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Monday, November 01, 2010

A workshop in the Otways

7th Generation owner, Tom Dennis, models reluctantly for our workshop

Ok. Lets take a break from this America thing for just a moment. Don't worry, I will return to that subject. But there is much more to tell. The problem is that there are so many other exciting things happening in life at the moment that I can't blog it all without missing something. But...the weekend just passed was an enjoyable one and I suppose I just wanted to tell you about it.
A few weeks ago I received a call from Lindy at Otways Tourism with a request to come and speak for their Otways in Focus event, a photography event for the local region. Of course I made the date free, and asked if Glynn and his wife and daughter could come also. It was agreed, and our accommodation and workshop location at the fabulous Tarndwarncoort homestead near Colac were confirmed. Fabulous.Tarndwarncoort was built in 1848 and it is a wonderful retreat for you and a group of friends or family. We intend on returning to run more photography workshops there next year. It still remains with the descendants of the original family. In fact, Tom Dennis, one of the sons of the current owners, Wendy and David Dennis, was so friendly (and handsome!) that we even asked him to model for us. He obliged with a typically country sense of humour and willingness and then roped in his friend Ross also.. We were also joined by the lovely Gayle who wore a great combination of jean jacket and oriental style dress. Love it. What was great about these three wonderful souls is that not one of them had modeled before, leaving us and our customers with the real experience of photographing real people and not experienced models. It is somewhat disingenuous to hire experienced models who provide a great experience through their knowledge of posing and light, only to leave our customers believing that this is how every wedding photography or portrait session will actually succeed. Gayle, Tom and Ross were all very real and easy going people who were certainly good looking enough for our cameras and also real enough that we could teach real lessons. Perhaps the most experienced model for the day was Emily Lavender, Glynn's 3-year old daughter who poses for the camera with such delight and expertise you would think that the cover of Marie Claire awaits her.

Experienced model, Emily Lavender
assists with the
pre-workshop establishment
Ah, the iPhone. Every handy...
After a restful morning spent having coffee and a well earned break in the homestead, our official duties began on Saturday when Glynn and I spoke at COPAC on the subject of Travel Photography. We discussed the need for a photographer to assess whether he is a photographer who travels, or simply a traveler who photographs. The images and opportunities that result manifes themselves in the images. To prove the point , I showed two video slide shows of my travel images and together we spoke about some of the necessary techniques and philosophies behind successful travel imaging. One of the videos is included here..

Sunday morning we were prepared for the 20 or so customers who had paid the princely sum of $10 to come along and learn some techniques. We intended to do about two hours of setups and explanations, realising that there would be less chance for those who attended to actually shoot, or at the very least achieve the best vantage points for each shot. But for $10 they certainly got their money's worth as once again Glynn and I explained the benefits of finding light and metering for it. I am constantly astounded at how little of this is actually understood by those who attend our workshops before they come. I am also thankful as without it, Glynn and I would not have been able to assist as many as we have over the past two years. Even with the rain, the shoot went very well, and everyone learned something worthwhile. At the very least they had a giggle. That is an essential part of every workshop we run. Without the fun, we don't want to do it!
Ok, there you have it.  A deviation from the America narrative and one I hope you didn't mind. I will be back on the subject of our US tour very, very soon. We are also off to Brisbane this week to run a series of workshops there. So there is much to tell. See you soon!

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The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller