FirstLight Workshop

Welcome!

 

 

FirstLight Workshop brings together some of the world’s most talented photographers in the most beautiful locations in the world to share their knowledge and experience in digital photography. Learn to create extraordinary images and master digital photography under the tutelage of these photography professionals in an environment that will awe and inspire. To learn more about creating perfect digital images, please visit Perfect Digital Photography.

 

 

FirstLight is proud to present for Fall of 2014:

                 Smith Island, October 5 – 9, 2014

 

 

Near Smith Island, a waterman harvests oysters from the Chesapeake Bay            Photo by Dave Harp

Near Smith Island, a waterman harvests oysters from the Chesapeake Bay – Photo by Dave Harp

 

Few times in your life will you have the opportunity to experience a place like Smith Island on the eastern shore of Maryland.  A step back into time, a place that time seems to have forgotten.  Or, as author Tom Horton calls his book about Smith Island, “An Island Out of Time.”  This is an isolated fishing village, a place where culture and landscape collide.  A diminishing culture,  the people of Smith Island still harvest the Chesapeake in ways that really haven’t changed in 300 years-all dependent on weather, wind and tide.

FirstLight instructors Jay Dickman and Dave Harp will be with you the entire workshop.  Tom Horton, author and our good friend, will provide his knowledge as well as access, via his boat, to the people and areas of Smith that are far off the beaten path.

You’ll arrive early Sunday afternoon, on the Crisfield-to-Tylerton ferry, as this is the only way to reach Smith Island. In the opening presentation, after dinner, you’ll see the work of Jay and Dave.  The 4 days of the workshop will be spent photographing the Watermen, as well as the natural and stunning beauty of the area.  Thursday morning, you’ll head back to the mainland.

Daily edit sessions will heighten your awareness and ability to “see photographically”, empowering your photography and story telling. And with only 8 students, this provides an unrivalled ratio of instructor to student.   You’ll go back into the field after the edit session with an excitement and understanding of this process, taking your photography to new heights. This is critical anytime you put the camera to your eye and press the shutter, whether a story for a national publication, or photographing your own life, you will come out of this workshop with a far greater understanding of how to tell that story.

The entire process comes to life with the unveiling of our slideshow at the end of the workshop, highlighting the best work from each participant. Held at the FirstLight headquarters, you will enjoy wine and cheese along with the company your now-friend fellow photographers and the locals that you spent the week photographing.

Cost for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is $ 2150.00.  This includes:  Roundtrip ferry from Crisfield, Maryland to Tylerton, on Smith Island.  4 nights lodging, all breakfast and dinners, and instruction over the 3 1/2 days of the workshop.  A final slide show will be made available to you after the workshop.  Not included: lunches, alcoholic beverages, laundry and/or other amenities.  PLEASE READ AND ACKNOWLEDGE THE FIRSTLIGHT POLICIES REGARDING PAYMENT AND REFUNDS  BY CHECKING THE APPROPRIATE BOX ON THE REGISTRATION PAGE.  YOU CAN ALSO READ THOSE BY CLICKING HERE

FirstLight will provide accommodations in the small towns, staying in a B&B or a guest home..this is a real location, NOT a tourist destination-some of the rooms may have to share a bath, but you will be out shooting most of the time. .  We’ve found that Baltimore Airport (BWI) is one of the most economical choices in the area.  Car rentals are readily available, or you can use one of several car services as you’ll only need to get from the airport to Crisfield, MD.

This Workshop is sold out.  Please call our office number to be put on waitlist:  303.730.2894.

 

A partial moon sets over Tylerton on Smith Island - Photo by Jay Dickman

A partial moon sets over Tylerton on Smith Island – Photo by Jay Dickman

Sunset over Smith Island - Photo by Jay Dickman

 

 

 

TO REGISTER, PLEASE CLICK HERE OR CALL 303 730 2894

FirstLight Workshop

 PO Box 582

 Littleton, Colorado   80160 – 0582




Where’s Jay?


Alaska’s Inside Passage

From the Yukon River, the Tatshenshini-Alsek River, a scientific program miles out on the Arctic ice from Barrow, sea-kayaking in Glacier Bay, trips in the Inside Passage, I’ve had the good fortune of working in Alaska many times over my career.  I just returned from two, back-to-back trips for National Geographic aboard the National Geographic “Sea Lion.”

 

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner   Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

 

Starting in Sitka a couple of weeks ago, this trip took me to a favorite place of mine, the Inside Passage.   Gray days with drizzle followed by stunning days of sun and blue skies really provide an all-around Alaska experience.  Wildlife, scenery, more wildlife and more scenery was the commonality on this trip.

 

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner   Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

 

During the past 8 years, I’ve been on nearly 40 different trips for National Geographic Expeditions, ranging from Antarctic and South Georgia, to the Arctic, the Cape of Norway, the British Isles, and multiple more for the Lindblad/National Geographic alliance. When asked which  is my favorite, a really impossible question to answer as each place has it’s magnetism, I still find that the Inside Passage really rates near the top.

As the “National Geographic Expert” aboard these trips, part of my responsibility is to share my photographic knowledge with those who are interested in this craft.  With a National Geographic photographer aboard many of the Lindblad/National Georgraphic trips, this provides a great resource for the  photographically –driven travelers, having access to that individual and the years of experience they bring to the ships.

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner.   Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

In the Inian Island of the Inside Passage, an immature Bald eagle grabs dinner. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Over the 40+ years that I’ve been in this business, hopefully I’ve made enough mistakes and had the successes in terms of not only image-making, but in creating a pretty workable body of equipment I travel with.  I’d like to share a bit of my knowledge for anyone interested, so here goes:

Most of my work takes me outside the US, and I’ve spent enough time on aircraft, running through airports and dealing with the general hassles of the location photographer.  Lightweight gear with a small footprint is becoming more important to me all the time. This is a large reason that I use a mirrorless camera system.  My camera of choice is the Olympus OM-D E-M1.  About half the size of a standard DSLR, and with lenses at least half the size of their DSLR equivalents, I’ve found that this system gives me the quality I need, and eliminates a huge amount of the dead weight of a full-sized DSLR.

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm    Olympus E-M1  50-200

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Olympus E-M1 50-200

I carry my cameras on the plane, I won’t ship anything under, and if I can, I won’t gate-check a bag.  I’ve seen equipment ruined by the rough handling after bidding that case adieu due to a gate agent’s refusal to allow my case to go onboard.  And, if you think there is a real “international carry-on” set of guidelines that all airlines adhere to, well, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell you in New York.

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm    Olympus E-M1  50-200

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Olympus E-M1 50-200

One of the most critical components of travel/location photography is the ability to back up my work.   Digital technology is amazing, until you have failure or loss of images, then it’s voodoo magic..I always carry a small RAID system with me, I use the Wiebetech “Tough Tech Duo.”  In this device resides two 500GB hard drives, the RAID has a chipset onboard, that when plugged into my Mac, appears as one hard drive on my desktop.  Before re-formatting my card, I confirm that those images (after an edit session, eliminating the obvious and the lesser images) are backed up on my Tough Tech before formatting that card.  In addition to the RAID, a carry an additional, “bare” hard drive the same size and speed as those in my drive.  I’ll pop out one of the drives in that RAID and replace with this extra drive.  My Tough Tech then warns me that a new drive has been installed, and asks if I want to copy the contents of the existing drive in the unit to the new drive.  I’ll okay that, and at that point I have my two copies on the RAID of all my files, and I’ll have an additional drive (the one I popped out) that has the files as well.  This way, if I’m leaving my hotel room, that extra drive goes with me and I am pretty secure even if my room is robbed(worst case scenario, but I can’t be too careful with my images, as this is my living) as I’ll have that extra copy that is in my pocket that I can create a new RAID’d backup.

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm    Olympus E-M1  50-200

Glacier calving on South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm Olympus E-M1 50-200

The Tough Tech is a “transition” unit, its primary function is to provide backup until I return home, at that point I’ll drag the files from my latest adventure onto my CRU-Dataport RSX400 RAID system.  After confirming that those files are on that drive (and a second RAID as well) are copied I’ll then erase those files from my Tough Tech.

Part of an iceberg, just after calving off of the South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm, Alaska.  Olympus E-M1   50-200mm lens

Part of an iceberg, just after calving off of the South Sawyer Glacier, Tracy Arm, Alaska. Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

This is all part of a workflow, which doesn’t stop at copying to my main drives.  All photographers should have a plan in mind, and follow that plan religiously.  Hard drives are NOT a permanent medium for storage, one has to plan on updating the storage by moving your entire library to new medium every few years.

Developing and following a workflow is critical for the digital photographer; it’s an amazing technology, but you have to keep your files up to date or you could lose your entire library.

In Glacier Bay National Park, a Puffin on takeoff

In Glacier Bay National Park, a Puffin on takeoff

Glacier Bay National Park, a Mountain goat on mountainside   Oly E-M1 50-200

Glacier Bay National Park, a Mountain goat on mountainside Oly E-M1 50-200

Near Cascade falls    Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Near Cascade falls Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Alaska   Olympus E-M1  12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Alaska Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, later that day....Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Petersburg, later that day….Olympus E-M1 12-40mm lens

Humpback whales in moonlight, Olympus E-M1  50-200mm lens

Humpback whales in moonlight, Olympus E-M1 50-200mm lens

Full moon in Icy Straits, Olympus E-M1 50-200mm

Full moon in Icy Straits, Olympus E-M1 50-200mm

Lindblad naturalist Larry Hobbs and his awesome hat    Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm

Lindblad naturalist Larry Hobbs and his awesome hat Olympus E-M1, 12-40mm

Glacier front

Glacier front