The photographer artist is beholden only to the limits placed on him or herself, to see, to surrender, to express. There must always be somewhat of a returning to the original story, the essence of what has never failed to move the artist to act deliberately to carry the beauty of the conversation between light, subject, photographer and viewer. The motivation never ceases because the rewards go far beyond simple recognition of a statement made and the person making the statement. For the artist art is life itself.
I’m happy to announce that I have added a second, full day nature photography workshop for May 2017. In addition to the workshop in Hocking Hills Ohio on Saturday May 6th I will also be presenting a workshop at Cox Arboretum MetroPark near Dayton Ohio on Saturday May 20th. Both programs will be based on mastering the craft and art of spring nature photography. I present my workshops as an effective balance between both in-classroom instruction and field instruction, culminating in a review of select images from the students. The majority of my workshop students are those just starting out with their first DSLR camera but I also make it a point to include advanced instruction for the more experienced photographers. Additional details and registration information is available at http://jimcrotty.zenfolio.com/photography-workshops
The quiet of November. The cold of night slowly releasing to the remaining warmth of the day. Morning mist filling the valleys. Frost-covered leaves and bare branches silhouetting the oranges and purples of early sunsets. There’s a calmness to November; an ease of being, a peaceful disposition before the arrival of winter.
November has always been a welcome respite; that quiet and beautiful month of transition. It is an opportunity to return to my photographic roots among the towering Hemlocks of Hocking Hills and along prairie trails in twilight.
There’s a soft and slightly melancholy feel to the early nightfalls and horizons set to hues between orange and pink and migrating flocks overhead. I welcome the change and I’ve learned not to dread the arrival winter for it is in all the seasons and the in-between months when we are reminded that life is in a constant state of change. The soul was never designed to be a stationary object but flows with tides and the waxing and waning of the Moon.
Change is to be embraced. It’s good. It’s necessary. It’s how we grow. What remains consistent is the energy of love and grace that stays with all the winds of change. Let us all be fully and completely present in all that change brings us and during the calm beauty of November to stop and be grateful for all we’ve be blessed with in our lives.
It would be an understatement to say I am thankful for the arrival of spring in Ohio. This past winter was just brutal. Sure, there were days of beautiful snow and wonderful winter window light, but you never fully realize just how hard winter in Ohio can be until you experience it from the vantage point of a 115 year old farmhouse on eight acres of farmland, one which isn’t connected to all those great utilities we tend to take for granted. Don’t ever allow someone to convince you that propane is an inexpensive way to heat a house during winter!
But spring has sprung and perhaps the best month for nature photography in Ohio is upon us – beautiful May. April was pretty awesome too. I posted this note on my photography Facebook page providing a recap of my experiences during the 2014 Shoot the Hills weekend event in Hocking Hills, Ohio.
More than just an event, Shoot the Hills has become a celebration of spring of sorts, where photographers of all skill levels come together to shake-off the last of the winter blahs and relish in the beauty that is spring in our beloved Hocking Hills State Park.
This had me thinking too. Isn’t the act and art of capturing a photograph just that, a “celebration?” The image that moves both photographer and viewer becoming the visual proof of emotion expressed in appreciation of a moment that will never be repeated again, with that unique harmony and flow of light, subject and setting with the universal need to express beyond what words are capable of describing. The photographer. The subject. The viewer. Expressing, connecting and celebrating.
Spring is much more than a change in the weather. It is a rebirth of creative energy and the lifting of the hopeful spirit. It’s a time to get up, get going and start anew again. Our energy reflects the energy of change that takes place around us, and for me at least photography is representative of that connection between creative spirit and environment.
I’m grateful for spring. All is new again within the elegant mystery of the divine constant.
It was my pleasure to have the opportunity to lead and teach a group of 19 very talented and enthusiastic photography students during this past weekend’s workshop in Hocking Hills, Ohio. They were also a very understanding group because as it turned-out, I was functioning with a torn left quad tendon just above my knee. The injury occurred earlier in the week while in South Carolina but it wasn’t until I got in to see a doctor with the Orthopedic Institute of Dayton – on Monday following the workshop – when I found out the reason for so much pain and swelling. As a result I will be “mobile office” in Dayton, Ohio for a few weeks before returning to South Carolina.
One of the lessons learned – for both me and my workshop students – is the need for photographers to be able to adapt and adjust to unforeseen circumstances and changing weather when shooting for assignment, workshop or personal project. We were also working around some interesting weather coming in ahead of the super storm that was hitting the northeast and a cold front bearing down from the northwest. Lots of rain (more than I care to work with) on the Sunday of the workshop program.
The pain in my knee did become so bad that I had to end the program two hours early on Sunday afternoon but the group was very understanding. For that I am thankful.
Despite the challenges we had a great weekend for learning and photography in Hocking Hills. The locations I did manage to guide the group to included Cedar Falls and Conkle’s Hollow. In those locations we concentrated on form, texture and composition within close-up nature subjects and selected sections of the landscape. Something new to this fall’s weekend program was adding a section on portrait photography, both location/environment and inside at our meeting facility at The Inn at Cedar Falls.
Every workshop group and experience is unique in personality, group dynamic, theme and point of emphasis. But one thing is common – they are always positive, uplifting learning experiences. I know it is for me as the instructor and I hope these programs are reacted to in a similar way by the participants. I have yet to hear otherwise and once again, I’m grateful.
I think the highlight of this most recent session came on Sunday morning when took the group down an unexpected path by showing a clip from a favorite movie, “Dead Poet’s Society.” In this clip (apologies but the imbed option from YouTube was disabled) Robin William’s character – Mr. Keating – talks about the importance of passion in art, in this case poetry, but what he is saying applies to all forms of art. “What will your verse be?” This is the question I presented to my workshop students. For us our poetry are the images we capture and share. Our legacy, our record of moments captured and stories set to the images that serve as our connection to what is felt within and with those who view our work.
Come injury and bad weather, the learning process continues, for student and teacher. The beauty of photography is that neither one ever truly arrives at an end point. For us the journey is everything and along the way we leave our “verses.”