"How to Shoot Rocks and Weeds"

with ........ Vern Bartley & Mark Fitzgerald

July 31st & Aug 1st

                          This is a two-day event: Friday evening and a very long day on Saturday (5am-9pm).

                                                                       "THE ROAD TO FT. ROCK" JUNE 2011 IMAGE OF THE MONTH : THE ROAD TO FORT ROCKJUNE 2011 IMAGE OF THE MONTH : THE ROAD TO FORT ROCKFort Rock provides a unique challenge for any photographer simply because of its size, location and somewhat limited access. It sits on a broad plane in the High Desert among a few hills to the North with gently rolling waves of sage and rabbit brush as far as the eye can see. Its a tough subject to frame as a typical Near - Far kind of composition, mainly because everything about Fort Rock and its location exudes the feelings of Space, Loneliness, Unlimited, Alone, Abandoned........
Well you get the idea.

It became clear to me that my challenge was to convey the presence of this rock in a sea of sage. I drove around the Fort twice over two days looking for the right composition and the right light. I even hiked into and around the crater bowl, again scouting for that one spot where I could tell the Forts story in one single frame.

Early in my search I decided that my image of Fort Rock had to be one of those images that did not require any fancy HDR, multiple exposures, layer masking or virtually any manipulation. The whole scene, the dynamic range, the shadows and the highlights all fit nicely within the boundaries of the Histogram with a single exposure and it would only require minimal contrast and sharpening adjustments to tell its story.

Almost simultaneously it became vividly clear that it was simply not a close up and personal kind of subject. It was a Grand Landscape kind of subject. It was the kind of scene and subject that needed.......No, Had to have! room to breathe, it needed space !! It deserved to be captured and presented as a Grand Landscape, nothing else would do.

From that point on, it simply became a matter of choosing the right spot with elements in the foreground that would capture the viewers attention, draw them into the image and take them to the waiting surprise laying out there on the distant sage prairie. In my image "The Road to Fort Rock" the diminishing line of the road simply cant' be ignored, one is drawn all the way to the end of the road, almost on the horizon. When you run out of road the viewers eye is automatically drawn to the lighter clouds (remember, Light projects and Dark recedes) which serve as a virtual crown over the surprising center of interest. Fort Rock!!.

Next, is waiting for the light. Not just any ole' mid day light will do, it has to have character, have direction and must provide the appropriate amount of shadows. This time, it only required a two hour wait.

And last but not least............How much sky? and, how much foreground?? Because the image is really about Fort Rock and its environment I chose to weight the image slightly toward the foreground giving the image the base it needed to compliment the landscape and especially Fort Rock itself.........Geeeezzz...I love it when a plan comes together.

* Note about Grand Landscapes vs other styles....
I am always conscious, when creating my landscape images, of which type I want to focus on. The Grand Landscape or the Intimate Landscape. For those that aren't sure..............the grand includes ground sky horizon and the whole kitchen sink. One of the really big challenges with the Grand L's is sorting out how you bring the viewer to the Center of Interest (COI) with so much going on.

The Intimate Landscape rarely has a horizon, usually, though not always it has no sky and the focus is on some intimate aspect of the world around us or within nature. These can be almost as difficult because composition can be tough when one moves in close to their subject.

Sooooooooo...........pick one and see how well you do at taking the viewer by the hand and leading them into and through your image. Do they go where you want them to go?, Do they get lost? Do they wander out of the image? Are there multiple COI's?

I guess when it is all over and done I come away feeling like Landscape Photography is really TOUGH !! And I have to constantly remind myself to S L O W D O W N and to practice......SEEING.

Thanks for joining me on this ride..........Enjoy Vern

Friday evening Vern will kick off our OPPA Sponsored "How to shoot Rocks & Weeds" Workshop, at the downtown Portland Camera World store, with his introduction on the "7 Core components of creating great landscape images."

He will walk the 15 workshop attendees through his Landscape Photography Workflow to include Camera Settings, the use of your cameras Histogram for exposure control, Lens selections, Depth of Field options and why, the differences between the Intimate and Grand Landscape perspective, Compositional do's & don'ts, and fine tuning the craft of Seeing, rather than just Looking.

Very early Saturday morning the students and instructors will meet near the boat ramp on Hagg Lake at 5am. (Remember...... Its all about the light !!) Vern and Mark will personally assist and guide the students through the tricks of the trade in capturing scenes, well before sunrise, and through the changing light and into late morning.

The half day shoot will include two different locations, the lake area followed by a trip to a century farm complete with antiquated equipment and a chicken or two. The two locations offer more than enough subject matter to provide multiple opportunities for a variety of subjects, scenes and challenges.

                                                  "DEVILS LAKE"    290 degree Pano:  (Seitz Roundshot)

After lunch the class will retire to a classroom on the grounds of historic Pacific University in Forest Grove for the remainder of the day. The afternoon will be spent downloading and post production of images captured during the morning shoots. (Students will be required to provide their own laptops, and appropriate software ie: (PS, LR, Photomatix, NIK HDR etc). Coaching and assistance will include skills and techniques in the use of Light Room, Photoshop, Photomatix and more.

After dinner we will settle in for a review of at least one image from every photographer shot during the day and will include discussions and a comprehensive critique conducted by both Vern and Mark. Additionally, There will be ample time for questions and answers and discussions as desired.

If you have ever thought about adding Landscapes to your skill set then you won't want to miss this opportunity. The class is limited to the first 15 photographers that register. Mark and Vern both feel strongly that keeping the workshop to 15 or less allows them to provide more personal time to work with each student as needed.

     YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE #1YAQUINA HEAD LIGHTHOUSE #1Yaquina Head Light House Wildflowers on the Central Oregon Coast captured from the headland trail looking to the West.                     YAQUINA HEAD MAGICYAQUINA HEAD MAGICYaquina Head Lighthouse shines its beacon of light across the ocean below the back drop of the Milkyway and the heavens above. Yaquina Head is located in Newport, Oregon along the Oregon Coast of the Pacific Ocean.                               " YAQUINA HEAD BLOOM"                                                                   "YAQUINA HEAD MAGIC"

This is a PPA-accredited workshop; PPA members who attend the entire event will receive one PPA merit.

Detailed location instructions, etc. will be provided to registered attendees.


                                                              INSTRUCTORS BIOS:


Vern Bartley, M.Photog:                                                   

Vern was recently recognized as OPPA's 2014 Photographer of the Year.  He has over 50 years of experience, spends a lot of his time teaching, coaching, guiding and mentoring aspiring photographers; lecturing photographic groups and audiences in a variety of photographic disciplines including unique techniques like B&W Infrared photography, Pin Point Star photography, Painting with light and how to envision and shoot "Rocks & Weeds" (Landscape Photography),  not to mention teaching "Judges Training Workshops" for the more advanced photographers that want to take their work to the next level, while giving something back to our trade.  To learn more about Vern visit his website at www.vernbartley.com



Mark Fitzgerald, M.Photog:

Mark Fitzgerald is an award-wining photographer, teacher and author based in Portland, Oregon. Mark is most known for his ability to help photographers understand the complex tools of modern photography, enabling them to better focus on productivity and the creative aspects of their work. 

Mark teaches regularly at NewSpace Center for Photography and is also available for private consulting on LightRoom, Photoshop, and workflow. Mark’s latest book, Zen of Post production, is available online and in bookstores. To learn more about Mark visit his website at www.ddroom.com.


                                       CLICK THIS OPPA LINK:


                                             There are only a few slots left !

* Contact Vern for additional information or if you have any questions.   I look forward to seeing you in Portland on July 31st.

                                                                               Vern Bartley




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