Prince William Sound, Alaska Workshop
Prince William Sound, Alaska Workshop
May 22 to May 28, 2016
Cost - $4,750
$1,000 to reserve. Remainder of payment due 30 days prior workshop
Instructors - Ben Long and Paul Taggart
Prince William Sound is a stunningly beautiful region of fjords, glaciers, rainforests, and mountain-rimmed bays. Filled with wildlife and interesting locals, it's a fascinating place for a photographer, and we'll explore it in depth in this 5-day springtime workshop. While it's easy to take beautiful landscape shots in Prince William Sound we're going to push you beyond those "expected" photos and guide you to a finished body of work that expresses more of your own personal vision. You'll have the chance to hike, explore by air or water, and learn the area as we work with you to develop your eye, your shooting skills and your post-production techniques. We'll create a lot of images and have a lot of fun as we explore this spectacular locale.
You’ll fly into Anchorage before heading south to Girdwood, Alaska, a small mountain town known for its skiing and its close proximity to multiple glaciers in Prince William Sound. You’ll stay at the Alyeska Resort, a beautiful ski lodge offering spa services, four restaurants, and expansive grounds.
Classes begin Sunday, May 22 with a presentation of Ben and Paul’s photography from around the world. Next, we’ll conduct individual portfolio reviews to help us better understand each participant’s skill level, taste, and interest. The remainder of the day will be spent discussing each participant's creative goals for the week and then working out a plan to achieve those goals. The first night will conclude with a seven minute scenic tram ride to a mountain-top restaurant for a group dinner.
Monday morning will start early when participants head out on a 30-minute drive along the beautiful Seward Highway to an extraordinary two-mile-long tunnel through Maynard Mountain and into the remote, unique, post-cold-war-bunker village of Whittier. At the Whittier docks, participants will board the thirty-five-foot, aluminum-hulled Ellen Jay and settle into the heated wheelhouse for a quick ride to Blackstone Glacier to begin making photographs. Our goal on this initial expedition is to explore multiple areas of Prince William Sound and help each participant decide what locations, imagery, and subject matter they would like to explore and document in a personal photo project. The Ellen Jay will make stops at multiple glaciers, waterfalls, and wildlife hot spots before returning to Whittier (which is an interesting subject on its own!). From there we will return to the resort for lessons in postproduction workflow and editing, followed by individual critique sessions of the day’s work.
On Tuesday morning, class will be held at the resort and will begin with a group presentation and critique. Developing a vocabulary for honestly discussing and assessing images – both your own and others’ – is one of the most constructive and beneficial skills a photographer can have. Group critique sessions will help you see your images in different ways, identify your strengths and weaknesses, and put language to photographic concepts that you may not have been able to identify before. If the thought of a group critique scares you, don’t worry – we have lots of experience leading people through this delicate, personal process, and know how to ensure a painless experience that yields valuable insight. After lunch we’ll begin with a presentation from a local guide who will teach you about the region and help you plan logistics for your photography project. Both Ben and Paul will work with you to decide what it is you’d like to pursue – be it a landscape, wildlife, or photojournalistic project – and how to move your project forward.
On Wednesday morning you'll return to Whittier where the Ellen Jay will take students to any of their desired shooting locations. Students interested in being dropped off to shoot on-shore will be accompanied by a local guide. Because of the diversity in Prince William Sound we can arrange for the Ellen Jay to take you to specific locations, allowing you to shoot wildlife (including sea lions, birds, and otters); explore a glacier; tramp through Alaskan rainforest; study a shipwreck or trek a rocky coastline studded with fantastic views of steep, snow-covered Alaskan peaks. If you're interested in a more photojournalistic day of shooting, we can help you find subject matter in the odd, historical city of Whittier. After shooting, you'll return to the resort for post-production editing under hands-on guidance from Ben and Paul. The day will end with a brief meeting with each student to confirm logistics for each photographer’s final project.
Thursday will be the final day of shooting. You'll have multiple options for photographing the region: the Ellen Jay will be available for anyone wishing to return to the waters of Prince William Sound; kayaks and a guide will be available if you would like to shoot from the water and access land easily; aerial photography will be available for a bird’s-eye perspective. We are working with a local helicopter charter business to fly photographers over and even land on the glaciers (additional $385/flight). Students will return to the resort for an evening editing session.
Friday morning class will be held at the resort and will begin with a group presentation and critique of work to help you better make final selections for your project. Ben and Paul will be on-hand to help photographers with last minute editing before moving on to individual final critiques and discussions of how each photographer can advance their photography after the workshop. A final exhibit of the photographers' projects will be hung in the classroom, followed by a group dinner in town.
Why Personal Projects?
In Prince William Sound it’s easy to spend a day taking beautiful images of the very striking scenery – and it’s a lot of fun. At the end of a day of such shooting you’ll probably have a number of nice images, but these images will likely be very similar to pretty landscape images that you’ve taken before. We think of these somewhat random collections of pretty images as “trophy” images or “surface images.” Though nice, these photos won’t reveal the depth of a place or your personal experience of it. When you choose a project, you focus your attention and direct yourself to a deeper study of a place or subject. Along the way, you’ll still take plenty of pretty pictures – we’re going to help you improve all of your technical and creative skills – but the deeper focus provided by your project will reveal your unique, personal perspective and that will lead to different images from the standard trophy pictures.
• $1000 to reserve a seat in the workshop. The remaining balance due 30 days prior to the workshop.
• Photographers who want to shoot via kayak or helicopter will require additional fees. Please let us know as soon as possible if you’re interested in either of these options.
• Photographers wanting to find their own accommodations can subtract $1080 from the course fee.
• Photographers are responsible for their own transportation to and from Girdwood, AK