Paso Robles….the heart of mellow California. Great sun, great locations, great wine, and now, home of the Paso Robles Photo Workshops. This has come to pass because it is also the home of that electric, eclectic redhead, Syl Arena, author of the Pixsylated blogspot. This spring, he will host David Hobby and myself for back to back small flash workshops.
My week is April 20-24, and David comes in for the 27th through May 1.
First, a word about DH’s workshop. He doesn’t teach too many week long gigs. In fact, this, I think, is his first 5 day-er. This in and of itself is very cool. I can tell you a couple things. To stand next to David is to learn from him. We taught together last year at DINFOS at Ft. Meade, working with young military photojournalists, and had a blast. In addition to the good time had by all, I walked away knowing stuff I didn’t know before. His teaching style is clear, lucid, and to the point. I call it good photography rooted in common sense, problem solving and real communication. Couple that with his formidable shooting skills, his slightly (okay, more than slightly) bent sense of humor and an overall grasp of where this whole picture taking enterprise resides in the current (and yet to be discovered universe), and his students are in for a bracing week.
Now, if Mr. Hobby is a straight shot to the heart of the matter, yours’ truly is a bit more of a pinball machine. I get there eventually, but only after rattling around, bouncing off a few flippers, making a racket and spinning some wheels. Ever see those overviews, where they look down on a room full of toys and plot the attention span and various crisscrossing paths of children from the age of about two to about seven or eight? The two year old’s path from the blocks to the Wiggle Worm to the GI Joe with the Kung Fu grip and back again is, well, let’s be kind and call it a meander.
But what better place to meander with cameras and flashes than Paso Robles? it’s a great place, and it’ll be a great couple of weeks. For my week, we start in the class and stay with the basics of flash and CLS in the first day or so. What I do to start the week off is spend time going over and showing examples of how light acts with a series of basic light shaping tools. A soft box behaves differently from an umbrella from a light panel from a ring light from a beauty dish. There is a look associated with each light source, and using them in turn, then looking at them is, frankly, illuminating. Just like a woodworker chooses different tools and blades to make different curves and cuts, so it should be with us. Different face, different look, different light, different source.
It’ll also be the first time I teach a workshop that takes its name from the new book, Hot Shoe Diaries, just out this week……
We will then head out for 3 days on location, rambling around Paso town, models in tow. There are some great locations out there, indoor, outdoor, you name it. We will blend flash with ambient, just tweaking what already exists, and we will take natural light and show it the exit, dominating a scene with flash. We will work into the dusk when the sun is just about gone, and make it come back. We will work light and fast with one light, and then break out a bunch. Then go into class the next day and critique what we did. Another upside of having Syl host us is his expertise with Canon flashes and Radio Poppers. He will show us the way with some of the new radio/TTL technology that is out there. (Pocket Wizard is now in the game big time. Check out David’s current post.)
Itll be a great couple of weeks….more tk…..