Santa Fe Adventure A Photography Workshop

This summer, I had the first-time privilege of participating in a photo educators workshop in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a place I had never been.

Santa Fe is truly a Centre for the arts.

Everywhere you look, there is stunning architecture, art and craft work of all kinds, often made by native Americans. A very dry climate and rich culture, has made Santa Fe a popular tourist attraction.

The summit is an intensive, 5-day workshop. The focus this year was on Lightroom, Adobe's mobile apps, Photoshop and Premiere Pro. The days were long, but there was ample time to get out and do what these people do best - make photographs.

There were several guest instructors, including Julieanne Kost, Colin Smith of Photoshop Cafe and Randy Jay Braun from DJI for video training. Both Colin and Randy brought drones for the groups to use.

The location for the footage they were capturing was an amazing spot called Eaves Movie Ranch. The "ranch" is basically an old set created for shooting westerns.

Built back in the 1960's it's still actively used for movies that need that "western flare" such as Dusk Till Dawn, True Grit and many others.
A vector gradient sunset

The group of 20 faculty spent just over 6 hours on the movie set, photographing buildings and live models under varying lighting conditions.

One of the male models, Clint, a real-life cowboy, not only appeared in full cowboy attire, but he brought his horse (Colt), his dog and Clyde, the baby buffalo.

Clyde worked up quite an appetite, so model Joaquin helped out by feeding him.

Other models included two stunning Native Americans (Joaquin and Tiffany) and the host of Eave's movie ranch, an old cowpoke named Tom. He reminded me of Kris Kristofferson.

As the day progressed, we were treated to different photo opportunities as the lighting direction changed, from "high noon" light on arrival, to impending storm, to the long shadows of dusk and finally a gorgeous, "Illustrator gradient" sunset.

We even dined on the set, catered by an actual chuck wagon!

One of the high points of the day, was learning both how to fly a drone, and capture video footage using it.

Colin Smith assisting Randy in the preflight "compass orientation" for a drone.
Randy demonstrates how stable the new drones are, even when yanked off course.
Randy (DJI) coaches Tony Pickard (Georgian College) on the finer points of drone flight.
Rescuing the drone before the windstorm hit.
You don't always have to "fly" a drone to make good use of it.

Of course, along with all the learning, there needs to be "proof of learning"; there were several assigned projects for the teachers to complete individually and in teams. Assignments for this group included:

  • Working in a total mobile workflow and producing one image, edited in Lightroom Mobile and - if necessary - Photoshop Fix and Mix.
  • Producing a 6-image slide show using Photoshop or Premiere Pro.
  • Producing a 15-second video using content the groups shot on DJI Phantom Drones and other footage they made on DSLR and smart phones.

Extra credit assignments consisted of:

  • Producing a social media graphic using Spark Post.
  • Creating a photo story using Spark Page.
Spark Post is a great way to create memes and social media graphics.

On a personal note, I found it quite energizing to be surrounded by a group whose primary interest was photo-education. These are smart people, talented artists, authors and technical experts in the craft and business of photography. It's been an incredible experience working with, and helping this talented group of teachers.

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Created By
Jim Babbage


All photography by Jim Babbage. All rights reserved. Story by Jim Babbage.