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.
Join me as I guide and teach the art and craft of nature photography in one of my favorite locations in Ohio – Cox Arboretum MetroPark, just south of Dayton. Some of the reasons I love teaching at Cox include the beautiful and comfortable theater-style classroom and the variety of outdoor subjects to work with when teaching camera settings, lighting and composition. This will be a great opportunity to finally master the exposure settings on that new DSLR camera or pick-up new tips on working with directional lighting and digital editing. This workshop is open to all levels of skill and experience.
The best part about my workshops is that they are fun ! I am there to teach and help all learn and gain in our shared passion for photography. I encourage open discussion and sharing of tips and information amongst the students. The only photography I do on my own when teaching these programs is when I am demonstrating how I “find” a scene, work with the light and compose the capture. My role is to teach and encourage and honestly I have just as much fun with presenting these workshops as I do when I am actually photographing.
During this workshop I will cover the basics of exposure, the most important settings on the DSLR camera (if you have a point-n-shoot, that’s fine too), lenses, lighting, composition and basic digital file editing/workflow. Toward the end of the day I always like to allow for some time for students to share a few images for group/instructor critiques based strictly on positive reinforcement. All of us are constantly learning and growing in photography, whether just starting out or with many years of experience. The most important thing to remember is to shoot and have fun!
This is a full-day workshop starting at 8AM and finishing around 5PM. The $89 fee per person includes instruction, handout materials and box lunch from Panera Bread. I ask for a $20 deposit to register and reserve a seat for the program. The deposit can be paid by check to: Picture Ohio LLC 2581 Trebein Rd. Xenia OH 45385 or via PayPal to “firstname.lastname@example.org.”
For those looking for more of an in-depth workshop experience please consider my weekend workshop I will be presenting on October 25-27 2013 at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills.
Email email@example.com for more information or to reserve a spot.
The big news is that I will be moving back to Ohio no later than this coming July. I am looking forward to returning to my home market and to the landscape that I know and photograph best. Most likely I will be setting-up shop once again in a home office and studio south of Dayton. I’ve already scheduled weekend workshops for August and October at The Inn at Cedar Falls in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Please see the workshop page on CalmPhotos for more information and how to register for either one of these nature photography workshop programs.
I wanted to share some of the incredible experiences I had upon returning to the Hocking Hills of Ohio, from April 17 – 23. I love returning to this region because it is where my love for nature photography first got started, many years ago. It’s also where I teach best because I am so familiar with the landscape and subject matter. For me Hocking has become more of an old, best friend versus just another location to visit and photograph. The added plus last week was the opportunity to once again serve on the judging panel for Shoot the Hills and have the opportunity to speak and present my work to the public in attendance at the weekend event. This was the 10th year for Shoot the Hills. It’s growing in popularity every year, drawing photographers from all over Ohio and the surrounding states. Funds raised go to support educational and preservation efforts within Hocking Hills State Park through Friends of Hocking Hills. Friends and fellow Photographers Barb and Jerry Jividen play a big role in both Friends of Hocking Hills and Shoot the Hills along with a dedicated group of hardworking volunteers, many of whom are also long time friends.
The biggest project spearheaded by Friends of Hocking Hills was in working with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources in rerouting the section of State Highway 664 to the far side of the parking area for Old Man’s Cave. This was a HUGE improvement and highly beneficial, not only in terms of pedestrian safety but in eliminating the road noise issue down in the gorge and the run-off/deterioration from the almost constant traffic.
This year’s entries during Shoot the Hills were just as impressive as those of years past. The winning images have been posted on the Friends of Hocking Hills Facebook page for Shoot the Hills. It was also a blast to be included in the list of guest speakers on Sunday morning. I’ve uploaded the PDF version of my slide show presentation – “Photography as Personal Journey” – for online viewing. The images I showed and talked about were mostly captured during the last two years with landscape imagery of coastal South Carolina and Hilton Head Island well represented. It was interesting to note the number of email messages I received following my presentation from Ohioans planning summer trips to Hilton Head and wanting tips on where to photograph nature and landscape subjects on and near the Island. I partially joke that I should be on some sort of commission/recognition program with the Hilton Head Chamber of Commerce based on how often I answer such emails and how my images of Hilton Head are encouraging visitors to look beyond golf and restaurants as a reason to visit and vacation. I am happy to play some small roll in perhaps preserving the natural beauty of the area and to help others see that is well worth protecting.
The other very rewarding experience of my recent trip back to Hocking Hills was in presenting another fun-filled workshop on nature photography, based at my home in Hocking, The Inn at Cedar Falls. I hosted a great group of energetic and talented photographers, many of whom were new to Hocking Hills. We had the opportunity to explore perfect spring conditions with wildflowers and waterfalls. This time around it was just a one-day workshop but still a ton of material and time teaching in the field resulted in more than a full day of nature photography. I am happy to announce that I have already reserved the meeting space at The Inn for two weekend workshops, one in August and the other in October. The dates are August 16 – 18 and October 25 – 27, at The Inn in Hocking Hills. I’m also working on arranging for a one-day workshop in Dayton – most likely Cox Arboretum – prior to the August program in Hocking Hills. Please email me if you would like to be added to my early reservation list. The cost of the weekend programs is $325 per person which includes guided instruction in the field and on the trails, classroom instruction on my favorite techniques for digital editing workflow, most meals and a complete workshop handbook. I anticipate both weekend programs in Hocking Hills to fill-up fast. Usually about half of my attendees are repeat workshop participants (and great friends too!).
Following my recent April workshop and Shoot the Hills last week I made time for a full day on my own out on the trails, capturing and composing the landscape that I’ve come to know so well. I do this because I make a point not to shoot on my own when teaching workshops. When I teach, I teach. When I shoot on my own, I shoot on my own. Just to have one day alone on the trails does amazing things in revitalizing my spirit and energizing my creative soul. It’s what I love to do best and I am always, always thankful for the opportunity. Below are just a few of the images I captured during my spring visit back “home” in Hocking Hills, Ohio. Enjoy !
October at The Inn on Flickr.
Road to the cottages @ Inn at Cedar Falls, Hocking Hills Ohio.