Working Photographer looks at the turbulent world of editorial photography through the eyes of someone been working at it for forty years -- and hopes to stay active for a lot longer. A quarter of a century at National Geographic has taught me to stay nimble and keep growing. That's what this blog is about.
I get a fair number of questions about my teaching and learning experiences for photographers. So I thought I would go on and fill you in as well as possible about the workshops I'm involved in and which workshops are right for which photographers. Later I'll give you and assessment of the photographic opportunities on some of the cruises I travel on for National Geographic Expeditions.
San Miguel is pretty much what I always thought Old Mexico should be. This is the second year I'll be going back to this colonial Mexican city for a National Geographic Expeditions photography workshop. Last year I had no idea what to expect but every day presented really great opportunities. The very first day I fell in with a wedding party at La Parroquia, the church towering over the main plaza. Another day I arrived at the church to find a pile of band instruments lying unattended outside the front door. Presently the musician came out of the mass, picked up their instruments and began leading a pilgrimage through the streets. I followed them for miles.
Everyday seemed to have such surprises in store for me. And the food isn't bad either. Americans started coming here after WWII when GI's found they could study art here on the cheap. It's still a magnet for thousands of Americans. Easy to understand why. It's a great place to live.
This National Geographic Expeditions workshop is great for anyone who wants to explore a new location with their camera, and get hands on instruction while they are at it. Mornings are spent in the classroom for editing, teaching and critiques. Afternoons have planned photo sessions in and around San Miguel. Evenings are free for your exploration (and the great dining. Did I mention the food!) I'll give a lecture one evening at the main theater, an event open to the public.
Photographer Raoul Touzon will join me on the faculty, bringing a wealth of knowledge to the mix. These workshops are great fun and are probably less intense that workshops aimed at full-time professionals. Almost all levels of photographers can benefit from the experience. Some familiarity with your digital SLR is a great benefit, and you should be comfortable downloading and editing pictures on your laptop before you get there. Aspiring professionals can benefit, too. It's a good place to build porfolio, but this is mainly a shooting workshop. Don't come expecting in-depth digital workflow or high-end PhotoShop lessons.
Right now safety is on everyone's mind and Mexico has it's problems. I've been doing some looking around and it seems that the situation is as I suspected. The problems we hear about are mostly along the border with the US. That's not San Miguel which is in central Mexico. The US border is 500 miles from San Miguel at it appears that life in San Miguel is just as conspicuously safe now as it was when I was there last year. I felt safe wherever I went. Walking the streets at night was perfectly all right. And women in our workshop felt the same way. I'll keep an eye on it as time goes by but right now I've got no reservations, outside of the usual precautions that are always prudent when traveling in foreign countries.
You can find more details by going to the National Geographic Expeditions site here: http://www.nationalgeographicexpeditions.com
For photographers who are ready to take the next step in their photography there is simply no better way than getting up close and personal with photographers who have been there before. That’s the basic formula of Rich Clarkson’s Travel Photography at the Summit. For 27 years Rich has been following this formula, producing his famous series of workshops by pulling together a faculty of experienced photographers and mixing them up with dedicated students. It’s a very effective recipe.
This July I’ll be joining Rich in Santa Barbara for his brand new travel photography workshop, along with old friends including Dave Black, Jay Maisel, George Olson, Rick Rickman, and Bob Smith. (I’m a lucky guy to be able to call these legendary professionals “old friends.”) Students will get hands on shooting experience, critiques, classroom lessons, and personal guidance. This format really gives you a chance to rub elbows and pick brains.
For my part I’ll be laying out the process of shooting stories for National Geographic Traveler on assignment, from writing proposals, doing research, field techniques and editing workflow. When I teach I try my best to follow the no BS principal of telling it like it is. You want to know how the travel photography business works, then come to Santa Barbara.