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Friday, November 19, 2004


Early to Rise

Ben Oaks Masts
I am not now nor have I ever been a natural early-riser. But since I participated in an inspiring workshop led by Karen Gordon Schulman, I try to bend my nature for the sake of my art.

Karen taught us to be aware and make use of the special qualities of "early" and "late" light. Every morning, we were up well before the sun in order to be at our shooting location before dawn.

Powered by the incredible beauty of summer morning in the mountains of Colorado, and sustained by Karen's coaching and encouragement (plus some OJ and donuts,) we photographed until 9:30 or 10:00 AM. Then we headed back to Steamboat Springs for some lunch and a few hours of classroom time until late afternoon. Following an early dinner, we headed out again to that day's "late light" location for a few more hours of photography.
Severn River Boathouse
It was a lot of work. And now I know why it's called a "workshop." But photographically speaking, Karen's workshop changed my life. On one of the first weekends after my return, I shot City Dock Morning. It's been one of my favorite (and best-selling) images, and I owe the special, glowing nature of this photo to Karen and what I learned from her.

In mid-September, I went exploring in some communities nearby that border the Severn River. On one camera-less trip, I found myself by a little marina at about 7:30 AM, admiring the beautiful reflections in the still water. Forgetting the lessons I learned with Karen, I came back with camera the next morning at 10:00, but the scene just didn't look the same; the reflections were gone and the lighting was just too.. normal! A few days later, on the first day of autumn, I returned once more, this time before 8:00 AM, and took the photos you see in this post.
Severn River Limo
Sure, you can take great photos at high noon... maybe... if you're lucky. But you'll find it well worth the effort to drag yourself out of bed and be "on location" while the sun is still low in the morning sky.

More on Karen Gordon Schulman

If you're thinking of participating in a photo workshop, I very much recommend that you look into one of Karen's. Besides being a successful and fabulously creative photographer, Karen is a wonderful teacher. She is very aware and intuitive in the sense that she's able to comprehend your own emotional connection to photography and help you work with it.

Karen conducts workshops in her hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, and also leads several photo tours each year - Ireland, Japan, and Galápagos Islands are some of the destinations. Get the scoop at the website of Focus Adventures, Karen's company.

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