Feedback on work produced during a workshop is an important part of each learning experience. Useful feedback usually starts with identifying core strengths before a discussion about how to improve (no matter how successful images are) and identifying possible next steps.
Here’s a collection of participant images from our Antarctica Crossing The Circle 2013 Voyage and a quick note about each image’s core strengths.
Ginette Vachon presents peak action in a way that elicits empathy
Cathrine Spikkerud enlivens an other-worldy stage with quiet understated action
Nancy Leigh animates an already dramatic stage with an energetic gesture
Marilynn Nance uses rhythm and perspective to make an historic building even more interesting
Robert Pettit use repetition to create a play between balance and imbalance
Fusako Hara explores the transitions between realism and abstraction
Benoit Feron uses line and texture to reveal natural processes
Jodie Willard uses opaque layers a strongly felt sense of space through design
Karin Pettit use transparent layers to portray depth
Norm Larson uses abstraction to portray not just an external reality but also to suggest an internal state
Celie Placzek uses number and proximity to suggest community
Jim Brewster uses negative space to highlight important figures amid chaos
Dennis Lenehan uses mass and volume to create dramatic contrasts
Geir Morten Skeie employs a delicate palette to create a transcendant mood for a monolithic structure
Joelle Rokovich expresses contrasts in scale to express size and distance with a minimalist efficiency
Only 9 spaces are left.
March 6, 2013 | Leave a Comment |
Seth Resnick loves wine. So does Greg Gorman. The two of them have taught me most of what I know about wine. Through them I’ve come to appreciate wine in new ways and with a new depth of understanding. They know that if they drink wine with me, I’m going to ask a lot of questions, to learn as much from them as I can and to appreciate the wine I’m drinking with them even more.
On many of our Digital Photo Destinations workshop adventures, Seth and I share wine with our participants. On our 2013 Antarctica South Of The Circle Voyage we bought enough wine for the entire group to try a new wine at the start of each evening meal. As we embarked from Argentina, we selected only Argentinian wines, mostly reds, found at our favorite wine store in Ushuaia – Quelhue. Something that we looked forward to each night the wine started conversations, lifted spirits, and strengthened our community.
Here’s a list of the seven best wines we had during our voyage; each ranked on a scale of 1-10 (10 highest). You might enjoy them too. I use the iPhone app Wine Notes to record my impressions and usually include a picture of the person I drink the wine with along with the label in each entry as part of this journal. These are my only opinions (with input from Seth). Be mindful that I like my wines like I like my people, with character.
9.1 Malbec Achaval Ferrer / Finca Bella Vista
A truly elegant wine from old vines in volcanic soil riddled with complex flavors that are so beautifully blended they are hard to separate and keep changing from beginning to end and through its extremely long finish. It’s often appropriately referred to as a “chimera”.
8.9 Cabernet Sauvignon Luigi Bosca 2010
Big, bold, full-bodied. Beautifully balanced structure with a great beginning, middle and end, with a long finish. Red fruits, cherry dominant with hints of chocolate, coffee, and cinnamon and distinctive earth flavors.
8.8 Malbec Tapiz Black Tears 2008
Smooth full body with great mouthfeel (maybe a touch chewy) and solid structure and tannins. Big berry flavors, currant dominant. Complex layers. You can taste that it came from volcanic soil.
8.4 Tannat Quara 2009
Really big, complex, and earthy (especially on the nose). Fast, but lingers long with hints of cinnamon and tobacco. It’s unusual to find this grape on it’s own instead of blended.
8.4 Cabernet / Malbec D V Catena 2010
Red fruits (cherry, raspberry, strawberry) with a hints of mint and eucalyptus. The smoky earth flavors from ashy volcanic soil gives it rich character.
8.4 Cabernet Sauvignon Gascon / Finca Escorihuela
Gascon Reserva 2009
Elegant, rich, full, classic cabernet that doesn’t hide the earth it was grown in.
8.3 Malbec Tomero Gran Reserva 2008
A classic Malbec in every sense.
Wine is just one of the things that makes our workshops unique.
Only 9 spaces are left.
It was rumored to be a rough crossing, but the rumors were exaggerated. On a scale of 1-10, it was a 5. Once again, we got lucky. And this time, more birds followed our boat.
Our days were spent first conducting one-on-one reviews with individuals, while the rest prepared their images for the second highly anticipated component – group reviews. We were all excited to see the images others had made at the same time, in the same locations. It is always inspiring to see the diversity of perspectives represented. While some shots quite similar, some photographs were the kind you ask “Where was that? I didn’t see that!” Just looking at the images was a learning experience, for all of us. During the reviews we commented on the core strengths of each individual’s sets and offered ideas for how they could be developed further and finally presented. Participants were able to poll the group to quickly see which images made the greatest impact. Later we showed the results to our fellow voyagers who were not in our program.
We finished off the last of our fine Argentinian wines, with toasts to a great adventure and more to come. The wine has been much appreciated by our participants, some of whom brought their own contributions. It’s been a both a community builder and a true pleasure.
Sailing into an active volcano is always exciting, no matter how many times you do it. Thick snow filled the air and covered the volcanic hillsides surrounding the whaling station at Deception Island, making the landscape appear as if it were drawn with ink. Whether readily identifiable and mysterious, the man-made structures suggested terrifying past dramas – endless winters, unimaginable slaughter, terrifying eruptions – all staged on the surreally abstract black and white stage of the surrounding mountains. Steeped in history, the place has an apocalyptic aura. We wandered freely in and around the decaying remains of the once active harbor amid passing snow squalls. The location creates a powerful tension between color and black and white and between representation and abstraction; where you ultimately land is telling.
The wind had blown most of the ice out of Half Moon Island. Some went to shore to explore the chinstrap penguin colony. Some went Zodiac cruising around the point and to the far side of the island, scanning the brash ice, glacier face, and cloud engulfed mountains. Thick snow added to the ambiance, settling on the cold waters with the brash ice creating aerial and aquatic screens to look through the surrounding landscape and its oscillating reflections. It cleared momentarily, and then the wind kicked up again, making the Zodiac return challenging. This voyage has had many moods. As we left Half Moon Island, we were all sad to acknowledge that our adventure was largely over and began to turn our thoughts homeward, though it was still days away for us all.
We spent the last hours of the night searching our harddrives for more of the treasures we had collected during the journey, preparing for one-on-one and group reviews. Everyone was excited to have another look at their images and to see each other’s images.
Our day began at Cuverville Island, not far from our earlier outing at Danco Island, with more wind, enough to delay the shore landing, but not enough to keep us from cruising the surrounding icebergs. One near the ship had a dramatic triangular arch that framed the surrounding landscape from two directions. Framing a significant feature well while being tossed by the swell was not easy, but it was fun nonetheless. Near the shore a cluster of smaller icebergs offered us lots of material to play with. Lacking extraordinary features we were challenged to see something new, often looking for it in details. The windblown island made either a dramatic backdrop or a visual distraction, based on how you framed it. Not surprisingly, the skies became a focal point of my images, with the dramatic landscapes below used to anchor them in reality. By now we’re oscillating between cryophilia and ice fatigue. This is usually the point at which people start becoming more discriminating and willing to slow down and make more considered photographs. That’s often what it takes to make new more successful photographs of the same subject. The bar gets raised.
Four of our group went to shore to photograph the penguin colony, which contained Gentoos, Adelies, and Chinstraps. Seals added to the spectacle. Here the images are made by story and gesture from isolated details isolated from a crowded busy stage. Rather than racing from one piece of ice to another comparing relationships between them and the environment, you often spend more time with a few individuals waiting for peak action.
Beautiful broken light, at times creating a white haze, spilled through the passages to Paradise Bay. Some hiked from Brown Station to overlook the bay. Others, headed directly into the bay by Zodiac. The blue-eyed shags nesting in the nearby lichen-stained cliffs put on terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial displays, while skuas circled, and Minke whale passed by. The winds of the past days had blow all the ice into Scontorp Cove and choked it with brash ice. We worked the edges of it, pushing our way slowly through shards of ice to the nearest ice sculptures. We would have spent more time if there were any significant architectural monuments to be approached. As it was, we had beautiful passing light on a dramatic stage with no great lead actors. We moved on to a few icebergs floating far out in the bay. Armed with new concepts and recent successes, our now more discriminating group didn’t waste time, working quickly and moving on equally quickly in search of new wonders. A sailboat passed by as we reentered the warm embrace of or our cruise liner, the Sea Spirit, a very comfortable vessel indeed.
The past few days have not presented themselves easily photographically. Rather than having our rewards come to us we’ve had to go to them. While lacking the thrill of certain success, we’ve all learned a great deal from our efforts and wonder what hidden treasures lie in our collections and how long it will take us to find them. Today I returned to earlier themes, vast long spaces charged with weather and light and populated by tiny solitary actors. Is this a return to old habits? I sense both an old and a new sensibility at work in them. Or is this the result of having skies worth working with? I’ve also been wonder what old files would look like when processed with today’s technology. How much of the final quality is due to the tools used and how much the sensibility driving them? It’s hard to tell when both are constantly changing.
After dinner, I presented a seminar on creative sharpening to help people make the most of the details in their images.
Near Palmer Station, Torgersen Island offered a colony of adelie penguins, seals and nearby glaciers. We split the morning adventure, half on land and half on water. Neither presented themselves as easy to photograph. We worked it hard. Then we discovered, at the far end of the bay, a massive, tripartite, castellated iceberg – one of the most magnificent I’ve ever seen. It looked entirely different from three different sides, each allowing us to look through to the others and beyond to the surrounding landscape/seascape. The group that arrived first, encountered humpbacks there. The group that arrived last, found a small juvenile penguin seeking shelter on ice.
Before lunch, brave souls took the polar plunge. For some reason, I call this practice into question every time, when they bring out the defibrillator, which I’ve never seen them use.
In the afternoon, Port Lockroy offered a small manned outpost in a big wilderness, where you could mail post cards, which would go first to England before arriving weeks or months later at their destinations. We cruised up long stretches of glaciers in search of interesting ice, circling several pieces, both large and small, that appeared to have been sculpted by Henry Moore or Alexander Calder. Then snow came.
After dinner, I presented my seminar Game Changers discussing new possibilities for exposure and processing, giving participants a lot to sleep on.
February 15, 2013 | Leave a Comment |
Morning at sea included crossing the circle kissing the fish shenanigans (It’s a long-standing maritime tradition.) with the expedition crew transformed by King Neptune and his entourage costumes. Otherwise, it’s a quiet morning for people to rest up after several intense days and find and evaluate their images.
Our workshop participants shared an impressive collection of images during group reviews. We discussed key concepts, why some images works (I’ll share some in a future post.) and why others didn’t, and what could be done to improve all of them. No matter how good, we all want to up our game. Rather than one simple answer, we offered food for thought while exploring many possibilities.
Winds were too high to go out in Zodiacs this afternoon. After waiting for some time, our expedition leader wisely decided to head out to sea once again and move north fast, avoiding ice in the channels, to make the most of the coming days, with weather predicted to improve.
Dinner was early. Wine was great. Afterwards, Seth and I processed images, explaining why we did what we did and answering questions. It’s always interesting to see how we process / interpret the same image.
The wind picked up shortly after dinner last night, whipping the entrance into the La Mer Channel into a snow tossed froth. By the time we passed through the end of the channel the weather had lifted somewhat, but not the wind. A bouncy Zodiac cruise along the shores of Petermann Island allowed us to find Gentoo and Adelie rookeries as well as blue-eyed shag, surrounded by snow masses made green and red by algae. Then moved to the sheltered side of the island and became enchanted by a fabulous sculpture garden of irregulars. One with a blue bowl inside it was claimed by a leopard seal who gently asserted his territory while satisfying his curiosity.
I had been hoping for calm waters and bright color in Plenneau Bay. We were greeted by high winds and cloudy skies. The Zodiac ride to the middle of the bay was challenging. People got wet. We put cameras away until we entered the leeward side of a large iceberg with a glorious soaring arch. Then put them away again, until we reached the shelter of a large cluster of icebergs and gratefully found we could work relatively unimpeded if we were cautious of the wind tunnels that cut through them. Arches and holes and bowls and overhangs and corridors and towers thrilled us with endless variety. Like snowflakes, no two icebergs are ever identical. More than three hours later we realized we had lost track of time. Our Zodiac driver hadn’t; Metta, was excellent; resourceful and calm under pressure. Before we headed back to the boat we were surprised to find two leopard seals who took great interest in our Zodiac, looking and swimming all around it, nudging it, and finally giving me a farewell tap from behind with a fin.
The seas picked up as we headed out to sea to drive south of the Antarctic circle my mid morning.
Glorious sunshine made the iceberg-choked bays surrounding Danco Island glitter and shimmer. The ring of high mountains and glaciers appearing and disappearing in the slowly shifting cloud masses, alternately thick and dramatic or thin and diaphanous, windblown peaks appearing and disappearing above the clouds. The icebergs in this bay tend to be massive and deeply carved, ranging from white blocky towering tabulars to blue organic low-lying irregulars, all appearing like frozen denizens from the deep. We drove around the island and deep into the far channels for an extended Zodiac cruise in this fabulous sculpture garden. On days like this, the inspiration is no fleeting feeling, it drives deep into your bones and catches your breath long after you depart. The most asked question wasn’t “Did I get something?” (How could you miss?), it was “How many did I get?” We returned and remained elated.
We enjoyed barbeque on deck as we sailed through the Errera Channel.
Only a few of our group elected to make the hike up to the side of the slowly calving glacier at Neko Harbor. The rest spent their time exploring more ice, looking down into blue depths, up into grey heights, and through white walls. A variety of veils continually part and close on this layered landscape, sometimes revealing and sometimes concealing, but always adding depth – and mystery. Wildlife passed by at their own speeds. Snowy petrels charmed us with their graceful flights of fancy. Minke whale surfaced and departed. Seals eyed the Zodiacs. No Zodiac cruise is ever long enough. I’d be thrilled to photograph in one all day and all night.
After dinner Seth and I answered participant’s burning questions about Lightroom and Photoshop, sequeing into demonstrations on demand.
The day started with thick fog. We left in Zodiacs for an invisible shore. Halfway there, we emerged from the fog bank into brilliant sunshine and the warmest day I’ve ever experienced in Antarctica. To the left was a strange fog bow – a white semi-circle below an invisible arc. To the right was a long chain of mountains covered in snow. Ahead of us, below a calving glacier, a small island full of Gentoo penguins, fur and elephant seal, a variety of antarctic seabirds, all surrounding a red research station and in the distance a humpback whale. It was the perfect first stop offering an introduction for first time visitors to all the basic elements in this environment. Perfect for postcards, challenging for more serious work.
In the afternoon we explored Cierva Cove by Zodiac enchanted by the fabulous shapes of icebergs of all sizes (and leopard seals) under glorious sun. The real shooting began. If you worked it, you returned with solid images. To succeed you needed to find a focus and eliminate all unnecessary elements. The exotic nature of the subject / environment will quickly seduce you into overlooking everyday standards and accepting postcards without a point of view as art. Everyone remarked on how lucky we were. I wish I could have stayed there in the Zodiac for an entire day, and perhaps through the night, but was grateful for the few hours I did have.
Whale’s (Minke, Humpback, and Fin) punctuated dinner.
On the water, Chelie and the members of her team confirmed our hunch that they are an exceptional expedition team – and they know how to have fun.
There was no time for presentations today. It was non-stop shooting.
We toasted our good fortune at dinner with a great Malbec from a small vineyard whose wine tasting we were invited to in Ushuaia. Exceptional.
keep looking »
- Get the RSS Feed
Here are the current Categories.
More are coming soon.