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Courses, Talks and Exhibits - Photography Workshops

This page describes USA Aloft's Photography Workshop series course content.  See our courses page for details on costs and reservation procedures. Unless otherwise noted, courses are available as school programs or for a general audience. 

The USA Aloft 2009/2010 School Program Flyer is available for download as a PDF

Press resource pages exist for USA Aloft's Photography Workshops  These pages contain selected press announcements and images for use in publications.  Follow the instructions there to gain access to higher resolution versions of the images for publication use.

Photography Workshops from USA Aloft

Nature Photography Workshop

Controlling Depth of Field

Digital Photography Printing Workshop

Painting with Light, Nature Photography at Night Workshop

Custom Workshops

Nature photography encompasses a wide range of venues, subjects and purposes. USA Aloft offers basic workshops, intermediate workshops and workshops tailored to meet specific customer requirements. The basic workshop mixes instruction with practical field experience to introduce aspects of nature photography including composition, exposure, lighting, camera operation and field techniques.  Intermediate courses exist to further explore Depth of Field, Printing, and Painting with Light.  Taught by photographer, David Saxe, these courses rely on both classroom instruction and practical experience.  Mr. Saxe's personal interests in photography include computer control of camera systems, stereo photography and time lapse photography.  Contact USA Aloft to plan a workshop for one of these advanced topics.

Nature Photography Workshop

This workshop mixes instruction with practical field experience, introducing aspects of nature photography including composition, exposure, lighting, camera operation and field techniques. Students should bring a camera (digital preferred) and be able to operate it in point and shoot mode. Students may bring their own laptops for downloading and viewing their photographs. Examples of topics covered include: nature photography venues and examples, composition techniques, tools for composition, natural and modified lighting, controlling exposure, focusing methods, depth of field, camera equipment and operation, use of polariziing filters, field equipment, practical tips for the field, printing overview, workflow, and projects for the beginner. Throughout, application of these techniques to nature photography is highlighted. Field exercises augment the classroom instruction and permit the students to practice the techniques they have learned. The course is broken into three 4-hour sessions:

Session 1: Composition, Venues and Examples: Nature photography venues and examples, composition techniques, tools for composition, natural and modified lighting. Using “point and shoot”, this session concentrates on connecting your brain to the viewfinder.

Session 2: Camera Equipment and Operation, Field Techniques: Camera equipment and operation, polarizing filter use, field equipment, practical tips for the field, and projects for the beginner. Read your camera manual in advance and bring your questions to be answered.

Session 3: Exposure, Focusing / Depth of Field, Workflow: This session delves into the technical aspects of exposure, focusing methods, and depth of field and then discusses workflow: how to handle all those images you have made, including a brief look at printing.

Students should have their camera make and model available when registering.  Students will be asked to bring in or email in a few examples of their work for class review.  Students will be asked to read their cameral manuals.  An area suitable for field experience should be available, preferably with a natural setting. Teen through Adult. Normally, a maximum of 12 participants to allow for student interaction.

Other Resources

The course description is available as a PDF. See our courses page for details on costs and registration procedures.
Normally, this course is presented as three 4-hour sessions, each intended to standalone. Alternate formats, including five 3-hour sessions are available.

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Controlling Depth of Field 

Ever take a picture of a flower and have the flower sharp and the background nicely blurred?   How about a landscape with the close-up and distant features all in focus?   Maybe a shot though some blurry leaves to reveal a "hidden" animal?  Did you wish you could do that every time?  This course expands on the Nature Photography Workshop to study focusing techniques. Using instruction and field experience, we will learn about what it means to be "in focus" and how to control which areas of a composition will be in focus.  Blur the background and leave the foreground sharp or vice versa. Exercises will include photographing objects at measured distances with calculated exposure settings designed to achieve specific effects.  You will learn more if your camera is capable of manual settings.  Please have your camera make and model and preferred lens specifications available when you register. Teen through Adult. Normally, a maximum of 12 participants. Your site should include an area of at least 120 feet to allow for longer shots. To allow for indoor field experience in case of rain, have an indoor area available.

Other Resources

The course description is available as a PDF.

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Digital Photography Printing Workshop

Learn how to prepare your digital images for printing. Take home a final image printed on a selection of papers and sizes (max size 12 x 18). This intermediate/advanced course expands on David Saxe's Nature Photography Workshop.  Using several software environments, we will teach the basics of preparing a digital photo for high quality printing. Learn about a variety of tools including how to adjust tones and colors, retouch blemishes, crop to a given size or sharpen, all in a one-on-one session using your image. Come as early as you like and learn as others work on their images. Then, during a scheduled 45-minute individual session, work on your image with an instructor. Select a paper and size to print and go home with a beautiful expertly printed photograph for your enjoyment or use as a special, personalized gift. When properly displayed or stored, the archival quality materials used will last a lifetime. You will also get a CD containing your work. Subject to availability, papers include Epson Ultra Premium Luster, Epson Premium Glossy, Epson Velvet Fine Art and Premier Art Water Resistant Canvas for prints from 8 x 10 up to 12 x 18. Not all papers are available in all sizes. Prices for the first print start around $5 and vary by the paper, size and quantity. Teen and Adult. Duration is flexible but include enough time for at least 45 minutes per participant. Minimum 4 hours. Participants will be asked to supply an electronic version of an image in advance. Additional copies of finished prints may be ordered.

Other Resouces

The course description is available as a PDF along with materials costs. (Costs are subject to change without notice.)
Participants will learn more if they watch a variety of other's images being prepared for printing.  45 minutes per person is an absolute minimum; with print time, one hour may be more realistic.
If you need to offer this workshop to a larger audience, we can supply additional instructors at an added cost. Contact USA Aloft for details.

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Painting with Light, Nature Photography at Night Workshop

In this workshop we will explore the use of light to illuminate night-time subjects. Creative use of illumination, coupled with long exposure times, may be employed both to take night time pictures of natural surroundings and to create stunning artistic views of the world. We will begin indoors with a discussion of techniques and then, as darkness provides our palette, we will move outside to experiment with various lighting scenarios. Using flash, flashlights and lasers, various colors and platforms, we will shoot stationary and moving subjects outdoors, at night.

The first hour of the course will provide a review of the relationships between ISO speed, shutter speed, aperture and depth of field followed by a very short break. Photographers comfortable with these topics may wish to join us after the break when we will discuss night techniques and our painting techniques. See the PDF course description for more information.

Prerequisites

The workshop is intended for intermediate to advanced photographers. Your camera should be capable of setting aperture and/or shutter speed, have a time exposure setting and support a flash attachment. Bring a tripod. Remote shutter device (bulb or wireless) is highly recommended to avoid camera shake. Not all point and shoot cameras support these modes. Consider reading or reviewing your camera manual before the workshop. Digital cameras are strongly preferred. Please have your camera make and model and preferred lens specifications available when you register. Teen through Adult. Normally, a maximum of 12 participants. Please be prepared to be outside in the dark with insect or weather conditions subject to the time of the year.  Bring a small flashlight to use to make camera adjustments and to find your way in the dark.  Using a red flashlight, you will find that you are less likely to destroy both your night vision and that of those around you.

Other Resouces

The course description is available as a PDF. See our courses page for details on costs and registration procedures.
Scheduling is flexible, but, allow for at least 1.5 hours of outside dark time for field experience.

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Custom Workshops

Workshops tailored for a particular audience expand on the basic subjects and may include a more comprehensive field experience. Additional topics may include image processing, printing, computer controlled camera operation, stereo photography and time-lapse techniques. All workshops may be taught on the client’s site, assuming the existence of a suitable area for field experience. Contact us to discuss your needs and to receive a free quote.

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