Kicking off summer with new seminar & more shooting

Hi everyone! Here is a little update on what has been going on here in Ben land. We’ve been working on getting caught up and back into the swing of things after our long international trip, and we’re enjoying being land-based again. On May 29, I presented my first event of the new seminar tour, the Lightroom & Photoshop Creative Integration Tour, in San Francisco. There was a little scare with delayed flights, but I got there on time and the event went really well! We’ve got several more cities lined up, and you can see those HERE. Next up is Seattle on June 19th.

Here is the seminar description:

Ben Willmore is back with a brand new tour for 2015 that shows how best to integrate Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. He’ll show you how to take best advantage of the new features in Lightroom 6 as well as how to move beyond its limitations by taking advantage of Photoshop’s advanced image processing features. You’ll learn how to get the most out of Lightroom by utilizing many hidden features that require the intimate knowledge that only an expert can provide. He’ll share the best methods for organizing your images, show you how to push your image optimization abilities beyond what you thought was possible and then show how to best integrate Photoshop into your workflow. Ben has been using both programs since they were introduced and is known for pushing them beyond what they were originally designed for to get more out of them than what anyone else can teach you. Don’t miss your chance to learn from a digital imaging legend… you’ll be amazed at what you can learn in just one day!

Ben-SanFran-smallThe welcoming crowd at my San Francisco event on May 29. 

Back in Florida, where we’ve been hanging out these days, we’ve been doing a little exploring and shooting some more images in my yoga photography series. After seeing how popular the images have become, I’m constantly keeping my eyes open for new and unique locations to shoot more photos. One of the locations we visited was the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. This place is more that just a museum, and you could easily spend an entire day there. The grounds alone are beautiful and expansive. We really enjoyed the museum and the house tour, but the architecture was where it was at, photographically. I found lots of great locations to place Karen and ended up with seven or eight strong images from here. Here are a couple (The header image for this post was also shot there.):




We also drove out to Bok Tower and Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. This is a historic landmark featuring a large and ornate tower that houses a set of carillon bells. The grounds are also very extensive and include gardens, trails, a beautiful estate, cafe and visitor center. We took a tour of the estate and spent a good amount of time wandering the grounds. It’s a nice place to visit if you’re ever in the area.  We shot the following yoga image here:


Finally, we did a little shooting at the beach. The sunsets over Florida’s gulf coast are especially spectacular this time of year, and lend themselves to some nice silhouette images. Here is one I shot at Indian Rocks Beach:


I’ve been posting all the images in this yoga series in an album on my Facebook page, and you can see those HERE. More to come!

Recent travels spark a yoga photo series

Hi all! After two months of international travel on a ship, I’m happy to say that we’re finally land-based again. The journey was fantastic, but it’s good to be back and getting into our groove again.
The recent trip took us to Hong Kong, China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. After about six weeks of Asia ports, we then cruised over to Alaska and down the west coast of the good old U.S. of A. When we’re on board the ship, we’re teaching a class. When we’re at port, we’re out exploring and shooting.
This was our complete route, starting in Hong Kong and ending in Los Angeles. 


When we are out and about with our cameras, Karen and I usually find it pretty easy to “get into the zone,” so to speak, in our shooting endeavors. This trip, however, was a little different. We’re not sure why, but despite our engaging surroundings, we had a hard time getting into shooting mode. This isn’t an uncommon thing to happen to photographers, and it can be hard to figure out how to get out of a photographic funk. So how did we do it? By starting a photo series.
One of our early ports was in Keelung, Taiwan. We had been exploring for a while when we came across this shrine. It was pretty quiet there and we were sitting on an elevated platform when Karen asked me to take a quick iPhone shot of her. She’s a yogi and wanted to do a yoga pose in front of the unique building. I took the photo and then edited it in the Snapseed app while we sat there. I ended up liking it so much that we did another shot at that shrine with my “real” camera. I ended up liking this even more. We both decided that this would make a great collaborative series and that we could seek out interesting backdrops all over the world.
   The first iPhone shot that sparked our photo series. Tree pose in Keelung, Taiwan.
This was the second shot we did at that same shrine. These red doors were begging for a photo! Wheel pose in Keelung, Taiwan.


Having a series that you’re working on changes the way you approach shooting, especially when traveling to new and unfamiliar places. Instead of simply wandering about looking for interesting shots, you’re exploring with a purpose. We would still take our normal travel photos, but we would constantly keep our eyes open for interesting locations to make a yoga image. We found that the spots that worked best were ones that were fairly simple and that incorporated shapes, colors or textures. The shape aspect is especially critical because it would have to complement whatever pose Karen is doing. Over the course of about two months, we would try to take at least one (sometimes more) yoga shot in each location. It has evolved into a fantastic collection that we’re both really proud of.


The challenges: Aside from the challenge of actually finding the locations, there are lots of other variables/challenges that go into creating these images. First of all, there’s the communication. I’m not a yogi, so Karen has to show me what the pose is going to look like and then teach me what to look for and how to correct her if necessary. I also need to convey to her what needs to be tweaked or moved so that she is perfectly placed within the chosen environment. After all, she can’t see what I’m seeing and often times, just moving her an inch or two will line things up in the way I want. There are also times where she has completely rejected an image that I thought looked pretty good. That’s because there was something about her form that wasn’t ideal. The other challenge is the crowds. It turns out that when she strips down to a tank top and bare feet and then contorts in some crazy and beautiful way, people want to watch. Most people are very considerate in that they don’t walk in front of the camera, but it can be disconcerting for her when there is an audience and she can hear the mobile phone cameras going off behind me. It’s totally expected, and we’re not bothered by it, but it does add another factor when creating these shots.


As I said before, we’re really proud of what this series has become, and it’s something we plan to continue. We’re not sure if we’ll use the images for anything in particular in the future, but it’s definitely a possibility. (Lots of folks have said that they would like to see this turn into a book.)


I am keeping an updated gallery of these images on my Facebook Page, and have included a few more below. Enjoy!


I love that she appears to be diving into the water in this image. This was in Kodiak, Alaska and Karen’s palms were numb from the cold! The pose is called Peacock and she said it’s one of the most physically challenging poses in the series (so far.)
Yoga-Updog-Aomori_smThis pose is called Upward Facing Dog, and we took a taxi to this museum because we knew this sculpture was there. This is the art museum in Aomori, Japan.
Yoga-BusyTokyo-smHere is an instance where we WANTED the crowds! This is the busiest intersection in Tokyo, Japan. We found the spot for her to stand and as soon as the traffic lights turned red, she would get out there and hold this. I had to use a really slow shutter in order to blur out the people, and she had to hold very still. We stayed here for several traffic light cycles, taking lots of shots in order to get different variations on the blurred crowd.
You can see the rest of this series HERE.