Santa Ynez Valley Workshop Review
Review by Terry A. (Workshop Attendee)
“The ‘Masters Program’ workshop was really outstanding! In addition to its superb technical knowledge… the workshop did so much more for me. Not to get all Zen on you, but it's almost as if the workshop helped dissolve the separation between the photographer and the photograph, making it possible for me to see and capture images that then allowed the viewer to truly enter the space of the picture as well.”
Tom and Van along with a talented group of aspiring landscape photography artists and painters had a most rewarding weekend during the recent Wildling Museum of Art sponsored ‘Masters Program’ Landscape Photography Workshop held in the always inspirational Santa Ynez Valley. The Wildling Museum of Art is located in Los Olivos, CA. (www.wildlingmuseum.org). If your wondering … it is obvious that Tom and Van still get excited meeting, helping and learning from other photographers and painters. They consider themselves among the most fortunate of workshop providers in that their workshops always seem to attract a most interesting and eclectic group from both disciplines.
The group got to know each other right away while working together in the field on Friday and Saturday afternoons and during the sunrise shoots on Saturday and Sunday. Following the reviews and the related progress of the other students during the first day we all seemed to agree on just how amazing and instructive a weekend we were having.
The weekend could not have been more perfectly timed with many landscape views occurring in-the-field (in real time) strikingly similar to the examples that had been displayed earlier during the program lectures. We could not have asked for more cooperation from the “gods of art and atmosphere”. The cooperating weather was yet another perfect learning tool.
Santa Ynez Valley - Oak Savannah - Tom Gamache
With low hanging cloud-broken skies left over from the previous nights cooling, Saturday found us in the field again witnessing real-time landscapes like many of the workshops lecture subjects; like the depth creating cloud patterns casting their shadows on the hills and meadows throughout the valley; to those moments of emphasis and hyper-definition created by fleeting momentary highlights randomly stabbing through the clouds emphasizing select vineyards, trees and hillsides one layer after another as if marching across the valley; to the wide rainbow ends glowing against a background of deep blue/black storm darkened rain cells racing to the horizon. It was a most astounding display. As it has been for each of their ten year history of workshops, the Santa Ynez Valley at this time of year can be a singular and rewarding locale for making inspired landscape art.
Our Sunday morning shoot was capped off with a seldom witnessed pink, purple and blue atmospheric effect known as the “shadow of the earth”. The unexpected happenstance was again uncannily predicted during another of the earlier lectures when the group was cautioned that such an atmospheric phenomenon was a very infrequently appearing effect and that one should not expect to witness or photograph such a condition very often. Yet as we ascended into the Las Padres National Forest entering below and exiting above the cloud layers there it was.
The caravan halted, everyone was alerted and the cameras came out. Amazing … the shadow of the earth was quite obvious as it surmounted the entire horizon of the valley below us in the western distance. The half risen sun had lit up a band of pink clouds above the horizon while other lower clouds, not yet illuminated by the rising sun, were still set in a deep shadowed gray/blue with a segue/dissolve of purple between the two colors. It was a visually exciting and a wonderful learning moment. We were a group of very satisfied photographers.
There are no guarantees in nature. But … after a decade of landscape photography workshop location scouting spent discovering some of the best places to make landscape art, Tom and Van have also researched and fine tuned another of the “most important” variables of landscape photography… being at those best places at the best time of the day and the year.
As Thoreau posited many years ago “It’s not what you look at, it’s what you see”
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