atn 29: ohio photography workshop, faces and spaces

Aaron at What the Duck brought the strip below to my attention and I had to share it. Creative ruts are a recurring theme, one we looked at back in July. We failed to consider how a shovel might be used, though!

Staying out of ruts means keeping the wheels turning, so today and tomorrow I’m attending a Photoshop workshop here in Cincinnati, organized by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the ASMP. The guest instructor is Atlanta-based commercial shooter Jim DiVitale. There’s always something to learn from such seminars and DiVitale isn’t just a Photoshop magician, he’s a well-respected advertising photographer, first and foremost. As a result, his information prioritizes efficient workflow and practicality over pure “wow factor” (though he has plenty of that, too). My kind of seminar. DiVitale is just one of the many talented members of  Scott Kelby’s (Photoshop Insider) stable of Kelby Training instructors, each of whom has their own specialty, personality and style. I’ve been lucky enough to see a few of them in action.

I also really enjoy the camaraderie at events like this. Before spending another $200 on the latest photo gadget, I hope you’ll consider investing that money on a nearby photo workshop, conference or seminar because knowledge is power. Yes, it helps keep the prophotolife fires burning when you make purchases through the links here on the site (and I’m very appreciative every time you do)…but I’m telling you to spend your money on a seminar, instead? Yes, because I’ve seen how it energizes people, how it energizes me. A cool thing is that one of my favorite affiliates, Calumet, believes very strongly in offering educational opportunities at their multiple locations. If you’re interested, they have listings posted under the “Events” section at Shop Calumet Photographic – It’s Where the Pros Go.

Learning photography is a fun ride, there are so many places to hop on and off of the educational merry-go-round. For those who have emailed recently searching for info on hardware for triggering strobe units, I’d like to point out the Lighting 101: PC Cords and Pocket Wizards entry on I’ll be honest, the options for wireless triggers changes faster than I can keep up with and the Strobist community lives, eats, breathes and sleeps info on that particular topic. While many of you already know the Strobist site well, newbies will find plenty of solid info in the rest of the Lighting 101 collection. Yes, I generally prefer studio strobes to speed lights when possible but light is light is light…and so are the ways they are triggered.

Speaking of light, I’ve been inspired recently by professional photographer Gregory Heisler’s portraits. Or, more accurately, I’ve been inspired AGAIN by Heisler. He was a young, successful magazine photographer in the 80’s when I was just learning photography. After not viewing his work for years these latest portraits have really struck a chord, especially the beautifully simple black and white images. It makes me want a big ‘ol window light, north light preferably, to shoot large format portraits by.

North Light Window

North Light Window

Hey, wait, I do have a big ‘ol north window light to shoot portraits by! Or I will soon, to be more accurate. The photo above is a shot of the natural light studio window in our new Daylight Photo space. The space is raw (just like the files) and we’re interested in keeping it edgy, less slick and more urban. Yes, it’s time for a change. We’ll be housed inside a large converted warehouse that is also home to the American Sign Museum, a fun, colorful, neon spot to hang out. Lots and lots of flavor and updates as we get settled.

Sooner or later autumn will reach the Midwest but this last month has felt like summer. They even had the air conditioning cranked up in the seminar today! It feels good but it doesn’t feel quite right, if that makes any sense.

Have a good weekend, keep shooting and I’ll see you on Monday…

- Jim T.