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Hello everybody, here is a little note about a trip that I am organising. This is not linked to "Fotozones" and is something I run as part of my work. I had a chat with Dallas via email before posting this. Anyway, on August 12th I am off to Bhutan with a small group for a one week photo adventure, let me know if you would want to join! (PS photo's on the flyer are from the Bhutan tourist authorities....) "Set out into the kingdom of Bhutan to shoot images of its welcoming people, exquisite temples, timeless farming villages, and the towering Himalaya. Capture scenes from a lively market or crimson-robed monks against a backdrop of whitewashed dzongs. Capture the spirit of happiness in the smile of kids, in an archery game and the celebration of ancient ceremonies. Practice your photographic skills while learning about Gross National Happiness and discovering this breathtaking country" Practical info: Dates August 12-21 2014 (including travel time 1 week in Bhutan). Price 2,445 Euros ( includes hotels, meals in Bhutan, English speaking guide, all road transport, all activities and visits, poverty alleviation fee as well as visa. Group size 5-8. Flights are extra (economy flights would cost around 1.200 euro in addition if travelling from Switzerland). We will be able to help with organising all flights. Should you want too spend more time in Bhutan in addition to the workshop time, we can organise that too. Deadline to register: June 20th 2014 on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
I'm just back from the first UK Workshop at Cannock Chase and I'd like to open this thread to encourage all the participants to post their achievements and impressions. When Bjørn first suggested the idea of local workshops I was an enthusiastic responder since I have enjoyed his laconic, thoughtful and erudite writings for many years, first at naturfotograf.com and then here at Nikongear. The Forestry Commission have a small but perfectly formed facility at Cannock Chase with two classrooms and, of course, acres of managed forests in which people from near and far frolic. The manicured and managed nature of the forest made Bjørn shudder when he first arrived but he got over it to deliver a seminar that wandered and meandered its way through some fantastic material. It was partially shaped by Bjørn's vision of what photography really is, and partially shaped by questions from us all - "Ask ten times more questions than you intend to, to get one good answer" was the opening directive. Aspirations at the start of the seminar ranged from detailed exposure questions to "a desire for more vision" and included at least one "whatever I can get from it". Although the size of the group was modest, the demands on Bjørn seemed very wide. Bjørn's introduction of himself included his description of "an inner urge to make - not take - a photograph" and set the scene for an experience that was a far from formulaic as it is possible to be and was in fact as broad as we had the courage to receive - and sometimes broader. "The very fact that you are at a place changes that place" was one pearl dropped before us. "Like and dislike is a very poor way of thinking of photography; it's lost all sorts of subtle shades" was another. What I came away with was not someone else's rules about what photography should be, but the confidence - no, the mandate - to assemble my own vision on a case-by-case basis. What an astonishing achievement in such a short space of time! Feedback on the workshop was warm and generous. In particular the choice of location, which was initially regarded as a source of difficulty/disappointment due to the high preponderance of bracken, bracken and more bracken was cited as a source of the most profound learning, since it needed a great deal of creativity and imagination to see beyond the obvious - a creativity that was present in spades during the final challenge of the workshop. There is a dedicated gallery for the workshop available and I will be adding my images shortly when I work out how! Damian
So, post Herdla I thought I would try and summarise the learnings from this first event. As with previous experiences, I found Bjørn took on the role as inspirator and not teacher. His laid back, but razor sharp observation style let us, the “students”, relax, enjoy, appreciate and expoit the vast amout of skills and experience Bjørn has to offer. But, do not expect a free ride. Expect to be challenged. Although photography to a large extent does involve cameras and associated gear, I for one really appreciate the photographic challenges he put upon us, ridding us from the technological side of things. This is a well balanced act on Bjørn’s part, which, given the constellation of the group, certainly could have resulted in a less successful outcome. Reminding us to see photography as a process of seeing and how we approach it. Think outside the box and become interested, see the truth, everything can be subjected and therefore also photographed. I think these are wonderful words that will stick with me forever. Would I attend another workshop with the Bear? Absolutely. Try it – you will be amazed.