8.19.2010

A free, low key event for anyone who wants to come...Sept. 4th. (already in the past but posted for fun and to see if there is any interest in doing one again in Nov. or Dec.).

Belinda.  Many years ago.  Does film look different?

I'll start with the hard facts and work my way down from there.  Freeform, free kinda workshop-ey thing in San Antonio for anyone who wants to come.  Sept. 4th.  The longer version:  It's been a tough three years for everyone and The Market for everything still mostly sucks.  I get between five and ten poorly targeted e-mail blasts a day from photographers touting workshops.  "Learn the secrets of HOT Photoshop (Kelby)"  "Light like a champ" (five hundred semi-employed former professionals)  "Shoot hot models!!!!!!! (future semi-employed professional photographers)  "Learn to make millions shooting video with your Canon!!!!"  (all the guys who couldn't make it as semi-employed professional  photographers who are trying something different) and,  the truly famous, first tier photographers who are doing workshops with fixtures in the photo entertainment industry like the Maine Photographic Workshops and the Sante Fe Workshops (the real deals?).  But the bottom line is "come listen to me and pay for the experience".

Don't get me wrong,  I think a weekend workshop with someone whose art and style you admire, who is not trying to make everyone shoot just like him, someone who's really good at teaching,  like Don Giannatti over at Lighting Essentials, can be a transformative investment.  It's a way of kick starting the basics and showing you the stuff that maybe you can't get your head around in a good book.  I've given some workshops over the past three years and, judging from the feedback,  people felt as though they were taking away some good material.

But if you're like me you're overloaded with all the come ons for all the workshops.  We seem to have hit some sort of tipping point where the market goes from just oversupplied to ridiculously overwhelmed.  When you were in biology class did your teacher ever do the experiment concerning bacteria or algae growth in a petri dish?  You put in a food source (agar) and then you drop in one small colony of pathogen or bacteria or whatever and you chart the growth by counting new colonies.  The growth starts slowly.  Then it accelerates.  Then it becomes geometric.  As all the colonies double and double and double they soon fill the entire petri dish.  They consume the entire food supply and then...........they all die off.

I think we're just about there (hyperbole alert!!!!!).   So I'm suggesting that we take a break from the relentless profit motive and just enjoy a day of photography together.  I'll be in San Antonio on Sept. 4th to walk around pretty aimlessly and shoot in the streets.  I'm starting at the Alamo at 8:30 am.  I'll be the guy with the camera (one camera).  I'm starting off the  morning walking around downtown but always heading west toward the Mercado (marketplace).  I'm heading toward Mi Tierra Restaurant for a big plate of Heuvos Rancheros and a cup of coffee.  Maybe a few flour tortillas.  While in restful repose we can chat for as long as we want about shooting photographs.  Not about gear, just about shooting photographs.  Why and How.  Not "which lens should I buy and how do I set my flash triggers????"   Just, how do you get people to pose?  What do you think about when you're out searching for images?  How do you know what will work and what won't?

So after the long breakfast I'll hand  out a rough map with my favorite routes and things to see in the downtown area and then we can all wander off in random directions.  I'm not interested in being surrounded by groups of people.  If you feel lonely you can group up with other people who might attend.  At 4 pm I'm heading over to the McNay museum to see what REAL art looks like  (always great to have some grounding.....) and then, when they close the doors,  I'll head just up New Braunfels St. to La Fonda and have a nice, icy beer, some of their great hot sauce and chips and maybe a Tex Mex plate. I'll also be happy to chat about the How and Why of photography at length.  But,  I'll also be ready to listen to anyone who has something interesting to teach me about photography.  Even if it's highly tangential.   I won't tell you how to use flash triggers or which flash to buy.

Then,  when the conversation dies out or the restaurant starts looking aggressively at the table I'll head back to Austin.  Hope to be home before 10pm but you never know.

The cost?  There is no cost.  Just come down and play.  Use your camera.  Walk the streets.  Feel the rhythm.  Feel the heat.  Snap some pix.  Test out that technique.  Have a plan.  Do a project.  Find a favorite mid-day retreat with cold air conditioning and hot art.  Look at the famous, modern library architecture.  Explore the tourist traps.  Take pictures of each other wearing sombreros.  Bring a hot chick or a hot guy and shoot them someplace new.  You have to buy your own breakfast, lunch and dinner but you'd have to do that wherever you are.

What to bring?  I'm a minimalist.  I'm bringing a camera and one small zoom lens.  Haven't decided whether it will be the 18-55 IS or the 15-85 IS on the Canon 7D or just a 50mm 1.8 and the 5dmk2.  I do know that it will be one or the other buy not both.  I'll bring a hat to keep my head from getting fried.  A shirt with a collar and no stains in case I decide I want to have lunch somewhere nice.  An extra battery and an extra memory card in one pocket......and definitely NOT a camera bag.  No tripod.  No monopod.  If my street shooting technique won't work without a tripod I'll move on to the next shot.  No problem.  Flashes and flash triggers?  Not for me.  Twenty or thirty bucks for random stuff,   a driver's license and credit card shoved in one pocket.  That's it for me.  Anything else just slows me down, makes me look conspicuous and gives me too many choices.  Choices that slow me down and get in the way.

I'll wear a long sleeve shirt in case I need to be in the sun for a while.  But it will be a shirt made of the technical fabric I talked about two weeks or so ago.  With nice vents.  Maybe and ex officio or Sportif.  Comfortable shoes that don't look brand new or too dorky always helps.  I like to bring my sunglasses.

Street shooting etiquette:  This could fill a book.  (Maybe a book on street shooting is overdue!!!! Hello?).  Basics:  1.  If you point a camera at someone and they ask you not to photograph them, don't.  You may have every legal right in the world but you probably don't have an ethical right.  I don't think we'll be doing "hard news".   2.  Figure out the shot before you even put the camera up to your eye.  The less you fidget and fuss with your camera the nicer the images generally turn out.  3.  Not everything is worth a picture.  Some stuff is better savored directly.   4.  Yes.  Pretty girls are pretty.  Take a shot if you want but let's not keep after it until everyone in the area is uncomfortable and the cops,  or worse, her big brothers are on the way.  5.  Respect the environment.  I hope I don't have to tell you that church interiors and the insides of restaurants are best lit with nothing but the light that's there.  As Henri Cartier Bresson once said,  "Using flash is like bringing a handgun to the opera".   At the time it was a poignant statement.  Now, in the USA, you can pretty much count on someone thinking it's just great to bring their handgun to the opera.  But it's still not okay to use your flash at the opera........

6.  Respect private property rights.  Anything is fair game if you are shooting from public property but when you step onto private property all the rules change.  You really do need permission to shoot if you are physically on private property....

7.  It's annoying to see a great shot and then turn around and see a line of photographers waiting behind you to copy it.  I'm just saying.....  Ditto with carefully cultivated models...

8.  Try to be an example for all the other photographers that will come after you.  Be nice and people will generally be nice to you.  This is Texas, afterall.

The schedule waits for no one.  There's no private consultations.  Everyone joins in.

That's about it.  I'll spend the day shooting the way I usually do.  I'd love to have people around to have breakfast and dinner with.  Lunch?  I'll just grab a snack.  Why do this?  Just for fun.

Don't need to tell me if you are coming but you are welcome to use the comments to see who's in and who's not.  How many do I expect will be there?  At least one (that would be me) anyone else is a bonus....

Street shooting and eating our way thru San Antonio.  Most fun.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm so in.

Steve

Bold Photography said...

We took some of your advice when at the Tea Gardens last weekend - we ended up at the Whitte museum, where the dinos scared my lil' daughter... we got past that and ultimately had lots of fun. I took only my 50 in there and had a blast shooting the dinos and other exhibits. That's a lot of fun on full frame and when you can amp up the ISO without regards...

I was originally thinking that the McNay would have been a bit tough for a 3 yr old, but now, I'm wondering if that would have been a better choice...

Unfortunately, I'll be in Amarillo that weekend on assignment, so I will have to miss this event. I hope you do this again in the next few months!

Emory Dunn said...

Sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday.

wblj said...

I'm planning on it!

dusty humes said...

this sounds terrific--exactly the kind of photography I love (street photos), but i am leaving for Spain the next day (to hopefully capture great pics of the Camino de Santiago with my backpack!)so I will miss it. I hope that you do this again sometime because I would definitely come!

Hernán Barban said...

Great post Kirk, as always.
Loved the pic you included, wonder if a "film revival" is in your future plans... that would rock!
Thanks again!

PvR said...

I'm not well enough educated to know if film looks different, but that is a wonderful photo. My wife said that with a subject like that, how could you go wrong. I told her to trust my ability to find a way.

Your offer is very generous. I do hope that you have some good company.

Daniel said...

Thanks Kirk...This sounds like an absolute blast of a day. I'm in and may be able to being a few friends.

Nathan Black said...

Sounds great, I'm in.

Anonymous said...

Wish I was a lot closer than sitting here at work, Brisbane Australia.
Would love the chance but guess the day out for me would be a bit longer than the locals when I factor in travel time.
Happy to show you around Brisbane though.
Thanks for a great blog, I like the way you keep it simple and practical.
Regards Mark

kirk tuck said...

Thanks, Mark. It makes my day to hear from folks halfway around the world. Hope you're having big fun. I'll drink a cool one for you. Hope that offer to be shown around Brisbane stands the test of time. Never know when I'll be down your way......

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Kirk> (Maybe a book on street shooting is overdue!!!! Hello?)

It most definitely is!!! I'd buy it, heck, I pre-order one with these lines right here and now.

Your basic street shooting rules sound good already; thanks for those.

Kirk> 4. Yes. Pretty girls are pretty. Take a shot if you want but let's not keep after it until everyone in the area is uncomfortable and the cops, or worse, her big brothers are on the way.

Time- and priceless. Plus we're out of that age to be anything but an annoyance for them ;-)

Too bad I can't come from Germany, and I think you've been here, but next time I promise to show/guide you around in Frankfurt, which they call 'Mainhattan' around here (it's on the river 'Main').

cheers,
Wolfgang

kirk tuck said...

Wolfgang, we'll miss you. I"ve been to Hamburg and Berlin but not to Frankfurt. I'll be over sometime in the next year or so. I'd love a quick tour and then we'll get down to some photography. Next time!

Best, Kirk

Wolfgang Lonien said...

Cool - really looking forward to that.

Chris said...

8:30am in San Antonio is going to be painful since I work till 12am in Round Rock but I'm sure it'll be worth it. I have yet to learn how to be a minimalist, so please don't laugh too hard if I bring a back pack, but I'll try to leave it in the trunk. I'm really looking forward to this!!

Raianerastha said...

Wish I could be there. San Antonio is a marvelously photogenic city. Just curious: usually you seem to prefer the Olympus EP cameras for this sort of thing, so why the Canons for this outing?

Steve Gray said...

I've done "the photowalk" before, with disappointing results. It looks like your approach is a good one, though, Kirk. If I was a bit closer, I'd be all over this.

Ab said...

Very enjoyable post Kirk,
Like a few others, I wish i could be there, but alas coming down from Canada may be a bit too far. In spirit I will wander around up here and enjoy these day.

Thanks

kirk tuck said...

raianerastha,

I'm doing an article comparing all the 50mm lenses available for Canons. This is just more shooting time with a 50 in my hans....

Raianerastha said...

Ok thanks. I know you have often said how much you appreciate the portability and unobtrusiveness of the EP cameras.

We don't often see comparisons of "Plain old 50mm" lenses (at least not when dealing with FF ). Of course, that focal length range has been underappreciated for as long as I can remember.

I'll be interested in reading the comparison. The 5DMk2 is the current front runner for expanding my kit into FF territory.

Faith said...

Sounds like a relaxing and enjoyable day with plenty of opportunity to learn and share. I'm going to do my best to be there. Thanks Kirk.

davethevet said...

This is a fantastic and lovely idea. Im like Mark a bit of a trek away in Hong Kong but hope you all have a great time and if anyone in HK fancies doing something similar Im in and the martinis and steak sandwiches are on me.

Anonymous said...

Great Idea! I am back in Houston for long weekend and would love to join in...just need to figure out what to do with wife and kids :-)!

Nilesh

kirk tuck said...

Nilesh, Park em in Houston. Give yourself the gift of some free time.

To everyone else out there: I want to be clear. This is an Anti-Workshop. We're not going to spend the day huddled around me in a group waiting for me to think of something smart and funny to say. We're going to intersect from time to time but for most of the time I expect everyone to spend quality time shooting photos that you find or photos that find you.

The three big social components will be: Quick meeting at the Alamo. Breakfast around 10am at Mi Tierra. (No lunch. No one needs lunch. Bring a snack. Buy a taco. ) 4 pm at the McNay Museum and then 5:30 at La Fonda on N. New Braunfels (Sunset Ridge Shopping Center) in the heart of Alamo Heights and Terrill Hills for drinks and dinner. Don't stick me with the bill

You hunt me down during the day and ask questions. We'll do all the informal Q&A you could ever want during the meals and any other downtime we engineer. If a Photo Walk means we all walk around together like a pack of geeks this is definitely NOT a photo walk.......

John said...

I plan to be there at least for the morning.