Maine Media Workshops

Student Images: Maine Media Photographing Water Workshop

What better way to spend a week in summer than exploring the Maine Coast, photographing water? We had a group that did just that in July. In addition to photographing the ocean, rivers and water gardens, they got their feet wet photographing fog and rain as well! Still water, moving water, reflections and recreational activities were all part of this class. Here are a few of the watery images captured by students:

Credit: Students of Photographing Water, a week-long workshop offered by Maine Media Workshops and taught by Lee Anne White, July 2018.

Student Images: Maine Media Garden Photography Workshop

We had a talented, enthusiastic and supportive group that gathered in Maine during July to explore botanical and garden photography. This was mostly a field workshop, with lots of time spent in lots of gardens--both public and private. Here are a few images highlighting the work of each student. Enjoy!

Student Images: Advanced Explorations in Botanical Photography Workshop

In the Advanced Explorations in Botanical Photography Workshop this past fall at Maine Media Workshop, we spent a lot of time in the studio exploring natural light, studio lighting and still life photography. Of course, that didn't keep us from visiting a garden each day for fresh air, inspiration and just a few more images. Here are a few of the photographs taken by the students in that workshop. I hope you'll join me in applauding them for their work!

Student Work: Creative Explorations in Botanical Photography

Photo credits: Merrill Saltzman, Jonathan Harris, Scott Royer, Anne Blumberg, Bill Sargent, Suzie Mullally, Stu Schaffner, Sara Gray, Dianne Roberts, Bill Snyder, Judy Fletcher and Gary Biasucci.

I recently completed teaching the first of two photography workshops this year at Maine Media Workshops. The twelve students in Creative Explorations in Botanical Photography split their time between Maine gardens and the studio, taking a closer look at plants and exploring creative ways to capture their personality. Students came to the workshop with varying degrees of photographic experience. Some have photographed plants for many years; others were just exploring the subject in-depth for the first time. Most were color photographers, but a few shot in black-and-white. They all came wearing different hats: artist, journalist, street photographer, designer, documentarian, gardener and more. It was fascinating and inspiring seeing their work evolve throughout the week. The slideshow above showcases this work, with six images from each student in random order. And yes, the lupines were in bloom!

My second workshop at MMW is Advanced Explorations in Botanical Photography, which will run October 8-14 at what we hope will be peak leaf season (though these things are difficult to predict). It is a continuation of this initial workshop, and will delve more deeply into studio techniques and the development of a personal project. We will spend a bit more time in the studio and visit different gardens and nature preserves. The advanced class is open to anyone who has taken a previous botanical/garden workshop from me or by portfolio review.

What a Week at Maine Media Looks Like

At the end of each week at Maine Media Workshops, everyone gathers in the sound studio following a lobster dinner to share their week's work with the other classes and staff. I'm always amazed by both the quality and creativity of the work and the range of work being created on campus. While my class is busy photographing flowers in the studio or in gardens, others are creating books, filming documentaries or delving into alternative photographic processes in the darkroom. Still others are sleeping, as they will be up all night photographing the stars. This is a video created by the Maine Media staff showing some of the classes at work the week of June 18, which is when my workshop took place. Just thought you might enjoy an insider's look at what happens on campus.

Join Me For a Botanical Photography Workshop in Maine

What memories of summer are strongest for you? For me, it’s the smells—freshly mown grass, hemlocks in the mountains of North Carolina, mint in my mom’s garden, burgers cooking on the grill, even that odd smell of lightning bugs. Do you have lightning bugs where you live? Perhaps you call them fireflies.
 
Anyhow, it’s summer and my thoughts are eagerly turning to the botanical photography workshop I’ll be teaching in Rockport, Maine, this August. Offered by the Maine Media Workshops, it is a week’s emersion into the subject with a small group of individuals who are passionate about plants and photography. It’s one of those few times you can leave everything else behind and focus intensely on learning, playing, experimenting and making new artistic discoveries.
 
Teaching at MMW is one of my favorite summer activities. (And before I began teaching, taking workshops there was tops on my list!) Rockport is a quaint harbor town sandwiched between Rockland and Camden. The gardens are enchanting—sometimes charming, other times sophisticated. The studio is spacious and well equipped. Meals, which are eaten outdoors under a large tent, are always worth writing home about. And the talented staff is truly a joy to work with.
 
This workshop is going to be a little different from those I’ve taught in the past, in that we’ll spend more time in the studio and concentrate more on photographing plants than gardens—though we’ll get out in some lovely gardens, too. Shooting in the studio is unique in that you have an opportunity to look at and work with plants in ways that are often difficult and sometimes impossible in the garden. You can slow down, have a bit more control over your subject, and explore it more fully. The days will include a mix of working in the studio, shooting in the garden or nature, class discussions, creativity exercises and reviewing work. We will work hard, play hard, get lots of hands-on experience, share ideas and have some fun in a great setting.

While you don't need any botanical photography experience to take the class, you do need to know how to operate your camera and use some kind of image-processing software so that you can work with and share your images. You'll need to bring a laptop with that software, your camera, a sturdy tripod and, ideally, a couple of lenses. I highly recommend a macro lens for getting the most out of the class. (You might consider renting one for the week or asking MMW if they have any loaner equipment that would suit your camera.) We'll also play around with our camera phones and apps. You don't need to be an equipment geek to take this class; our real focus is shooting.

Don’t you want to join us? [Click HERE for information and registration.] If you have questions, please shoot me an email or respond to this letter. Also, would you do me a favor and pass this along to anyone you know who might be interested? I sure would appreciate that! Hope to see you in August! 

The Workshop Experience

 

At first, we cursed our fogging lenses and worked primarily on strategies to keep our cameras dry. (Shower caps are great for this, by the way.) But once we settled in a bit, the magic started to happen. It wasn't the first time I'd photographed in cold or rain by any means, but it was the day that I truly discoverd the magic of shooting in inclement weather. Or should I say, the magic of sticking with it, despite all of the challenges, to get the shot. By the time we packed our bags and headed back to the classroom to drop off our film, we were all anxious to see the results. Indeed, they were some of the best images taken all week. They were the shots that others don't get, because others usually do sit by the fireplace on cold, drizzly days.

That stick-with-it-attitude we learned that week has come to the rescue for me on countless assignments over the years when--thanks to inclement weather, broken gear, bad timing, travel hassels, or other problems--I really wasn't sure if I'd be able to deliver the job. But rather than give up, I stuck with it--often to the point that I simply gave up approaching things the usual way and just began to play. I've always returned home with publishable work. Indeed, what turned out to be one of my most frustrating magazine assignments ever resulted in a front-cover image. Thanks, at least in part, to Brenda and the Maine Media Workshops.

I'm still a student, and still take workshops from time to time because there is always something new to learn, some new territory to explore, another instructor to inspire me to look at things a new way. As an instructor, this is what I most love to do--get students to look at things in new ways, to break out of their routine, to expand their visual vocabulary, to try something they've never tried before. We work hard and we play hard. We go where we haven't gone before. That's what a workshop should be all about.

I guess my thoughts today are two-fold: Remember that the magic often happens when you push beyond your frustration level. And if you want to experience a week of growth, consider taking a workshop from a photographer or other individual you've always admired. It's a great opportunity for creative growth.