Olympic National Park Workshop w/ Julian Calverley, Sept 2023
Who are you as a creative?
“I would call myself an experienced advertising photographer with a passion for landscape discovered later on in my career. It became the sort of soul food that fueled my personal work. I found the more landscape photography I created, the more it propelled and informed my advertising work. As a whole, they’ve given me a broad and rounded set of skills and tools by which I construct my creative approach.”
Can you elaborate on the unique learning experience you offer as an experienced professional photographer?
“Through years of working in busy, complicated situations, you want to find a simple, satisfying solution to personal photography. There’s a long journey to creating a beautiful image that doesn’t need to be over complicated.
It starts with finding and appearing in the landscape, which is a large part of the process. Then trying to record what you see, produce the image, process it, and hopefully have a print at the end.
I’ve removed some of the stress by turning my back on many of the worries of traditional landscape photographers. For one, I think people assume they can only create a good photograph when the sun is out or when it’s not raining. I believe you can create beautiful work in all weathers. I hope to give people the courage and confidence to do that. Show them they can pull the camera out of their backpack in any condition.
I also have a minimal equipment setup. I keep very few moving parts and components. At most, I’ve got three lenses and a precision camera body calibrated to a high-end digital back. It’s similar to shooting on a 5×4 or plate camera. It slows you down and is a more earthy approach to photography. Worlds away from the mysterious and complicated cameras that have the capability to do everything, but you end up never needing or even knowing how to use.
I like to think the simplicity in itself inspires people.”
What’s important about the team putting together this workshop?
“It’s hosted by the perfect combination of expertise. First, the company that designed and built the gear, Alpa’s CEO and owner, Hans Keist, can deliver direct answers to questions that only the manufacturer would know. Then Capture Integration is hosting and organizing the event. They are the premier company for everything medium and large format today and they are also very good friends. They are the technical side. And I bring my creative side. So you have all the bases covered. To have all three in one location, there isn’t a question, be it technical or creative, that this group wouldn’t have the answer to.”
What does this workshop being labeled bespoke learning mean to you?
“To me, that encompasses discussions of the technical as well as psychological aspects of a photographic approach. We explore the application of filters, light, and composition. Finding and drawing from inspiration. Shooting panoramics. Post-production techniques and developing a comprehensive workflow.
I spoke previously about my simplified approach to photo creation, which carries over into my post-production process. We touch a great deal in the workshop on working in Capture One. Unlike most photographers that had to discard their entire post-production process when they switched from film to digital, I felt I was able to swim into it very comfortably. Having a slow transition from Sinar to scanned film in live picture software. It allowed me to carry along techniques from the darkroom that contribute significantly to the signature of my photographic style.”
Why did you choose Olympic National Park as the destination for this workshop?
“Having spent so much time shooting in Scotland, being a mix of misty, foggy, rainy environments, The Pacific Northwest is quite similar. I feel it’s familiar and natural for me to capture in those environments. Landscape photographers are typically attracted to the honeypot location and more grand recognizable landmarks. It’s a lovely idea that people might be going somewhere in America they might never have thought of going to before.
In Olympic National Park, it’s just an incredible environment. You are entirely surrounded by it. You’re put at the whims of very unpredictable and volatile weather that you must conform and adapt to. You’re pushed from day one to step out of your comfort zone. Good landscape photography is highly centered around drama. In the middle of one of the only rainforests in the US, there’s no shortage of it. Look left, look right; you always have a scene to shoot. Incredible beaches with huge trees being washed up on the shore, delicate little forests and microsystems, waterfalls, and cathedral-like forests. Such an incredible mix of locations. When Dave first asked me where I wanted to go for this workshop, there wasn’t a second thought.”
What kind of experience do you provide for attendees as the instructor?
“The first proper workshop I ever did was with Capture Integration. I was a bit nervous, but by the end, I had this amazing feeling because I genuinely enjoyed the process of mentoring.
It’s wonderful to know you’ve inspired people. At the end of one of my workshops, one of my attendees told me I changed his life. I mean, you can’t ask for anything more than that. He came to the workshop with just a 5×4 film camera. Extremely intimidating since everyone was shooting digital. But it was just wonderful watching him work and evolve over the course of that week. We both walked away with more than we had arrived with.
For that, and many other reasons, I deliberately don’t take a camera with me to workshops. I want to spend as much time as possible engaging and being attentive. As a commercial photographer, you’re taught not to tell anyone anything. You learn your secrets and trades, and you keep them close. But a photographer by the name of Dan Rubin once said to me, “Nothing bad will ever come from sharing.” And I just sort of took that on board because it was undeniably true. Now im very open about everything, even post-production. I used to refer to it as the golden nugget. Now I can’t wait to share with others how it can take their images to the next level.
The truth is, it’s far more than a workshop. It sounds cliche. You go to an event like this thinking you might learn a few tips and processes for your photography, and come away with long-term friendships and bonds that are created by meeting interesting, like-minded professionals from all corners of the globe. You gain lifelong friendships, expand your creative base and create a network of people to pull from for questions, opinions, and advice.”
Join Us This Fall!
In Olympic National Park for our 2023 Landscape Workshop with Capture Integration & Julian Calverley
Dates : September 17-22 2023