May 292014
 

Digitizing slides and negatives on the cheap

By Dierk Topp

what is this about?

A fast, easy and cheap solution for digitizing slides and negatives

The main idea is, to use the light of a tablet as a neutral white light source and solve the (my) main problem with the light.
The rest can be done in many different ways.

Many of us have tons of analog photographs in form of slides and/or negatives at home. I think, most of us don’t even look at these pictures any more, as it is just too much effort for showing slides compared to the great show of our digital images, stored on a stick and shown on our large TV screen. Even worse with all the negatives, that where never seen as positive print.

Since many years I was looking for a solution to digitize at least my slides with all the old pictures of the family, vacations and many other events, that I like to remember and give copies to my family. I used my DSLR with macro lenses and my Photo scanner but have been always very disappointed.

The problem with the DSLR was the light and the resolution (at that time 12 MPix) and the problem with the scanner was the boring time per scan, and also the resolution of only 2400 DPI!

Some time ago I noticed, that my tablet can be used as an ideal light source.
The light is very neutral (I checked it with the Colorchecker). And I came up with the following quick and “not so dirty” solution, of course not for professional work.

What do you need?

1. a camera, that gives you 1:1 close up images (the Sony E-mount Macro 30mm does it, many compact cameras as well)
2. your tablet (a smart phone may do it as well) as light source
3. a tripod or better a copy stand to mount the camera
4. clear glass pane (I use the glass of a cheap photo frame)
5. a bubble level to align the base and camera horizontally and/or a small mirror

optional:

6. a remote trigger for the camera to avoid vibrations
7. a transparent etched glass pane (or a milky glass pane, but that absorbs much light)
8. a negative holder from a photo scanner
9. a good blower to clean the glass and the slides or film
10. dark paper or card board to protect the lens from direct light from the tablet with a matching whole in it for your picture
11. cotton gloves for the handling of your negatives and slides

The set up:

(sorry for my English, I hope, I can make it clear enough)

* For first tests I used the Sony NEX-6 and the Sony E-mount Macro lens 30mm/3.5 with the IR remote control. After a few test shots I found, that the Sony Macro is very soft in the corners, but it offers AF! This could be very convenient, if you copy different slides with different thickness.
After that I decided to try the excellent Leica Makro-Elmarit-R 2.8/60mm with the Leica Macro-Adapter-R for 1:1 with very good results. BTW you get the used Leica lens for about the same price as the new Sony Macro lens. Plus a Leica-R adapter of course.

* The copy stand (mine is from B.I.G.) for about 30€, for small cameras. I cut a hole into the base plate and put the etched glass pane under it and below this the tablet

* On the base of the copy stand I put the glass of a picture frame

* You have to make sure, that the film and the sensor are parallel! I did it with a mirror, that I put on the glass and aligned the camera till I could see the reflection of the lens exactly in the middle of the screen. A bubble level on the glass (to control, how horizontal the table is) and on the camera display will help as well.

* Before you start, like in the good old days or nights in the darkroom you have to clean the glass and of course the slides or negatives carefully!

* On the tablet you need a neutral white image. I made one by taking a screen shot of an email with very little text and enlarged the screen so much that I had only the white background and then did another screen shot.
Of course there are many other ways for a white screen.

Try to focus on the grain with the focus magnification of the camera, as we used to do in the darkroom. With original lenses you do not have to take care but on adapted lenses like my Leica lens in this case open the aperture and focus with the magnification – and don’t forget to stop down again! I used f/11 to compensate for any misalignment. With the Sony Macro lens the AF worked as well. But with AF you definitely need an etched or milky glass pane, otherwise your camera will focus at the contrast of the LED of your tablet most of the times! This will be the same with other AF cameras.
What resolution do you get?

any, only limited by the grain!!

If you do the whole film with one shot, you get the resolution of your camera. If you need more resolution, you have to get closer and shoot multiple images and stitch. In that case of course with manual exposure.
With 35mm film this does not make much sense, as you may get beyond the resolution of the film grain.
With larger formats is makes a lot of sense.
I have 24×56 negatives from my Horizon 202 panorama camera and shoot two images (left and right) and stitch.
With 6×6 negatives I did 4 shots (2×2) with the NEX-6 and stitch. After I tried the Sony A7R with 36 MPix I decided to do only one shot and crop the sides to the 1:1 format. If I need higher resolution for a really good photograph, I always can do it again later with multiple shots and get higher resolution.
With my 4×5 negatives I did 6 shots (2×3) and stitched. Again I can do one shot now and do multiple shots for more resolution later, if I want.
How long does it take?

If everything is aligned and cleaned, I shoot 10 negatives in 15 minutes or even faster.
For comparison: I scanned a 6×6 negative with my old Epson 2450 Photo with 2400 dpi resolution and it took 10 minutes and I got less resolution!

Post processing

I import the RAW files into Light Room and use Photoshop for the conversion from negative to positive and do basic exposure and contrast corrections. Back in Lightroom on color images I try to find a more or less white or gray spot as a reference for the white balance and do the final processing.

A picture is better than many words, here is my set up:

The Sony Macro 30mm in 1:1 position for slides and 35mm negatives
a dark paper mask protects the lens from the light source, the paper on the left protects against the light from the window or you shoot in a dark room you see the mate glass pane and under it the tablet with the white image on the display.

setup for digital photography of  slides and B&W negative film

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you see the whole in the copy stand for the light from the tablet
the NEX-6 with the Leica Makro-Elmarit-R 60mm with 1:1 Macro-Adapter-R on a Metabones adapter

Mail Attachment

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a 6×6 negative, I used the negative holder of my scanner

setup for digital photography of  slides and B&W negative film

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The alignment with a mirror
see the image of the mirror in the center of the display of the camera!

setup for digital photography of  slides and B&W negative film

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And here are first results :-)

the color images are here on my flickr
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/sets/72157644569983692/

35mm slides

digital photograph of color slide 24x36

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I don’t remember the film, but it was a high speed film with Vaseline on the filter for the soft focus
focus on the grain was a must on this one

digital photograph of color slide 24x36

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This example is very special, I made it 1970 in New York City
you see the World Trade Towers during construction with my at that time new 17mm/4 Fish-Eye-Takumar
the quality of the slides is very poor

Mail Attachment

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These are stitched images from 24x56mm negatives of the Russian Horizon 202
images on flickr are here:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/sets/72157644195467248/

digital photograph of Horizon 202 (24x56) B&W film

Horizon 202 (24x56) B&W film

6×6 images made with the DDR made Pentacon Six

are here on flickr:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/sets/72157644569983672/

6×6 color negative Agfa Ultra 100
color negative is not easy, you would need a profile to compensate the color mask of the film

digital photograph of 6x6 color negativ film, stitched of 6 imag

and B&W from Agfa APX 100

digital photograph of 6x6 B&W film

Pentacon Six 6x6, Zeiss Flektogon 4/50mm, Agfa APX 100

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this one is from a 4×5″ B&W negative, made with Gandolfi Variant II
6 stitched image parts (2×3)

analog 4x5 B&W, stitch of 4 image parts, Sony A7R with Leica Mak

Last but not least panorama images from a time, when stitching images was not jet invented.

My plan for these images has been, to mount the printed images together as a panorama – but it never came out good enough.
Now with the simple to use software it worked great to my surprise :-)

4 images 6×6 from the Pentacon Six on Agfa Ultra color negative film (1992), stitched with PTGui
the image with this resolution is about 17.000 pixel wide. Compared to the possibilities from today this does not sound much. I just did a panorama with 7 images from the Sony A7R hand held, resulting in 37.000 pixel – o.k. just in case I want to print it 5m wide :-))

Pentacon Six 6x6, Zeiss Flektogon 4/50mm, Agfa Ultra 100 color n

A last one, I made with the Gandolfi Variant 4×5″ field camera

This is the most complicated panorama, I ever made :-)

It is made out of two 4×5″ shots from Gandolfi Variant.
First image with shifted front standard to one side and back standard to the opposite and the second image with shifts the other way around.
Lens was Rodenstock Sironar-N 150mm/5.6 MC
and the usual darkroom chemistry ….

PP:
digitized both images with Sony A7R and Leica Makro-Elmarit-R 60mm
each image with 4 shots (2×2)
each image processed with LR5 and exported as TIFF
stitched with PTGui 9
the negative converted with CS6 and base contrast alignments
final processing with Nik Silver Efex Pro2
the result is about 7.600×17.200 pixel = 130 Mpix.

La Palma, Canary Islands, view from El Time

analog 4x5 B&W, stitch of 8 image parts from two photographs, So

this is a crop of this image

Mail Attachment

I hope, you got the idea and start checking all your slides and negatives and wake them alive again

dierk

https://www.flickr.com/photos/dierktopp/

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PLEASE! I NEED YOUR HELP TO KEEP THIS WEBSITE RUNNING, IT IS SO EASY AND FREEE for you to HELP OUT!

Hello to all! For the past 5 years I have been running this website and it has grown to beyond my wildest dreams. Some days this very website has over 200,000 visitors and because of this I need and use superfast web servers to host the site. Running this site costs quite a bit of cash every single month and on top of that, I work full-time 60+ hours a week on it each and every single day of the week (I received 200-300 emails a DAY). Because of this, I need YOUR help to cover my costs for this free information that is provided on a daily basis.

To help out it is simple. 

If you ever decide to make a purchase from B&H Photo or Amazon, for ANYTHING, even diapers..you can help me without spending a penny to do so. If you use my links to make your purchase (when you click a link here and it takes you to B&H or Amazon, that is using my links as once there you can buy anything and I will get a teeny small credit) you will in turn be helping this site to keep on going and keep on growing.

Not only do I spend money on fast hosting but I also spend it on cameras to buy to review, lenses to review, bags to review, gas and travel, and a slew of other things. You would be amazed at what it costs me just to maintain this website. Many times I give away these items in contests to help give back you all of YOU.

So all I ask is that if you find the free info on this website useful AND you ever need to make a purchase at B&H Photo or Amazon, just use the links below. You can even bookmark the Amazon link and use it anytime you buy something. It costs you nothing extra but will provide me and this site with a dollar or two to keep on trucking along.

AMAZON LINK (you can bookmark this one)

B&H PHOTO LINK – (not bookmark able) Can also use my search bar on the right side or links within reviews, anytime.

You can also follow me on Facebook, TwitterGoogle + or YouTube. ;)

May 262014
 

Photowalk and Workshop Thoughts

By Ben

Steve and Brandon,

The first photography workshop that I attended was the street photography workshop you hosted in Chicago during September 2011. It was a wonderful experience.

I recently had the opportunity to teach a street photography workshop hosted by the local camera shop in my area. I met very passionate photographers and was able to share my thoughts with them. I learned from them as well. I think that workshops are fantastic and I wish they occurred more frequently. I wanted to share my thoughts with you and your readers regarding photowalks and workshops.

Photowalk is not a word that can be easily be found defined in a dictionary. I understand it to mean: An informal organized gathering of people whose intent is to stroll around leisurely taking photos, enjoying themselves, and learning from one another through interaction and observation. I think that photowalks are analogous to photography workshops. They can be considered one and the same.

Workshops and photowalks are great investment and idea for photographers at every skill level. Here is why:

Education

No explanation is necessary. We all benefit from instruction. Regarding workshops in general, photography related or not, I always take something away from the experience.

Interaction

Workshops allow for more individualized attention. Studies have shown that more is accomplished with a smaller teacher to student ratio. A smaller group size allows for more opportunity for communication. Sometimes individual student/teacher time is included during a workshop. Before a workshop I determine what it is that I want to get out of the workshop. I prepare a list of questions ahead of time. Many of these questions are naturally answered through the content of material presented. The other questions I will ask the instructor during a one-on-one session.

Informality

Workshops typically consist of ten or fewer students. In my formal career I have had the opportunity to present, teach, and mentor numerous times. There are benefits to learning in smaller groups. I have seen it with my own eyes. In larger groups and in classroom settings it is harder for people to speak up and ask questions. I once taught a night class at the local college that only had seven students enrolled. The restraint and sheepishness of students was almost non-existent. In that situation I felt less like a teacher and more like a big brother type of mentor. The atmosphere was very relaxed. People felt comfortable. I have observed the same type of social synergy in photography workshops. People interact, they speak up and communicate.

Time

Workshops are generally scheduled for a full weekend or less. I’ve heard time and time again that the best way to become a photographer is to keep your day job. Like most of us, I have a 9 to 5 career. There isn’t time available in my busy life to enroll in formal photography or art classes. Workshops are great because they generally occur over the weekend. They are usually held at a very great location and thus can feel like a mini vacation. One day workshops that are held on a Saturday seem to fit me well. My wife and I will generally travel to the workshop destination on Friday night after work. Saturday day is taken up with me at the workshop and my wife shopping or checking out the tourist attractions that are offered. We meet up in the evening for dinner and a night out on the town. I also use this time out with my wife to get some street shooting in as well. It’s great to multitask street shooting while out on a date with your love. The day ends up being a full day of photography for me.

Camaraderie

People like to spend time with other like minded people with the same interests. Workshops mainly consist of time in a classroom followed by shooting time. During this shooting time there is much interaction. This is where I approach or am approached by others to chat about what has previously discussed during the day. Conversations typically start with “I really agreed with your comment regarding……” or “I have the same camera. Do you like the lens you are shooting with? I’ve considered buying it.” Advertising for workshops should include “For sale: instant friends, just add cameras”. I have met many great people attending photography workshops. Someone usually facilitates email address exchange at the end. I can say that I keep in contact with some people I’ve met through email or simply following and commenting on their blogs, social pages, etc.

Attached are several photos that I captured during the second session of the workshop I taught. All photos were taken with a Leica M9 and Voigtlander 35mm Skopar PII.

You can view more of the photos at:
www.photographsbyben.com
www.photographsbybenmiller.blogspot.com

Thank you Steve and thank you Brandon for keeping such a wonderful website and giving all of us something to look forward to everyday.

Cheers,

Ben

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Mar 032014
 

Beauties of Nature premium 3 day Workshop opportunity

April 4th – April 7th 2014 – $200 discount for SteveHuffPhoto.com readers!

Hello to all and happy Monday! It is a beautiful day here in Phx AZ with some warmth and sunshine so that always makes me smile. For those that want some of that warmth and sunshine I wanted to tell you about a workshop a friend of mine is putting on in April, and it is a big one.

My Friend Todd Hatakeyama, the guy who helped and organized my Valley of Fire workshop and the guy who Organized and set up my “Photo Cruise” is putting on a massive workshop that is aimed at helping anyone who wants to get into portrait, fashion as well as learn all about LIGHTING. They have lined up some amazing speakers and models, male and female, and will be holding it at a huge 8 acre estate in the Wildlife area of San Diego California where the weather will be just as beautiful as the models that will be on hand. This is a true “Workshop” so be prepared to WORK.

BON

Here is a blurb from the Beauties of Nature workshop page:

“Come join us for an all-inclusive weekend of photography, celebrity models, food, wine, and fun on an 8-acre ranch in the Wildlife area of San Diego, California. Learn how to shoot spectacular high-fashion models in an outdoor setting with studio strobes and natural light. Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph dazzling women in an extraordinary environment. The Beauties of Nature await you!”

They have a video from their last workshop that you can checkout below:

The good news is that if anyone here is interested they are offering $200 off the cost of booking this event just for the readers here if you use THIS LINK to sign up.

**I have not been paid one cent to post this, I do so because I know the level that this workshop is on and it is a big one, a luxury event with great food, drink, fun and a true LEARNING experience and figured some of you here may enjoy something like this. Also, Todd is a great guy and has helped me out in the past so I am returning the favor and I told him..give my readers $200 off and I will post!**

Read all about their event HERE at their page.

They will have 5 guest speakers, three models and a jam-packed schedule of events from Friday April 4th to Monday April 7th when the workshop ends. Below is the full schedule of events:

Friday, April 4th

12:00pm – Participants Arrive

12:00pm to 1:00pm – Introductions/Lecture

1:00pm to 2:00pm – Lunch

2:00pm to 2:30pm – Flor Lecture

2:30pm to 3:00pm – Kassie Lecture

3:30pm to 8:00pm – Optional Private Shoots

7:00pm to 8:00pm – Dinner

8:00pm to 9:00pm – Capture One Lecture

Late Night – Astronomy, Light Painting, Long Exposures

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Saturday, April 5th

8:00am to 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am to 10:00am – Tim Lecture

10:00am to 1:00pm – Model Shoot/Macro Shoot

1:00pm to 2:00pm – Lunch

2:00pm to 5:00pm – Model Shoot/Macro Shoot

5:00pm to 8:00pm – Model Shoot/Macro Shoot

8:00pm to 9:00pm – Dinner

9:00pm to 11:00pm – Optional Individual Model Shoot

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Sunday, April 6th

8:00am to 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am to 10:00am – Jay Lecture

10:00am to 1:00pm – Model Shoot

1:00pm to 2:00pm – Lunch

2:00pm to 5:00pm – Model Shoot

5:00pm to 7:00pm – Optional Individual Model Shoot

7:00pm to 8:00pm – Dinner

8:00pm to 10:30pm – Optional Individual Model Shoot

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Monday, April 7th

8:00am to 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am to 12:00pm – Editing

12:00pm to 4:00pm – Lunch/Photo Critique

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How to get in on this one..

So anyone who is interested in a weekend of fun, learning, experience, and great food and massive photo opps, take a look at their page HERE and if you want to book, be sure to get the $200 off by using THIS LINK just for my readers here!

Dec 282013
 

UPDATE: Valley of Fire workshop! ONE SEAT remains!

Feb 21st -24th

walkingthered

ONE SEAT REMAIN in a shared room and then we are SOLD OUT!! If you want in, e-mail me! These will not last long!

 February 21st-24th 2014

OK! With all of these new cameras released and now in the hands of all of YOU what better than to join me on a cool weekend workshop in a gorgeous area of the country where we will hike, shoot, chat, learn, eat and stay in super deluxe accommodations. YES, I am excited about this one and can not wait to go back out and shoot with some of you as it is always a great time. This time it is going to be pretty special.

We will have Jay Bartlett doing instruction as well as being our guide. Jay joined me on one of my LA Workshops and gave instruction on shooting models to everyone in attendance, and it was great. Todd Hatakeyama will join in as well (the Cruisemaster from the 1st ever Steve Huff Photo cruise) for the fun and adventure and to set up the details to make sure it all runs smoothly. I will be there of course as well as a group of like-minded passionate individuals who share the same love for photography as YOU.

There will be a lot of hiking, photography, arches, caves, and amazing colors. We’ll see as much of the park as we can in 2-3 days. Possible locations include: Elephant Rock, White Domes, Arch Rock, Fire Wave, Crazy Hill, Pretzel Arch, El Portal Arch, Piano Rock, and more.

 Don’t worry too much if you’re not in the best shape. We’ll break into groups according to hiking ability. We will provide 2-way radios, bottled water, snacks and a suggested list of gear. For all of you who have seen images from these locations online for years and years and have always wanted to BE THERE..well, now is your chance, and of course, we will be doing it all in style.

13-09-11_Valleyoffire_50_0094

Tentative Schedule (to be finalized in the next two weeks) and some details:

As always with my workshops, we make sure we have a “TON O FUN” and this one will be no exception :)

This time we will be staying in a mansion with plenty of space to roam :) 

- 10 bedroom mansion - 12 guests max (once we sell 12, that is it)!

- single rooms are limited

- we’ll have a caravan of 3 suv’s or vans 

What’s included:

- 3 nights at the mansion

- light breakfast and picnic lunches are included on Sat and Sun

- guided tour of the Valley of fire for 2 full days

- bottled water, snacks

- possibly pickup and drop off from airport (if our schedule permits)

all other meals are not included

d59c1207-7bb7-49dc-a287-ba42008fd950.1.10

 February 21st-24th 2014

Friday – arrive late afternoon – meet at the house, we may be able to pick people up from the airport (would fly into Las Vegas airport)

(those coming from Southern California can meet up to carpool Friday morning)

Friday evening – Dinner

Saturday and Sunday, shooting from early morning until sunset. Light breakfast snacks and picnic lunch.

Sunday night – people can fly out after 8pm, or stay the night and leave Monday morning

(for Southern California people, we’ll head out mid morning)

THERE IS ONE SEAT LEFT IN A SHARED ROOM, SO IF YOU WANT IN, GET IN NOW!

How much does it cost and how do I get in?

If you want to join the fun and come away with some amazing photographs, some new skills and some new friends and great memories then make sure to get in quick before this sells out. History shows that every single workshop I have done has sold out and usually we have more wanting in AFTER they sell out. I do not do too many of these and this time I am teaming jump with Jay and Todd to make sure this one is run smoothly and provides all of the cool stuff you would expect!

If you want in, the cost for a single private room with everything above included is $1000 for the three-day event. If you do not mind to share a room with someone the cost is $700, but private rooms usually go fast so if you are interested, and want a private room, email me quick! 

Payment will be done via paypal or if you do not use paypal we can do other payment methods. Paypal is preferred.

If you want in, e-mail me HERE and I will instruct you on how to pay. Once you are paid up you are locked in and all set! This will be a great time and I am looking forward to it. I may be able to even bring some goodies along for all to try (which I will confirm here when I know for sure).

Hoping to meet and see some of you there in February! 

 

Dec 172013
 

The Valley of Fire Workshop! February 21st-24th 2014

walkingthered

We are now SOLD OUT and this is with extending the group to 14! That means I sleep on the couch! 

OK! With all of these new cameras released and now in the hands of all of YOU what better than to join me on a cool weekend workshop in a gorgeous area of the country where we will hike, shoot, chat, learn, eat and stay in super deluxe accommodations. YES, I am excited about this one and can not wait to go back out and shoot with some of you as it is always a great time.

Along with myself we will have Jay Bartlett doing instruction as well as being our guide. Jay joined me on one of my LA Workshops and gave instruction on shooting models to everyone in attendance, and it was great. Todd Hatakeyama will join in as well (the Cruisemaster from the 1st ever Steve Huff Photo cruise) for the fun and adventure and to set up the details to make sure it all runs smoothly.

There will be a lot of hiking, photography, arches, caves, and amazing colors. We’ll see as much of the park as we can in 2-3 days. Possible locations include: Elephant Rock, White Domes, Arch Rock, Fire Wave, Crazy Hill, Pretzel Arch, El Portal Arch, Piano Rock, and more.

There will be a fair amount of hiking, so be prepared for at least 8 miles each day through trails and some semi-rough terrain. Don’t worry too much if you’re not in the best shape. We’ll break into groups according to hiking ability. We will provide 2-way radios, bottled water, snacks and a suggested list of gear. For all of you who have seen images from these locations online for years and years and have always wanted to BE THERE..well, now is your chance, and of course, we will be doing it all in style.

13-09-11_Valleyoffire_50_0094

Tentative Schedule (to be finalized in the next two weeks) and some details:

As always with my workshops, we make sure we have a “TON O FUN” and this one will be no exception :)

This time we will be staying in a mansion with plenty of space to roam :) 

b453ffb6-5d83-4100-8dfc-afe8f5337553.1.10

- 10 bedroom mansion - 12 guests max (once we sell 12, that is it)!

- single rooms are limited

- we’ll have a caravan of 3 suv’s or vans 

What’s included:

- 3 nights at the mansion

- light breakfast and picnic lunches are included on Sat and Sun

- guided tour of the Valley of fire for 2 full days

- bottled water, snacks

- possibly pickup and drop off from airport (if our schedule permits)

all other meals are not included

d59c1207-7bb7-49dc-a287-ba42008fd950.1.10

Friday – arrive late afternoon – meet at the house, we may be able to pick people up from the airport (would fly into Las Vegas airport)

(those coming from Southern California can meet up to carpool Friday morning)

Friday evening – Dinner

Saturday and Sunday, shooting from early morning until sunset. Light breakfast snacks and picnic lunch.

Sunday night – people can fly out after 8pm, or stay the night and leave Monday morning

(for Southern California people, we’ll head out mid morning)

How much does it cost and how do I get in? (we are 100% SOLD OUT)

if you want to join the fun and come away with some amazing photographs, some new skills and some new friends and great memories then make sure to get in quick before this sells out. History shows that every single workshop I have done has sold out and usually we have more wanting in AFTER they sell out. I do not do too many of these and this time I am teaming jump with Jay and Todd to make sure this one is run smoothly and provides all of the cool stuff you would expect.

If you want in, the cost for a single private room with everything above included is $1000 for the three-day event. If you do not mind to share a room with someone the cost is $700, but private rooms usually go fast so if you are interested, and want a private room, email me quick! 

Payment will be done via paypal or if you do not use paypal we can do other payment methods. Paypal is preferred.

If you want in, e-mail me HERE and I will instruct you on how to pay. Once you are paid up you are locked in and all set! This will be a great time and I am looking forward to it. I may be able to even bring some goodies along for all to try (which I will confirm here when I know for sure).

Hoping to meet and see some of you there in February!

 

Jun 262013
 

L1010604sm

The Palouse Road Trip concludes! Day 2 through 4 – My photos and memories

So the Road Trip has concluded! As I sit here in my room at Ashwin Rao’s house I realize that many special memories have just been made over the past few days during this road trip. I want to say 1st and foremost that it was a pleasure to hang with this amazing group of guys. There were 14-15 of us depending on the day but from Friday to Tuesday we hung out, shot some amazing scenics, ate some  great food, saw gorgeous and almost unreal landscapes, shared a few beers and many of us on this trip made brand new lifelong friendships. To me, that makes this whole thing worth it and what I enjoy so much from these events.

This one went so well that we will be doing another in 2014 but it will be changed up a bit. It seems every workshop or event I do just gets better and better, and this one was my favorite of all the ones that I have done to date.

I posted about day one HERE so this post will be all about Days 2-4, starting in reverse from Day 4 :) Enjoy, and THANKS TO ALL WHO attended and thanks to all who helped out with driving. Also, a HUGE thanks to Ryan McGinty, our guide who did one hell of a job..he oozed with passion while in the Palouse and it was clear that this was more than a job for him, it was something he LOVED doing. Another big thanks to Victor for everything.

Of course none of this would have even come together without the help of Ashwin Rao!

So without further ado, onto the wrap up of the Palouse Road Trip starting from Day 4 to Day 2. Day one is HERE.

Day 4 (the last day), Top Pot Donuts, a boat ride and some street shooting in Seattle. 

Me and Mark Klebeck, founder and owner of Top Pot Doughnuts, based in Seattle

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After four consecutive days of a three SUV caravan driving all over The Palouse and then onto a day in Seattle… it was just today the entire group was treated to a great start of the day when the owner and creator of world-famous Top Pot donuts, Mark Klebeck allowed us into their flagship store in downtown Seattle and then treated us with dozens of donuts and all of the coffee we could drink, on the house! Soon after that we took a tour of the facility and the bakery to see how these donuts were made. Mark is a huge Leica fan (and a fan of this site) and we chatted about cameras for a while and I can tell he was truly passionate about Leica and photography. Super nice guy and we had a blast at breakfast. He even gave me and Ashwin a signed book and personalized Apron with our name, how cool is that?

Me, Mark and Ashwin

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Sailing the Seas!

Soon after, Leica user Brad Husick who also occasionally writes for this site, brought us out on his electric boat and gave us a cool boat ride/tour. This was extremely cool of Brad and nice surprise. Some of stayed back but many of us enjoyed the trip. So the morning of day 4 was starting off incredibly well thanks to Mark and Brad.

NOTE: The photos from Top Pot were taken by Ashwin with his RX1. The shot above of the three of us was taken by Chuck Wolfe using Ashwin’s RX1 :)

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We had a great lunch and then embarked for some shooting in Seattle before the final edit and dinner.

Street Shooting Session

Street shooting in the tourist areas is usually full of life, color and energy which leads to photo opps, but it is very touristy..as in, these shots have been taken a million times by every person that strolls through with a camera. Still, it can be fun and some members of the group never did any street style shooting so we walked through Pikes Place Market at around 10AM and had some fun tasting hot sauces and shooting the people/artists of the area. I was shooting with my M 240 and Ashwin’s MINT like brand new copy of the 50 Summarit f/1.5, which as you know if you have read my previous reports on this lens..it is CRAZY with softness, glow, bokeh and classic character. It is about as “classic” as you can get.

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So I was shooting this crazy lens and then realized I was shooting JPEG only because I had to reset my M 240 after it would not come out of live view mode! After reset it defaulted to JPEG only so the images below are all JPEGS and I forgot that the camera has this as the default! It took me about 30 shots before I knew I was not shooting RAW, which is very important with any M. You must ALWAYS shoot RAW for best quality as the JPEGs lack.

We soon went down to the “Gum Wall” down below the Market. What is the Gum Wall you ask? That is what I wanted to know as well as I have never seen it, let alone heard of it. I was soon to find out what it was though as the stench of chewed up bubble gum filled my nose as we ventured down this very interesting looking street.

The Gum Wall is basically an alleyway where the walls are filled with chewed gum. It’s insanely cool to shoot but pretty nasty to think about. As we walked I saw this kid eating an apple and snapped his image. I was hoping he would not decide he wanted some gum :)

The Gum Wall in Seattle with the insanely character and flaw filled 50 Summarit 1.5 – weird colors, weird Bokeh, glow..this one has all of the classic ingredients :)

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Ryan McGinty our Guide in the Palouse also joined us in Seattle

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Sarf Niazi – An amazing man, in fact, the most interesting man in the world! No joke!

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Chuck Wolfe who shot with an OM-D 645! (inside joke)

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After the Gum wall  where we basically all shot portraits of each other we trekked on and shot a little bit more. I saw this city worker who looked so friendly and was chatting with Vincent, one our group members. I asked her for her portrait after telling her she had the friendliest face I had seen that day. She gave me a huge smile so I snapped and she was 100% cool with it.

That Summarit Magic…sharp in the center and nuts everywhere else

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In the Market..you can see the dreamy quality of the classic Summarit wide open. Many hate this look and some like it. I love it every now and again, but not every day.

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After that we went back to Ashwin’s house and edited and chatted about the previous few days before splitting off, saying goodbyes and heading to a final dinner with some who stayed for the dinner at a local neighborhood pizza restaurant.

But what about those previous few days..noticed I started this with Day 4? This road trip to Palouse was huge fun and so jammed packed with photo opps it was quite magical at certain moments and for me, quite special. If you saw my 1st post the other day you would have seen the amazing sights were seeing. But let’s move on and see what day 3 brought for us…

The Previous Days – The Chicken Farm, Palouse Falls and the trek back home. 

Day 3 – The Chicken Farm and Palouse Falls

The previous two days went well as we traveled through more of the Palouse and then took a trek home while making stops along the way when a photo opp arose. One of those was at a chicken farm and even though it was a rainy day, we all have a great time shooting the barns, the animals and for me, the owner. I asked him for a portrait while we were there and he did not want me to take it but the reason why is he told me that no one ever found him interesting enough to take a photo of! He was flattered that I asked so I snapped one shot with the M and 50 Nokton 1.5.

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The photo above was shot with my M 240 and the Voigtlander 50 1.5. A great combo that works very well on the M. The farm was nice even though it was raining a bit, but that was OK as I loved the rain. I did not hide my M from it though as we all know it is wheather sealed :) I wanted to put it to the test and it passed the water test OK. Then again, Murphy (seen below) had his M9 out in the rain as well without issues. He was sporting the awesome SLR Magic Hyperprime T0.95.

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Palouse Falls

So the farm was fantastic even with the wet weather we had and we all had a great time with everyone there. On this day we also visited Palouse Falls and WOW…blown away again.

This one was shot with the Leica M 240 and Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 – click for larger

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This one is a full size file from the Leica X Vario – click it for full size

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The image below was shot by me with Ashwin’s Pentax 645 D – Digital Medium Format

In the image: Ryan, Ashwin and Bob ready to fall off the falls

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Ryan framing his shot

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Day 2 – More of The Palouse

Day two of the trip was much like day one with one thing being different! We did not have the beautiful light of day 1, but that did not stop us from getting some shots. I will finish off this post with a slew of photos that I liked from the trip. If anyone ever wants to see this area I can highly recommend it and if you want a good guide, contact Ryan. He’s the real deal.

Of course, if you want to join in with me and Ashwin next year, let us know and I can put you on an interest list. It will likely be limited to 15 as it was this time. You can email me HERE if you are interested. We are guessing it will happen sometime in mid 2014.

Thanks!

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Jun 212013
 

Heading to the Palouse! Ready to Road Trip!

Hello to all and Happy Friday! I am about to head out to the airport for Seattle to meet up with Ashwin Rao because tomorrow we start our Palouse Road trip that will last all the way until Tuesday, and I can’t wait! It is going to be a blast with 14 of us and all kinds of amazingly beautiful photo opportunities. I am packing my camera bag now which will hold my M 240 along with a 15, 50 and 85. The X Vario is coming along so I can review it and I will be bringing the X-E1 and Touit lenses along with the little GR to see what it can do in the Palouse. So I will have a packed bag for this trip! For those of you who signed up to go along I have already e-mailed the itinerary but I will repost it below for you again and for those who may want to attend the next one (may do one next year) so you can see all of the fun you are missing out on, he he he.

I will be posting shots from the trip here over the weekend!

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Saturday, 6/22 – Early AM

We’ll meet at Ashwin’s place at 5:30 am (yup, that early).

Make sure to organize your transportation to Ashwin’s home for 5:30 am, and do so ahead of time if you can. Yellow Tax (253-872-5600) and Orange Cab (206-444-0409) can both be called, as can any number of other services.

Ashwin will have a light breakfast (Coffee, snacks, fruit, eggs), on hand for the early start. This will be our first chance to meet each other and get settled for the trip

We will leave Seattle for the Palouse at 6:15 AM. Please make sure to arrive by 5:30 am, so that we can load vehicles (three full size SUV’s), confirm seating arrangements in one of our 3 SUV’s, and get everyone situated.

Here’s the itinerary for the rest of the trip:

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Saturday, 6/22/2013

We will have lunch at noon @ Eddy’s Chinese Restaurant in Colfax, WA. There, we will meet Ryan McGinty, our local host and guide. Ryan’s an incredible photographer, and if you want a taste of what he’s going to show us, here are a couple of links:

http://www.ryanmcginty.com/

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanmcginty/

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Photo session 1- after lunch, we’ll drive from Colfax to Albion, past Kamiak Butte, with multiple stops along the ways, including abandoned homesteads, “lonely trees”, and other such sites. We will ultimately make our way to the Steptoe Butte overlook for sunset and breathtaking views. Please make sure to bring warm clothes and a windbreaker for Steptoe Butte, as it gets quite breezy atop this panoramic Palouse viewpoint

We will have dinner@ Gambino’s in Moscow, ID

We will then make our way to our accommodations in the Palouse

Sunday, 6/23

We will have an early breakfast, around 7 am, at the hotel. From there, we’ll supplement with a Starbucks (or the like) drive by and meet up with Ryan McGinty.

Photo session 2: Southern Palouse. Visit the old abandoned Weber house, heading through Johnson for some nice rolling hill views and farms. Head to Uniontown and visit Canola fields in bloom as well. This will be one of the most scenic parts of the journey. Many burnt out barn and lonesome tree views to capture…. We’ll move through Moscow and photo a barn surrounded by lentils that is slowly collapsing.

We will have lunch at Sella’s pizza in Pullman, WA

Photo session 3: We will be crossing though Idaho and Washington multiple times to capture many sites. We’ll visit the town of Palouse during this time. We’ll also see a hidden windmill and a barn that’s broken through its center, off to Farmington. Then it’ll be back to the hotel for our first big photo editing session.

We will have dinner at Appleby’s

After dinner, we’ll retire for the evening, back at the Hotel

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Monday, 6/24

We will check out of our hotel after having an early breakfast, around 7 am, at the hotel. From there, we’ll supplement with a Starbucks (or the like) drive by and meet up with Ryan McGinty.

Photo session 4: We’ll drive towards Palouse farms through wind farm. We’ll stop for a family farm & barn shoot (selling eggs, chickens). We’ll make our way to Palouse falls and visit some Snake River bridges. We may also do some Small town shoots along Route 12 and visit with a Camel in a field with horses.

Monday, 6/24 lunch in Walla Walla, location TBD

Photo session 5: We will stop by Waterbrook Winery for an optional tasting and shoot. After this, we’ll start our long drive back to Seattle, stopping as needed for stretch breaks and the like. Ryan McGinty will join us for our trip back to Seattle

Monday, 6/24 dinner in Seattle (location TBD, Uneeda Burger or Kaosomai Thai)

We will return to Ashwin’s house after dinner for a photo editing session, time permitting. Attendees may otherwise leave for their accommodations in Seattle. If you haven’t done so, please make sure to make your own travel arrangements (to and from Ashwin’s home) and accommodations in Seattle for Monday night.

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Tuesday, 6/25

Here’s a treat. We’ll start breakfast at 8 am at the downtown flagship location of Seattle’s famous Top Pot Donuts. It turns out that Mark Klebeck, one of Top Pot’s founding members, is a huge fan of stevehuffphoto.com. Mark’s graciously offered to provide donuts and coffee to the group to get us started for the last day of the work shop, and he plans to meet the group for breakfast that day. How cool is that?!? Bring your cameras, as we may even get to geek out a bit.

Photo session 6: From Top Pot, we’ll make our way to Pioneer Square, the original site from which Seattle sprung up. From there, we’ll head to Seattle’s famous Pike’s Place Fish/Farmer’s Market for some morning photography on the street. We may consider a couple of other venues/locations, depending on interest, including the Olympic Sculpture Garden and the Seattle waterfront.

Lunch will be at Pike’s Place Market around noon.

Photo session 7: Urban stroll through Industrial Seattle and the Seattle Graffiti wall in “SoDo”

We’ll return to Ashwin’s place in the mid afternoon for our final photo editing session and a sharing session

Optional dinner and goodbyes at Brouwers Pub in Fremont at 6 pm

Remember, Breakfast and Lunch are included but dinner’s are not included. 

Packing tips:

1. Please pack light. That means just essential clothes and gear. We have 3 SUV’s and 11 attendees, plus Ashwin, Steve, and Bob Towery, photog/driver extraordinaire. We have long days on the road, so it’s best to keep things simple and not load up too much. Usually, a wide option, standard option, and long option are perfect…. depending on your gear and preferences. Tripods are fine too

2. Pack for warmth and unpredictable weather. Bring at least 1 windbreaker/shell and a fleece or similar sweater. A couple sites are quite cold; so make sure to be ready for that. It occasionally rains in the Palouse, so take care to bring a shell/windbreaker that can double as a raincoat. At the moment, the forecast calls for temperatures in the 70’s-80’s (high), with evening lows in the 50’s.

3. Please use Steve’s prior email, which was made up by Ryan McGinty, regarding gear to bring. A circular polarizing filter can be a lifesaver in the Palouse.

4. If you are travelling beyond the road trip, Ashwin can keep your gear stored until we return to Seattle for the last part of the trip. We’d prefer that the gear you bring is essentially 3 days worth of clothes. Comfortable walking shoes that you can take on trail are a great idea as well!

May 202013
 

Palouse Workshop Update and Special on “Beauties of Nature” workshop

Hello to all! I have some updates on my Palouse Road Trip as well as my buddies Todd and Jay’s “Beauties of Nature” workshop so for anyone looking to get in one either of these, read on..

PALOUS ROAD TRIP

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This is going  to be so much fun!! It was sold out, but one guy backed out last week so I now have ONE seat open at $1500 with a private hotel room while we are in Pullman so you will have your own room. You can read details on this trip HERE and if you want this one last seat, let me know ASAP by emailing me HERE. We opened up 10 seats plus myself, Ashwin, our guide and a driver and nine are officially sold, just one left. Now is your chance. For those that have signed up and are all paid up you will be getting and e-mail TODAY with more details on what to bring in regards to clothing for the Palouse :)

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The “Beauties of Nature” workshop with Jay Bartlett  - June 7th to June 9th 2013

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The “Beauties of Nature” workshop with Jay Bartlett  - June 7th to June 9th 2013 - This is being put on by a couple of friends of mine so giving them a shout out as they are putting on one hell of a weekend workshop that I would love to attend (but I can not due to timing) and they have some seats left. Not only that, they lowered the cost for readers of this website by quite a bit. They put up a “Steve Huff Special” website with the discounts. Check it out HERE. You can see what I wrote about this event previously HERE.

They are offering quite the weekend with shooting known models and you will be put up in some super classy rooms in a beautiful environment. If you want to learn some skills with models and more, this is a great one to get in one and at the new prices, a great deal for what you get. Their main site is HERE.

Check it out :)

Apr 192013
 

Craig Litten’s Daytona Bike week images..

A few weeks ago I posted about a workshop with Craig Litten at Daytona Bike Week and while I was not able to attend I heard it was one of the best Bike Weeks ever. Craig, like me is a big believer in the little Nikon V1 camera and he shot with it pretty much exclusively from what I understand and every image below was taken with that little $300 powerhouse. :)

I was sad to miss this workshop as I feel it would have been fun and challenging at the same time but I am 90% sure I will be at his next event, Biketoberfest! In fact, I am hoping to buy my flight next week to lock it in. Anyway, I asked Craig if I could post his shots from the event and he was all for it so enjoy!

ALL SHOTS below are by Craig Litten!

BTW, Fuji X20 1st look coming Monday, Nikon Coolpix A first look coming Wednesday and another Zeiss ZM lens for Leica refresh! Also have a great Olympus article coming later today. Stay tuned!

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Bike Week 2013

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Apr 152013
 

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Easter in Sicily with the New Fuji’s

By Colin Steel

(From Steve: Enjoy this superb article and photography from Colin Steel. Colin once again proves it is not about the gear at all..but about skill and vision. Thanks Colin! BTW, if anyone out there wants me to feature their own article or guest post or user report, send me an e-mail HERE. Thanks!)

Hey folks, I am just freshly returned from my two-week trip to Sicily where I photographed the Easter festivals and celebrations. For the Sicilians this as an extremely important and often very emotional event for them and it culminated in following and shooting the highly charged 24 hour procession of twenty-four alters through the regional town of Trapani. Just to add a little fun for me I managed to purchase the new Fujis (X20 and X100s A really useful review by Steve Huff) specially for the trip and I will share my thoughts on them for this type of event based documentary photography. As anyone who has read my posts before will know, what I wont do is dwell on the image quality and technical aspects of the cameras as I find that most cameras nowadays can produce acceptable technical quality results and, given that all of the shots had some post processing in SilverEffexPro, the differences become largely redundant for my purposes. What ‘image quality’ means to me is how effectively can I create interesting photographs with these tools ? Not what do the files look like at 100% enlargement of stamps, bottles or walls. For that reason I wont even say which shots were taken with which camera (mainly because I can’t remember and can’t be bothered re-checking each one :)

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Before I go into some background on the shooting and make some observations about the cameras, I think it would be good to mention something important that emerged in my approach to some of the photographs. Never having been to Sicily before or having previously attended an event of this nature, I was taken by the iconic imagery of the paintings and statues within the churches and halls that I was shooting in and I tried my best to imitate that look whenever it was appropriate. I did that by watching for the right light and compositions where I could remove background distractions and create a ‘painterly’ appearance to the photographs. I also used the Tri-X film simulation in silverefexpro2 to add to the feel of the images (more on the editing and PP later)

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Background

I have been very lucky to meet many fantastic people on my travels and a few of them have become very good friends despite being from extremely diverse locations such as Costa Rica, Chicago and Geneva. As we share a joint passion for photography and travel we decided to try to meet up this year at a location that none of us have visited before. Also, having previously enjoyed attending workshops hosted by knowledgeable photographers whose work we admired, we decided to combine both and attend an Ernesto Bazan workshop in his home country of Sicily. This turned out to be an inspired decision and I will talk about the workshop experience later as I am beginning to think that, when wisely chosen, these are the best single photography learning and educational investments you can make to improve your skills and style.

The context for Ernesto’s Sicily workshop was to locate everyone in a gorgeous traditional villa by the seaside and near to the town of Marsala as a base and then make the short trips to shoot the various processions and festivities that took place over the Easter week. I think its fair to say that Ernesto’s approach is to encourage the search for emotional and poetic inspiration and as we all know, that is not so easy at the best of times and even more difficult when you are shooting in throngs of people with myriad distractions and ‘shot-killing’ elements. To this end he set a very high standard for everyone and immersed himself with us in trying to interpret the events as we individually and uniquely saw them.

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As I said earlier, my own main focus was to try to use the light as best I could to create the iconic, painting look that I had observed in the many churches we visited. Additionally, it appeared to me that there was somewhat of a ‘dark’ and mysterious side to Sicily that I also wanted to try to incorporate without becoming cliched. Given this approach that emerged as to my interpretation of sicily and these festivals, how did the equipment I used help or hinder in achieving the results that I was looking for?

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The Cameras (X20 & X100s)

Firstly, as readers of previous articles will know, I have been shooting in a square 1:1 crop and in Black and White for some time now. I am at a loss to explain the square crop other than that I like the tightness and symmetry of the results I get. Although it could be argued that it is more suited to portraits and still life, for me (and many more superior photographers than me like Vivian Maier, Diane Arbus and any of the TLR users) it is not difficult to adapt to documentary style photography although you do lose the undoubted advantage of the 3:2 narrative style. Anyway, I have settled on this format in the meantime and now find it extremely difficult to frame outside of that and this is one of the major benefits of these cameras and in particular the delightful X100s, let me try to explain. The X100s has a marvelous optical viewfinder that frames like a rangefinder and when 1:1 crop is selected the frame lines adapt to a centered square with lots of space around the lines so that you can tighten your composition just like in a Leica or other rangefinder. I appreciate that the vast majority of people shoot 3:2 and the frame-lines are nearly as good in that format and are reasonably accurate. Additionally, the X100s now has an extraordinarily good manual focusing system that is deadly accurate. At first when I read about this feature I thought it was a bit gimmicky but believe me, this is the real deal. If, like me, you like to shoot with a lot of depth of field whenever possible, this manual focusing system is fantastic and lends itself very well to zone focusing at set distances. If you have ever used a split screen to focus (as in old film slr’s) this is based on a similar principle with the added benefit of enlargement to aid and also a ‘focus peaking’ type shimmer on the focused area. I used this a lot and found the best way was to aim and press the AF button which is very conveniently located and then fine tune if needed via the light focusing ring on the lens. For my purposes I find this much simpler, easier and quicker than trying to change AF points and I found that I could get very nice tight results even in very low light.

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Having praised the manual focus which I used a lot, the auto focus on the X100s is also vastly improved as well although, despite Fuji’s claims and what I have read, I personally did not find it to be as fast as the Olympus OMD or Nikon V1, but it is more than adequate. On that subject, I still don’t find this camera to be a speed merchant in any area however, I did find that for the type of shooting I do it worked an absolute treat and I was extremely happy with it’s all round performance. I wont bore everyone by re-iterating the key selling points of the Fuji X range but suffice to say that this is one extremely well made camera with exactly the type of manual controls that photographers who concern themselves with the final image rather than playing about with endless mode settings and menu trickiness will value. The ability to have a clear optical viewfinder with superb frame-lines, just the right minimal amount of shooting information required to make a shot and the ability to use the nicely weighted exposure compensation dial with your thumb when you know the meter is going to make a mistake, is all that I can ask from a camera so well done Fuji, this is a classic. Of all of the camera manufacturers these are the guys that are really homing in on what real photographers want and need.

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Just to round out on the X100s, like its older variant the X100 the lens is fast and sharp and the silky aperture ring around the lens is a joy to use. For what its worth my preferred set up for the camera is to use the square format, aperture priority, optical viewfinder, B&W film mode with yellow filter and manual focus. As I mentioned earlier, this gives me complete manual control of all of the critical photo making aspects of the camera as a creative tool and it all becomes extremely intuitive and very fast to use. The only other point worth mentioning is that I shoot RAW plus Fine JPG and this gives me the margin for error with the crop in the 3:2 RAW file if I need it (which isn’t often thankfully) I hope you begin to get a sense of how much I enjoyed this camera and the pleasure I got from its ability to get out-of-the-way when I was looking for interesting light, form and content to shoot.

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The Fuji X20 is a very different but complimentary camera to the X100 (and nearly any other camera I can think of) for a few very key reasons. Like my much-loved X10 before it, it is stunningly well made and is essentially manual in control of the key creative photographic functions. As you will all probably be aware, Fuji have updated the sensor and processing engine and critically added shooting and focus information to the optical viewfinder. This transforms the camera into a superb, compact shooting tool and I found it even faster than the X100s in practical shooting use as it seemed to me to focus more quickly. Although I very much liked the viewfinder improvements I still found myself shooting more with the rear screen on this camera to compose and this allowed me to shoot from higher or lower angles when I needed to.

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When the action was getting faster at the end of the parades, I found myself using the two cameras in tandem by using the X20 when I had to do something fast and reactively and the X100s when I had more room and time to compose. I also sometimes used the X20 at 50mm equivalent on the odd occasion when I couldn’t get as close as I needed for the X100s’ 35mm equivalent. Did I need two cameras to do this? Of course not but I did find that the similarity in controls, function and results meshed very nicely to the extent that I can unreservedly recommend these as a delightful and highly usable pairing for anyone in a similar shooting situation.

I don’t want to go over all of the aspects of this camera that I liked again as they are identical to the ones I mentioned in the previous X10 article but the manual switch on and zoom which I can now guide to 35mm or 50mm by touch is exceptional and the exposure compensation dial which is similarly placed and functional to the X100s completes the control package. Because of the family similarity of controls and menus these cameras make using them together a very simple and attractive proposition. On that compatibility advantage, because I was unsure of how the lighting conditions would play out, I took along the wonderful Fuji EF-X20 flash unit which is a beautifully built but tiny marvel that works equally well on either camera. I did use it very sparingly but once or twice it got me shots that would have been impossible to light otherwise.

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I know this will get me in deep trouble with the strobist community but I am personally very fond of the flat, shadowy, frontal look of camera mounted flash and that is exactly where I used this little marvel as it added so little size or weight to the camera. I kind of like the almost grotesque, paparazzi look that can be achieved with it. If anyone is interested in how this style can work as show by a master creative photographer, have a look at Jacob Aue Sobol’s work with the Leica MM where for almost every shot he took he used on camera flash. I had the very good fortune to meet Jacob in Singapore and he explained to me that he had a very unique, high contrast processing style for film which up until that point he had used exclusively and to get similar contrasty results with digital he had to use the on camera flash.

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I think by now you can all tell how pleased I was with the Fuji cameras and the ultimate functionality and simplicity of using them to make photographs. To finish off on the X20 my preferred set up is again RAW plus fine JPG in square crop (the square crop does not show in the X20 viewfinder but it’s not difficult to judge) B&W film mode with yellow filter and aperture priority.

Post Processing

Every shot shown here was processed in a similar fashion and here it is: Although I set up for fine JPG in B&W I tend to use that more for review to make sure I am getting the look I want and the actual PP images are taken from the RAW files. The process I used is ultra simple as I hate spending time on the computer. As the RAW files are presented in square in Lightroom, unless I need to change the crop slightly (and that is unusual thankfully) they go straight into silverefexpro2 where I normally apply the Tri-X film look filter and occasionally selectively darken or lighten a distracting area with the simple to use control points. I generally then add a little vignette using the lightest option unless something a bit more severe is required for the mood and that’s it. If it takes more than a few minutes something is very wrong and I usually give up on the shot at that point. Despite never having shot film, I have become a huge fan of the Tri-X 400 look and the contrast and grain is gorgeous. In one or two of the low light shots here this has become pronounced and I love it as it creates exactly the look and mood that I am after. It never fails to astonish me how simple the modern processing tools have made it to achieve this look and this is the reason why I think conversations about the sensor quality and output in modern cameras are pretty irrelevant. To my mind the files output by both of these cameras are very robust and they seem to adapt to the Tri-X look beautifully. I would imagine that if you are a fine art or salon type photographer the X100s could be a dream for you with its sexy smooth looking images.

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Photography Workshops

This has been the longest post I have written in a very long time as I completely lost enthusiasm and felt that I had run dry on photography as a subject. I feel the need to change topic here or I will talk to much about equipment rather than the creative photographic art and that is exactly why I lost enthusiasm in the first place !! :) A couple of events changed my life in many ways last year and they were both photography workshops with people who I consider to be at the absolute top of the game for the type of photography I like and it has now happened again this year and I consider it critical to share this with anyone who is reading this that has the drive and passion to try to improve their photography to both better understand humanity and express their uniqueness in their own style. As regular readers will know, I love travel and out of that developed a love of photography however I began to feel that the type of travel photography I was doing (even though it was commercially successful) was very unsatisfying and clearly not expressing any of my personality or thoughts on the world. I still wanted to travel to unique places but also wanted to learn from photographers who to me were credible and whose work I admired. With this in mind I travelled to Sicily, where these photographs were taken, to a workshop with Ernesto Bazan having researched his work and found myself admiring his work on Cuba very much. This turned out to be a completely inspired decision and the environment that Ernesto created and his out-and-out humanity, openness and passion made this a truly life enriching experience. I know some of you may think I am getting carried away here but it’s very true and I think any of the 10 other students would say the same. I am beginning to form an opinion that if you are open to it these type of workshops somehow give you better insight into yourself both from a human and personality perspective and from this comes moments of insight into the gorgeous diversity of this world and the endless visual richness that light reveals to us. Personally, I feel that it is this combination of personal insight and increased sensitivity to visual possibility that transcends technical competence and conventional structure to allow you to be more creative and to express yourself in your own way, this is what Ernesto enabled for me.

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In conclusion then, if you are thinking of a photography workshop I would advise going through the following simple thought process before you make your choice; firstly, select a location or event that interests you a lot, this is more important than you may think, secondly, look at which photographers run workshops there (I will add links of my favorites at the end), thirdly extensively research their work, it is vitally important that you admire their work greatly. I think if you follow these simple steps you will find the workshop to be the single best investment that you can make to improve your photography. Forget about new equipment, on-line training and college classes as a properly chosen, minimum 7 day workshop with a real creative artist will reward you with greater satisfaction and development than all of these put together.

If anyone is interested, I have a simple way of funding my passion to learn and develop (and to buy the equipment that I am addicted to….) and that is that I simply stick $50 every time I think on it in my Starbuck mugs that I have collected from the cities I have visited. I am continually amazed at how this accumulates and finances my photography :)

I am sorry if this has been a bit too much of a ramble for any of you but there was a lot in my head that I wanted to get out and writing doesn’t come easily to me so apologies for any grammar, spelling and structural errors :) I do hope that you have found at least something of interest in here and even more hopefully, something that helps you to enjoy photography more.

the links:

Ernesto Bazan

Peter Turnley

Nikos Economopoulos

Best Wishes,

Colin

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Apr 152013
 

SOLD OUT! One more seat left for the Palouse Road Trip! June 22nd-25th 2013!

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UPDATE: SOLD OUT!

Hello and good morning to all! I will be back later with some cool posts today but for now, before I head out the door on this gorgeous Phoenix, AZ morning I wanted to let everyone know that the Palouse Road Trip from June 22nd-25th has ONE MORE SPOT open! We opened it up to 8 from 5 then to 10 from 8 because we were able to secure a 3rd SUV for the trip. If you want in, there is ONE spot left and you will be joining 9 others plus Ashwin Rao and myself on this amazing weekend. You can read details HERE but I just wanted to let everyone know as I had quite a few e-mails from those interested after we sold out! Look forward to meeting and shooting with everyone in June!

Steve

Apr 122013
 

Beauties of Nature Workshop Announcement

June 7th-June 9th 2013

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Hey guys, just want to give a heads up and shout out for a workshop that a couple of good friends of mine are putting on in June. In fact, this may be  one of the coolest workshops (next to my Palouse adventure of course, lol) I have seen in a while :) If you have ever wanted to learn all about shooting models while being in an amazing setting for a weekend, set your calendars for June 7th to June 9th!

This is not a street workshop, this is an experience

I am seeing it more and more and I think street workshops are starting to burn out a bit and many of us are wanting something more from a workshop, I know I do . If I sit back and think about what I would want from a workshop it would be more like an “experience” that takes place over 2-4 days. Something that I would learn from, have fun with, and also remember for quite a while after it is over. That is how Ashwin and I came up with the Palouse Experience (which is now sold out) and how these guys came up with their “Beauties of Nature” workshop.

The “Beauties” workshop is put on by Todd Hatakeyama and Jay Bartlett and as I said, these are two great guys. Todd was my “Cruise master” on the 2012 Photo Cruise and also let me use his studio at no charge for my LA Workshop a while back. Todd and Jay are also joining me on the Palouse Experience and we are all excited about that one as well.

But as for  the “Beauties of Nature” workshop..it looks like it is going to be an AMAZING time. I am going to try my best to make it myself because it appears like there will be some great opportunities to do what I mentioned above..learning, having fun and some amazing memories. We need more of that in life.

So what is this workshop all about? Take a look at their website as it explains it all in detail but here is a snippet from their site:

“Nothing enhances the beauty of a gorgeous woman better than a breathtaking backdrop of wild terrain. Come join us for an all-inclusive weekend of photography, celebrity models, food, wine, and fun on an 80-acre ranch in the Paso Robles wine country of central California.

Learn how to shoot spectacular high-fashion models in an outdoor setting with studio strobes and natural light.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph dazzling women in an extraordinary environment. The Beauties of Nature await you!”

Yes, this one is all about shooting models while enjoying your surroundings to the fullest. Celebrity model Nikki Leigh will be one of the models on hand…

Photo below by Jay Bartlett, the main instructor on this workshop

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They will also feature celeb model Kathy Lyn Logsdon:

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Another snippet from their website:

“You’ll spend your weekend in the comfortable accommodations of our ten-bedroom hacienda. A private chef will prepare and serve all your meals, which include beverages and between-meal snacks. In the evenings, chat with your instructors, fellow photographers and celebrity models as you sip a glass of one of the region’s celebrated wines. In the morning, head out for a sunrise shoot on the ranch, then return to the dining room for a hearty breakfast. During the day, acquire tips on composition, lighting, and exposure from world-class photographers and guest speakers in exclusive lectures and workshops, then get supervised, hands-on experience with group shoots of our models out in the field.”

So there ya go, almost hard to resist! If you have ever wanted to shoot amazing models in some amazing settings..this one is for you! Below is the schedule:

Friday, June 7th

3:00pm to 6:00pm – Participants Arrive

6:00pm to 7:00pm – Dinner

7:00pm to 8:00pm – Lecture

8:00pm to 9:00pm – Sunset Landscape Shoot

9:00pm to 10:00pm – Capture One Lecture

Optional Late Night – Astronomy, Light Painting, Long Exposures

 

Saturday, June 8th

5:00am to 7:00am – Sunrise Landscape Shoot

8:00am to 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am to 11:00am – Lecture

11:00am to 2:00pm – Model Shoot/Landscape Shoot

2:00pm to 3:00pm – Lunch/Lecture

3:00pm to 7:00pm – Model Shoot/Landscape Shoot

7:00pm to 8:00pm – Dinner

8:00pm to 9:00pm – Sunset Landscape Shoot

9:00pm to 12:00am – Optional Individual Model Shoot

Optional Late Night – Light Painting, Long Exposures

 

Sunday, June 9th

5:00am to 7:00am – Sunrise Landscape Shoot

8:00am to 9:00am – Breakfast

9:00am to 10:00am – Rinzi Ruiz Lecture

10:00am to 2:00pm – Model Shoot

2:00pm to 3:00pm – Lunch

3:00pm to 5:00pm – Photo Critique

Disclaimer

I never post about workshops from others nor do I promote them unless I am involved. While I am not involved in this one (though I may indeed be there), I felt some of my readers would like to know about this one as it is so much different than the same old same old street workshops that recycle constantly. It is refreshing, different, high class and the guys involved are top notch guys all the way. I am hoping  to see more of this style of workshop in the future, and is the direction my own workshops are heading toward as well.

BTW, I was not paid in any way to post this, just helping out a couple of friends to spread the word :)

More Information or to sign up:

You can check out all of the details about joining their workshop HERE at their “Beauties of Nature” workshop page.

Save $100!

If you are one of the 1st 5 to sign up you can get $100 off just by mentioning you read about it here on SteveHuffPhoto.com

Apr 032013
 

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SOLD OUT!

The Ultimate Seattle-to-Palouse 4 day Road Trip Experience with Steve Huff and Ashwin Rao!

4 days from Saturday June 22nd to Tuesday June 25th, 2013. MARK YOUR CALENDAR! 

 

SOLD OUT! NO MORE SEATS!

Ok..This is going to be wayyyyy cool.

Anyone out there just buy a Leica M or Leica MM and want to get out and make use of them with some amazing shooting experiences? Have ANY other camera you want to make use of with some of the most amazing scenery you may ever see? Want to hang out with a select few like-minded individuals as we take a road trip from Seattle to Palouse, WA (a 5 hour trip one way) and really USE our cameras for what they were meant to be used for? Want to do some street shooting in Seattle and partake in some great food, fun and even some editing and critique?

If so, then you will not want to miss my only meet up/workshop of 2013 and I am holding this one with Ashwin Rao, much like we did in Seattle in 2011 and we are calling it “The Ultimate Seattle-to-Palouse 4 Day Road Trip Experience”! 

Yep, I am cutting my workshops down to 1-2 a year and this may be it for 2013. We are limiting attendees to 10!

This 4 day workshop is going to be jammed with fun and if you want to shoot some gorgeous scenery, believe me, you do not want to mis this! To read about past workshops I put on, click here.

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Here is the itinerary:

Steve Huff’s Ultimate Seattle-to-Palouse Road Trip

Saturday, June 22nd, 2013 through Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Four full days of Shooting in the beautiful Pacific Northwest

Co-Host: Ashwin Rao – Guide: Ryan McGinty

 

1. Meet for informal drinks and snacks on the night of Friday, 6/21 (around 8 pm) for attendees who have arrived in town. Location to be determined. Accommodations will not be included for that night. This is so we can get to know each other and just relax and have a good time.

2. Meet at 6 am at Ashwin’s place on Sat, 6/22. Light breakfast will be available before departing.

3. Time for the road trip! Leave Seattle at 6:30 AM on Saturday AM, and arrive in the Palouse for lunch (included)

4. Shoot the Palouse with our local guide, Ryan McGinty, through the afternoon, evening, sunset, and dusk. He knows his stuff and the best locations for shooting. Magical shots will happen :)

5. Dinner (not included in price)

6. Return to hotel for photo editing and critique. Likely to stay in either Pullman, WA or Moscow, ID. Lodging is included in price with two to a room while here. 

7. Shoot all day on Sunday 6/23 throughout the Palouse, including Steptoe Butte, and various sites in the area. Ryan McGinty will join us for the afternoon and evening. Time for relaxing, photo editing, will be factored in. Breakfast and lunch will be included.

8. Dinner after a full day of shooting (not included)

9. Monday, 6/24: The leisurely road trip back to Seattle, visiting Palouse Falls, dusty cities, and a detour through Walla Walla Wine Country if timing and weather cooperate for more shooting and fun. Breakfast and lunch included.

10. Return to Seattle on the evening/night of 6/24. Dinner together (not included)

11. Tues, 6/25: Shoot Seattle (street and city life shoot, with detours through the library, Discovery Park, waterfront vistas, and other fun settings around town. Return to Ashwin’s place in the late afternoon for photo editing and sharing. Breakfast and lunch included.

12. Departure dinner (not included).

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Keep in mind that lodging while in Seattle is not included. Lodging is included while in Palouse with two to a room. Breakfast and lunches are included. Dinner’s are not. Transportation is included as we will have a THREE SUV’s to hold us and drive us all.

This is limited to TEN attendees plus myself and Ashwin. Price is $1500 for the entire 4 day experience. This will be a blast and I am very excited for this one. If you are not familiar with the Palouse, check out Ashwin’s article HERE and HERE where he shares his experience from the last time he was there.

If there are any new M or MM owners attending and you have any questions myself or Ashwin will be happy to share tips on how to get the most from these cameras. But we welcome ANYONE. No need to shoot Leica. You can shoot with whatever camera you love to shoot with! We may also throw in some fun surprises as well along the way. I will be shooting with the new M and Monochrom and Sony RX1. Ashwin may be shooting with the same.

You will need to bring a laptop as we will have editing time as well where we can share tips and tricks as well.

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This will be an intimate close-knit group and will be a memorable experience for all. I will be recording video of the event to edit into a small 15-20 minute documentary type film to show on this site after we return. I will also post our favorite shots from the event on this site in a dedicated post about the trip.

SOLD OUT!

All photos in this post were shot by Ashwin. Hope to see some of you in June!

Feb 132013
 

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Update on Daytona Bike Week workshop with Craig Litten – March 14th-17th 2013

Hello to all! Some of you may remember that about 2 weeks ago I posted about an upcoming March workshop in none other than Daytona for the crazy and action filled “Bike Week’ with Craig Litten. Craig has been documenting Bike Week since the 90s and he knows his stuff. Some of you have signed up and I guarantee you will have one hell of a time at this workshop. You can read about the workshop HERE and I highly recommend this for anyone serious about learning, and shooting in a crazy hectic environment. This will be filled with so many opportunities and will also serve as a great ice breaker. In other words, you will be forced to break down any barriers you have and go out there and get the shots you want.

As for the update, I was originally going to be there with Craig but recently found out that during that week I can not make it due to a family obligation I was not aware of and have no way around. I was crazy excited about this one as it would be a killer way to get out and shoot with a certain new camera but I will def hit the next one in 2014. :)

I still highly recommend anyone looking for an amazing workshop… a real workshop and one that you will come away with being thrilled with your experience and results..well, this is THE one to sign up for.

All you need is a camera, a laptop and a desire and passion to shoot and learn. It’s about a month away and is going to ROCK.

Read more and sign up here at Craig’s Workshop site!

 

Jan 152013
 

WORKSHOP: Daytona Bike week with Craig Litten 

March 14-17th 2013 – Daytona Beach, FL

Workshop Signup Page and more details are HERE

 

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UPDATE: I will not be able to make the workshop with Craig but it is going on 100% full steam ahead as it is Craig’s workshop, and I HIGHLY recommend it.

Come one, come all! This is going to be one hell of a photo workshop with so many photo opportunities surrounding you at all times you may just go into sensory overload. Craig Litten and I have teamed up to bring you this AMAZING opportunity to explore your photography limits as you learn how to get comfortable shooting people. In fact, you will have no choice but to get comfortable shooting people as that is all we will be doing!

This workshop is just that, a workshop. Craig Litten will be the main teacher for this one and I will be on hand as well for any questions and of course to shoot with everyone. Craig has done this event many times before and has shot some amazing images that make you say “I wish I was there to document it all”!

Well, now you can be as this will be a 3 day workshop allowing you to grow and open up as a photographer in a crazy environment filled with all kinds of opportunities.

All photos on this page were shot by Craig during his last Bike Week workshop.

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Itinerary

So what will we be doing for three nights? TONS! This will be an action packed photo filled weekend and believe me, by the time it is over you will have some amazing photo memories of your Bike Week workshop! Take a look at what we have planned and yes, this is not for the timid because we will be out in the thick of it until 1AM on the 1st night, just when the action is heating up!

INTRO

Thursday Night, March 14

8-9 pm – Introduction – Intro to workshop, meeting each other

9:30 – Daytona Ale House Restaurant “for Captain Jacks Buried Treasure” (informal group)

11 pm-1 am – Night Shoot 1 “Hit the Mean Streets of Daytona”

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DAY ONE

Friday, March 15

10 am-noon – Group Meeting 1 – Intro to Photo Mechanic, download night shoot

1-5 – Mid Afternoon Shoot – “take advantage of that great mid-day sun”

6–9 – Group Meeting 2 – Street Shooting Techniques, downloading and editing

10-Midnight – Night Shoot 2

 

DAY TWO

Saturday, March 16

9 am-11 – Morning Shoot – “morning light is pure and beautiful”

1-3 – Group Meeting 3 – one-on-one editing help

4-8 – Late Afternoon Shoot – “evening light, you can’t beat it”

8-10 Free (edit or shoot more, your choice)

 

FINAL DAY

Sunday, March 17

9-10:30 am – Peach Valley “Best breakfast in Daytona Beach” (informal group)

11-3 – Group Meeting 4

3 pm – Slideshow of everyone’s work and final thoughts

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This workshop will be pretty amazing. If you want to get in on it the fee is $699 for the entire 4 day, three night workshop. This does NOT include Hotel, Travel or Food. For more details and info please visit the signup page at streetphotograohyworkshops.com . Craig will be taking the deposits and payments and for all of you who want to get in on it, I will see you there! Expect one hell of a time! It will be a time of amazing photography, new friendships and non stop craziness! SIGN UP NOW as spaces are limited.

I will be trying to get some cool gear to bring as well Maybe the new Leica M? New Fuji X100s? No guarantees but I’m on it and will keep everyone updated!

BTW, ONLY 12 spots available for this one, PERIOD.

Steve Huff

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