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What a week!!!! :-)

On Friday, we got up early and went shooting at Pecos National Historical Park, about 30 minutes outside of Santa Fe. The park didn’t open until 8:00 am, so when we got there, the light was already pretty harsh, but once we climbed down into the native Kiva’s, the bright light beaming in was really great, and we spent most of our time huddled in these underground Kivas shooting the beams of light (as shown above—click on the photo for a larger version).

When we got back to the classroom, we processed that morning’s shoot in Lightroom, and we learned some new Photoshop CS3 tricks. One that the class really liked was the new Auto Blend and Auto Align features in CS3, and we saw a startling example of it in use as I intentionally took a 10-photo pano, handheld, without changing any camera settings (everything was on “auto”) and CS3 was able to stitch it together perfectly with no gaps; no color change; no nuthin’. It was really slick to see this real world example, and how it opens instant panos to anyone without special equipment or complicated camera techniques.

We spent the rest of the day printing, while I did some more one-on-one portfolio reviews. On Friday night, all the students (from all six classes) gathered together at a beautiful downtown hotel for a cocktail party and group dinner, followed by a presentation of the student’s work that week from each class. It was really fascinating to see what the other classes where working on (there were five other classes going on at the same time as mine, including; How to Market Your Work, Mastering the Portrait; Beginning Photography With Digital Cameras, Lighting Portraits on Location, and a creative class from National Geographic photographer Chris Rainier, called “In Search of the Spirit; Its Land and People”).

Then on Saturday morning, we were back in the digital lab, making our final prints, backing up all the actions we made, and backing up our Lightroom Libraries, and celebrating the wonderful week we spent together.

As an instructor; I can pretty honestly say I’ve never worked as hard as you did during my week at Santa Fe (and I worked my students just as hard)—but it’s worth it. It’s an educational experience like no other, and both the students and I learned a lot, laughed a lot, and we all made some new friends that will last for many years to come. I highly recommend the Santa Fe Workshops, and I’m so impressed with what they’re doing, and their passion and dedication to quality education, that I’m trying to explore ways in which NAPP can work closer with them in the future, because I would love to be able to expose more NAPP members to the amazing things that happen out there every single week.

This fall they have an on-location workshop coming up in San Miguel, Mexico that just looks incredible. This is there second year going to San Miguel, and the photographic opportunities it offers are just staggering. Here’s the link to the San Miguel workshop, and if you want to learn more about the Santa Fe Workshops in general, click right here.

My sincere thanks to the 12 students who spent the week with me. I’ll never forget the experience, and thanks for making the week so much fun, and so rewarding for me as an educator.