Santa Cruz Photography workshop group with Sea to Summit Workshops

Santa Cruz Photography Workshop, June 23, 2012

It was a blustery day in June when Jim and I met six excited photographers for an afternoon of seascape photography. But we were missing someone. Where was our seventh student? Just then: a text and a phone call. Oh no, Alice’s car had died on the way here! Normally we like a little drama on our workshops, but this kind we can do without. Wishing Alice a speedy tow, we loaded up everyone else and set out for Four Mile Beach.

Where we were greeted by howling winds, a bloated seal corpse, and crystal clear skies. But we were undeterred by the tough conditions, because rock-solid photographers are forged in the fires of tough conditions. Shouting over the roar of the wind, Jim and I helped the students understand the complexities of shutter speed and aperture, the best ways to deal with challenging light, and the importance of the surf zone for seascape photography. And as a bonus, Alice was able to get a loaner car and meet us at the beach. After a few hours, our faces exfoliated by the scouring wind, we took a quick snack break and then drove farther north to Panther / Hole in the Wall Beach.

Where we were greeted by a bikini photoshoot. And while the bikini girls certainly added to the beauty of Panther Beach, that’s not the type of scenery we typically cover on our workshops, so we hoofed it down to the south end of the beach where there are myriad rock formations to explore. While we waited for the sun to set, Jim and I talked the class through important compositional theories and ideas. We also had a few live demonstrations to help the group understand focal length, wide angle perspective, and depth. As the light levels dimmed everyone had a chance to play with longer shutter speeds and wave timing to capture those cool, silky water effects we all love in seascape photography. Eventually the sun set, the wind kicked back up, and the cold set it. So we wrapped the workshop and went out for our traditional post-workshop pizza.

Despite the wind and blazingly bright light we had a wonderful day and the students were making some wonderful images. Thanks so much to Nick, Sami, Alice, Lace, Gary, Bill, and Anthony. You guys were a really great group and both Jim and I hope to see you on another workshop again soon!



1 reply
  1. Anthony
    Anthony says:

    Super fun day, great group of people. The instruction was a perfect balance of group teaching, plenty of one on one instruction, and individual time to try what I learned. By the end of the day I felt confident balancing shutter speed, ISO, and aperture & making the right compromise to get the final photograph I want. Can’t wait for my next workshop!


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