Photography Destination: The San Juan Islands

National Geographic Traveler recently named the San Juan Islands one of the best summer destinations for 2011.  Well, Nati Geo, we are way ahead of you on this one … or at least our instructor Eileen Rafferty is.

Eileen will be leading a photography workshop in the San Juans at the end of August.  This workshop will focus on photographing picturesque locations while also learning to take your creativity a step further. An accomplished artist and photographer, Eileen has an amazing ability to help her students hone their artistic skills and vision. Through her first-hand experience in the San Juans, Eileen discovered that this collection of islands located west of Seattle are not only a great destination for travelers, but prime real estate for photographers as well.

I asked her a couple of questions about what drew her to the San Juans in the first place, how photographers can better their work and her goals for the workshop. Here is what she had to say:

POP: If you had to narrow it down, what are three of your favorite things about the San Juan Islands?


  1. When you’re there, it feels like its worlds away from the continental U.S.
  2. Each island has its own unique personality and it’s own color palette.
  3. The ferry rides to and between the islands are a visual treat and a great experience on their own.

POP: What are your top three pieces of advice for photographers looking to better their work.


  1. Look at other photographers/artists and figure out what exactly inspires you about their work.
  2. Do the hard work of looking at your own images to figure out what you like, what you don’t like, what your strengths and weaknesses are.
  3. Do something different occasionally to mix things up.

POP: What are your goals for the photographers who join you on this island-hopping workshop?

ER: Learn to see a bit differently than they’re used to. Broaden their perspectives on what and how they shoot. And of course, to have fun and enjoy themselves!

To see more of Eileen’s work and her words of artistic wisdom visit her website, blog, her new quarterly photographic journal Butterflies and Anvils, or the B&H Insights blog.