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Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Shoot on Venice Beach....

Yesterday after some rather successful meetings with Paul's Photo and our new product partners, Hoodman Inc, Glynn and I headed for Venice Beach where we had decided we were going to do a shoot with a young model named Jacqueline Grey. Jacqueline was a delight to work with and if you are a Californian photographer I would recommend her highly. Not all models are as willing to brave the cold as she was yesterday. I had to smooth over the goosebumps in PhotoShop!
We were later joined by our new friend and fellow photographer, Erin Manning. Erin's friend and video producer, Mike Welch also came along to capture the madness as it happened. So, look out for some video footage popping up somewhere that is highly incriminating and worthy of my best efforts to remove from the web.
Venice Beach has a rich diversity of potential images. There is, of course, the beach, but there are so many interesting buildings and their colourful facades. The people who inhabit this place are an eclectic mix, that's for sure. There are musicians, artists, shopkeepers, tourists, skaters, and even some everyday people. All we knew was that we were going to have a great shoot. We were a creative group on an interesting location with a lovely model. 
California was unusually cloudy yesterday, so the light was easy to work with and it offered us some different available light opportunities as well as off camera flash images. (Image right: Glynn Lavender) We started walking through the streets behind the beachfront shops, looking for colours and textures, as well as the most important thing - light. We found our share of colours and textures and the light was pretty much unchanging for most of the afternoon. It had set before we even noticed it warming up...which it didn't. That was ok. Glynn and I used some gels to create our own lighting effects with off camera flash.
After the shoot we all met at Erin's place for Mexican food, beer and an interview on video for Erin's ongoing video presentation on the net. It was all rather impromptu but we managed. Somehow. After all, Glynn and I aren't exactly known for our silence or inability to speak...We finally made it out alive at about 1 am. Hence the sleep in this morning. After going through our images from yesterday, we finally hit the hay around 3 am, and we aren't as young as we used to be.
This morning found us Lightrooming our shoots and loading images to our Facebook pages ad infinitum. It was a great day yesterday. It was Glynn's first international shoot, although he has been here many times. It was my first California Girl on Venice Beach shoot. Now there's a great box to tick if ever there was one! 

Friday, February 26, 2010

In California...

In case you have been wondering where on earth I am, I apologise for not having posted earlier. The fact is, I am in California, and I have been very, very busy. I am here with my friend and colleague in crime, Glynn Lavender and together we have rocked the PMA Convention in Anaheim. Our aim was to get Creative Photo Workshops up and running at an international level, and I gotta tell ya, we did! As a result of our efforts, we have photo retailers throughout the United States and Canada inviting us to return and run workshops for their customers. Yes, it goes without saying that we are quite excited. For some videos about PMA and the fun we are having, click here.  
This is just a taste...
Tomorrow, Glynn and I are being joined by renowned American photographer and TV photo celebrity, Erin Manning. Together, the three of us are combining our talents for a shoot with a lovely young Californian local, Jacqueline Grey. (In case you are wondering, Erin is the better looking one of the three of us in this photograph). Glynn and I caught up with Erin at the Expo and had a laugh. We even sang acapella on the bus on the way home from the PMA Dinner. So, after all of that it only stood to reason that we should actually do some photography together, right? Well, that's tomorrow. So, I better get my batteries for my D700 charged, and my Compact Flash cards all formatted and ready for plenty of images. 
Look out for images from the shoot with Jacqueline on the blog and of course, on the Creative Photo Workshops fan page.  Ok....excuse me. Its time to get things done. See ya soon!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ok.... A couple more images...

I had so much fun at our Summer Series Emerging Nymph workshop that I just had to add some more images. Forgive my indulgence, but its my blog, after all!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Summer Series Workshops - The Emerging Nymph

Last Wednesday evening, the Creative Photo Workshops crew was joined by a dozen crazy customers at Ricketts Point along Melbourne's Beach Road. We were joined by model, Sophie Van Den Ekker (our emerging nymph) and Fire Spinner, Chris Carlos. Our old friend, Richard Connon also came along, his mission being to stand in the ocean wearing a suit and reading the newspaper. Yes. Craziness abounded...but so did the images.
Sophie was a perfect choice for our Emerging Nymph. Her face is exquisite, and each feature of her face is perfect. Her blonde hair and swimsuit figure rounded out the look. My sister, Christina Hatchley was our makeup artist and she did a great job of using Sophie's beautiful face as her creative canvas. Christina is my sister, true, but I have worked with her a few times now and I would say that she is the best make up artist I have ever worked with. She doesn't assume a 'batch process' approach to her makeup, even when she is busy doing brides and bridesmaids. To her, each face is its own unique canvas. I love her work.
Sophie was just fabulous to photograph. She was a real trooper, getting in to the rock pools and staying there while she was photographed over and over again by our excited workshopees. Combinations of perspective, composition, exposure balances and poses were all explored by our excited enthusiast photographers. For me, it was a little frustrating because I wanted the shoot all to myself! Its hard when you only have time to take a few establishing images and then get out of the way to instruct others. The photographer in me wants to just keep perfecting the shot!
Richard was also a real trooper, standing in one of my old suits up to his knees in water, motionless and poised for each photograph. Richard is not a model as such, but since his fluke introduction to these workshops in that role he has wanted to come to each one and be a part of the proceedings. I wonder why, considering our mistreatment of him!
Chris Carlos, our Fire Spinner, worked tirelessly to provide plenty of opportunities for our photographers. He stood on the edge of that rocky reef and performed for some time as the sun set behind him. The time exposures of his performances that were taken by our customers that night were fantastic. Silly me left his tripod in the car!
We worked on past sunset, being careful of the rising tides and our equipment getting caught up in it. Trudging back along the beach towards our cars in the dark left us wondering what it was that we may have left on the beach behind in our excitement to capture these images. However, I think we and all our equipment is present and accounted for.
I have to admit that I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunities for creative expression that this Summer Series has granted me. I can only imagine how it must feel for our customers who would not have had the same creative opportunities that being a professional photographer has granted me for many years. I suppose that is what our Summer Series of workshops has been about - providing creative opportunities for our customers and then helping them to go home with images from the shoot that they would never have thought possible for them to take. And I gotta tell ya - it feels real good to be able to help them in that endeavour.
Damn, I love my work!

Monday, February 08, 2010

A fabulous workshop!

Saturday's workshop at Abbottsford Convent was a huge success. It was lovely to have another great mix of photographers attend our workshop and learn some of the essential principles behind Natural light portraiture, which is essentially what the Creative People Photography workshop is all about.
What Glynn and I find interesting is the loss of understanding and an almost palpable belief that with the advent of digital photography, no real learning needs to be undertaken. The hope is that the technology will take care of the science while the person behind the camera takes care of the creative. However, the two processes are inextricably linked. You cannot have the creative process come to fruition without the deliberate execution and understanding of the technical. In fact, the application of the very sciences that govern photography are at the core of the creative process. Our workshop teaches the principles that link the two.
Working with two lovely models and accessing the various lighting situations that Abbottsford Convent offers, our attendees are introduced to photographic situations that teach them that with just a little understanding, any situation can be manipulated within the camera or outside of it to create a beautiful image. Open doorways, corridors, staircases, colonnades and even the grassy courtyard itself are all used as learning platforms and contexts for different photographs. At the end of our 'hands on' afternoon shoot, each student goes home with a new set of tools to use and a handful of wonderful images.
As one customer put it after seeing the images appear on the camera's screen, "I am jumping on the inside!" When a customer of ours makes these kinds of exclamations at a workshop, we know that things are going well! Further to this, she added "After attending Creative Photo Workshops' Natural Light workshop in Melbourne this weekend, I am buzzing! What an amazing day!!! I was blown away with what I learned in the workshop. Shelton and Glynn are not just fantastic photographers but wonderful teachers, fun and so approachable. I left the workshop on a high, filled with excitement and wonder at what I managed to capture on my camera. Shelton, Glynn and their team were patient and keen to help and teach. With two wonderful models to photograph and the individual coaching, I was able to achieve skills I have been striving for. I am already trying to work out how I can get to another workshop this year. This CPW workshop made the trip from Coffs Harbour to Melbourne thoroughly worthwhile. I can't thank Glynn and Shelton enough for sharing their knowledge and pasion for photography. I left excited, inspired, blown away and feeling like I have just been added to their extended family. Thank you so much to the CPW team."
 For Glynn and I, that is reward enough. Being paid is a side bonus.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Prints for Haiti

The devastation of Haiti and the human loss is incomprehensible. Looking on from this distance, you wonder what you can do. It is for this reason that I am proud to have been invited to be a part of Prints for Haiti, a project in which photographers can submit images to be sold and the proceeds go to Haiti. My friend and business partner, Glynn Lavender has also been invited. It is a Creative Photo Workshops combined effort.
So, if this project interests you, have a look at their website. And if you are interested in looking at the few images I submitted, click here.
I am indeed honoured to have been invited. I hope we can make a little bit of difference. Go to the site, and tell your friends about it....

Bound for South Australia

I have just returned from my third wedding in the South Australian town of Mt Gambier. Emma and Cameron's wedding was a referral from Jayde and Leigh, which resulted from the wedding of Patrick and Kellie. And how did Patrick know of me? Well, Patrick is a Mt Gambier photographer who enjoyed reading Better Pictures, the magazine I served as editor of for 13 years. Its funny how things work out some times.
I cannot tell you how welcome I was made to feel. Both families welcomed me to the wedding in a very personal and hospitable way, and I was also invited to stay at Emma and Cameron's reception. They could very well have said that I was there to do a job and was being well paid to do so, but they preferred to include some good ole South Oz country hospitality. So, any time you guys want me to come back and photograph something else, I'm there, ok?
Thank you so much for the honour to be there for your wedding, Emma and Cam! And thanks for making it so much fun. I hope we get to catch up again soon!

The Life, Times and Images of photographer, Shelton Muller

Images on this blog are copyright Shelton Muller