The California Photo Festival!

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…

Waterfalls, Portland & Santa Barbara

It’s been a pretty jam-packed week, and we’ve covered a lot of ground. We started the week in Portland, Oregon, where we parked the bus after exploring Washington and the Columbia Gorge area. This was our second visit to Portland in less than two months, and Karen and I have been really loving that city. (Of course, we haven’t experienced any of the heavy rains yet!)

I spent the first part of the week  hanging out on the bus and getting a lot of work done. Then we went out shooting a bit, back in the Columbia Gorge area, less than an hour’s drive east of Portland. We had been wanting to hit up Multnomah Falls, which is one of the more spectacular waterfalls in the area. (Of course, it’s also one of the most touristy ones too.) We spent a while shooting there, and then moved on to Wahkeena Falls, which is only a half mile from Multnomah Falls. There are just tons of waterfalls in the area, and if you missed last week’s post, you can check out some more of them HERE.

Me and Karen at Multnomah Falls

Karen’s shot of Multnomah. (I’m still processing mine)

 My circular fisheye shot of Wahkeena Falls.

Later in the week, we packed up and hopped on a flight to Santa Barbara, CA, where my friend Chris and his wife, Tina, were on vacation. I’ve been friends with Chris for a LONG time, starting back when I lived in Minneapolis. It’s been over two years since I’ve seen him and Tina, so it was nice to spend a long weekend with them, catching up and exploring the Santa Barbara area.

Here I am with my friends Chris and Tina, with their adorable little girl, Sophia. We’re doing a tasting at Sunstone Winery.

While in Santa Barbara, we went to a bunch of nice meals and even spent a day touring and tasting at some of the nearby wineries. We didn’t do a ton, but my favorite of the day was called Sunstone. We also explored Solvang, which is a funky little town full of shops, restaurants and winery tasting rooms. What makes the town funky is that all the buildings have a very Dutch style to them. You kind of feel like you step out of the U.S. when you enter the place. It was a great place to hang out with friends and have some wine.

We wrapped up our stay in Santa Barbara with a sunset boat ride on a catamaran called the Double Dolphin. It was timed perfectly, and we got a beautiful sunset. For us, that’s the perfect way to end the day.

Karen and I on our sunset boat ride.

Karen got this shot of me and Chris enjoying the sunset.

After leaving Santa Barbara, we’re heading north to the San Luis Obispo/Los Osos area for the California Photo Festival, where I’ll be teaching several sessions. More to come!

The Palm Springs Photo Festival 2012

This past week was spent in sunny Palm Springs, CA for the 7th annual Photo Festival, directed by Jeff Dunas. I taught two classes at the event and attended some as well. We arrived on Sunday night, just in time for the opening ceremony and cocktail hour, held at the beautiful Korakia Moroccan-style Bed and Breakfast. Many of the festival events were held here, and we just loved the feel of this place, with its unique style, elegant bonfires and waterfalls. Jeff kicked off the event with some announcements and introductions and the rest of the time was spent mingling and reconnecting with folks in the photo world. Karen and I met up with my great friend and photographer, Lee Varis, as well as Barbara Ellison, from Canon. The four of us ended up spending a lot of time together during the course of the festival.

At the opening night of the Palm Springs Photo Festival, Jeff Dunas makes some announcements and introductions.

Overall, I am really impressed with the way this festival is run. Everyone is extremely organized and helpful and all of the individual events are very well thought out. There are even gatherings in the evenings that include a late night networking party/wine tasting, outdoor dinners and interesting presentations. The organizers do an amazing job of tending to both the attendees and instructors. The two classes I taught both included Photoshop fixes and retouching techniques. I attended a handful of classes, including ones on how to find an agent, the Lightroom 4 develop module, an evening symposium on getting your work noticed and a full-day workshop on dramatic lighting.

Here I am at one of the evening symposiums. Love the seating!

With all of the photography being displayed, as well as the networking aspect of the festival, I also made a point this week to organize my own image portfolio for display on the new iPad. After reading several reviews for iPad portfolio apps, I decided to use one called Minimal Folio, and I like it so far. With the retina display of the new iPad, the images look amazing. Karen said it looked like you could reach in and touch the subjects of the photographs!

Here I am with Lee and Barbara sharing a glass of wine before dinner at the Korakia.

The festival wrapped up on Friday afternoon and we plan on leaving Palm Springs this morning (Monday). And where will we head next? We have no idea! That’s one of the beautiful things about living on the road. More to come…