Hi gang! We recently returned from Shooting the West, a photography symposium that takes place in Winnemucca, Nevada. While this was my first time speaking at this event, Shooting the West has been taking place annually for 27 years! Many of the attendees have been coming year after year, and some of them have attended all 27 years in a row. We could tell that this was one big family, and we were honored to be welcomed into it this time around.
I was this year’s keynote speaker, and I taught several classes and workshops as well. The workshops were fun because they gave us an opportunity to take students out into the field and do some shooting. For being a small town about 2.5 hours east of Reno, Winnemucca has a lot to offer photographically. The historic buildings and unique signs in town gave us some good subject matter for the HDR class, and the surrounding mountains (which were snow-capped during our time there) provided beautiful landscapes for my workshop on panoramas. We were also given access to a local farm that was just overflowing with antique cars, tractors and other vehicles that were great for practicing HDR. On the last day, the nearby airport held an open house where lots of small, vintage planes were on display in front of a sweeping, mountainous landscape. I love that this event incorporates a lot of shooting opportunities like this. Not only does it give me time to provide hands-on instruction to make sure everyone is getting the shot, but it’s fun to get outside, explore and join the students in the field.
While the classes and shooting opportunities were great, the thing we enjoyed the most about Shooting the West was the people. The event organizers, the attendees and my fellow speakers were all just fantastic. Everyone was warm, welcoming and willing to go above and beyond to make sure the event was a success. We enjoyed working with everyone so much that, and the end of the day, we usually ended up going to dinner with many of them as well. This really gave us a better opportunity to get to know everyone and goof off a bit during the down time. (And if you’ve ever spent time with us at all, know know we’re professional goofs!)
If you’d ever consider attending Shooting the West (and I highly recommend it), here’s a little breakdown of the kinds of events/sessions available to you there. There are three full days of workshop sessions. These are longer, more in-depth classes that are generally hands-on and include in-the-field work. I mentioned before that I did a full-day workshop on HDR and another on panoramas, as well as a full classroom day on post-processing. The incredible Tom Bol taught some workshops on light painting, speedlights and portrait photography. There was a 3-day workshop on time-lapse photography, taught by Grant Kaye and a full-day workshop on composition with M.D. Welch. The list goes on an on.
The conference part of the event officially starts after the workshop days. This begins with the keynote presentation, which is followed by many shorter sessions that range from 15 minutes to an hour and a half. In addition to all this, there are portfolio reviews, a photography competition and after-hours events that include food, wine and lots of good company. The 2015 schedule is still up on the site if you’d like to check it out: http://shootingthewest.org/schedule/.
So where do we go from here? Well, Karen and I are getting ready to embark on our 2015 international journey, which will include Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea, Russia and Alaska. We’ll be guest instructors on board the beautiful Crystal Symphony cruise ship (the same ship we were on last year). Stay tuned for lots of images from Asia and beyond!
More to come…
A panolage that Karen shot during the panorama workshop at Shooting the West.