landscape photography workshop student along California coast

Santa Cruz Photo Workshop Wrap-Up, August 18, 2012

Here at Sea to Summit Workshops, we do encourage our participants to ask questions. While Josh and I do give a couple brief group lectures, most of the workshop is spent working with photographers 1-on-1. This is the best time to grill us on the topics you want help with most. Our group on Saturday took this to heart and did a fantastic job of asking pointed questions.

Our youngest workshop attendee to date, Daniel (age 13), asked a good one. “Why does my image look white when I shoot a 1 second exposure?”. As a relative newcomer to DSLRs, Daniel’s question led to an explanation of the basics exposure and use of the camera’s light meter. Then, we transitioned into how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO all affect an image both from a technical and an artistic standpoint. Coincidentally, I was asked this same question a couple weeks before from an Italian high school student doing a paper on long exposure photography.

The rest of the group had a bit more experience with the basic settings, so topics covered spanned the gamut from composition basics and what they are good for, refining vision to move away from “snap shots” and more towards developing a personal style, and metering for better balanced exposures. Mazen and Geoff both had questions on brands of filters, available sizes, and what the pros and cons are of each. Sheng had great questions on when the best light happens for landscape photography, as his background was more with cityscapes. And despite missing a nice sunset by 24 hours (the Friday before the workshop was a nice one), that just provided another topic for questions. How do you best photograph along the coast in clear conditions? (Hint: focus on the interesting elements.)

So, for those of you thinking of joining us on one of our upcoming workshops to Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Death Valley, or Yosemite, get those questions ready! We’ll do our best to answer them! But in all honesty, if you ask us what the quality of the bokeh of a Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 lens mounted onto a Panasonic GH1 at f2 with a camera to subject distance of 4.37 feet, you may draw some blank stares. A big “thanks” to Mazen, Tim, Geoff, Ivetta (and Mikhail), Sheng, Michael, Mary, and Daniel! It was a pleasure getting to know you all. Mary and Daniel, we’ll see you again in November. Bring some more questions!
~Jim
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