Casper is a great city with much to see. I walked every day exploring the city, as well as the stores, such as Lou Taubert Outfitters, operating since 1919 with a inventory of 10,000 boots on hand. Amazing!
As this was my first trip to Casper, Dinty made sure that I got out of town before the Photo Fest began. We went to Casper Mountain one afternoon and the scenes along the switch back road and on top of the mountain were delightful.
On another day, we followed the Oregon Trail to Pathfinders Dam, the first U.S. Government Reclamation Dam completed in 1909. Again, spectacular scenery at at 8,000 feet.
The highlight of the weekend was the Wild West Photo Fest featuring a keynote speech by Rick Sammon, a Canon Explorer of Light, and a workshop on Saturday. I have participated in many of his workshops (Mount Rainer, Oregon Coast, and Iceland), as he is a great photographer, teacher, and friend. I always learn something new, and this time was no exception. We were inside the Wonder Bar, the oldest bar in Casper, Wyoming, where Ernest Hemingway and John Wayne were customers, as well as many cowboys.
Take a look at this video to get a better sense of the atmosphere during the workshop, and you will hear more tips from Rick.
One of the things I learned at the workshop was how to shoot hand held in low light by boosting my ISO. The photo below was shot at 6400ISO and F5.6. Using Lightroom I was able to reduce the noise and create the image that I wanted.
We all know about the rule of thirds, but separation between subjects is also very important. The bar was very crowded with models, the horse, and other photographers, but in spite of that, I was able to capture a sense of separation as you can see above.
We also learned how to use lighting. In this case using the lamp on the wall to highlight the model’s face. Capturing the catch light in eyes is another important skill. You can see that both the horse’s and the bartender’s eyes have catch light. Focusing on the eyes is key to getting a sharp photo. As Rick says, if you don’t get the eyes right you don’t have a good photo.
By the way, the horse didn’t like the brandy, but preferred the beer because of the hops.
Attending the Photo Fest and Rick’s workshop not only increased by skills, but gave me more inspiration to focus on my photography. Whether attending a day-long photo festival or a workshop, being exposed to new subjects and shooting with other photographers can boost your skills and fuel your motivation.
Check out your local camera stores for photo festivals. They usually offer free classes, as well as opportunities to talk to vendors to test out equipment, and get your questions answered.
I will be going back to Wyoming for a 5 day workshop that is in the works for next June. Rick and Dinty are working on the details to create a great experience. If you are interested in attending, contact Dinty at firstname.lastname@example.org or Rick at email@example.com.
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