Teaching classes & taking classes

After teaching at the California Photo Festival (mentioned in my last post), Karen and I flew back to the Philadelphia area. Her family lives nearby in New Jersey and we have been staying with them while the bus gets some maintenance work done in New York. I should really say that Karen has been staying with them, because I have been bouncing all over the place this past week!

It wasn’t two days after we returned from California that I was on another plane, bound for Atlanta. where I presented my 1-day Photoshop Creativity seminar. I was only there for one night, but I was happy to be able to meet up with my great friend and fellow photographer/teacher Eddie Tapp, who lives in Atlanta. That’s one of the great things about traveling so much. I make friends all over the country and always have someone to catch up with when I’m visiting a major city. Because Eddie also travels a lot, I’ve seen him in multiple places all over the country.

After returning to New Jersey, I only spent one night before I was on the move yet again. I headed north to pick up the bus in New York, where I stayed for one night reviewing all of the maintenance projects that were being done on it. I’m also happy to say that, for the first time in years, the bus has a working generator!

My next stop was Lancaster, PA, where I would be taking a private class on lightpainting. That’s right. You read that correctly. I wasn’t teaching the class. I was taking the class. I had come across the work of Harold Ross and was just blown away by his style of lightpainting. When I saw that I would be within a few hours of his PA locale, I was excited to be able to arrange a two-day class/workshop with him. I loved seeing his approach to lightpainting and having the opportunity to learn with him one-on-one. We spent one day where Harold created a lightpainted still life, showing me how he works, and then another day where I created one myself, with his assistance. The image you see here literally took all day to create and is made up of nearly 100 exposures.

So in the course of one week, I went from being the teacher to being the student, and I loved it! In the coming week, Karen and I will begin to head south, as temperatures are dropping and we’d like to be able to photograph some fall color before ending up in warm, sunny Florida. More to come!

Stilllife-LightpaintingThis is the final image that I created during my lightpainting class with Photographer Harold Ross. 


stilllife-detail2Detail images from the lightpainting

Click 2013

Hi everyone! We just wrapped up an excellent week at the California Photo Festival (aka Click!) in San Luis Obispo, CA. This was my second time teaching at this event, and I’d really recommend it to any and all photography lovers out there. Not only are the instructors awesome (and I’m not saying that because I am one… really!), but there is a lot of variety when it comes to classes. There are classes on photography itself, lighting, video, photoshop, etc. and many of the classes are hands-on shooting in the field. There are sunrise and sunset shoots at the vineyards in Paso Robles and on the California Coast. There are loads of after-dark, night photography shoots, and then there are in-studio shoots as well. So at this event, you not only leave with a lot of knowledge, but you also leave with a lot of great images. The festival is run by Victoria and Hal Schmitt of the Light Workshops.

Click2013-175One of Karen’s shots from the horse shoot at the beach.

I taught a bunch of classes over the course of the week, most of which focused on HDR photography and lightpainting. I had in-class lectures as well as live shoots in the field. We did some HDR shooting at the marina in Los Osos and also at a funky place called Sunny Acres, where there are lots of old cars & barns to shoot. For my lightpainting classes, we returned to Sunny Acres after dark and they positioned some of the vintage cars for everyone. We also had an “alternative lightpainting” class where we shot on the beach, creating orbs of light and swinging around molten steel wool to create some nice images. (With the steel wool shoot, I’m the only one handling the steel wool and I’m far enough away from the students that they, and their gear, stay safe.)

Aside from the class/shooting part of the event, I had a blast hanging out with the other instructors, some of which are old friends, and I’m happy to say that others have now become new friends. After the evening shoots, we’ll often meet up for dinner and/or drinks and either catch up or get to know each other. I’ll leave you with a bunch of photos from the event. More to come!

AttackGoose-webHere we are at Sunny Acres where I’m giving a rundown on shooting for HDR. The goose was literally attacking me as I was trying to talk. (It was attacking the other students as well) Eventually, he got put in his “time out” cage. 

SunnyAcres2013-25-EditThis was also shot at Sunny Acres, by Karen, during out lightpainting shoot there. 

MorroRock-SteelWool-3Here, my class gathered at the beach at Morro Bay and I was giving a demo on how to create a lightpainted orb. After it got dark out, we moved onto the beach and started shooting. 

BenSteelWoolOrbThis was one of the shots I created by swinging burning steel wool on the beach. The students loved this!

MorroRock-SteelWool-20Karen’s shot from the steel wool shoot on the beach. That’s me in the middle, swinging the steel wool around.

VineyardWinery-31-EditKaren went to one of the sunrise shoots in Paso Robles and this was one of her shots. 

BenDavidWells-webMe and David Wells, taking a lunch break between classes. 

Another kick-butt creativeLIVE course in Seattle

BenCreativeLIVEA little pre-show goofiness. Here I am with my studio audience, about to kick off my Color & Tone class.

Hi everyone! I hope everyone had a good a week, and for all the moms out there, that you had a great Mothers Day! For me, it was another week and another city. This past month has just been crazy travel-wise. We’ve hit all four corners of the country and the middle as well! This week, it was Seattle, as I was presenting my Photoshop Mastery: Color & Tone class at creativeLIVE. This was a two-day course that is part of a larger series designed to make you efficient in Photoshop. The first part of this series, which I presented last month, is called Photoshop Fundamentals, and is designed to give anyone a solid foundation with the program. This week’s Color & Tone class, covers just that: How to enhance, and even fix, the color and tonality of your images. If you missed the live broadcast and would still like to see it, you can purchase it HERE. When you buy the class, you also get the training materials, including my practice images and the handbook that goes with the course.

If you’re not familiar with creativeLIVE, here’s how they work. They broadcast all kind of classes live, every day, and while you watch them live, they’re free. If you decide that the class really resonates with you, you can purchase it to watch any time, and you will also receive the bonus material that comes with the class. I’ll be returning to creativeLIVE next month to present the next part of this series, Photoshop Mastery: Retouching & Collages. Click here for more info or to register for the free broadcast.

As always, my time at creativeLIVE was excellent. They’re such a fun gang to work with, and Karen and I really enjoy being there. We also really lucked out with the weather in Seattle while we were there. It was in the 70s and 80s, and the sun was out! For some of you, this might not seem like a big deal, but if you’re used to rainy Seattle, it’s huge!

BenKarCreativeLIVEKaren and I on the creativeLIVE set

After wrapping things up at creativeLIVE, I flew back to the bus in Eugene, Oregon. It had been nearly a month since I’d last been “home.” Since my vintage bus is also being restored near Eugene, I was able to collaborate a bit with the shop that is working on creating the interior of that bus that we will eventually call home. Unfortunately, I must have caught the bug that seems to be going around, so the last part of my week was shot. I feel tons better now, which is good, because tomorrow, I need to fly to Columbus, Ohio to present my Kelby Training seminar, Photoshop Artistry. If you live near Columbus, I hope to see you there!

And last, but not least: This week, the schedule for this year’s California Photo Festival was posted! The California Photo Festival is five days of digital photography immersion. Intensive workshops, seminars, lectures, shooting, parties, and more with over 15 industry leading photographers and digital industry gurus designed to boost your creativity, spark your passion, and take your photography, art, or business to the next level. This year, it’s Oct. 7-11 in San Luis Obispo, CA. Learn more about the festival and schedule here.


The perfect summer photo adventure: Join me in Iceland!


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.



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!





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…