
All in all, it was a great week, but as always, it went by too fast! At the end of the week, Karen and I got on another plane and flew to Denver, Colorado, where I’ll present my Photographic Artistry Kelby Training 1-day seminar. More to come!
One final image… I managed to hitch a ride at Photoshop World with Jeff Leimbach on his motorized chair/cart/thingy. This shot is courtesy of the NAPP staff as well.
by Ben Willmore | Oct 15, 2012
Hey gang. We just wrapped up the 3rd annual California Photo Festival (aka Click!) in San Luis Obispo. It was my first time teaching at this event, and I had a blast. This festival it a week-long photography infusion, with tons of classes going on nearly 18 hours per day. Some of the classes are lecture style and some of them are live location shoots. I taught a good mix of both.
The event kicked off with an instructor meet and greet on Monday night where I got to reunite with a lot of my great photographer friends. This is always a bonus when it comes to events like this. The following night was an opening reception with all the volunteers and students.
My work was shown at the Light Workshops headquarters during the festival’s opening reception.
During the course of the week, I taught several classes, the first of which was on HDR. We had a lecture session which was followed by a live shoot at a funky place called Sunny Acres, which is full of old cars, barns, tools and more. It was a great place for students to practice HDR photography, and everyone had a great time. We returned to Sunny Acres the following night for my Lightpainting class. You can see the result of that shoot below.
My lecture on HDR photography
The HDR live shoot at Sunny Acres
One of my images from the evening lightpainting shoot at Sunny Acres. What’s funny about this image is that in the process of shooting, I was thinking aloud that a fog machine would be great. Well, the person standing next to me said, “oh, I have one in my car. I’ll go get it.” What are the chances!? We used the fog machine to make it look as if the engine was smoking.
There were also a couple of sunset shoots on the beach where we had horses on the beach, dancers, surfer models, etc. It was truly a photography playground for the festival students. Not only was there excellent subject matter but there were instructors available to make sure everyone was getting great images. After long days of shooting and teaching, we would go out to dinner, catch up with friends and make new ones.
One of my beach shots, with the horses in the sunset.
One of Karen’s shots from the sunset/horses shoot
Post-class dinner and drinks with my friends (and fellow photographers/teachers) Bobbi Lane and Lee Varis.
During the week, I also got to sneak out and pay a visit to the Really Right Stuff gang. They make extremely high quality tripods and accessories and I highly recommend them. I’ve been using their stuff for years and not only is it great, but their customer service is outstanding. They just moved into a new and bigger building in the area and they were nice enough to give us a tour.
Here I am in the new Really Right Stuff showroom.
Overall, the festival was excellent! The classes were diverse, the instructors were all very good and the whole vibe of the event was just plain fun. I’d really recommend it for everyone from photo enthusiasts to seasoned pros. There’s something for everyone. The California Photo Festival is put on by the folks at the Light Photographic Workshops, located in Los Osos, CA. I’ve taught with them several times and always have a great experience. I’ve got a 5-day workshop coming up with them in late November/early December that will focus completely on HDR photography. Check out the WORKSHOP PAGE for more details on that one.
Finally, I’ll leave you with a little video/slideshow that Karen made from her festival photos. Next stop, San Diego and then Portland. More to come…
by Ben Willmore | Jun 11, 2012
This past week has been a blast! In my last post, we were just leaving the Starlite Classic Campground, en route to Golden, CO. We spent two wonderful nights at the Starlite, where we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Larry and Sylvia, the campground owners. As I mentioned in my last post, I also got the opportunity to lightpaint some of their incredible vintage trailers. While we left the campground on Sunday, I spent the rest of the week processing the images and was really pleased with how they turned out. Check them out below.
As I mentioned above, our next stop was Golden, CO. We stayed here for about three weeks last year and just loved it. The campground is in a beautiful park, along a river, and is within walking distance to downtown. We’ve been spending our time here working, walking, and processing images. We’ve also explored some of the fun places Golden has to offer. The Foothills Art Center was hosting a Chihuly exhibit, and I was excited to check that out. Chihuly is a very famous glass artist, most known for his colorful chandeliers made of twisty blown glass. Another fun place we visited was Woody’s, which is pretty much a really good pizza place/pub. We went for a late dinner on Monday and then returned Tuesday for their movie night, where they serve up free popcorn and play a movie on all of the screens in the bar area. Karen is a film nut, so when she heard about movie night, I knew we would be going.
The best part of this past week was most definitely the weekend. We returned to Starlite for the Colorado Classic Campout, which is an event where vintage trailer owners gather, have fun and show off their trailers to the whole group. One of the fun things about the weekend was that Karen and I did NOT stay in the bus while we were there. Instead, we left the bus in Golden, drove the Mini to the Starlite and stayed in the TikiBago, one of the rigs they rent out to guests. Just as you might suspect, the TikiBago is a Winnebago completely decked out in a Polynesian theme, complete with a tiki bar!
Karen and I enjoying the luau.
On the first night of the event, we had a meet-and-greet, followed by a movie under the stars. Of course, the featured movie was “The Long, Long Trailer,” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. On the second day, there was an “open house” where everyone got their trailers all spiffy so that guests could check them out. Karen and I loved seeing the insides of all these amazing, vintage rigs. In the evening, there was a luau, complete with tacky Hawaiian shirts and a limbo contest! When things got dark enough, I lightpainted Birdie, a beautiful pink trailer decked out will all kinds of authentic vintage fixin’s.
Here, I’m trying to act all suave, as if I’d actually make it under this limbo pole. (I DID made it under the pole but Karen says I cheated.) Behind me is the TikiBago, our lodging for the weekend.
Sylvia and Larry announce the door prizes for the Colorado Classic Campout.
Sunday morning started with a spam burrito breakfast, and then everyone said their goodbyes. As I said in the beginning of this post, the week has been great for me. I’m excited about this series of lightpaintings I’ve started, and I look forward to continuing it. I’m thinking about creating a calendar out of the images. Many thanks to Larry and Sylvia at the Starlite Campground. They do such a great job, and we had a blast at their event.
More to come…
Here is “Birdie,” a beautiful Cardinal trailer completely decked out with vintage accents. Many thanks to owners Jim and Diana for giving me the opportunity to make this image!