The 411 on Basic Photography in Texas
RMSP will be returning to the Texas Hill Country in 2014 for a week long session of our popular Basic Photography workshop. We’ve been returning to this area for several years due to its natural beauty and the undeniably striking aesthetic that exists in every direction. Participants are treated to the best photo education available in the country while finding themselves becoming one with their camera in wide open fields of flowers, standing face to face with a Texas longhorn, and losing all track of time while also losing themselves in the “Luckenbach State of Mind.”
I caught up with instructor Lynn Hoffman-Brouse to get a bit more information about the flow of the workshop and to get the answer to the pressing question of how much BBQ food one can expect to eat during this week. Needless to say, I was surprised by her answer.
Lynn, you have a Basic Photography workshop coming up in Fredericksburg, TX. To be honest I have to claim ignorance here as my experience in Texas is limited to the Houston airport. Can you tell our readers, and me, a bit about the location(s) you visit on this workshop? You’ll get bonus points for including any hidden gems our participants get to visit that aren’t in the guide books. Funky buildings? Wide open spaces? Watering holes?
To start, I fly in to San Antonio! The workshop is in the heart of Texas Hill Country, an area full of history, lovely rolling hills, wildflowers and music. Every day we’ll photograph something completely different from the day before. … a nursery like you’ve never seen, LBJ ranch and living history farm, the spectacular Perdenales Falls and, of course, Luckenbach. There is time to photograph flowers on the roadsides and travel down side roads. This area is also home to wineries galore, some of which are fun to photograph!.
All of RMSP’s Basic Photography workshops deliver a ton of experience inside of a week. How do you structure this week so that everyone gets to maximize their time with you? Any all-night lectures planned?
I try to structure the days so that students can practice what we’ve discussed as soon as possible. Because this is a basic course, I start from the very beginning and give a lot of info out on Sunday morning. Then I add to that basic knowledge each successive day. My assistant and I spend a lot of time in the field helping students, looking through their cameras, talking them through exposure and vision issues. The first couple of evenings, we meet back in the classroom to answer any questions that have come up and to share experiences. We try to critique images every day and students really seem to love this part of the class. I love to teach the Basic Photo class because the progress over the course of the week is so amazing. That final slide show is always a revelation!
How long have you been returning to this part of Texas to teach this course? What keeps you going back for more?
I think this will be my 5th year teaching in Fredericksburg. It is an amazingly pretty area of Texas and if all goes right with the winter weather, the wildflowers will be spectacular in April. What I love about the area is the variety of locations, perfect for the Basic Photography course. Students get to photograph a range of subject matter and enjoy a bunch of local and national history as well. The town of Fredericksburg is very pretty; lots of restaurants, very walkable.
Walk me through the workshop. Where are you going to start and end? Photographically, what will you focus on throughout the week? (For example, will you teach macro techniques on a ranch, DOF techniques in the a.m., etc?)
The first few days, we focus on the technical end of photography. Once a student has control of the camera and can use the controls well, the world opens up visually. So, we begin with exposure, controlling depth of field and motion. I give the students some advanced exposure information later in the week. We cover light and composition and people photography. The critiques help reinforce the lecture information. Everything builds on the thing before, so by week’s end, students can go home with a solid foundation. We do a bit of everything but the main focus is always on getting comfortable with the camera and loving the experience of photographing.
We’ll talk about photographing people before going to Luckenbach. But, you know, learning to see photographically is a skill that can translate to just about any subject and that is what I try to teach, both in lecture and in the field.
Tell me about a specific location you visit on this workshop which you are excited to get back to. Could be a specific tree in the morning light, or a favorite lunch spot. Whatcha got?
My favorite location is Perdenales Falls (the first year, my Texan students made sure I knew the correct pronunciation: Perdnales (drop the “en”)! The Falls are really cascades over lovely rock formations. The water has burnished the rocks and also created potholes and other features. We get there in the late afternoon and stay until we lose the sun. Over the years, I’ve seen some beautiful light on those rocks! I do admit though, that it is a challenge to photograph there and maybe that’s another reason I like it so much.
My second favorite spot is Luckenbach. We listen to great music, photograph people and enjoy a very Texas time there!
A good tripod, for sure and a cable release. This is not an equipment-heavy workshop. I want the students to get really comfortable with what they have, rather than loading up on too much gear. Oh, and walking shoes!
This might be a little cliche, but tell me about the food. Any Texas style BBQ to be expected?
Surprisingly, Fredericksburg is a German-styled town. There is BBQ to be found but it’s not as easy as finding brats and sauerkraut!
Curious what others have thought about Basic Photography in Texas?
Check out these testimonials by past participants.
“From the first moment of meeting my instructors, Lynn Hoffman-Brouse and Nate Schmidt, I could tell that I would be in good hands and I was going to learn a lot.” Read Angie’s full testimonial by clicking here.
“Local classes had given me some background but did not compare with the inspiring week I spent at the RMSP’s basic photography workshop.” Read Connie’s full testimonial by clicking here.