April Update-Meet Casey the Black Bear Cub

Meet Casey, the Black Bear Cub

Casey, Black Bear Cub - CA

Happy Spring!!! I recently returned from Utah, just outside Zion National Park, where I hosted a workshop (that was held in conjunction with the folks at the Triple “D” Game Farm) with a tremendous group of students. As spring is the time of year when a lot of animals have their youngsters, we had the good fortune of photographing Casey, a black bear cub, who is triple “D”s newest addition to their well cared for menagerie.

I’ve photographed a lot of black bears and their cubs throughout the years, and I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Casey is the cutest little black bear cub I’ve had the pleasure of photographing and he is really a star.

So, if you’ve been pondering visiting Triple “D” and taking a photography workshop there, my Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop in Kalispell, Montana will give you the opportunity to meet Casey amongst other new youngsters. I’m confident that Casey will remain a star with his amazing personality, but that super cute factor, only lasts for so long.

If you have any interest in maybe selling your photography or even if its for your own pleasure, people LOVE cute!

A New Home For Our Edmonton Workshops

Providence Conference Centre

While our Edmonton based photography workshops have previously been held out of a local hotel, we’ve been searching for a new location to better compliment the sort of workshops and teaching we do while still being able to offer our courses at affordable rates. It took a lot of searching, but we eventually found a real gem of a facility. Providence Centre offers sunny, large classroom space, tasty meals, ample free parking and is located on 20 acres of landscaped gardens, all within city limits, and minutes away from major hotels for those who are traveling.

Our new home for our Edmonton based workshops is the Providence Centre, located at 3005 – 119 Street in Edmonton. This south side location is easily accessible to people coming from all quadrants of the city and surrounding areas via the Whitemud Drive and Anthony Henday Drive.

Students at a recent class

My DSLR Fundamentals Workshop held this last weekend, was my first workshop at the new facility and I couldn’t be happier with it. In addition to being a wonderful, quiet facility we can now include lunches with our workshops. This means that participants no longer have to scurry off at lunch time to find somewhere to grab a quick bite and can instead enjoy a leisurely stroll down the hall to the Providence Centre’s cafeteria. The cafeteria always has at least two main courses (one of which is always chicken), a couple of salad options, soup, side dishes and dessert. Special diets like vegetarian or celiac can be accommodated with advance notice. In the warmer months students can dine outside or chose to relax in the gardens on their lunch break.

The Providence Centre is really a jewel and the people there are tremendous to work with. If you decide to join us for a workshop, I am quite confident that you’ll really enjoy the Providence Centre.

*NOTE-for those students enrolled in May’s Wildlife Intensive Workshop on May 13-15/2011, this workshop will be held at our previous location at the Ramada Hotel in downtown Edmonton for scheduling reasons. All other workshops before and after this are now offered at the Providence Centre. (All workshops have locations and directions listed when you register online).

DSLR Fundamentals and Photography Fundamentals Workshops

I’ve now had a few groups of students graduate from my DSLR Fundamentals Workshop. This course helps students become familiar with their DSLR cameras and enhances their understanding of how the camera ‘works’. Students become empowered to venture away from strictly automatic shooting. I help students learn how the automatic modes may do an “okay” job, but it’s when we put ourselves in command of the camera and begin making our own decisions about the sort of pictures that we want to make that we can start making photographs instead of snap shots. Strict beginners as well as those somewhat familiar with their cameras features are welcome to take this course.

The DSLR Fundamentals course is a technical course. It’s all about the cameras, their features and how to use them in the manual modes. The Photography Fundamentals Workshop is all about the art of photography and learning to make creative photographs that help tell a story. Like the DSLR Fundamentals course, this is a hands-on course with the students getting plenty of opportunity to practice the concepts talked about in the classroom. Many students choose to take the DSLR Fundamentals Workshop first, and then take the Photography Fundamentals Workshop afterwards to further develop their skills.

The Photography Fundamentals Workshop runs the weekend of June 4th and 5th and there still a few openings available. If you’re interested, you can find more details on the course here.

Wildlife Intensive Workshop

We still have several spaces open in our Wildlife Intensive Weekend Workshop running in Edmonton the weekend of May 13-15/2011. This enjoyable workshop gives you tips and tricks on how to make great wildlife shots, and includes a field trip where we photograph different animals in their natural habitat and then return to the classroom for discussion and critiquing. This class sold out last fall and we think it will probably sell out again. A great time was had by all!

Prairie dog biting its' nails

Courses and Workshops

We thank you for your continued support and would love to see you at an upcoming workshop. Our workshops continue to receive great reviews and we enjoy putting them on as much as our clients are enjoying their participation.

Based on the support and feedback we’ve received, we’ve added a number of new workshops based on our intensive weekend format from our central Edmonton location. Whether you’re new to photography or looking to get a handle on your software to process your images, we’ve got a course for you. We’ve also added a new week long course in August for the serious amateur photographer who is passionate about outdoor photography to find ways of making income from that photography.

One of our new courses, DSLR Fundamentals, has been very popular and we have received many requests to hold a part 2 , or a ‘where do we go from here?’ course. Have a look at our Photography Fundamentals Workshop, designed for those who have completed our DSLR Fundamentals course, or another course like it, or have equivalent experience. You can find more details under the course listing.

Stay tuned for course listings for the remainder of 2011 in our upcoming newsletter!

As always, if you’d like to see a course offered that isn’t listed here, please let us know. If there’s enough interest we can make it happen! Also, if a course or workshop you want to take is sold out, we encourage you to put your name on the waiting list. Just click on the course heading you want and the button “add to wait list” and we will contact you if a space becomes available. If there’s enough folks on the waiting list we can always run another course if possible.

Workshop Name Location Dates
NEW! Photoshop Elements Workshop Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Apr 30 – May 1, 2011
NEW! Wildlife Intensive Weekend Workshop Edmonton, Alberta, Canada May 13 – 15, 2011
NEW! Photography Fundamentals Workshop Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jun 4 – 5, 2011
Spring Wildlife Photography Workshop Kalispell, Montana, USA Jun 17 – 20, 2011
Loons & Other Wildlife Workshop Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada Jun 24 – 28, 2011
NEW! DSLR Fundamentals Weekend Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jul 9 – 10, 2011
NEW! DSLR Fundamentals Weekdays Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jul 14 – 15, 2011
NEW! Adobe Lightroom Weekend Workshop Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Jul 16 – 17, 2011
Summer Wildlife Photography Workshop Kalispell, Montana, USA Jul 22 – 25, 2011
NEW! Business of Outdoor Photography Edmonton, Alberta, Canada Aug 22 – 26, 2011

Photography Tip-Keep Your Eye On The Prize

Coyote leeping for prey - CA

On the surface, this tip seems really simple; if you don’t want to miss shots, keep your eye on the viewfinder.

However, in practice, it can be really easy to get distracted when you’re photographing. It’s all too simple to get distracted reviewing previous shots, admiring the dust up in the cup of your viewfinder or contemplating some wonderful cloud formations.

But, when you’re waiting for a specific shot, even a moment of distraction can contribute to missing a great photo opportunity. In the photograph above of the pouncing coyote, I had reasonable expectations (based on previous experience) that this behaviour would occur. And eventually, my patience and perseverance paid off. I’d made sure my camera was setup the way I wanted to ensure a sharp capture and when the moment came, I was ready.

Another trick I use is that I watch what’s happening around me with both eyes. I have my right eye glued to my viewfinder while my left eye is open as well. This allows me to keep a bit of a watch on what is happening outside the scope of the viewfinder. After all, you never know when Bigfoot is going to wander by…..

Thoughts of Spring….Again

Sweetpeas in Red

Will spring ever truly arrive? Although the animals seems to think it is spring, as evidenced by the arrival of Robins to our neighbourhood and Casey, the black bear cub’s arrival to the Triple “D”, the snow on the ground in my backyard is making a tenacious fight. In places the snow is still over three feet deep and the weather has been very unspring like.

Don’t get me wrong. I love winter and all it brings but at some point I get a little tired of the whole thing. And although I’m usually convinced that each year is the beginning of a new ice age, I’m sure that if I’m patient, eventually spring will actually arrive and I’ll be able to see my lawn without looking around piles of snow.

I was searching through my archives of images and found the following photograph of a Sweet Pea that I made last summer. I love the reds and nothing makes me more hopeful than knowing that it really won’t be too long until these flowers will again decorate the fence between us and our neighbours.

To make this shot, I used my 24-70mm F2.8 lens on my Canon 5D Mark II camera. The image was made at F2.8 from close to the minimum focusing distance for the lens so my depth-of-field on this shot was about 6 millimetres or about .02 feet and that is what helps give it that wonderful sharp, yet dreamy appearance.

If you have any questions or comments about anything you’ve read in this newsletter or any questions about photography in general, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

“From small beginnings come great things.”


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