Photo workshop group at Four Mile Beach, Santa Cruz, California

Santa Cruz Photography Workshop, June 18th, 2012

Here at Sea to Summit Workshops, we have had the pleasure of working with groups joining us for corporate team building. Everyone knows each other and are in good spirits. A day at the beach certainly beats a day at the office…especially on a Monday! Our most recent group from Adobe met us in Santa Cruz for a private group workshop, and we got started at the main beach in front of the coastal town of Davenport. We like this location for the ease of access and huge variety of topography. There are crashing waves, golden bluffs, and sea caves. Rocky shelves and sandy shores, sea stacks and channels galore. And although the marine layer provided some temporary “cloud cover”, the weather soon cleared up into the typical summer conditions: clear skies. Although clear skies lack drama, there are still a few positives. Great beach weather makes teaching and photography easier, and there are always lessons to be taught in any type of light.

After introductions and our “seascape essentials” talk, everyone spread out to photograph what was catching their eye. The 1-on-1 time with individual participants is always an enjoyable part of the workshop. Whether it be a technical question on camera settings, how to read the light, or ideas on composition, it is always rewarding to help others progress in their photography. A perfect example was when I went from helping Lynsey read her light meter and change her aperture and shutter settings (on a borrowed camera no less) to discussing the artistic merits of shutter speeds with Patrick and how strong neutral density filters can create a specific look and feel.

At the midway point, we took a quick snack break and headed down to Four Mile beach. The rocky shelves create the perfect staging ground (except for the unexpected poor seal who’s scent wafted our way from time to time) for our last two lectures on composition and creating impact with wide angle lenses. As the sun dropped lower in the sky, that magic amount of light naturally allowed for some slower shutter speeds. And despite the group organizer MeMe’s best attempts at keeping her feet dry, the ocean won out! Those attending our coastal workshops should always plan on getting a little wet…it can be simply unavoidable. 🙂 As the sun set over the distant bluffs and most of the group were packing up, I made one last visit with Phyllis who was photographing until the very end. We lined up a composition on the western edge of the shelf, and together we used a graduated neutral density filter to tame the bright sky.

From both Josh and myself, thanks again to Team Adobe: MeMe, Mike, Phyllis, Wiebke, Vinay, Lynsey, and Patrick! We had a wonderful time!



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