This weekend, I was fortunate enough to attend an inspirational photography weekend hosted by Craig Tanner and Marti Jeffers. The workshop ran a full two days and covered everything from exposure, lighting, composition, color, night photography, digital darkroom, and the artist’s journey. I was a bit anxious about attending this because sometimes these types of weekends seem to degrade into a sort of “this is our sponsor and so, in order to take any good pictures at all, you need to go out and buy these ten super expensive lenses” but I thought I would go and give it a chance. I figured that, if it was that horrible, I could sneak out the back door and nobody might notice or, if they did, I could come up with some clever excuse (“my houseplant died and I had to attend to it immediately.”)
Well, I’m happy to say that my fears were completely unfounded. The workshop was way more than I expected, both in terms of getting some technical information that I could actually use and getting that sort of “touchy feely” type of information that’s hard to come by. I would have to say that my passion for photography has been re-inspired just by attending.
If you drop in here regularly, you probably know that I’ve been doing a lot of drawing and painting lately, probably a bit more than photography even. While that’s great-it’s good to do these sorts of things and it really “rounds me out” as an artist-photography has been (and probably always will be) my main medium. Thinking about it a bit more, I have been doing a lot more painting and drawing recently because, well, because I’ve *wanted* to do more painting and drawing. I’ve actually *wanted* to put photography on the back burner some, probably because I started to suffer from a bit of burn out. Sometimes, our choice of medium is more influenced not by time or materials on hand, but by our mental state. Maybe my vision changed to paint more because I was just tired of looking at photography and, frankly, I was starting to think that it’s all been “done before” with the medium. This weekend served to sort of turn me around and point me back in the “right” direction, if such a thing could really exist. It’s rekindled the passion a bit anyway. I feel like my ship has been kind of “re-steered” and is now pointing back to the correct harbor. No longer adrift in a lost sea of “maybe I should try this,” I’ve got a bit of the fire for photography back again, and that’s a good thing.
I’ve called this post “Partnering with the Mysterious” because Craig has a section about this as part of the workshop. Where do ideas come from? What is intuition and how does it factor into the role of the artist? How (or why) do we get these subtle feelings of “this is not going right” or “I need to do more of this?” It’s a hard question to ask ourselves but it sort of helps to think about these things from time to time.
I’ll post some additional thoughts on the workshop, including some tips in future posts, but I wanted to end with my recommendation. If you or anyone you know was thinking of attending a workshop offered by Craig or Marti (the good folks who bring us The Mindful Eye website and instructional videos) I would highly recommend it. It goes way beyond the “spend this amount of $$$ and get this lens,” in fact, that wasn’t even part of the workshop at all, and, put simply, you will come away a changed photographer. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that I would find it very difficult to attend a workshop like this and *not* take away a lot from it. I met new friends, reconnected with some old ones, rekindled my passion for photography, and opened a whole new world of possibilities.
For those who cannot travel, there’s even something in this for you. If you have any interest in advancing your photographic skills, or even if you’re looking for a good on-line forum in which to share work, you can register for free over at The Mindful Eye website where you will find a great on-line forum, lots of instructional videos, and a whole lot more. Oh, and you’ll find me over there as well since, after this weekend, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.
As far as those houseplants…well…I guess they just have to stay dead a little bit longer…at least until the next boring workshop I happen upon anyway.
Until next time…