The perfect summer photo adventure: Join me in Iceland!

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This is for all my fellow photographers and photo enthusiasts. I’ve got some spots open in my Iceland photography workshop and I’d love for you to join me! The dates are August 11-17, 2013 and this is a great time to be visiting the “Land of the Midnight Sun.”

Not sure if this would be the right trip for you? Here are my top reasons for coming to Iceland with me this summer:

To take amazing photographs: The country of Iceland is just plain stunning. There is a photo to be made everywhere you turn. From waterfalls, to sweeping landscapes, to storybook horses, to glaciers and icebergs, you are guaranteed to go home with some incredible images.

To hone your photography and post-processing skills: This workshop will combine photography instruction in the field with post-processing instruction in the classroom to ensure you have the most control over your photographs.

To get one-on-one, personalized training: We keep the group size small so that the whole experience is more personalized. This allows us to have students of all levels, getting the one-on-one attention they need. During our last Iceland trip, we had absolute beginners as well as advanced shooters and everyone went home happy.

Iceland is so accesible!: Iceland is much more accessible than most people think. It’s only a 5 to 6-hour flight from New York and just about everyone in Iceland speaks English and is very welcoming to visitors. With most other exotic locations, you’d be looking at some REALLY long and expensive flights.

For the adventure!: For one week, you will be an explorer, venturing into some of the most unique, breathtaking, and sometimes even bizarre territories you have ever seen. We travel in heavy-duty, all-wheel drive vehicles that can drive over pretty much everything. This way, we can get to the “off-the-beaten-path” locations.

For fun: Because these trips are so intimate, it allows everyone involved to really get to know each other and create new friendships. In between all the shooting, exploring and learning is a lot of laughing, chatting and storytelling.

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For more information on this upcoming trip (as well as some more photos), visit the “Discover Iceland” page. It’s going to be a blast, and I’d love for you to be there!

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Photoshop World 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.

BenPSW-LowresHere I am presenting one of my Photoshop World Sessions. Many thanks to NAPP Photographer Anthony Newman for getting this shot!

PSW-ExpoShootingOne 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.

  PSW-grpshotAt 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!

BenChrisCherieMiniGolfHere 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!

BenJeff-PSWOne 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.

creativeLIVE and other good stuff

Hey gang! Things have been crazy busy lately, between training events, my vintage bus project, and prep for future events. We DID manage to get a day’s worth of exploring in, and I have pictures of that at the bottom of this post. Here’s whats up:

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On Monday and Tuesday of this past week, I taught my Photoshop Fundamentals course at creativeLIVE. As with all creativeLIVE online courses, while it was live, it was free to watch. During those two days, I covered the following:

• Simplifying the Interface
• Browsing your images with Bridge
• Understanding Resolution
• Which File Formats to use
• Essential Tonal Adjustments
• Essential Color Adjustments
• Isolating areas with selections
• The fundamentals of layers
• Troubleshooting Techniques
• Workflow Overview

If you missed the live broadcast, and still want the course, you can purchase it HERE. This two-day event is part of a series called Photoshop Mastery. I’ll be returning to creativeLIVE for the next few months to teach additional titles in the series. The next one will be Photoshop Mastery: Color & Tone, on May 6-7. To learn more about that one, and to enroll for the free live broadcast, click HERE.

I really can’t say enough good things about creativeLIVE. From an educator standpoint, they are wonderful to work with, and from a student/viewer perspective, they are an excellent resource, broadcasting high quality classes every single day. I very frequently tune in as a student. Also, to purchase the courses, they’re usually only $80-$100… for 2-3 days worth of content and course materials.

Here I am on my creativeLIVE set during my Photoshop Fundamentals course. 

Here I am with my lovely creativeLIVE hosts, Susan and Kenna.

New Gear

When I returned back to the bus after teaching at creativeLIVE, my new laptop was waiting for me! I ordered a new MacBook Pro, with retina display, and was looking forward to getting that baby set up! My current laptop isn’t actually that old, but it’s been behaving very strangely lately, and I didn’t want to risk having it bomb while I was using it to teach a seminar. Karen and I are both working on plans to optimize our work setups for the vintage bus. We’ll probably both end up with desktop Macs on the bus, as well as laptops for travel.

My new MacBook Pro arrived!

Vintage Bus Progress

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m restoring my next “home-on-wheels,” a 1963 Flxible Starliner bus. The shop that’s creating the interior has been making lots of progress lately, mocking up the layout and giving us lots of decisions to make. This past week, we’ve been choosing wood veneers and stain colors for many of the walls and cabinets. When the interior mockup is complete, and we like the way everything is set up, they will remove everything and start building it from scratch with all the real materials. (Right now, the mockup is made of mostly plywood and is just there so we can tweak the layout to exactly what we want.) If you want more vintage bus info, you can follow the Creative Cruiser facebook page . I post lots of progress pictures there.

We had lots of veneer samples to choose from for the interior of the vintage bus. They stained several of them so we could tell how they would actually look.

Tulip Fest

Every year in Oregon, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm holds a festival while the flowers are in bloom. There are acres and acres of tulips that turn the landscape into a rainbow of color. It’s pretty amazing to see. Karen had gone a day earlier, and wanted to go back so I could check it out. It was definitely worth it. Because the weather has been pretty nasty (as it often is in the Pacific Northwest) we didn’t get a lot of time out there before the skies turned gray and it started pouring. It would be ideal to visit this event on a weekday (we were there on Saturday) because the crowds wouldn’t be as bad. Karen was there on Friday and said it wasn’t nearly as crowded. But if you have to go on a weekend, it’s still quite easy to focus on close-up, detail shots of the flowers. At the festival, they had vendors, music and food, so when it started to rain, we just headed for a tent and had lunch.

This is my iPhone pano of the tulip field.

One of Karen’s shots from the festival.

The Antique Powerland Museum

I had been wanting to visit this museum for a while because, on the museum grounds, there is a vintage Texaco service station I wanted to photograph. We finally found the place on Saturday and paid a visit. They have two big warehouse-sized buildings full of old trucks, especially a lot of old semis. Since we were the only people there, we got a personalized tour of the whole facility that included a lot of fun, historical tidbits. There were a couple trucks in there I would LOVE to return and lightpaint! After the tour, I spent a while photographing the old service station. The weather was pretty cruddy, so I wouldn’t mind returning on a better day, but I still got some decent shots.

The old Texaco Service Station at the Antique Powerland Museum. This is an iPhone shot.

At the end of the week, we made our way back to Portland. I have a good amount of work here, including my Photoshop Artistry full-day seminar on Friday, April 12. If you are going to be in the Portland area and would like to soak in some Photoshop knowledge, you can read more about the event and sign up HERE.

More to come!

Kicking off my Photoshop Artistry Seminar Tour

So far, 2013 has been quite the travel year. Considering I live on the road, full-time, that statement sound a little odd, I suppose. I guess what I mean is that it’s been full of event-related travel, much of which has been via air, not highway. Things have been busy, in a great way!

It wasn’t two days since I returned from my trip to the Light Workshops in Los Osos, CA, that I was back on a plane again, en route to New York City, for the first of my Photoshop Artistry seminars, with Kelby Training. I taught the one-day seminar, got on a plane to Washington DC and then presented the seminar there on the following day. This is a new seminar tour, full of completely new content, so these first two events were interesting for me. It can be tricky to make sure everything is timed right and that all the topics are covered thoroughly, but I think things went very well overall and the feedback has been really positive.

The Photoshop Artistry seminar is broken into five, 1-hour segments that cover creative compositing, adding dimension to your images, essential masking techniques, advanced blending modes and jaw-dropping tips. To learn more, and to see when I’ll be coming to your area, check out the event page HERE.

The upcoming tour dates are:

April 12: Portland, Oregon

April 22: Denver, Colorado

After my two events on the east coast, I returned to the bus, which is near Eugene, Oregon, where my vintage bus is getting its new interior installed. Lots of progress has been made in the past several weeks, and we’ve been doing a lot of work in planning the layout. I’ve also spent some time this week looking at wood veneers, as that’s the next thing we’ll have to pick out. You can follow the vintage bus project on facebook for more frequent updates.

Coming up…

In one week, I’m teaching a 2-day online course at creativeLIVE called “Mastering Photoshop: The Fundamentals.” You can tune it April 1-2 at creativeLIVE.com and while it’s live, it’s free! You can learn more or sign up HERE.

I’ll probably spend the rest of the week working up upcoming training events as well as the vintage bus interior. More to come!

 

Back in Iceland for the week

This past week, I’ve been able to hang out in one of my all-time favorite shooting locations: Iceland. Usually, I travel to Iceland to teach photography workshops, but this trip was a bit different. I taught a Photoshop class in the capital city of Reykjavik and then stayed for several more days to go exploring and shooting. I was also location scouting for my upcoming photography workshop in August (even though the landscape will look much different than it does now in February.) If you’re interested in joining us for the summer workshop, check out the info page HERE.

I stayed at the Grand Hotel in Reykjavik, which I’m very familiar with from past events. From there, I went out exploring the countryside. One of the days, I met up with Einar Erlendsson and spent hours shooting and scouting. Einar runs Focus on Nature, the organization I’ll be teaching my upcoming workshop with. This time of year, the sun rises late and sets early, so I wanted to focus on some night photography and also try to shoot the northern lights. When I’m back here in August, the light scenario will be much the opposite: The sun will rise early and set very late.

In addition to shooting in the dark, we also visited some abandoned buildings, where I played around a bit with my circular fisheye lens. Below are some of the shots from the trip so far.

A semi-frozen waterfall under the night sky

One of my favorite things to shoot is “Abandoned America.” I guess I can now extend that to “Abandoned Iceland” as well!

Another circular fisheye shot of a funky abandoned building.

We were able to capture a bit of the northern lights one evening. I plan to head out again to get a more vibrant shot of them.

Another northern lights scene.

Like I said earlier, Iceland is one of my favorite places to photograph, so I’m going to spend the next few days exploring and shooting as well. I fly back to the bus mid-week and then immediately get ready to head to Seattle for Photoshop Week at creativeLIVE! I’ve you’re a Photoshop user and have not yet heard about Photoshop Week, it’s an online, live conference that is free to watch while it’s live. There will be 12 instructors and over 40 classes. Click here to learn more.

That’s it for this week, everyone! There will be more Iceland pics coming up!

More to come…