Well I've started working my way through the images I shot back in 2010...the very beginning of my serious venture into the world of photography. Back then I photographed anything that moved (insert thousand of images of my poor long suffering and patient dog Kootney here) ...trying to figure out how to story tell with image. And frankly I sucked at it for about two more years. It only took me that long to figure out that instead of “organizing” my way into a story telling frame I just needed to let myself “feel” my way into the frame.....a near impossible task for a left brained thinker like me.
At the end of 2010 I decided to treat myself to a vacation...and like the true photog I was growing up to be I chose the vacation based on photography opportunities. So I packed up a bag of camera gear aka Jeff, my laptop and some clothes (as an afterthought) and off to the SouthWest USA I went to join a group of other photographers for a workshop with Ian Whitehead. It was heaven.
To just immerse myself in photography for days. To spend hours/days with like minded people and not have to censor any inclination to talk about photography. To not feel guilty to say “Can we stop the car and head back that way so I can take a picture of something that captured my interest”. It is the ultimate form of indulgence for someone like me. I g0t to spend every waking hour learning from someone as talented as Ian Whitehead (and baby did I learn ALOT)....I woke up at 0300-0400 every morning...traveled and photographed throughout the day...learned a lot from the talented and knowledgeable fellow workshop attendees...peppered a very patient Ian with a million questions while he drove us around...stayed up late at night gleefully going through images...and repeated the cycle all over again. It was 6 days of....just plain awesome.
The best part of it all was that at the end of the 6 days I learned 2 very important things. The first was I began to learn what my “photography style” was. It wasn't all quite there, but I had a solid foundation to build on....and was my dog Kootney ever so grateful that I spent less time practicing on him and more time roaming the city looking for stories to tell. The second was my left brained thinking began to yield to creativity and I began to actually “see”. The Henry Thoreau quote “The question is not what you look at, but what you see” finally began to make sense.
IMAGE: The image above was the first frame I shot on my SouthWest USA trip. It was photographed in Lower Antelope Canyon. I left on the trip with the goal of coming home with at least 20 good solid images...as my friend Dotty used to say, “aim low, avoid disappointment”... I remember Ian laughing at me when I first mentioned my goal...and I understood why he laughed by the end of our first day together. Why? Well, if you are semi-competent with your camera it is virtually impossible to leave Lower Antelope Canyon with less than gold in your camera. It is a beautiful place to the naked eye...but when you “see” it the way your camera sees it, only then do you see the amazing effect of light bouncing back and forth between the slot canyon walls.