Mount Robson Workshop a Huge Success

I just got back from our 3 day workshop in Mount Robson Provincial Park as part of the Discover BC Photo Tours workshop series. Twelve enthusiastic participants joined fellow instructor Kelly Funk and myself in one of the most picturesque destinations in British Columbia. For the most part, the weather cooperated. A few hours of rain challenged us on Saturday morning and again on Sunday afternoon, but the clouds and fog made for some dramatic scenes. And the saturation from the rain added to the impact.

A good time was certainly had by all, starting with an awesome wine and cheese welcome, made possible by Tourism Valemount. Silvio and Jennifer went above and beyond in helping to make this workshop a hit, providing the transportation to and from field locations throughout the entire weekend!

Friday night also included classroom style instruction on Camera Basics, Lighting, Exposure and Creative Compositions. The group was just itching to get out onto the trail the next day.

Saturday included trekking up the Berg Lake trail to Kinney Lake.

Along the way participants were offered further instruction on vertical panning, shooting lifestyle imagery, shooting water, shooting stitched panoramas and using filters. On Saturday night the group was shown how to use long exposures to turn truck tail lights into streaming beams of awesomeness tunneling towards a clouded Mt Robson. It was the perfect ending to a great day of instruction and shooting.

Sunday arrived and the weather was rather subdued, borderline flat; the perfect conditions to be shooting Rearguard Falls.

The group spread out almost immediately to find their vision and create their scenes. It was really fun to see the creative energy surface and it was here that we stressed the importance of filters when shooting waterfalls and high contrast scenes. Just when it seemed like we had exhausted the location, two rafting groups decided to hit the water and give us an opportunity to instruct on action/lifestyle photography.

After lunch on Sunday the rain started in. The group voted and we opted to use this time to stay inside and instruct on a critical element in image creation; post-processing. Here we covered topics like work flow, using Photoshop, shooting RAW, clone-stamping, highlight recovery, colour matching and outputting. This was very well received and Kelly and I have decided to make this a regular part of our workshop curriculum.

Monday was an optional day and most of the participants stuck around for the added day. We used this time to head up to White Falls along the Berg Lake trail. We were available to the group for any questions along the way, but we made a conscious decision to let them put their newly acquired knowledge to work. I look forward to seeing the shots produced by our participants.

If you want to join us on an upcoming workshop, click here to see what’s coming up for 2012. We are currently working on adding more workshops throughout BC for summer and fall of next year.

Discover BC Photo Tours launches new website

Discover BC Photo Tours (a joint venture between Darren Robinson Photography and Kelly Funk – Natural Wonders Photography) is proud to announce the launch of its new website www.bcphototours.com. Our mission is to foster an environment conducive to learning photography, both artistically and technically. By fusing together dynamic small group learning with optimal one-on-one instruction, participants are sure to notice a dramatic improvement in their imagery whatever their skill level. Through our workshops, we strive  to bring the classroom to life by introducing participants to some of the most iconic and breathtaking locations in British Columbia.

We’d like to thank Powell River based designers Massive Graphic for putting together such a captivating site. Please check it out and stay tuned as we release details on our Wells Grey Provincial Park workshop in March 2012!

Also, be sure to become a Facebook fan of Darren Robinson Photography by clicking here.

 

Inspired By Nature Workshops – Change of Dates

Due to the rapid loss of daylight during the fall season (and to appease many schedules), the dates of the last two workshops in the Inspired By Nature fall workshop series have been moved. The new dates can be accessed here. There is still space left for both October workshops (The Magic of Water, and Intimate Sunshine Coast), so contact me at darren@darrenrobinsonphotography to book or find out more about the two Saturday afternoon sessions.

Focus shifts to Mount Robson in September

Oh, the weather was glorious for the Coast in Focus Photography workshop last weekend here on the Upper Sunshine Coast of BC. Although the group was a smaller one (in numbers, not collective height :)), an amazing time was had by all the participants. Some of the locations changed this year, which worked out incredibly well given that this was our first year of the workshop without rain. Most notably was our visit on Sunday to Heisholt Lake (Quarry Lake) on Texada Island. The group seemed rather keen to make this amazing locale the grand finale shoot of the weekend. I am very excited to see some of the imagery produced by the workshop participants.

But now, we put Coast in Focus behind us and get ready for our Mount Robson Photography Workshop in September! This one is filling up quickly, so if you are interested in improving your imagery through professional (and experiential) instruction, be sure to book your spot soon! Kelly Funk and I will also have details coming fairly soon on our newest workshop for 2012….the incredible Purcell Mountains 🙂 Stay tuned.

Coast in Focus participant sets her focus on the Palm Beach tidal pools

Sweetwater Creek was the location for our water shoot

Sea Fair was on - great opportunity for creative scenes like this 30 second exposure

We took advantage of some unreal cloud formations that looked like jellyfish - how fitting!

 
 

Sunday's Heisholt Lake shoot was the perfect ending to a great weekend of learning

 

Participant Gabe joined me in an 80 ft plunge into the lake to finish off the weekend

Mt Robson workshop confirmed for this fall!

For those of you that don’t know, my good friend and fellow professional photographer Kelly Funk and I have started Discover BC Photo Tours, a series of experiential photo workshops that will take participants to some of the most breathtaking locations in the province, where they will learn the art of photography from two pros.

Kelly and I started this endeavor earlier this year and we have now just added our latest workshop to the series – Mount Robson Provincial Park.

Up to 20 participants will join us September 16-18, 2011 in the iconic mountain park for two days of photography instruction in some of the most breathtaking locations within the area. The weekend includes a “Camera Basics” session on the first evening to ensure everyone understands the basics of composition, aperture, lighting, depth of field, camera functions, safety and working with wildlife so that our time in the field is maximized. And to welcome everyone to the weekend in style (and to Valemount, BC which will be our base), Tourism Valemount is sponsoring a wine and cheese meet and greet.

The next couple of days will be all about field instruction, shooting splurging waterfalls, towering snow-capped mountains, changing autumn colours and potentially any wildlife we encounter along the way.

Tourism Valemount has also sponsored the transportation to and from each shooting location for the duration of the weekend.

The workshop is perfect for novice, intermediate and/or aspiring pros who wish to elevate their photography. Kelly and I pride ourselves on tailoring the one-on-one instruction to satisfy all skill levels.

The weekend is $359 per person and Valemount accommodators are offering incredible hotel rates exclusive to workshop participants. The Valemount Hotel has set a $50/night room rate for the September 16-18 weekend!

And for an extra $99 per person, you can extend your instruction and join Kelly and myself on Monday, September 19th as we lead you into the infamous Valley of 1000 Falls. This will be an incredible way to put your newly acquired skills to work and to keep the learning going. For safety, we will need a minimum of four participants for this extra day.

So if you have always wanted to experience the magic and awe of Mount Robson Provincial Park AND improve your imagery, book your spot today as seats will go fast.

You can download the PDF with complete workshop info right here.

See you in September 🙂

Summer workshops to get you shooting…better!

I love spring. It provides me with much needed hope that summer is just around the corner. It means the beginning of more favourable “keeper-to-loser” image ratios, warmer light, new blooms, bluer skies and longer shooting days. In great anticipation of the short (seems shorter anyways) season, I eagerly plan shoots and workshops that will keep me shooting as much as possible while the weather is delightful rather than frightful. 

With this in mind, I have now put together the new Inspired By Nature photo workshop series here in Powell River. The new series consists of four, four-hour evening workshops spanning the glorious summer/fall months on BC’s Sunshine Coast. The workshops are geared towards those that wish to vastly improve their photography skills, but are limited due to time restraints and unforgiving commitments called life. Topics include: All About Light, Composition 101, Intimate Sunshine Coast (macro/close-up photography), and The Magic of Water. Each workshop begins with a recap of camera basics to ensure that everyone is in the know when it comes to their basic camera functions. I will email a camera basics worksheet a couple of weeks before each workshop for all participants to review for homework (darn rights there’ll be a test…it’s called the field shoot :)). Then once we are done our recap, we will start putting that new knowledge into practice in some of the most spectacular locations on the upper Sunshine Coast. Here’s the catch. To ensure everyone gets as much attention as possible, I am capping each workshop at 10 people. So make sure you contact me as early as possible if you would like to reserve your spot. Each workshop is only $75 per person!

If you are the kind of person that doesn’t want to wait to learn…there is also Coast in Focus, a weekend chalked full of classroom and field instruction, fun and unforgettable photographic experiences in Powell River. My good friend Kelly Funk hosts this weekend workshop with me as part of our Discover BC photo tours. Stay tuned as we continue launching more experiential photography workshops throughout our beautiful province. To steal an old cinematic cliche, it won’t be long until we’re “coming soon to a theatre near you.” Or something to that effect. Coast in Focus is now 1/4 of the way booked, so contact me right away to book!

Coast in Focus weekend workshop is confirmed for 2011!

The Sunshine Coast of British Columbia is undoubtedly one of the most stunning areas of Western North America. On July 22-24, 2011 Kelly Funk and myself will teach you how to capture all that this place has to offer.

See the pdf here

We’ll start the weekend with a ‘camera basics’ lesson and a meet and greet on Friday night. Saturday will be a mixture of field time and informative classroom lessons. We’ll work in the field for a half-day on Sunday in order to give enough time for people to travel home. Last year, the format seemed to work very well, and we had 14 happy participants leave this beautiful part of the province.

Along with the nature aspect of the weekend, Kelly and I will answer questions and showcase techniques that include: utilizing the human form in your imagery, how to make your pictures stand out from the rest, story-telling, impact, color balance, movement techniques for effect, artificial light and the list goes on. This is truly a unique workshop that brings you a combined 25 years of professional experience.

We’ve moved the date from last year as well, as we were hit with torrential rain throughout most of the weekend. We should (cross fingers) have great weather and fantastic sunrises and sunsets. This will be a ‘bang for the buck’ workshop, so we want everyone to come out with their hard-hats and steel toed boots on, because we not only intend to have a hoot but to work you like rented mules as well!

If you have any questions about the weekend please contact either myself or Kelly here right away as this weekend will book fast.

Kelly and I both share the same informal, non-stuffy nature with our workshops, so if you’re looking to learn a ton and have some laughs this is the place to be in July! Looking forward to hearing from you.

 

See things differently

See things differently. This was our theme for the Fall Photography Workshop which happened over the past weekend. Technical and artistic knowledge aside, I really wanted to stress to my workshop participants the importance of seeing things differently. With so many images in the world and so little time to appreciate them all, as a budding photographer, this is how you best get your images noticed. Start seeing things that others might have missed. Look at your subject from a different angle. Climb a tree for a bird’s eye view. Hit the ground and compose upwards. Shoot that stunning mountain meadow through a pair of mirrored sunglasses. Challenge yourself to constantly see things differently. By doing so, you will become a better photographer, blowing your audience away with your fresh perspectives on subjects they have likely seen time and time again.

Looking up into the towering trees at Haslam Lake

Zooming into the eye of a bighorn sheep

Sir Donald through the sunglasses

Contrary to the Coast in Focus workshop earlier in the year, the weather that we experienced this past weekend was outstanding. Dramatic clouds, vibrant early fall colours and flat lighting only when we needed it – shooting the many waterfalls of Appleton Creek. This was the ideal workshop setting and I had the ideal group of participants.

I was instructing a very geared and excited group of individuals. After some “inside time”, covering topics ranging from camera basics, exposure, lighting techniques and the rules of composition we hit some of the most amazing locales where participants were able to put what they just learned into action.

And did they ever.

What I love most about these weekend warrior workshops is that I get to witness some very amazing transformations in my students in a very short period of time. During the first few field shoots, most participants tend to stick close by me, ask a ton of questions and timidly wait for subject matter to smack them in the face. But as the weekend goes on, their confidence levels increase dramatically as they take in knowledge and they become unstoppable image hunters in the field. This group was very much the same. By the time Sunday’s Appleton Creek waterfall shoot came around, my students were self-sufficient, waterfall shooting maniacs. I was excited to see them climbing waterfalls (safely of course), shooting low, shooting high, eagerly attacking the beautiful scenes from all angles. I actually had to pull them out of the field against their will so we could cover post-production techniques before the weekend ended. I love creating monsters.

My students, no…friends, are now well-armed with the knowledge and confidence to take their respective photo sectors by storm. I had an amazing time with each of them and wish them all the best in their future photographic endeavors.

Participant Carolee Penner's shot of Gorge Falls

My view of participant Candace Roadknight getting low and shooting the creek

Fall Photography Workshop in Powell River – October 1-3, 2010

Want to learn to improve your imagery in beautiful Powell River, BC? Here’s your chance!

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, Kelly and I had decided to postpone Coast in Focus in Pender Harbour until next year. However, I am offering an intimate workshop here in Powell River from October 1-3. It is a more condensed version of the Coast in Focus workshop, arming you with the neccessary knowledge and skills to vastly improve your imagery in one of the most picturesque locations in British Columbia.

The workshop takes place October 1-3, a great time to catch the beautiful colours and textures of fall. Because of the small group size, one on one instruction is maximized and tailored to just about ever level of shooter.

Space is limited, so book your spot now by emailing me at darren@darrenrobinsonphotography.com

Click here for more details!

The Importance of Balance in Imagery; Achieving Visual Zen

Balance. Such a pleasing word isn’t it. We live our lives in search of it, whether it be a work/life balance, or perhaps a well-balanced diet. Sometimes, we simply strive for balance when standing, depending on how many wobbly pops we’ve that night. Look up balance in the thesaurus and you can instantly see why we yearn for such a thing. Harmony, peace, stability, poise, composure, even steven (yup, it’s in there); these are all things we as humans tend to strive for. When balance is acheived, we tend to be at one with the world, far away from the vaccum-sucking power of chaos.

Ohmmmmmm.

Okay, I’m back. My point here is that there lies deep within our psyche, a yearning for…balance. We then could assume, that we seek the same controlled outcome within our imagery. One thing that myself and Kelly Funk stress within our Coast in Focus photography workshops, is the importance of a balanced composition. Time to bring in the visuals.

Haslam Lake in Powell River, BC

So, what does balance mean within the realm of photographic imaging? It means that the image is evenly weighted within its borders. Take the image of Haslam Lake here. Balance is achieved thanks to some pre-thought elements found within the environment. First of all, the clouds are a bit more vibrant and fluffy on the left side of the image. Offering a sense of counter-weight on the right side are those two rocks protruding from the lake shallows. Zenfullness (couldn’t find this on dictionary.com, but it sounded right) is present within the vertical split of the image (left vs right). Now, to achieve a similar state of  higher Zendom within the horizontal split (top vs bottom) I needed a foreground anchor balance. Something that even-stevens the weight of the upper half of the image in the clouds, mountains and blue sky. My solution was to make that rock on the lower left side of the image the anchor.

Voila! The image can now be hung safely on the walls of yoga studios everywhere without disturbing even the shakiest Downward Dog pose.

So what does an imbalanced image look like? When the image doesn’t successfully keep your eyes moving within it, and instead drives your attention to one side vs the other, the image is unstable and may self-destruct without ample warning. Not really, but hopefully you get my point. Imbalanced images tend to create uneasiness in the viewer, if you feel that, chances are balance is missing from the image. The easiest way to achieve imbalance, is with a crooked horizon line. Watch those very closely.

Straight horizon line

Crooked horizon line tipping the image

The yellow line was drawn in Photoshop to show how important a straight horizon line is to achieving visual balance. The second image with the crooked horizon line, tends to pull on your chakra, giving the image a heavy left side.

There are times when a crooked horizon line and imbalance offer pleasing results. These are not the norm and are usually the result of trial and error. Wedding and fashion photographers are usually very good at this and the results can render very dynamic and impactful imagery. As with anything, photographic rules should really be considered guidelines. Challenging them can truly be half the fun. Just know that most viewers are effected by balance and tend to appreciate images of the stable variety, over ones that tend to cause neck strain.

Cheers!

Dragon Boat team in Powell River for a calendar photo shoot