PSC Weekend Workshop

Time flies!
Can't believe that I'm in my 8th week of PSC course and that the weekend workshop has come and gone.
The weekend workshop was leaded by Colin Wiseman and hosted in 2 different locations, the cute little town of Hurstbridge and Royal Botanics Garden.

The workshop started early on Saturday morning, with the meeting point being a small homey building in Hurstbridge at 8:30 AM.
Colin introduced himself and charmed some of us with his vibrant personality.
He shared his knowledge, experience, tips and tricks on photojournalism.
He repeatedly emphasized on the importance of realizing that when our subjects are people, we can't just "take" photographs.
That a successful people photo session would normally involve "sharing" of passions or interests.
It was definitely a point well made and I can see how the connection between subject and photographer will create the "spark" in the photograph.

Anyway, at the end of the first briefing session, we were asked to go out and shoot with one or two "photo essay on Hurstbridge village", made up of 12-18 photographs to be submitted.
Glenn's article on The Photo Essay and The Environmental Portrait definitely helps getting my head around the concept.
I also found Colin's tips on asking people for permission prior to photographing them very delightful.
(It was a big change from sneaking a shot!)
However, I keep forgetting about the photo essay as I was wandering around this town (a totally new and exciting area for me) with the camera close to my heart!
(Not very good, because I found out later that we're supposed to submit the assignments on Sunday!!!)

We caught up again for a super delicious lunch (made by Joseph, the PSC awesome caretaker) and then we were briefed session for the second assignment, "Landscape Photography".
We had to shoot 6-9 photographs and write a small summary as to describe the landscape and how we feel about it.
He explained that how we should do the same as people photography, i.e. we have to "be there", in the present and let the landscape "talks" to us before we photograph it.
It was quite funny in some ways, but I do get what he's trying to tell us.
(Yes, I also think I've gone crazier since I joined this course!)

I found this landscape photography even trickier, the trees and foliage are just simply not talking to me!!! Grr!! :P
And before I know it, it was dinner time, which was again absolutely delicious.
To wrap up, he played a documentary titled "War Photographer" which I found quite striking, but he stopped it 3/4 of the way through. Grrrr!!! (Note to self: Hire the DVD!)
Thankfully, Joseph, being the food saint that he was during the Saturday, offered us coffee right before the documentary was played.
I wouldn't have watched it properly otherwise.

I got home about 10:30 that night and watched an episode of Jamie Oliver's Naked Chef to relax, then had some thoughts on James Nachtwey, so I Google-d him.
“The worst thing is to feel that as a photographer I’m benefiting from someone else’s tragedy. This idea haunts me. It’s something I have to reckon with every day because I know that if I ever allow genuine compassion to be overtaken by personal ambition, I will have sold my soul. The only way I can justify my role is to have respect for the other person’s predicament. The extent to which I do that is the extent to which I become accepted by the other and to that extent I can accept myself.”
An excellent example of how passion can help make us into an interesting and inspiring character.

Sunday arrived and we were to meet up in the Botanical Garden at 8:30 AM.
I left home at about 8 and bumped into a friend on the way there.
She's never been, so she asked if I know where it is and I said confidently that we'll find it, but as expected, I dragged her around the garden for half an hour before finally finding Gate H at 9:10 AM. Sigh! :P
Colin briefed us with another "Landscape Photography" assignment, it is still 6-9 photos, but this time they should all share a theme.

Not sure if it was because I had a good nite sleep or if it's because I'm on a familiar ground, I found this assignment a lot easier.
I had lots of fun taking photos in the Botanical Garden (despite the compounding itchiness from previous day's and today's insect bites).
I started my walk with the opportunity to see ducklings close up. Very exciting!
Then, I just keep wondering about, sometime on my own, sometime with a few people.
It was very relaxing and enjoyable.

At lunch time, we were told to go back to PSC and again we were fed with Joseph's fabulous cooking before we get to start working on our images for the submission.
This was when I realised that we are to submit the images today! OMG!
We were "forced" to take the afternoon tea break between filtering our potential submission shots and actually post processing them.
(Forced? Yes, Colin had to practically shoo us out of the lab for both lunch and afternoon tea. He locked the room too!!! A bunch of passionate people? Or competitive? :D)
Luckily, Colin is one reasonable fella.
He said as long as we submit one of the photoset, we can work on the other two and submit them by Tuesday.

So I crossed my fingers hard and started reviewing my images from the St Andrews Market.
Thankfully, I had enough photos to make up the photo essay (somehow...).

It's definitely an interesting experience.
Shooting photographs to a brief is indeed very challenging.
Taking great shots to my liking when I want is quite different to creating a photograph to suit my need in an environment that I don't have control over.

Anyway, here's the three photosets I've submitted for the assignments.

Photo Essay: St Andrews Market.

Landscape 1: Hurstbridge Horse Practice Ground

Landscape 2: Small Flowers

I'm happy with them, but I know that I have a lot to improve on. :)
What do you think?

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