by Ben Willmore | Oct 15, 2012
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…
by Ben Willmore | Jul 10, 2012
Hi gang! After a great workshop in Iceland, we returned to the bus in Colorado and headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. Unfortunately, the weather was extremely stormy/rainy while we were there, but it gave me some time to regroup a little after the trip, get some work done and focus on future events. I wanted to use this post to talk about what’s coming up. I hope you’ll be able to join me at one of these great events/workshops in the future!
Namibia: Sept. 19- Oct. 1, 2013
Join me and Journeys Unforgettable on the photographic adventure of a lifetime. In this two-week journey to Namibia, you’ll be staying at the best camps, working with the best guides and photographing the most amazing sights your lenses have ever focused on! From wildlife, to the iconic sand dunes, to the breathtaking Skeleton Coast, you’ll be seeing it all on this adventure. If you’re looking for THE trip, the one you’ve been waiting your whole life for … this is it. Learn more HERE.
The Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta
Oct. 4-7, 2012
The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta is a world-renowned attraction and destination for balloon pilots and photographers. For more than three decades, the first week in October brings the smell of roasting chiles and the beautiful, magical moving picture show of hot air balloons sailing silently through the crisp fall air. This will be my third time photographing the Fiesta, and I can promise you that it’s a true feast for the eyes… and the lens!
The colors and textures will boggle your senses and you will come away with some of the most incredible images you have ever taken. We’ll throw in enough HDR training if you want to get a bit crazy with your creativity. Learn more HERE
The California Photo Festival • Oct. 10-14, 2012
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. Click here for more info
Zion National Park
Thurs., Oct 18 thru Sun., Oct. 21, 2012
Massive canyon walls ascend toward a brilliant blue sky. To experience Zion, you need to walk among the towering cliffs, or challenge your courage in a small narrow canyon. These unique sandstone cliffs range in color from cream, to pink, to red. They could be described as sand castles crowning desert canyons. We will be experiencing the beauty of this tranquil place when the trees are the most colorful. Click here for more info
Mastering High Dynamic Range Photography
Nov. 29-Dec. 2, 2012
At the Light Workshops, in Los Osos, CA
Learn to capture the full brightness range of a scene and present it to your viewer as either a photorealistic image or as an image that more closely resembles a hyper-detailed drawing.
With over two dozen choices of HDR processing software, you’ll learn which software is worth using and which should be ignored. You’ll also see why you should avoid Photoshop’s standard HDR processing and how to use alternative methods in Photoshop and Lightroom to produce far superior results. Click here for more info
New Iceland Event in the works! Special sneak peak!
If you’ve been following this blog in the recent weeks, you’ve read all about my amazing workshop in Iceland. We just wrapped up last week, and I’m still processing all the incredible images I captured there. Iceland is one of my favorite places to visit and photograph… and that’s why we’re already planning two workshops in 2013! We’re still arranging the details, so consider this a special insiders’ heads up to my blog readers. Here’s what we know so far.
Workshop #1: Our plans for the next Discover Iceland event is in the works for the summer of 2013. It should be a week-long workshop where we are out in the field shooting 80% of the time. When we’re not out on location, we’ll be in a classroom setting doing some training and photo-editing sessions. Iceland is a true paradise in the summer… from breathtaking waterfalls, to iceberg-filled lagoons, to vast green mountains, to storybook horses… Iceland has got it all. Stay tuned on the blog for exact dates and more details. We should have those solidified in the next few weeks!
Workshop #2: I’ve been to Iceland several times, but never in the winter. This is something I’ve been eager to experience and we’re finally making it happen. We have room for up to 12 eager photographers on this adventure. Now, you might be asking what there is to photograph in Iceland during the winter, given it’s dark out most of the time. Well, for a night photographer, this is a dream come true! And night photography will be our focus during this trip. We’ll be capturing some long exposure landscapes, we will light paint, explore the eerie and serene ice caves (that you can only enter in winter) and maybe, just maybe, be fortunate enough to photograph the northern lights. Our target time range will be the second half of February 2013. Again, stay tuned as we finalize the arrangements.
by Ben Willmore | Jun 7, 2012
This is for those adventurous souls out there who love photography and embrace spontaneity. Space has just opened up in my Iceland workshop coming up on June 24-30 and we’d love to get one or two lucky people on board with us!
This trip takes us to one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Iceland features black sand beaches, waterfalls, geysers, volcanoes, geothermal features, glaciers, icebergs, lighthouses, turf houses, storybook horses and interesting architecture, all packed into a country that is 1/95th the size of the United States. Its unspoiled countryside offers breathtaking vistas, dramatic weather and such a diversity of subject matter that after a week’s time, you will feel like you’re just scratching the surface.
While this adventure is right around the corner, I’ve been building up my excitement by processing images I’ve shot there on previous trips to Iceland. I thought I’d share those with you here as well. Click on them to enlarge.
For more information, and to sign up for a last-minute adventure of a lifetime, click HERE.