I recently returned from spending a weekend with 11 other photography nerds -- a "Waterfalls Boot Camp" workshop in the West Virginia highlands led by Joe Rossbach. Although we certainly photographed waterfalls (as you can see from the image below), we also shot at a number of other cool locations. We also spent time learning more about Joe's post processing workflow and techniques.
I had time on the long drive home to reflect on why I value photography workshops. For me, a workshop is successful if it introduces me to a new place, teaches me new techniques, and allows me to meet new people who share my passion for photography. This workshop was a winner on all three counts. I had never been to the highlands of West Virginia before -- but I will certainly go again. Given the title of the workshop I thought I might learn some new things about waterfall photography, but the real technical benefit for me was learning about Joe's exposure blending techniques. The image below is a "classroom exercise" in applying his techniques to blend two different exposures of the same scene.
Finally, it was just a great group of people to spend a couple of loooong days with.
Of course, the instructor is the key to the success of a workshop. Joe Rossbach has shot and led workshops in this area many times, and he was able to adjust the schedule each day to take advantage of weather that ranged from (boring) clear blue skies to thunderstorms. He delivered a quality workshop experience for a group that varied in both photographic expertise and physical ability. He is definitely on my list of instructors for future workshops!