Wednesday, April 9, 2014

New Facebook Mentoring Group

mentor: a wise and trusted counselor or teacher.

We’re starting a new group on Facebook. It’s a place where Adirondack Photography Institute staff members will share their experience with you, informally. We're going to perform image critiques, answer questions, act as mentor in your quest to become the best photographer you can be.

Search Facebook for API Mentoring

Anyone can join!!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Snowbound Up North!

Arriving just ahead of a blizzard that pummeled the eastern United States we settled into the turn-of-the-century Woods Inn in Inlet for our annual winter photography workshop, led by yours truly.  Over the next several days, our group of intrepid participants shot forests blanketed in pristine snows, night blizzards and frosty mornings.  We photographed the zen of peach-colored beech leaves decorated with fresh snow, intricate wind-driven snow patterns on the lakes and streams, a patch of cattails wearing snow caps, the subtle textures and hues of the landscape.  We even shot the night, my personal passion.  Though snowing and overcast, the sky turned rich blue, which was reflected on the snow.  We walked the village shooting the artificial lights of buildings and vehicles, and made some moody images of the moon popping out between clouds.

Winter is unlike any other season, with special happenstances capable of producing special images just not possible in other seasons.  I led indoor instructional sessions on the art of reading winter weather and light, strategies for winter landscape shooting, the benefits of shooting open water, big snows and extreme ice, shooting for color and tonal palette, determining winter exposures and critical focusing.  I also demonstrated multiple exposure techniques including layer masks, focus stacking, creating HDR's and panoramas.

The Adirondack winter is always conducive to great imagery and this years' fresh snows were a bonus.  We came away inspired by one another's work and excited to get out photographing more of winter.  Special thanks to the Woods Inn for being such a wonderful base camp to return to for warmth, hearty food and gracious hospitality.  Can't wait for next year....

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Finger Lakes Waterfalls in Autumn

The Finger Lakes region of central New York has over 200 named waterfalls.  The variety is astounding.  There are long bridalveils, ledgy falls and stair-stepping cascades that leap over sedimentary cap rock to basins below.  API continued our annual visit this fall as staff instructors Mark Bowie and Joe LeFevre led participants to some of the most photogenic waterfalls in the East.  A wet summer ensured the falls were flowing strong.  Autumn colors adorned the banks and were reflected in the streams.  We visited the classic falls in Watkins Glen State Park and others nearby.  We also photographed the tallest falls in New York State, the majestic 215-feet high Taughannock Falls, and secured special permission to shoot the spectacular Frontenac Falls on private lands.  And since we were in the heart of New York's wine country, we mixed in a visit to the Americana Vineyards for wine tasting.  Autumn, waterfalls and wine — hard to beat!

Mark and Joe covered field strategies, tips and techniques for taking waterfall imagery to another level, including the use of specialized filters, long exposures, shooting expressionistic images and the need for shooting multiple exposures to expand depth of field, resolution and exposure latitude.

There's much more to explore in Finger Lakes region.  We plan to head back next year.  Watch for API's 2014 schedule, to be posted soon.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Adirondack Peak Fall Foliage - Another Dazzling Display!

Autumn workshops continue to be our most popular, and for good reason.  From mid-September to mid-October Adirondack forests put on a kaleidescopic show, what Mark Bowie calls "New England gone wild."  Stands of evergreens poke through the deciduous forest.  The hardwoods turn the classic yellows, oranges and reds of autumn, but what makes the Adirondacks so unique this time of year is that it also turns to black cherry, tangerine, lavendar, bubblegum, peach and other seemingly unnatural colors.  Sunrise and sunset light enhances the drama.  Mists are generated most mornings and lighten the vivid colors to artistic pastels.  All these events came together again at this year's Peak Fall Foliage Workshop, led by API staff photographers Mark Bowie and Johnathan Esper.  They guided participants through the water-laden central Adirondack region, visiting backwoods lakes and ponds, streams and waterfalls.  They also led participants on night photography excursions, Mark's specialty,  and Johnathan led treks up local peaks for spectacular views over the Fulton Chain at sunrise.

The instructors gave special emphasis to dynamic composition, reading autumn light and weather conditions, altering vantage points, shooting for color and tonal palette, expressionistic techniques for fall foliage and shooting multiple exposures for extending exposure range and depth of field.

The beauty of autumn in the Adirondacks is overwhelming.  There are grand scenics, intimate woodland scenes, and macro opportunities galore.  API's 2014 schedule will include several fall foliage events.  Watch for it soon!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another Fine Retreat

A half-moon backlit the mist as it hovered over calm water with a distant, mournful, call of a loon. Such were the conditions of our final evening together at our recent retreat. It was a classic Adirondack experience and a night we’ll never forget.

Half Moon at Moss Lake

With a willing group and fellow staff member Mark Bowie, we spent four days exploring the area around the Fulton Chain of Lakes.   With its open schedule, the retreat format gave us the freedom to chase the light when the conditions were right.   We worked on daily assignments and generated a theme for our work as it slowly emerged over the course of the retreat.  After the morning fieldwork each day, we returned to the conference room to process the images and print our favorite ones.  We enjoyed gourmet dinners together at the Woods Inn in Inlet, NY, and then headed back out for the evening shoot, either at the shores of Fourth Lake at the inn, or at other select locations nearby. With Mark’s expertise in night shooting and my experience with time-lapse, we exposed our students to these two exciting aspects of digital photography.   We made some great friendships and shared wonderful experiences together.  If you’re an advanced shooter, consider one of our future retreats, and take your photography to the next level. 

The Retreat Group

Friday, June 7, 2013

Waterfalls Galore!

API staff instructors Mark Bowie and Joe LeFevre led an enthusiastic group of photographers to the beautiful waterfalls of Ricketts Glen State Park in north-central Pennsylvania, their second workshop to this enchanting place.  Ricketts is one of the finest places to photograph waterfalls in the East.  There are twenty-two named falls, from 10 to 100 feet high, along a three-mile stretch of Kitchen Creek.  Between them, slabs of rock are strewn haphazardly in the shallow creekbed.  An infinite number of riffles flow over and around them.  The surrounding beech forest is electric lime green in spring and makes a lovely backdrop to the falls.
The group was met, however, with challenging shooting conditions — bright sunny skies with a few passing clouds.  Mark and Joe favor shooting forest-lined waterfalls under bright overcast conditions, but the group learned that even in contrasty light, there are abundant photographic possibilities.  Shafts of sunlight lit underwater rocks, so that they appeared to be glowing in the creekbed.  Zeroing in on the reflections of sunlit foliage created multi-colored bands of flowing water.  Long exposures produced abstract blends of color and texture.  The persistence of the students paid off with exceptional images not even possible in overcast conditions.
The instructors also led indoor instructional sessions with strategies, tips and techniques specific to shooting waterfalls.  They emphasized the importance of careful composition and demonstrated the need for shooting multiple exposures.  Layer Masks, HDR's, panoramas and image optimization in Lightroom and Photoshop were presented in detail.

Ricketts is truly a spectacular place, with one mesmerizing waterfall after another.  Around every bend lies new discoveries, and Mark and Joe plan to go back next year.  Interested in taking your waterfall imagery to new levels?  Consider joining our experts for a workshop to the waterfalls of the Finger Lakes region in central New York from October 17-20.  For details, including the program description and pricing, click here.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fall Retreat Added

We've added another retreat program to our schedule. This program will be led by Mark Bowie and John Radigan, and take place September 22-27 at the Woods Inn in Inlet, NY. There should be some fall color making an appearance making this retreat even more fun!

For details click here.