Tag Archives: workshops

Shoot or Don’t Shoot: A Question for Workshop and Tour Leaders

The question was raised on a popular nature and wildlife photography forum as to whether workshop leaders shoot make photos when leading one of these programs. I thought I’d share my reply on my blog:

As a participant every workshop I’ve attended the leader also did some shooting. Most times their shooting was limited in comparison to that of the participants, but they did shoot. These, however, were always workshops aimed at wedding or portrait photography, employing paid models to demonstrate using lighting or shooting in certain situations/locations. In nearly every case there was classroom time involved during the workshop and a critique session at the end. I really had no issues with the leader making photos. They kept the level low so they could observe and make suggestions to the participants and were available to answer questions 100% of the time. FWIW I’ve never taken a nature/wildlife targeted workshop.

As a workshop/tour leader I shoot. I don’t have my face glued to the back of my camera the entire time we’re in the field. In fact I’m fairly selective about what I shoot when leading. After all, I’m leading the group because this is a location I’m intimately familiar with. I shoot in these locations a lot. I spend a lot of my time observing our subjects (wild horses) and the participants. I make suggestions, answer questions. I alert the folks in my charge when I see an interesting situation developing. Obviously I don’t let my own shooting get in the way of my doing my job. I have a responsibility to get the photographers in my charge in front of the horses, to impart some information about the horses, the environment and photography in general, and to try to make sure no one does anything to endanger themselves of the animals we’re photographing.

I offer two kinds of experiences; a “tour/safari” and a “workshop.” They are not one in the same. For a “tour/safari” my primary job is to get the participants in front of the subjects. They are hiring me for my expertise at finding these animals and to handle the logistics such as transportation and meals. Tours are for experienced photographers that don’t feel they need a lot of hand-holding and direction. They’re confident in their camera and compositional skills. They need to be given opportunities, not a lot of instruction. Obviously, at least in my mind, there’s little reason for me not to shoot during these kinds of outings. If they have a question or need my input, all they have to do is ask.

The other experience I offer is a formal workshop. For a workshop there’s going to be some classroom time involved. Instead of a pre-trip briefing given during a tour, we’re going to spend the first morning learning about the history of these animals, the rules concerning interaction with them and we’ll discuss things like lens selection and composition. My assumption is that someone that signs up for a workshop is looking to improve their photography skills as well as getting photo ops with the wild horses. During our first session in the field I’ll shoot very little, but I will shoot some. I’ll be observing everyone, analyzing the strengths, weaknesses and needs of each individual. Just as when leading a tour, I’ll be alerting folks when things are going to get interesting, be responsible for locating the animals and be dealing with the logistics of the thing. As the workshop progresses I’m usually able to shoot more and more… but again, while being very selective about what I shoot. Near the end of the workshop, but before the last field session, there’s another classroom session. This session is all about composition and post processing. It includes a critique session. I do this prior to the final field session with the idea that the participants will be able to apply what they learn to their final shooting opportunities. During that last field session I’m answering questions if asked, but not offering unrequested input. The idea is to let them try to put it all together on their own.

Keep in mind there’s an educational aspect to the leader shooting. By observing how the leader shoots… things such as tripod height, lens selection, long lens technique, etc… the participants can gain some insight into maximizing their photographic opportunities during their tour or workshop. The short and sweet – I shoot. I shoot more during a tour than during a workshop but I shoot.

Posted in Banker Horses, Education, General Photography, Guided Tours, Nature Photography, Photo Tip Also tagged , , , , , |

Dramatic Rim Lighting Image

Probably not too surprisingly this image looks quite a bit different than it did when it came out of the camera. Obviously it was a color shot when the photo was made. But there was certainly more work involved that a simple conversion to black & white. For example I used a Nik plug-in in Photo Shop bring out more detail in the image. As is done with virtually every image you see the photo was sharpened, contrast was adjusted and in this case some manual burning and dodging was done to increase the drama of the image. One could argue that the image is no longer a nature photo because of the work done during post processing. That’s fine. I understand that position. In fact I’m alright with the image being referred to as a piece of art if you prefer.

If you’d like to know more about my post-processing techniques, including how to produce an image like this, and if you’d like to photograph wild horses you might be interested in my Wild Horse Photography workshop this fall. Workshop Page.


A dramatic photo of a wild mustang in black & white.

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Fall Dates: Wild Horse Photography Workshop & Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari

Wild Horse Workshops and Tours.Just posted, fall dates for the Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari and for an exciting new Wild Horse Photography Workshop. The Workshop includes classroom instruction, a critique session and visits to the wild horses via a private charter each of the three days. As always lunch is on me for all three days. For the Fall version of the Crystal Coast Photo Safari instead of a morning walking tour on the final day we’ll be using a private charter. Both of these are great opportunities to observe, photograph and learn about the local wild horses. Check out my workshop page for more information.

A wild horse feeds on the tidal flats during the evenings golden hour.

wild horse prints

Posted in Banker Horses, Education, Nature Photography, News & Announcements, Uncategorized, Wild Horses Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wild Horses Couldn’t Drag Me Away… I’d Go Willingly!

That line by the Rolling Stones frequently runs through my mind when I’m visiting the wild mustangs living here on the Crystal Coast. I always loved that song. It’s one of the few that I can actually remember the first time I heard it… (and the young lady that introduced it to me!) But in the case of visiting, observing and photographing these animals they don’t have to drag me away. I’m more than willing to go on my own. Here’s a few more shots from last week. All Shackleford Banks Mustangs in this series.


Wild mustang on a marsh island near Shackleford Banks.

Not everyone realized there are wild Spanish Mustangs living along the eastern coast of the United States.

Photo from the April 2012 Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari.

North Carolina Wild Horses.

Outer Banks Wild Horse.

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Cape Lookout Light and a Wild Mustang

Unquestionably one of the most iconic images for the wild horses of the Cape Lookout National Seashore, finding an angle that will permit a photographer to include the lighthouse in the background of a wild mustang photo is actually fairly rare. The odds improve when the horses are out on one of the marsh islands and you’re using a private charter to reach the horses, as was the case on the second day of the Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari last week. Hopefully we’ll get a repeat opportunity during next month’s tour which, by the way, still has limited space available (). Here are a couple of shots of a wild horse with the Cape Lookout Light in the background.


Wild mustang on a marsh island in the Cape Lookout National Seashore

Wild horse on Shackleford Banks.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wild Horses, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Fog, Foals & Fights: Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Workshop

We enjoyed some great photographic opportunities, lots of action and some great conditions for the April 2013 Crystal Coast Wild Horse Photo Safari. A simple three word descriptive might be “fog, foals and fights!” We started the first morning with a bit of fog cover which certainly added a nice tough of ambiance to our photos. We got shots of foals both at the Rachel Carson Reserve and on Shackleford Banks. Everyone also got to observe and photographs a few horse fights. It was certainly a good outing. It’s going to take a while to sort through and process all the images so I thought for a first post about the Photo Safari I’d start with a few shots that include some of the participants working with the wild horses.

13_April_10_WildHorseTog01_cf.jpg13_April_10_WildHorseTog02_cf.jpg13_April_11_WildHorseTog01_cf.jpg

Posted in Banker Horses, Education, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wild Horse Crossing

Many folks that visit the wild horses living within the boundaries of the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve or the Cape Lookout National Seashore don’t get to see the horses swimming between islands and shoals. If they do it’s often from a distance and seldom provides a chance for the viewer to photograph them. To get these kins of shots you usually need to be working from either a boat or a kayak. This is one of the reasons I’ve arranged for participants to spend one day working from a boat during the 2013 Wild Horse Photo Safaris. You can learn more about these tours by visiting the following page: http://carolinafootprints.com/index.php/workshops/. Below are a few images taken this winter.

A wild horse swims between islands in the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve.

A wild stallion emerges from a cold swim on a January morning.

Wild horses swim between islands.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Kayaking, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , |

2013 Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast

I’m pleased to announce some wonderful changes to the Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast for 2013. I’ll be offering two different programs: Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari and Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari Lite. For the new format we’ll be using a boat to explore the waters surrounding Shackleford Banks. This addition will give access to photographic opportunities not available via a hiking only tour.

Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari

The Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari will take place over three weekdays. Scheduling this tour during the week will help avoid the sunbathers and fishermen that sometimes visit these locations on the weekend. Wednesday morning we’ll use a local ferry operator to visit the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve. Following that session we’ll travel to Harkers Island where we’ll break for lunch then board another ferry to explore the eastern end of Shackleford Banks on foot. Thursday we’ll be working from a Private charet boat, giving us access to locations that would be difficult or impossible to reach by foot. We’ll also get an earlier start in the morning and a later finish. This will allow us to take advantage of the best lighting conditions of the day. The Friday will be a 1/2 day session, again using a local ferry, to visit either the Reserve of Shackleford Banks depending upon the preferences of the group. Lunch will be provided for the two full-day sessions. Charter and ferry fees are also included. For lodging (not included) I recommend the Inlet Inn in Beaufort, North Carolina. Participants are encouraged to purchase of trip insurance to cover unexpected events. Cost: $825.

Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari Lite

This program is a two-day photo tour visiting the two herds of wild horses that live along the North Carolina’s Crystal Coast. On Saturday we’ll board a passenger ferry departing from the Beaufort waterfront to visit the wild horses of the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve for our morning session. After the morning session we’ll travel to Harkers Island for lunch then catch a ferry to the eastern end of Shackleford Banks to photograph the wild mustangs living there. Sunday morning will be a 1/2 day session using a private charter to explore the protected waters around Shackleford Banks. This will provide soem unique opportunities to find the horses on small islands and shoals and swimming to and from the main island. Lunch is included on the first day as are all charter and ferry fees. I recommend the Inlet Inn for lodging and always encourage participants to purchase trip insurance to cover unexpected events. Cost: $500.

Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari

  • April 10, 11, 12, 2013
  • May 8, 9, 10, 2013


Crystal Coast Wild Horse Safari Lite

  • April 27, 28
  • May 25,26

    A wild horse feeds on the tidal flats during the evenings golden hour.

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Shackleford Banks Wild Mustang

The other evening I came across a memory card that I’d neglected to download. It was the last card I had loaded into my camera during June’s Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast workshop. While there weren’t a lot of images on the card there were at least a couple nice ones. These were taken near the east end of the barrier island, inside the dune line. In case you’re interested I do have a couple of dates set for wild horse workshops this fall. If your interested check out my Workshop Page… after looking at the photos below of course!

A wild Spanish Mustang on Shackleford Banks.

Wild Horses of the North Carolina coast.

Posted in Banker Horses, General Photography, Natural History in the Carolinas, Nature Photography, Wildlife Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Wild Horses from the April 14/15 Workshop

The emphasis of the Wild Horses of the Crystal Coast workshop was obviously on the horses living along Shackleford Banks and with the Rachel Carson Estuarine Reserve. While it’s not unusual to snap a few shots of birds, horses are the main attraction. Below are a few more of my shot from the weekend.

 

A wild horse runs along the tidal flats.

Wild horse can be found on the dunes, in the maritime forest, along the beach and on the tidal flats.

The wild mustangs living along North Carolina's Crystal Coast have to make the best of a hostile environment.

A wild stallion struts his stuff on the tidal flats.

A wild horse living along the Crystal Coast of North Carolina.

A handsome wild mustang strikes a pose.

 



 

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