I’ve been invited to take a one-week session at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops. I’m excited and a little nervous. SFPW is one of the most renowned institutions in the world for photography and I’ve wanted to attend for years but could never coordinate the time with my work schedule. This year, thankfully, it was easier to manage.
SFPW hosts workshops all year round but it’s their summer program that really stands out. For eight weeks, incredibly talented professional photographers come from all around the globe to teach a wide range of intensive photographic courses that cover the gambit from capture to post and beyond—all skill levels are welcome.
Here are just a few of the workshops offered this summer and range from two to five days depending on the course: The Creative Pet Portrait; Photographing People; Fine-Art Digital Printmaking; Basics of Digital Photography; Marketing Your Photographs; Adobe Photoshop for Photographers; Creative Environmental Portraiture; Fashion Meets Lifestyle; Natural Eye: The Summer Landscape; Getting the Most From Instagram; Architectural Photography; Travel Photography and Telling the Story.
I’m taking Visions of the American West with photographer Brett Erickson, known for his black and white images of the Great Plains, and you guessed it, the American West. (I’ve included my favorite images from his website throughout this post.) Here’s a description of the course:
Spend five days in the incomparable New Mexico light and create fine-art black-and-white interpretations of the stunning American Southwest. We start by examining classic photographs of the region and learn to identify the components that make them work. From there, we move through the photographic process from conception to completion, mastering the steps necessary to create dazzling digital negatives. We then use these skills to develop our own visualizations of landscapes, individuals, and architecture in Northern New Mexico.
We venture into the field to bring our ideas to life, traveling to locations around Santa Fe and Taos. We work to produce strong digital negatives that echo our ideas, taking advantage of constructive critiques each day to further hone our work. Back in our classroom, we follow the creative progression to its conclusion, using Adobe Lightroom and the NIK collection of software to take our digital images from camera to completed file.
You gain valuable experience in navigating the complete photographic process, resulting in greater success in converting images from your mind’s eye into breathtaking photographs. Join Brett as you expand your capacity to see and create!
~ Santa Fe Photographic Workshop website course listing.
As you may have noticed, there’s not a lion or an African tribe listed anywhere in the course description, both have been a focus of my photography over the last two years, so I’m nervous. This will be completely different from what I’ve been doing and it’s the reason I am doing it. But it’s still scary.
Throughout the week our work will be critiqued ( I have a love / hate relationship with this ) and on the last night we have to show our work in a group presentation. (I know myself, until I take an image I know I’ll want to share, I’ll be a bundle of anxiety). I torture myself, what can I say. No matter what, I’m sure it’ll be worth going out on a limb to learn something new.
My reasons for taking this particular course are simple. I love the American West but my travels have been limited in this region and all of it was before I became passionate about photography. And from the course description, it sounds as if I’ll be able to develop my skills across a myriad of topics including landscape and architectural photography, portraiture, black and white conversions and post production. Score!
When I get back, I’ll share what I’ve learned.
(P.S. If you’ve been to the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops, give me a holler and l let me know how you liked it.)