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Learn Lightroom & Photoshop for only $39!

Digital Darkroom

That’s right, we have a last minute special on Monday’s Digital Darkroom class!  Come join us this Monday, December 17th from 2:00-6:00 in St. Petersburg.  Use the discount code   lastminute   (all lower case, no spaces) in the discount code box during check out.

Our digital darkroom class reveals our process for getting the best results for all the great pictures you take, using Photoshop and Lightroom. Jason covers his complete workflow from organization to preparing files for print, stock, or the web, unveiling tips and techniques to make your workflow smooth and easy, and to get you away from the computer and back out in the field!  Topics include a through overview of using Lightroom to organize and develop your images. We cover our basic workflow, as well as more advanced concepts such as assembling HDR’s and stitched panoramic photos. We explore in depth Lightroom’s Develop features, how they differ from Photoshop, and when to use one program over the other.

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Last minute photo workshop special!

Looking for something to do this Saturday? Come learn more about nature photography! We have a fundamentals and an advanced class in Tampa and we are offering both at a special last minute holiday price of only $49 each! Use discount code   lastminute   during checkout to get this special price (regularly $129).  See you Saturday!

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New “Best of the Black Hills Workshop”, with Les Voorhis and Rick Sammon

Best of the Black Hills Photography Workshop

Check out the latest workshop to be added to our lineup, “Best of the Black Hills” Photography Workshop with Les Voorhis and Rick Sammon

The Black Hills area of South Dakota is one of North America’s hidden gem’s for outdoor and nature photography, abounding in wildlife, beautiful scenery, and imagery of the old and new west.  Les and Rick who will lead you on a unique photography workshop to photograph real working cowboys and imagery of the west, along with the iconic landscapes of the Black Hills.

So join us for the “Best of the Black Hills Photography Workshop”, where we will show you the very best this beautiful area has to offer in great western and landscape photos!

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OPW’s Annual Holiday Deals!

This holiday season treat that special photographer (or yourself!!!) to one of our photo workshops. Starting Saturday, November 24th, we have some great giveaways to go along with each workshop.

As always, feel free to drop us a line with any questions, and we look forward to seeing you out there this coming year!

  • Free Gear! Everyone who signs up for ANY workshop ($375 or higher) will receive a free gift! Your choice of either a OPW Hat -or- our (in)famous OPW “Photographer At Work” T-shirt. Your pick!
  • Free One-on-One Portfolio Review! Everyone who signs up for a workshop priced $495 or higher will also receive a free two hour Phone Portfolio Review with Jason or Les.  That’s right, free!
  • Everyone signing up for a workshop during this special will also have their name thrown in the hat for a drawing for your choice of either  free admission to  the 2013 Black Hill’s Photo Shootout – or – a free One-on-One workshop with Les or Jason!
  • Giving a workshop as a gift? We are happy to provide a customized gift certificate, just tell us the recipient’s name and your gift message and we’ll put it together for you. Not sure which workshop to give them? We can make gift certificates for any amount, and if purchased during this time we will apply the applicable free gifts to whatever workshop they pick.

Here’s how to receive your freebies:

  • Visit the OPW website to register for the workshop of your choice and pay either the deposit or the full amount on-line anytime from Saturday, November 24th through midnight on Friday, November 30th, 2012 (EST).
  • Don’t want to register online, no problem. Give us a call and we’ll take your info over the phone. Please be nice, our Business Manager, Nicole, won’t be up for any 4:00am sales! If you have questions, feel free to call her at (813) 956-8702 (9-9 Eastern Time).
  • No coupons, discounts (except VIP), or other offers may be combined with this special.
  • Offers not valid on any previously registered/purchased workshops or on any workshops purchased through any deal sites (Groupon/LivingSocial/Amazon etc.).
  • Your free gift will be presented at the workshop you attend. When you register, you must enter the gift you would like (hat or t-shirt) in the comment section. If it is a t-shirt, please include the size.  We reserve the right to substitute a gift of equal value.
  • To redeem your free one-on-one portfolio review, pay the balance of your workshop, choose your instructor, and call or email us to schedule it. You may spend all two hours with one instructor, or split it up, and have an hour with each.
  • One person from all workshop purchases during the promotional period will be selected to receive either a free admission to the 2013 Black Hill’s Photo Shootout or a free one on one workshop with Jason or Les.
    • If the winner chooses the free workshop, it must be taken in the instructor’s home area (Jason in Tampa Bay Florida or Les in Black Hills South Dakota).  The free deal does not include your travel to get there or any other expenses. Date is subject to the instructor’s availability.  It must be used for a One-on-One Workshop, it cannot be applied towards any other workshops, events, goods, or services. Your one-on-one photo workshop can only be taken once you have paid your balance in full on the group workshop. Free one-on-one must be used within one year of workshop date.
    • If the winner chooses the 2013 Black Hill’s Photo Shootout admission, it must be used for this specific event, it cannot be applied towards any other workshops, events, goods, or services.  It does not include your travel to get there, any other expenses, or any Shootout add-ons (special events, products, etc.) beyond basic admission.   Can only be redeemed once you have paid your balance in full on a group workshop.

If you have any questions, please email us at [email protected] or call us at (813) 956-8702 (9-9 EST).

As always please contact us with any questions about our upcoming schedule, or this offer. We hope to see you soon!

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Getting the Shot – White Morph Reddish Egret Canopy Hunting

by Jason Hahn

Okay, I’ll admit it, I have an egret addiction. But not just any egrets, its gotta be the reddish ones. They are just too much fun to photograph. They dance, they canopy, they give dramatic poses, elegant poses, sometimes goofy poses. I have thousands of pictures of them, and I can’t stop myself from taking more. So, when the rare form of the reddish egret, the White Morph, presents itself, you know I am a happy boy.

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Getting the Shot – Star Trails

by Jason Hahn

Photography by Les Voorhis
and Jason Hahn

Usually when I think about photography I think in terms of moments; freezing the action from a split second of time. But photography doesn’t have to be limited to capturing just one moment; it can also be used to show the passage of time. Star trails are a great technique to capture the beauty of the night sky in a unique way, showing the sky’s slow rotation overhead as the night passes. But to be successful, they require a lot of thought, preparation, and a willingness to sit in the dark for many hours experimenting with camera settings. Here are some tips and techniques to help you get great shots of the sky above.

Picking the Right Night
Before you even head out the door, you have to make sure the evening you have picked is going to work. The weather is key, too cloudy or windy and you will have a very frustrating night. A cool dark night with only a few clouds works best, just be sure you also check the dew point and temperature forecast as you don’t want moisture forming over your lens while you are taking your shot. If you can’t avoid the dew, some tricks to help with this are carrying a bulb blower to gently blow away moisture forming on your lens, or you can strap chemical heat packs (“hand warmers”) around your lens. This will help keep it warmer than the night air and prevent condensation from forming.

You also want a fairly dark night, star trails work best during the period from the first quarter through the new moon, on to the third quarter. There is a balance to shooting when the moon is up, a little bit of moonlight will help add light to your foreground, too much and it lights up haze in the sky, dulling your star trails.

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Getting the Shot – Roaring Fork Falls

Roaring Fork Falls- North Carolina Waterfall

Last summer I spent a week exploring waterfalls throughout the Smokies in North Carolina, with the help of Kevin Adam’s excellent book, “North Carolina Waterfalls”. Our visit there was right at the height of wildflower season, catching the wild rhododendrons in full bloom. This image is from one of my favorite falls, “Roaring Fork”.

For this image, I picked a spot on the edge of the falls laying my camera practically on the rock, to capture the full expanse and sweep of the falls, while using the foreground rock to anchor the image and give it depth. I like my images to take your eye on a journey, here I use the flow of the water to do so, framing the scene so water exits the frame at the lower left corner. I played with a variety of shutter speeds, settling on 5 seconds, using an aperture of f16 and a polarizer to achieve this slow speed.

Work It – With landscapes like this, it is a good idea to move around and look at the scene from a variety of different angles. Use elements like the lines of the rock, waters, trees, etc., to create a composition that leads your eye on a trip through the scene. Walking up to a scene and taking a straight on pic can work some of the time, but subtle changes in angle and position can really make a composition pop.

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Getting the Shot – Great Horned Owl in Flight

Great Horned Owl in Flight

Background – This image was made during the 2008 Images for Conservation Pro-Tour.  This was one of the final images I took in the competition, during the last hour of sunlight on the last day.  I found this pair of GHO’s hanging around a pair of trees hunting in a field  and over the course of an hour they gave me some fantastic photo ops, this shot was one of my favorites.  This image was shot at 1/1250th @ f8 with a Canon 1DMkIII, 500mm f4 and a 1.4 x TC.  This is full frame, no major crops were allowed in the competition.

Body Language – To get this particular image I was photographing the owl as it sat perched on a snag.  Having photographed this species before, I had a pretty good feel for their body language, and as this one hooted and wing-stretched I knew it was probably going to take off.  Knowing the body language of your subjects is a huge asset in helping you predict and capture the action when it unfolds!

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Getting the Shot – Scissor-tailed Flycatcher Landing

Background… Digging deep into the image files, this is one of my favorites from the 2008 Images for Conservation Pro-Tour. This image was taken late morning about halfway through the competition when I found this family of Scissor-Tailed Flycatchers (STF) hunting in a meadow near a pond. The family of three were perched on a variety of mesquite snags and other perches, they would fly out from the perches, snatch a bug from the air, and most of the time return to the perch they had just left. This image was shot at 1/1600th @ f7.1 with a Canon 1DMkIII, 500mm f4 and a 1.4 x TC.

Watch and Learn… The real key to this image was just taking a few minutes to sit and watch these birds engaged in their daily routine. It is really tempting to go in with “guns blazing” when you spot an animal you want to photograph, but sudden movements and sound from you and your camera can spook off wildlife before you get a chance to really capture the images you want. By waiting a few minutes this gave the birds time to become accustomed to my presence, see I wasn’t a threat, and allow me to gradually move in a little closer. It also allowed me time to analyze their behavior, and see the pattern of “fly/land/eat/repeat” that they were engaged in. This male in particular really liked this perch, chasing off his young’un who tried to land on it a couple of times. His predictable pattern really made it much more possible to get this landing shot.

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Changing Your Workflow

Double Damselflies -Two Damselflies perched on a blade of grass in a pond, with clear reflections
By Jason Hahn

One of the coolest things about digital photography over the past few years has been the innovation and rapid leaps forward in technology. Sure I grumble about shelling out more money every time the latest software/camera/lens comes out or having to learn the latest version of CS, but deep down I really like where photography is going. These technological jumps have lead to a whole new realm of creativity, and simply put, we are making images now we didn’t even dream of getting a few years ago.

That being said though, the hard part about digital photography for me has been the increased time spent in front of the computer versus looking through the viewfinder. All the post processing stuff after the shot has always been the “work” side of nature photography. Give me a bug infested swamp any day, versus sitting behind the desk inputting metadata into images! So a few months ago I really looked at my workflow, because (a) I wasn’t thrilled with the end results, and, (b) I felt I was spending way too much time on this to end up with (a). I looked at my shooting, my software, my editing process, and came to the realization that frankly, I didn’t know what I needed to change. Sure I teach workshops, but I am not too proud to admit when I need to grow in an area, and find an expert to learn from.

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