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20051207_bransfield Straits

Read the story behind these two photographs made by two very different photographers here.

When Seth Resnick and I started Digital Photo Destinations workshops, many people thought we were an unlikely combination. His mode of photography is active and mine’s contemplative. He photographs everything; I focus on specific things. He’s all about workflow and releases thousands of images a year for stock agencies. I’m all about print quality and release fewer than a hundred images a year for exhibition. We find our differences extremely stimulating. We encourage each other to try new things and our contrasts provide new clarity about our individual natures. Our collaborations are fueling new personal growth for both of us – and for our participants. Our adventures take us to amazing places – Antarctica, Argentina, Greenland, Iceland, Namibia and more – to do some amazing things; glacier walks in ice caves before watching auroras, helicopter rides over volcanoes, zodiac rides through ice fields, hiking the world’s largest dunes … what will be next? On the personal front, we laugh (and so do others) because we’re so similar we can often finish each other’s sentences. The most stimulating relationships are born when there’s something shared and something different. This combination stimulates growth in both individuals. Imagine who that person could be for you.

We just wrote a piece for B&H on the many benefits of sharing photographic experiences.

Read it here – you’ll enjoy it!

Find out more about Digital Photo Destinations workshops here.

In this episode of Real Exposures, David Brommer and I speak about a variety of topics including the value of photography workshops, harnessing creativity, and integrating spirituality in your work.

View more B&H Real Exposures videos here and here.

View my presentations Process & Game Changers in the B&H Event Space here.

(This piece first appeared on Adobe Stories. Find other Adobe Stories here.)

Having developed an international reputation for creating altered photographs with ecological concerns, in Antarctica I became interested in creating an editorial (relatively unaltered) body of work to compare and contrast these two modes of perception and expression. In particular, I was interested in seeing which mode of expression could be most effective for environmental advocacy, if this varies with the context they are presented in, and if they can strengthen each other.

A simple project initially, it continues to grow. A single exhibit and book has become multiple exhibits and books, lectures, a website and Antarctic workshop program.

I started using Photoshop 1 as an artist in residence at Kodak’s Center for Creative Imaging. I beta-tested Lightroom 1. I’ve used every version of Photoshop and Lightroom since their initial release. (Lightroom 1 was released during my second voyage to Antarctica.)

Compared to Photoshop’s capabilities, Lightroom’s capabilities are limited. Because the nature of my first Antarctica project was editorial, I was interested in working within stricter limits and Lightroom’s limits fit those. Lightroom also offered the promise of greater organizational capabilities and productivity, which was very useful while handling a high volume of images made on an extended voyage. Lightroom delivered.

Lightroom not only streamlined up my workflow and accelerated my productivity, it also helped me develop my projects conceptually by making it easier to find and organize patterns of thought and create continuities for their presentation. Collecting, comparing, selecting and sequencing images becomes much easier, and this in turn aids more sophisticated storytelling.

Lightroom helps me see my images better. It offers four ways to view your images: Loupe, Compare, Survey and Grid. Moving in and out of these views helps you see your images better both solo and in relationship to each other. Lightroom’s Collections are equally essential for seeing, creating, and refining relationships between images. With Collections I can easily group like images from multiple folders and hard drives, assessing relative strengths and weaknesses, identifying patterns of thought, and creating sequences to advance a story fluidly. Changing how you see your images changes what you see in your images. How you see your images is important. I can think of few things that are as important.

My Antarctica project and Lightroom brought me back to basics. This shift in focus encouraged me to further strengthen both my camera skills and my storytelling practices, and consequently my vision as a whole. This opened new avenues of discovery encouraging me to think about still images even more cinematically.

You can learn more about my Antarctica project – view images in galleries and slideshows, preview books, download screensavers, find facts about the region, read blog entries made live on site, and much more at www.johnpaulcaponigro/antarctica.com.

Sign up for my Antarctica digital photography workshops here.

Sign up for my Antarctica 2013 digital photography workshop by emailing jpc@johnpaulcaponigro.com.

Watch this video and you’ll get the sense of what it’s like to be on location with me during my Arches digital photography workshop. Plus you’ll hear two tips; one on light (search the boundaries between light and shadow) and another on composition (use frames within frames).

Find out more about my Arches Digital Photography workshop here.

Learn more about my digital photography workshops here.

Iceland. Seljalandsfoss. A waterfall you can walk behind. Sunset.

I’m getting lost in Iceland with a great group of Focus On Nature workshop participants this week.

Stay tuned for updates.

Find out about my 2012 Iceland workshop with Seth Resnick here.

In my Maine Islands digital photography workshop, Andrew Nixon explored creating a dynamic tension between the still and the moving. He typically uses long exposures of moving subjects. But he tried a few new twists on his standard practices, like moving the camera. While he explored other ideas and tried many new things, he always returned to the same theme which gave his images a distinctive quality that stood out from his peers.

What themes make your images distinctive?
What experiments will help you explore and develop this further?

Find out more about Andrew Nixon here.

Read more in my creativity lessons.
Find out more about my Maine Islands digital photography workshop here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.


What does it take to be a great workshop leader? The same things that it takes to be a great leader in any field.

A great leader communicates passionately. Then they fan the flames of other people’s passions. The one thing you don’t want to do with passion is hide it. Passion creates energy, commitment, and endurance. Passion is contagious.

A great leader walks his talk. Leaders demonstrate. They tell you the rules of the game and they also show you when exceptions prove the rules. It’s important to see how theory is modified by practice. It’s even more important to see when and how practice is customized by individuals.

A great leader offers guidance and direction. Leaders share why they do what they do and show what’s worked for them. Then they ask a set of guiding questions that help others frame what’s most relevant to individuals. Leaders help others frame their own unique set of guiding questions in ways that are most personally relevant.

A great leader listens. Different people want and need different things at different times. Leaders ask questions and look at results to find out what other people want and need most. Leaders don’t give other people their voice, they help others make their own voices stronger. Leaders understand that different people want different results.

A great leader helps others activate all their resources. Leaders help others consolidate and build upon their core strengths. You start with where you are and you move to where you want to be. You develop the vision to know where you want to go and the skills to get there. Leaders know that if you want to raise the level of your game, you need to improve both your inner game and your outer game.

A great leader recognizes and reveals group resources. Every group has a unique set of resources, because every group is a collection of unique individuals. Leaders bring out the often hidden resources within a group. When they do this, everyone becomes both a student and a teacher; everyone learns more, including the leader.

A great leader expands other people’s comfort zone. By inspiring people with more possibilities and demonstrating tangible results, leaders show others what’s possible. They challenge other people to periodically get out of their comfort zones and try new things. Conscious experimentation is a key to continued success.

A great leader empowers other people. Leaders offer optimum ways of thinking and working. They think clearly. They act decisively. They do this because they have experience. And, they share their experience to help others become more personally fulfilled.

A great leader brings all of their resources with them (passion, philosophy, history, education, connections, technique, tools, results), ready to make the most of every moment – and every individual.

So, being a great digital photography workshop leader involves far more than making sure people get to great locations at great times. (Of course, that’s really important too!)

 

Find out what people say about my workshops.

Learn more in my digital photography and digital printing workshops.

It was December 2005. We had just made the long crossing of the Drake Passage to Antarctica. On the horizon were enormous icebergs. It was our first view of big ice. We all rushed to deck and began to photograph. I found myself standing shoulder to shoulder with Seth Resnick. He was using a long 300mm lens. I was using a wide 28mm lens. We both looked at each other and then looked again. Our approach was so different we were astonished. “Let me see your camera!” we both said simultaneously and quickly traded cameras. We laughed out loud. With one quick glance, we realized we were seeing in entirely different ways.

It was February 2007. We found ourselves in the very same situation. Again, we had crossed the Drake Passage to Antarctica. Again, there was big ice. Again, we hurried to deck. Only this time, Seth appeared with a wide 14mm lens and I showed up with a long 100-400mm lens. We grinned big grins. We had influenced each other.

It was January 2010. Once more, we had crossed the Drake Passage to Antarctica. There was more big ice. Again we raced to deck. This time we both carried two cameras, one with a wide lens and the other with a long lens. We smiled and nodded knowingly at one another. As a result of sharing the same experiences and the results we produced from them, we had learned to become more versatile and see in more varied ways.

Sharing experiences with other visual artists can be extremely stimulating and rewarding. The resulting growth comes in unexpected ways at unexpected moments. In situations like these, I’ve come to expect the unexpected. Especially with Seth!

What opportunities can you make to share experience and vision with other artists?

Read Seth Resnick’s images and version of our story here.

Find out about our Digital Photography Destinations workshops here.

Seek Feedback

November 29, 2010 | Leave a Comment |


One of the most valuable aspects of a workshop is getting feedback on your work. You get it from a respected authority. You also get if from diverse participants. The combination of both is powerful. You’ll see your work more clearly, see it through others eyes, and find new ways of looking at your work.

One helpful approach is to ask a lot of questions.

Polls quickly give consensus on key issues. Which image is most memorable? Which image is strongest? Is it a 3, 4, or 5 star image?

How good is an image? First, identify the best thing about it. Then, to rate it, compare it to other images (your best or a respected artist’s) with same strengths.

Compare images. How do different images work together? Find formal echoes. Find thematic consistencies. Find shared stylistic traits. Sometimes, two images paired together are stronger than either one alone.

Identify outliers. Which image doesn’t fit with the others?

What could be done now to make it better? Crop? Adjust color? Dodge and burn?

What could be done in the future to make similar images better? Reframe? Return at a special time? Introduce a new element?

Read more in my Creativity Lessons here.
Learn more in my digital photography workshops.

Here are a few of the keepers participants made during last weekend’s White Sands 2010 workshop. Sunrise and sunset locations were complemented by midday reviews. We’ll do it again in 2011!


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