Archive for photo instruction

Upcoming Camera Store Seminars

Posted in Art of Photography, Image Processing and Software, Instruction, Photography Gear, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by Darwin

Samantha and I are doing three seminars for The Camera Store in Calgary, Alberta. Below are the dates and the topics we are covering – click on the titles for more information:

The Complete Photo – Sat April 16, 1-3 PM

In this 2-hour seminar, Darwin and Samantha will show you how they approach a scene, distill the scene to the essence of the subject matter, and finally edit and process the resulting images. Darwin and Samantha will explain how to develop your personal style and creativity and will explain how to determine what images are worth keeping. Learn how personal vision affects how they choose their subject and how they portray and present that subject to their viewers.

Basic & Advanced Filters for Creative Digital Nature Photography – May 28, 2011, 1:30-3:30 PM

Think there’s no place for filters with digital nature photography? Think again! Discover which four filters are an essential component of every nature shooter’s photographic arsenal.

Capitalize on the benefits of filters and learn how to create evocative imagery while saving time in post-production. You will also find out which filters deliver effects that can’t be replicated in software no matter how talented you are behind the computer. Learn advanced techniques using multiple filters and add polish to your in-camera captures. And finally, learn how to build a filter system that will grow with you, no matter what gear you use.

There will be filters and filter systems on hand for you test out for yourself. Come and see why filters are critical tools even in the age of HDR and complex software processing.

The Tilt-Shift Lens Advantage for Outdoor and Nature Photographers – June 11, 1-4 PM

Discover why Tilt-Shift Lenses are the hottest lenses in nature and landscape photography. With Tilt-Shift lenses, dSLR photographers gain all the advantages of lens movements so important in large format landscape photography. Learn the benefits of tilting for precise control over depth-of-field and shifting for awesome perspective correction. See how Tilt-Shift lenses can open up the world of panoramic and stitched image photography without need for specialized accessories. Darwin and Samantha explore how Tilt-Shift lenses can be used creatively in the quest for the perfect nature photograph. Spend one hour in the classroom learning the theory and practical applications and two hours in the streets of Calgary exploring the use of Tilt-Shift lenses in real word scenarios. A limited number of Canon and Nikon Tilt-Shift lenses will be on hand to try out. Sign up early; space is limited.


©Darwin Wiggett

The Weekly Photo – January 31, 2011

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Instruction, Photography Gear, TCBlog, Techniques, Weekly Photo with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 31, 2011 by Darwin


©Darwin Wiggett - Athabasca Glacier

I just returned from a winter photo tour in the Canadian Rockies. The conditions this year ran the gamut of extremes. The first day we had a powerful and warm Chinook roll through the region creating a vortex of winds that slapped us hard while out on the ice of Abraham Lake. Have you ever seen a 40lb camera bag skirt across the ice at 30kms an hour? The high temperatures of +10 Celsius literally melted the ice beneath our feet. We were soon walking on a layer of water above the ice. I felt like Jesus  minus the sandals… and the super-powers. The crystal clear ice  of Abraham Lake soon clouded to milky white in the high temperatures. And then the rain came (in January!). After the rain, big snowfalls followed and then the temperatures plunged to a low of -24 degrees under crisp blue skies. We had almost every type of weather imaginable. But everyone managed to pull off some really nice photos. I just downloaded my take and plan to edit them over the next day or two. More to come.

For now, here is an image taken in September of the serac of the Athabasca Glacier in Jasper National Park. It’s a 4 km hike on the glacier to get to this ice-fall area. You’ll need to hire a guide to take you out on the glacier and I highly recommend Ice Walks for this service. For this image I used the shift feature on my Canon 17mm tilt-shift lens to make a vertical panoramic image of the ice. With the camera in  vertical orientation I shifted the lens down to get the foreground ice-hole. Then I shifted the lens up to get the  distant background. The result of merging the two-shifted photos is a 2:1 pano. In September the ice has had all summer to melt and it looks grungy and old.

Speaking of photography field techniques, tomorrow (Feb 1, 2011), my six-week on-line course, The Essentials of Digital Landscape Photography: Field Techniques starts. As the title suggests I give detailed lessons  and image critiques relating to field techniques. For more information click here.

And for those photographers who wish to improve the ability to ‘see’, I highly recommend Samantha’s course which also starts tomorrow on Learning to “Speak” the Language of Visual Expression.

Photo Tour vs Photo Workshop

Posted in Artistic Development, Good News, Inspirations, TCBlog, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2010 by Darwin

Note: To see all future posts please note this blog is no longer active, please visit me over at

Photo tour vs photo workshop:  which one is right for you?

The answer depends on your style because the two products are very different beasts.

The reason why I pose this question is because I have met people on my photo tours who will receive more bang for their buck on a workshop, not a tour, and yet they find themselves adrift on my intensive, results-based tours.  I think the difficulty lies in part with definitions.  A photo tour is usually a photo-intensive outing designed to put photographers in great locations in the best light. These tours are about photography first and instruction second. The reason why you pay a fee for these kind of tours is because the photographer has spent the necessary days or months to scout the best locations and photo opportunities and plunks you perfectly into those conditions. You are paying for the pro photographer to be an excellent guide, reading the light and doing the background research to get you where you need to be for maximum results.  These tours are aimed at advanced amateurs and semi-pros looking to flesh out their portfolios or maximize their take from a given area.  They are not for those who are looking to understand camera controls, the basics of photography or some general goal of ‘improving their craft.’

©Darwin Wiggett - Photo Tour result - a trophy shot in great light

On the other hand, a photo workshop balances classroom instruction with field application.  You will probably have a seminar or two (or more, depending on how long the workshop lasts) that provides you with lessons on how to shoot followed by practical time outdoors implementing those lessons.  There is more formal teaching involved with a workshop compared to a tour because the emphasis is usually on learning first and photographic opportunity second.  Which style of learning — tour or workshop — depends on you, and it is critical that you know what you are looking for in order to get the most value from your experience.

Workshops should stretch you to see beyond the obvious

Sometimes pro photographers try to combine the best of both worlds by offering a workshop/tour combo. In my opinion, doing a combo package is very difficult to do well. The two styles really do not mix well. I suggest that, if you plan to sign up for one of these ‘all in one’ packages research it carefully to find out how the tour part and the instruction part compliment one another. Otherwise beware of the ‘we do it all’ packages.

Personally, I do both tours and workshops but no combos. Here is what is currently on offer:

Photo Tours – For tours, my greatest reward is getting people to places they would not get to on their own and in perfect conditions with appropriate light. I have been doing these kinds of tours in the Canadian Rockies for 7 years. No matter the conditions, I know where to go to find subjects that match the quality of the light.

Photo Workshops – Recently, I have been doing more workshops with other photographers.  I find that having at least two instructors on a workshop results in a higher quality of instruction overall. Not only can two or more instructors get to everyone’s questions, the different styles of the instructors compliment each other.  One specialized workshop I teach with Samantha is aimed at Camera Clubs.  Called PhotoCram Weekend, we teach photographers the fundamentals of photography through an immersive, weekend workshop. that is tailored toward the Club’s needs. (Any Club interested in having us come out to teach members new skills please contact us). I  am also a founding member, along with Samantha and John Marriott, in the Snap! Photography Seminars series. These workshops are broadly designed to give you the most bang for your buck; we cover a wide variety of topics through both class seminars and practical time in the field. The next workshop is the Harvest Moon Photo Weekend in late October this year and it is aimed at beginner to semi-advanced shooters.   Check out our  PDF here. I think there are still a few spots left.

One of the ‘holes’ in the photo workshop arena is for the advanced or semi-pro shooter who has mostly mastered the craft of photography but needs to expand his or her artistic vision and professional presentation. In photography there are three pillars to being a master. A fine photographer has learned to balance equally the craft (technique and tools), the art (vision and expression) and the profession (external presentation) of photography. I am part of a team of photographers, along with Samantha Chrysanthou and Royce Howland, who is offering an intensive, immersive photo workshop designed to help photographers grow in all three of these areas. We are looking for only nine photographers this November for this novel workshop, so space is extremely limited.  To find out more, simply download the information pdf or watch our Light Matters Master Class: Creative Expressions video trailer below.  If you know of a friend who might be interested, help us find our nine photographers by passing this link along. These nine photographers will come away from the weekend transformed (we promise).

In the end, I have tried to develop a workshop or tour out to match your needs and skill level. Hope to see you soon.

Snap Photo Seminar – April 2010

Posted in Image Processing and Software, Marketing, Techniques, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , on November 13, 2009 by Darwin

John Marriott, Samantha Chrysanthou and yours truly announced in late October that we are doing a 2 day seminar in Canmore, Alberta called Mastering Digital Nature Photography from Capture to Commerce. The response to the seminar has been overwhelming.  The first 75 participants who register for the Seminar are automatically entered into a draw to have ten of their images professionally reviewed by  John, Samantha and me. 12 lucky participants will receive constructive feedback on their favourite images before the seminar. Also the first 75 people who register are invited to a private “Meet the Pros” mixer. We are closing in on the 75 registration mark and so if you are interested in this event and the possibility to win a portfolio review, we suggest you sign up soon.