Archive for the ‘Updates & Opportunities’ Category

Indiana Deadline Is Today!

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Today is April 7. And April 7 is the Early Registration Deadline for CAPTURE Indiana, which will be held just outside of Indianapolis from May 7-10. If you didn’t already know, this means that it’s the last day to take advantage of the $50 discount that you get when you register early. So, save fifty bucks and head over to the registration page and sign up today!

Eventbrite - CAPTURE Photography Workshop - Early Registration!

The CAPTURE Workshops are specifically designed for those of you who enjoy taking pictures in the outdoors but want to move your photography skills to a more profitable level. It’s one thing to just take pictures for the fun of it; it’s quite another to know composition and camera functions well enough to take and edit pictures good enough to sell or use for making money or ministering to others. Let CAPTURE take you through that transition.

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What’s New This Year in Big Sandy

I’ve not posted much on the new opportunity at the 2014 ATI Family Conference in Big Sandy coming up in just a few weeks. I’ve eluded to it here and there, but there’s been so much interest within the current Conference registrants, that I’ve hardly had any time to extend the invitation beyond the ATI circles. So officially, let me say that you are invited! But you’d better hurry, there are only 3 more spots left . . . and who knows, they might all be taken by the time you finished reading this post. Registration closes on Tuesday, April 8th.

If you aren’t going to be in Big Sandy, don’t worry. I’ll be holding the same Event Photography workshops in Nashville and Sacramento with the ATI Family Conferences, as well as in Richmond with the HEAV Convention. You can read more details on the Event Photography details page, but I’ve added some of the Q&A section below to give you an idea of what the workshops are like.

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Q. What’s skill level is required?
A.
These workshops are geared toward intermediate level photographers. Once you have registered, you will receive a survey by email for gauging your experience level and determining your eligibility for the workshop. Beginner photographers willing to  study hard to pass the survey before the workshop are free to register.

Q. What will I be learning during the workshop?
A. Principles of photojournalism and how to meet the demands of covering a large event. Quickly posing people or groups, creating consistently bright and sharp images in difficult lighting situations, event photography etiquette, Christian convictions in art, establishing a time-effective post-processing workflow for meeting time-sensitive deadlines.

Q. How old do I have to be to attend?
A. Photographers of any age 15 years old or older are welcome. Exceptions can be made for 14 year olds at the ATI Family Conference.

Q. Can I participate in other activities along with the photography workshop?
A. Yes. I very much want the assignments to float around the other opportunities that you would like to participate in during the conference, like playing in the orchestra or listening to favorite speakers. Assignments will be set up in a way that the photographers can shoot during the times that are best for them and of the programs (Children’s Institute, ALERT cadets, choir, etc.) that they would enjoy most, while also shooting as often (or not) as they are available.

Continue reading on the Event Photography details page . . .

2015 Calendar: What Pictures Would You Choose?

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Would you like to have a voice in the creation of the 2015 Lenspiration calendar? Believe it or not, I’m beginning work on it already. I’ve selected over 50 images from my portfolio but now you can help me narrow them down to the top 12 that would be best for a calendar.

For the next week or so, you can give your thoughts and input on the pictures you like best in this 2015 Calendar Ideas album. Which are your favorites? Which pictures go with which months of the year? What do you think should be the front cover image? Even a simple Facebook like or Google Plus +1 will be of great help to me in determining which photos are more popular than others.

Looking forward to hearing your feedback and comments!

2015 Calendar Ideas

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How Close Are You to Indianapolis?

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By car, Indianapolis is 4.5 hours or less from 8 surrounding states.

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By plane, practically every state in the US is close. Join us for the CAPTURE Indiana photography workshop from May 7-10. The Verity Institute campus, set apart in the quite countryside half an hour from downtown Indianapolis, will be the springboard for our early morning and afternoon landscape excursions as we expand our photography skills amidst spring flora and glacial canyons.

We’ll explore how using manual settings can help us achieve the highest image quality possible in difficult lighting situations, cover advanced composition techniques that will work for any location, demystify histograms which will help you easily evaluate highlights and shadows for properly exposed images at any time of day, and learn step-by-step the unique Lenspiration post-processing workflow for effectively organizing and editing your newly acquired repertoire of photos. Learn more on the CAPTURE Indiana details page.

Receive a $50 Early Registration Discount when you register by April 7!

Eventbrite - CAPTURE Photography Workshop - Early Registration!

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Learn, Practice, and Master Successful Event Photography

When one has both good and bad news, it’s  better to start with the bad, right? Well, CAPTURE Texas has been canceled due to the fact that the minimum number of photographers was not reached by the Early Registration Deadline. Sad indeed, but it’s better to stick with principle than to try and stretch oneself too thin. But thankfully, there’s something new to be looking forward to!

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Join me for the next big event, this time in Big Sandy, Texas. April 22-25 is the Advanced Training Institute’s Regional Family Conference and I have been asked to lead a Conference Photography Workshop. With five years of experience covering these conferences, I’m eager to share what I’ve learned with fellow photographers who want to delve deeper into photojournalism-type work.

What I like most about this new opportunity is that you can learn from my experience of trial-and-error and avoid the typical mistakes and headaches associated with this kind of photography. You also get to practice in a real-life, hands-on, take-it-or-it’s-gone-forever environment and have the great feeling of taking on an important role while serving a Bible-based ministry all at the same time!

I’ll be posting more details as they fall in place. In the meantime, send all inquiries to james@lenspiration.com. There’s no Early Registration Deadline, so it won’t  be canceled, but that also means there won’t be an Early Registration Discount. However, that shouldn’t be a problem because this workshop is only $50. Yup; that’s all! It won’t be nearly as training-intensive as a CAPTURE Workshop, but it will certainly be intense in other ways. Have you ever covered a large event before? I’m tellin’ ya! It’s going to be crazy! But it’s going to be crazy fun. It always is when you put your whole heart and might into something!

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Texas Workshop Rescheduled!

Important update here: as of yesterday, the CAPTURE Texas workshop has been rescheduled to April 16-19. This is two weeks later than originally planned. There are currently 4 spots available, so if you’re schedule didn’t allow the opportunity to come with the previous dates, check your calendar again!

I’m not sure how shooting two weeks later will effect our pursuit of the Bluebonnets, but I’ll be keeping my eye on websites like TexasBluebonnetSightings and TexasHillcountryWildflowers. Whether we end up shooting Bluebonnets or not, there’s no question that there will still be plenty of wildflowers for painting color in our Texas landscapes. Over the years, I’ve learned by experience and trial and error that shooting flowers and spring flora is not as easy as it may seem. I’m looking forward to sharing every secret that I know for making the most of those beautiful little gems that God has planted around us faithfully every year in infinite variety.

Just some random pictures I shout while at the park one evening. Not that great of a time to shoot, but still somewhat fun. Disapointed at the results

From the Other Photographers’ Perspective

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Photos by Dr. Robert Frazer

 

Thanks to the Frazer Family, CAPTURE Quebec was the largest workshop yet! It was neat to see everyone’s skill level increasing each day, and I was practically running out of things to talk about by the end of the class. :)  I was learning new things too; like how to make focusing microadjustments to specific lenses. For an excellent, detailed, pictorial overview of the entire “weekend”, jump over to the post CAPTURE Quebec Highlight Photos on the Frazer Family’s website. It’s so neat to see their perspectives.  I was very impressed with the images that each team member was able to get despite the weather being against us. Below are just a few of my favorites from each attendee. Would love to hear your comments on which one’s are your favorites!

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Photo by Stephen Frazer

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Photo by Evelyn Frazer

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Photo by Ryan Taylor

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Photo by Nathanael Frazer

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Photo by Jonathan Frazer

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Photo by Elizabeth Frazer

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Photo by Dr. Robert Frazer

Last Day for Early Registration

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I enjoyed my time in Quebec so much that there was practically no time to keep my blog updated! I’m looking forward to sharing many pictures and tips from the event. But before I jump in, I just wanted to mention the fact that the $50 Early Registration discount for CAPTURE Texas is upon us. Officially, it ended yesterday, but I’m extending it through today because I was unable to post an advance notice. This is the last reminder though! As I am still in Canada, the best way to ask last minute questions is by email to james@lenspiration.com.

Eventbrite - CAPTURE Photography Workshop - Early Registration!

But now for a little taste of Canada. We had a challenging time at each shooting location because there was very little sun which meant there was very little color on the landscape. We tried coping with this by emphasizing composition and shooting more prominent subjects. But it was still very difficult. In this picture of the barn, the only reason the sky was colorful was because of the light pollution from the city of Sherbrooke. For some reason, my camera picked it up with a very distinct purple hue. Perhaps it’s not natural, but it sure eludes to the color we were looking for all weekend!

Even though colorful images were few and far between, I don’t think it dampened the effectiveness of the workshop too much, as one of the attendees pointed out to me later. At the end of the workshop, Ryan mentioned that even though he didn’t necessarily get the pictures he was expecting, he learned more through observing me scout, position, compose and create each shot than he ever could have learned through online tutorials or book learning regardless of who the photographer was. There’s something about watching the entire image-capturing process unfold in person one step at a time. To observe, attempt, fail, observe again, and attempt again. It’s practically impossible to describe. But it’s essential for “doing” learners. And it’s what I know will positively help photographers take that step forward that is impossible to take by themselves.9712_Eastman-Quebec-Canada_Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 73 mm, 30.0 sec at f - 4.0, ISO 500

Looking forward to clearer skies in Texas

Lessons from North Carolina

The details page for CAPTURE North Carolina (autumn) has been added to the Workshops page! Here are a few desktop wallpapers and the short-stories behind them from the workshop in North Carolina last year:

Shapes of Nature
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I like to say that the best time to take pictures is on edge of light. It’s the most colorful, dramatic and thus, photographically productive time of day. Perhaps this sounds like not much time to take pictures, but the Edge of Light is much more than the brief moments of sunrise or sunset. I like to divide the Edge of Light into three stags: the golden hour, “the moment”, and twilight. These stages last for over two hours, so there’s plenty of time to be taking pictures. Most everyone knows what the golden hour is: it’s the hour of time before sunset (or after sunset) where sunlight is at it’s warmest. What I call “the moment” is the brief period of time when the sun actually dips below the horizon at sunset (or peeks over the horizon at sunrise). It’s during those few moments that I have the best opportunity to capture sunbursts. At other times, if the horizon is much higher than the elevation at which I’m standing, then “the moment” could refer to the peak time of color in the clouds which occurs right around the minutes of sunset or sunrise. Twilight, as you’ve probably already guessed, is the hour after sunset (or the hour before sunrise). It is also known as the Blue Hour. This is personally my most favorite time to shoot. It lends toward more subdued images like the one above. During CAPTURE North Carolina last year, we were up before dawn every morning so that we could experience these stages of the Edge of Light, and practice the various challenges associated with each one.

Pearly Specimen 
Download as Desktop Background

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We were actually driving from one destination to another when we saw this pond by the side of the road with masses of water lilies growing along the edges. The unplanned stop was quite fun, and it didn’t matter that it was mid morning: the heavy cloud cover gave the perfect ambient light for shooting flowers in. No one had planned that either. The entire group of photographers were hovered so close to the banks of the pond that I feared someone would fall in. It may have felt good on that hot muggy day, but being dunked in water isn’t exactly the most healthy thing for camera equipment.

Blue Ridge Morning
Download as Desktop Background

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In the pre-dawn darkness, we attempted to drive from the meetinghouse to Rough Ridge Overlook, a place I had scouted as a phenomenal location before the workshop had started. But we never did find the parking area at the trail head. We drove several miles in both directions down the Blue Ridge Parkway, but alas, it was not to be found. What a sinking feeling it was when the clouds began to turn pink and we had no place to shoot. Finally, in a desperate effort to make the most of our early morning, we stopped at the first pull-off where there was an overlook. The sunrise was spectacular. We weren’t in the perfect position to capture it, but it was good enough. After the moment of glory passed, the clouds thickened and the sun disappeared behind the clouds for the rest of the morning. And that’s when I took this shot. The arrangement of hills was a long way off, but the telephoto lens brought it in close enough. Our morning photoshoot was well worth rising early for.

I’m looking forward to returning to North Carolina in 2014, this time in October. If you can’t make it to North Carolina, perhaps there’s another state you are closer too. Or Providence, perhaps? CAPTURE Quebec is just around the corner; there’s just one spot left.

CAPTURE Texas, in early April, is coming up very quickly as well. You have till March 3 to get the $50 Early Registration discount.

If those locations still aren’t close enough, check out the newly updated Workshops Page for an overview of the 10 workshops in the works for 2014.

On a final note, if you would like to download Blue Ridge Morning as a desktop background for free, sign up for Latest from Lenspiration updates. I give away one free wallpaper per update. If you would like to receive access to the other two wallpapers, along with my entire collection of wallpapers from the past, you can make any purchase on the Lenspiration Store.

Have some Feedback?

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Did you receive or purchase a Lenspiration 2014 Calendar?  Has it  been hanging on your wall long enough for you to begin formulating your own opinions about it? Did concerns or impressions come to mind back when you were navigating  on the Lenspiration or StaddonFamily online stores? Have thoughts about what would make future calendars better popped into your head as you’ve used your calendar over the last month?

I want to learn from you, my customer, as much as I can. Your comments and suggests are as valuable as gold to me. The quick survey below, mostly multiple choice but with optional space for those who want to make observations in detail, covers everything from your feedback on quality and price to your satisfaction with Lenspiration’s notifications and navigating the online stores. Even if you can’t think of anything right off, I’m sure you won’t have a problem answering the questions that, though seemingly simple, are of such great value to me. Thanks!

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