October 12th, 2012
Every year I run a few spectacular workshops abroad somewhere in the sun and always at visually inspiring locations. This year it was the turn of southern Spain and the area around Cartegena. We ran a similar workshop in 2011 and centered that event around an abandoned monastery. This year we used other abandoned locations including a mineral extraction factory, a military barracks, and mine buildings. Here are a selection of my pictures and the settings I used to create them
Lighting kit per group:
2x Canon 580 EX2 Speedlights, 1x Nikon SB900 Speedlight, Lovegrove Gemini bracket, 2 Lastolite Jupiter stands, Pocket Wizard triggers and receivers.
A silver umbrella, a reflector or Lastolite Ezybox. All the kit needed was supplied by us or shared among the delegates. The systems were simple and very effective.
Models: Natalia Warner and Olivia Ward
Local fixer: Mickie Imre
My camera kit: Fujifilm X-Pro1, 60mm, 35mm and 18mm lenses, Gitzo 3551 monopod, RRS ball head and L-Plate with grip.
All Speedlights were in manual mode and triggered using the standard (non control TL) signals.
My fellow tutor on this event was Martin Hill. Martin is a top pro photographer and an all round great bloke. Between us we reccied the locations, surveyed the risks, organised the local support and made it happen.
I used a combination of manual exposure mode and aperture priority with exposure compensation for the continuous light pictures depending upon the situation I was in. All the flash exposures were in manual mode.
That was my last sequence of shots from Day 1. Martin and I swapped delegates every now and then so that everyone got to shoot every setup. So this set makes up half the shots the delegates took overall.
We drove back to the hotel some 30 minutes away in three vehicles. Martin and I drove the delegates and Mickie drove our models. The evenings were social affairs starting with a few tapas and finishing with a fine meal in a smart local Taverna. After dinner a certain Gecko made an appearance. The food was wonderful along with the service and all was remarkably inexpensive.
Day two started where we left off on day one, at our ‘barracks in the woods’.
Positioning of the Speedlight or reflector, control of the power and balancing with the ambient was the core subject of the workshop. These are all skills that need days to learn and a lifetime to master. Some of the delegates were far more advanced as photographers than others but when we are out in the field the situation is a leveler. Some delegates were concentrating on composition, some on model direction and others on the technical aspects of exposure and lighting. The buzz in the groups was electric.
After the barracks session on day two we moved onto the ‘widows cottage’ and the ‘tunnel of love’. Martin shot the tunnel with the delegates while I shot the cottage.
The next location on day two was the old mine workings that Martin and I had discovered in 2010. They were a mere 5 minute drive from the ‘widows cottage’.
Our final location on day two was en route back to the hotel. Martin an I had missed the palm trees at the monastery so we found some others to use at a nearby ruin.
That was my last frame from the two day workshop. All that remained was to get back to the hotel and go out to celebrate. Not too hard though because we had a group creative shoot the next day leaving the hotel at 10:00am.
Day three: The creative day.
By now the Speedlight way had been taught and it was time for the group to take it’s own initiave at the locations Martin and I had chosen. We started near the beach.
We had lunch at a beach bar before moving onto the final location of the creative day. An amazing ruinous naval fort with wonderful outbuildings and commanding views.
This was the end of day three. We made our way back to the vehicles for the hour long journey through the mountains back to our hotel. We had one last night together at the taverna and said our goodbyes. Most of the delegates, martin and Olivia departed first thing in the morning. I stayed on with Natalia and one delegate who came from Singapore for the workshop. We were out on the streets for a 1:1 session on urban portraits the next day. Here are a few frames from our street shoot. We both shot using the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and one Canon Speedlight.
I dropped Natalia to the airport and my delegate and I went for a Chinese meal. It was a wonderfully calm end to a fiesta of creativity and bonding.
A gallery with more of my images from this shoot with the exif data is here on the Passion Photography Experiences website. A gallery of Martin’s images with Exif is here on the Passion website.
We will be back in the autumn of 2013. Register your interest for 2013 now. Expected price will be approximately £795 for the 2 day workshop plus £120 for the optional creative day. This price covers models, lunches, drinks and transport each day. The creative day happens the day after the workshop and it a chance to put together all the skills learned on the previous two days at new exciting locations. Please look at the 2013 details here and register your interest with Blaise to be kept up to date with information, options and logistics.
Martin and I will be teaching how to shoot the big picture using Elinchrom Quadra in the vistas of Fuerteventura in the Spring of 2013. We would love you to join us on this life enhancing experience.
Please feel free to comment on these pictures or your experience of this workshop if you were fortunate enough to be a delegate.