Archive for Photo Workshop

Fire and Ice Results – Greg Bukoski

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 19, 2011 by Darwin

Below are Greg Bukoski’s six favorite images from the Fire and Ice Tour.

Photo by Greg Bukoski

Photo by Greg Bukoski

Photo by Greg Bukoski

Photo by Greg Bukoski

Photo by Greg Bukoski

Photo by Greg Bukoski


Two Openings for SNAP! Weekend Workshop – Oct 27-30, 2011

Posted in Good News, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by Darwin

We’ve had a couple of cancellations for the SNAP! Photography Seminars Weekend Workshop with John E. Marriott, Samantha Chrysanthou and yours truly coming up on October 27 – 30, 2011. This means if you are able to take advantage of a last minute opportunity, then now is your chance!  The workshop sold out early this year, leaving a few disappointed photographers out there – our apologies!  So don’t hesitate if you are interested.  The workshop, based out of beautiful Baker Creek Chalets near Lake Louise, is geared toward beginner to intermediate shooters. We cover topics ranging from artful compositions to useful filter techniques with plenty of constructive critique throughout the weekend.  A combination of class and field time ensures that you get to practice your new skills, and a low instructor-to-student ratio guarantees all your questions will be answered!  (If you have questions about the meaning of life, John Marriott will be happy to answer them!!). For more information on the workshop and topics covered visit the SNAP! website. To register contact Baker Creek Chalets.

We hope to see you at the workshop!

©Darwin Wiggett

Additional November Fire and Ice Tour added

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 13, 2011 by Darwin

The November 10 – 13 Fire and Ice event is sold out but we have just added a second 2011 tour in mid November this year.  The Fire and Ice Tour is one of my favorites because of the short days with great light and the intersection of new ice with the fiery skies of late fall.

The second tour starts Wed. Nov. 16th 5pm to Sunday Nov. 20th 1:30 pm (four nights at Aurum Lodge!), with the option to join a day later (Nov. 17th) for those who cannot make the four nights, but wish to come for three nights only. Cost is C$ 1,359 for the four night tour or C$ 1,019 for the three night tour all in. Limited to 7 participants. Contact Alan at Aurum Lodge to book. Only two spots left!

©Darwin Wiggett

Fall in the Canadian Rockies Photo Tour Results – Alan Ernst

Posted in Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 5, 2011 by Darwin

©Alan Ernst

Bog Birch Branch

Lumix GH2 with Olympus 50mm/f2 macro lens at f 5.6, 1/15 sec, +2/3 EV, ISO 160

Waiting for a sunrise at upper Waterfowl Lake, I wandered off into a meadow. Mist coming off the lake on this frosty morning made for great close-ups of hoare frost covered vegetation. The colourful leaves of miniature birch shrubs caught attracted me but I had to search for a while to find a branch which had a good mix of colour and could be isolated from its surroundings / background without too much clutter. Once I found a suitable twig, I focused on one leaf and then ran a whole series of shots at different apertures to see the difference in depth of field. The exposures at f4 and f 5.6 turned out to be the best with sufficient selective focus while still keeping the background out of focus completely.

©Alan Ernst

Driftwood in the golden light

Lumix GH1 with 100-300mm Lumix lens at 280mm (35mm equiv. of 560mm) at f8, 1/60 sec, +1/3 EV, ISO 320

On our very first morning shoot at Whitegoat Lakes, participants had packed up and were waiting for the rest of the group to return to our vehicles. Sunrise was over, the clouds were turning white and grey, the reflections on the pond were gone. Time to pack up? Maybe not! When photographing in a group, some people will always be done sooner than others and then sit or stand around, waiting for the rest of participants to wrap up. In these situations, I always continue to scan my surroundings looking for worthwhile subjects.

I had noticed a kaleidoscope of colours on the pond caused by the reflection of warm early morning light on Mt. Stelfox when the bobbing driftwood caught my eye. I knew the moving wood in the water would be problematic in this relatively low light and did not want to step up the sensitivity too much (four thirds sensors are not much good above ISO 400), so set the drive to continuous and rattled off a few shots in succession to hopefully capture the driftwood when movement was minimal. One shot turned out to be sharp.

©Alan Ernst

 Mistaya Canyon

Lumix GH2 with Olympus 11-22mm lens at 14mm at f8, ¼ sec, + 1/3 EV, ISO 160 Polariser and 2 stop hard edge ND

In overcast weather we often venture to canyons and waterfalls or into forests, to take advantage of the diffuse light. Mistaya Canyon never disappoints, with many interesting angles, layered rocks and moving water. At this spot, shooting into the canyon upstream, instead of a solid ND, I used a 2 stop hard edge ND in reverse and at an angle, to darken the foreground and white water, while capturing more detail in the dark of the canyon. Although I bracketed for an HDR image, I found to my surprise that the filters applied were sufficient to even out the contrast to use a single exposure with only a small amount of shadow / highlight adjustment.

©Alan Ernst

  Mount Wilson Spires

Lumix GH1 with 100-300mm Lumix lens at 100mm (35mm equiv. of 200mm), at f8, 1/200 sec, +1/3 EV, ISO 125

When passing Mt. Wilson in the afternoon or evening I always crane my neck to look at the jagged peaks towering almost vertically above the Icefields Parkway. Most people drive right by as they cannot be seen until you look straight up. I have many great images of these turrets in all kinds of moody or warm light, shrouded in mist, covered in snow or ice, etc. On this occasion, stopping a little further along the Hwy, I noticed the almost perfect repetition of outlines of the lower and upper mountainsides, something I had never observed before. We were running late for our sunrise shoot but decided to stop anyway for a quick grab shot from the road.

©Alan Ernst

Nigel’s Navel

Lumix GH1 with 100-300mm Lumix lens at 240mm (35mm equiv. of 460mm), at f8, 1/800 sec, + 1/3 EV, ISO 125

Returning from our photo hike to snowy Wilcox Pass, the early afternoon light was still very intense and not overly suitable for overall landscapes. However, the fresh snow which made walking a little challenging by intermittently turning the steep trail to ice, slush or mud, also covered the rocky slopes of Wilcox Ridge and Nigel Peak, making for very contrasty patterns of rock and snow. I managed to get some good landscape extractions but my favourite one turned out to be these amazing folded rocks on the flanks of Nigel Peak, which beat any fault formations I have seen before. I have walked this trail half a dozen times but never noticed it before.

©Alan Ernst

Windy Point Sunrise

Lumix GH2 with Olympus 11-22mm lens at 12mm (35mm equiv. of 24mm), at f9, 1/2 sec, ISO 160, 3 stop hard edge grad

Usually we reserve sunrises like these for our November tours, when the likelihood for blazing colours is fairly good. However, it takes a number of factors to provide this kind of light and they generally will only occur 10-15 % of the time between end of September and early April . Our fall tour participants were treated to three very good sunrises in six days and were lucky indeed. The wind was fierce on this morning however, ripping along the lake and around Windy Point. I only managed to get two or three shots from this elevated location, when filters flew out of my hand and my backpack rolled down the hill. I could hardly hang on to my tripod and had to retreat to a lower viewpoint which was far less impressive but also, much less windy…

The regular November tour out of Aurum Lodge sold out a year ago but if anyone is interested, an additional tour has just been added to this year’s schedule, which runs from late afternoon on Wed. Nov. 16th to mid day on Sun. Nov. 20th. Four nights, single occupancy, C$ 1,359 all-inclusive – contact Alan at to reserve your spot.

New eBook and Photo Contest over at Visual Wilderness

Posted in Art of Photography, Articles about Photography, Artistic Development, Books about Photography, eBooks, Good News, Image Processing and Software, Inspirations, Instruction, Monthly Photo Contest, TCBlog, Techniques, Webinars, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 1, 2011 by Darwin

Note: To see all future ebook releases, please visit us over at

Hey y’all, time to wander over to Visual Wilderness for two new offerings!  The first is Samantha’s new eBook, Foundations which is part of her new Mastering Composition and Design Series of eBooks. That means there are more eBooks on this topic coming in the future. This first book lays the foundations for those who have difficulty ‘seeing’ potential images while in the field. Personally, I think any visual artist needs to master the foundational skills in visualization; Samantha introduces you to the essential skills that underpin creative photography and all for just $4.95. Click on the photo below to learn more.

The Visual Wilderness team has just announced our next photo contest with the theme; American Landscape. So if you have a killer landscape image taken in the United States of America then head over to Visual Wilderness to enter. The prize? This month Jay and Varina Patel are giving away a four-part webinar: Nature Photography and iHDR Workflow worth $196 US greenbacks. These webinars have gotten rave reviews by all who take them. And for those of you who have no US landscape photos, no worries, in the following months we will be covering other geographical locales like Bahrain, Gabon, Laos, Mozambique and Uruguay.  😉

Amazing Chile/Altiplano Photo Tour with Jay Goodrich

Posted in TCBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 4, 2011 by Darwin

Got some time in May 2011 to go on an amazing photo tour in a crazy awesome place? Well, then check out this great Photo Tour  to the Altiplano that Jay Goodrich has put together. Heck, if I did not have my own tours booked and filled up in May I would have tried to sneak away on this one. If you go say hi to Jay for me!

©Jay Goodrich

©Jay Goodrich

©Jay Goodrich

Fire and Ice Photo Tour 2010 – Marko Kulik

Posted in Inspirations, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 3, 2010 by Darwin

Marko Kulik who runs the popular photo blog came along on the Fire and Ice photo tour this year. Here are Marko’s six favorite images from the trip.


©Marko Kulik

Icy Sunrise at Preacher’s Point, Abraham Lake

The ice formations at Preacher’s Point were just awesome. I could have easily stayed there the entire day and the sunrise was also one of the best that we had. I spent a good part of the morning on my belly sliding on the ice looking for cool ice formations. Although the ice I laid on was solid, the lake was not totally frozen and I kept hearing ice cracking sounds which freaked me out quite a bit.


©Marko Kulik

Ice Cave at Beauty Creek, Jasper National Park, Alberta

I must have 20 shots of this ‘ice cave’. I kept moving closer and closer and closer until my footwear would not let me move any closer or my feet would have been soaked with ice-water. I was super-intrigued with the ice-forms to the right of the central rushing water as they seemed smoke-like to my eye.


©Marko Kulik

Waveform at Coleman Creek, Banff National Park, Alberta

I really dug Coleman Creek and had the 105mm Macro on for close up details. The great thing about the l05 (I have the Nikon version) is that it’s also a lovely portrait lens. When I spotted the interplay between the water and the ice here, I immediately focused a few feet in front of me. I thought of surfing as I captured this waveform.


©Marko Kulik

Junction, North Saskatchewan River, Banff National Park

The rushing water, the icicles, as well as the rock faces all caught my attention in this composition. I was also struck by the strong shapes and the interplay between them.


©Marko Kulik

Icy Tree Reflection at Waterfowl Lake, Banff National Park, Alberta

I was struck by the painterly feel of this reflected tree in the ice. The cracked ice and textures made for a nice canvas for the tree’s reflection.

©Marko Kulik

Ice Disks, Abraham Lake

This was a challenging shot to get because I cut my pinky finger on the ice maybe 5 minutes before taking this shot. I was bleeding a bit and tried to stop it with kleenex and it worked for a while. Every time I needed real dexterity though I moved the kleenex and it started up again. Anyway it healed up nicely. Sorry if I spoiled any macro compositions for anyone. Wait a sec the interplay of blood and ice – that might have been cool! I chose to convert this image to black and white because the natural colours of rocks in the background were interfering with the form of the ice disks I wanted to highlight.

Light Matters Masterclass – We have moved the date to 2011!

Posted in Art of Photography, Artistic Development, Good News, Image Processing and Software, Inspirations, TCBlog, Techniques with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Darwin

When Royce Howland, Samantha Chrysanthou and I  introduced the idea of the mentor-ship based Light Matters Masterclass: Creative Expression Photography Workshop in September of this year we got a lot of positive response. The response was so good we thought we had better get the workshop set up sooner than later and we planned the event to take place in early November 2010. Well many of the people who wanted to come simply could not because 2 months was too short of notice (I guess people have jobs and stuff eh?). So we have moved the event to November 2011 to give anyone interested lots of time to plan. Below is a little summary of the event followed by our promo video.

Light Matters Masterclass: Creative Expression is designed to create an intensive,  mentor-ship style workshop designed to teach photographers the dynamic balance between the three  fundamental pillars of creative expression: craft, art and profession. This workshop is for those photographers who want to move into the realm of visionary photography. We give you a combination of insightful seminars, assignment-based field shooting, hands-on digital darkroom work, and instructive critique all while based out of award-winning Aurum Lodge in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Small group size (9 participants max) ensures undiluted access to instructors. To learn more about this exciting and unique Creative Expression Photography Workshop just click on this link to download our detailed PDF



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.

Creative Expression Photography Workshop (Nov 3 – 7), 2010

Posted in Artistic Development, Good News, Image Processing and Software, Inspirations, TCBlog, Techniques, VWBlog, Workshops and Seminars with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 18, 2010 by Darwin

I am very excited to announce a new workshop series: Light Matters Masterclass. I have teamed up with acclaimed photo instructors Royce Howland and Samantha Chrysanthou to create an intensive,  mentorship style workshop designed to teach photographers the dynamic balance between the three  fundamental pillars of creative expression: craft, art and profession. This workshop is for those photographers who want to move into the realm of visionary photography. We give you a combination of insightful seminars, assignment-based field shooting, hands-on digital darkroom work, and instructive critique all while based out of award-winning Aurum Lodge in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Small group size (9 participants max) ensures undiluted access to instructors. To learn more about this exciting and unique Creative Expression Photography Workshop just click on this link to download our detailed PDF or go to Royce’s announcement or Sam’s posting to learn more. I hope to see you there!

©Darwin Wiggett - The 'tree' at Aurum Lodge

©Darwin Wiggett - November Sunrise, Kootenay Plains