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Canadian Rockies Photography Workshop – Winter 2020

This 4-day landscape photography workshop takes place in the breathtaking Canadian Rockies during its most beautiful season, winter. We’ll spend our days chasing the best light and weather to photograph. During which, you will be joining me, Scott Aspinall, to tour some of the best scenery Canada has to offer in Banff, Yoho, and Jasper National Parks. Growing up near the Canadian Rockies and have visited and photographed them dozens of times, as a landscape photographer, means you will get to the best locations. Besides, the group size will be very small so the instruction will be personalized to help you achieve your photographic goals. My sole goal is to move you towards fulfilling your creative vision for your photography.

Dates

January 22nd – January 25th, 2020

Group Size

4 Participant Maximum

Investment

$1,295 CAD (approx. $975 USD)

+ 38.72 CAD processing fee (e-transfer to rscottaspinall.com can void this fee)

Difficulty

Easy/Intermediate (some short winter hiking required)

Check out more details below or reserve your spot here for this Canadian Rockies Photography Workshop!

WHAT’S INCLUDED …

This photography workshop is designed to maximize the photographic potential of the Canadian Rockies while giving you the comfort of a winter getaway. While there, we’ll stay together in a Canmore Airbnb with opportunity for single and double occupancy.* This gives us the space to rest and recharge while providing the perfect gateway to countless shooting locations.

There are a lot of benefits to a small group size. First, it allows us to carpool together to each location. Second, while on-site you will receive personalized instruction on maximizing each location’s potential. These spots have been carefully selected based on where I think conditions are favourable. We will be visiting some iconic Canadian Rocky locations throughout Banff, Yoho, and Jasper, but will also spend time searching for scenes that are more personal and help shape your journey as a landscape photographer.Post processing sessions will provide time to learn techniques that are vital to creating compelling, emotional imagery. Combine that with a session of image critique and there is ample opportunity for growth by the end of this workshop. With instruction, accommodation, transportation to shooting locations, park passes**, commercial licenses and other fees included, this is an (almost) all-inclusive winter vacation!

All you need to do is get yourself to Banff, Alberta sometime before 11:00AM on January 22nd. Food and drink for yourself is on you while you’re here (that said, because we will be staying together in an Airbnb* there is opportunity to share meals). Any travel and/or medical insurance (highly recommended) and visa fees are up to you as well. 

*If you are unwilling, for any reason, to stay with the group in the Airbnb please let me know and I will arrange a hotel room for an additional fee of $525CAD. 

**If you wish to use your own vehicle in the park you will be required to purchase your own park pass.

WHAT YOU WILL LEARN …

Composition

Leave strict composition rules behind, focusing on combining elements of your scenes in a way that brings the viewer in.

Light 

We will spend time discussing the different types of light and how they aid in composition.

The Technical

How the pillars of the exposure triangle (shutter speed, aperture, and ISO) work together. This understanding, combined with in-field coaching, will help you to find the settings needed to realize your creative vision.

Exposure

Learn to trust your histogram, where to meter, and how to combat high dynamic range scenes.
Focus – Understand where to focus in your scene and practice focus stacking to overcome limitations with most lenses.

Filters

While a lot of scenes require a polarizing filter, we will not use it much in the Canadian Rockies. We want those gorgeous reflections on the ice to pop which won’t happen with a polarizer. I will discuss the use of ND filters and can coach you in the use of them.

Astrophotography

With under 9 hours of daylight, there are plenty of dark skies to be enjoyed. Ideally, I would like to do some landscape astrophotography at a secret location (completely dependent on weather conditions). A night of astrophotography is not a guarantee. However, if the weather cooperates, you can expect to learn how to get a clean, single photograph at night. We will also cover different techniques to reduce noise and enhance the detail in your foregrounds.

Post Processing

It is a high priority of the workshop but will be arranged around our field time. The majority of the processing time will take place on the final day of the workshop. During these hours you will learn important techniques that help you add emotion or mood to your photograph. You will learn about global vs. local adjustments in Photoshop and Lightroom; blending; various tools for masking; enhancing light; dodging and burning; focus stacking; and so much more!

Planning Tools

Planning is a big part of the photography process. We will cover my favourite planning approaches and include a list of applications and programs to make your planning quick, easy, and effective.

 

WHAT YOU WILL NEED …

Photography equipment

A DSLR or Mirrorless camera that can function in Manual Mode (M), charged camera batteries and your charger, memory cards (multiple), remote shutter release or intervalometer, and a sturdy tripod.

Lenses

A wide-angle lens (11-35mm) with an aperture of at least f2.8 is recommended (the aperture is important for astrophotography). For all other applications, an aperture of f4 is adequate. You should bring along a telephoto lens (100mm+) for more intimate photos and a mid-range as well (35-100mm). You can borrow lenses from your local camera store or www.lenslenders.ca if needed (please contact me for questions regarding your gear and what images you can expect to get with it). For reference, my bag consists of a 15-30mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, and 70-200mm f2.8.

Light

A headlamp that has a red light mode. Red light is a must for astrophotography. Other light ‘colour’ destroys night vision and will ruin the experience of other participants. 

Proper Clothing

The end of January can be very cold in the Canadian Rockies but sometimes it is mild too. Expect -6C (21 F) to -20C (-4 F) but it could be warmer or colder than that (for more info on temperatures during this time check out this link to see more. Please note that the temperatures listed are in Celsius). It often snows in January which is great for winter wonderland landscape photography but can cause mobility problems. Winter boots are essential, and if you have snowshoes, bring them. I will provide crampons (with micro spikes) for you when heading onto icy surfaces. Also, bring thin inner gloves and large winter gloves for over the top of those which makes camera operation much easier in the cold. Dress in layers with a down jacket or heavy winter parka as the outside layer (temperatures vary significantly from night to day). And don’t forget a toque or beanie to keep your head warm.

Food and Drink

Canmore has a lot of restaurant options and a grocery store if you prefer not to bring food. We will be staying in an Airbnb with a full kitchen so you will be able to cook while we are there. Mealtimes will revolve around our shooting schedule so don’t expect to maintain a “normal” eating schedule. Please bring snacks for the road as we will be spending a lot of time driving and hanging out in the field. Bring a water bottle and whatever other drinks you may want, these will not be provided. 

Other tech

You will need a laptop, with a charger, for our post-processing session. I teach post-processing strictly in Lightroom and Photoshop so it is important to have a copy of each (Photoshop with Camera Raw as an alternative) installed on your laptop before arriving in the Rockies. You can download a 7-day free trial of Photoshop here.

Transportation

Transportation and all associated costs to and from the town of Banff, Alberta, arriving before 11:00 AM on January 22nd and leaving mid-afternoon on January 25th, is your responsibility. I will pick you up or meet you (if you prefer to drive yourself) in Banff, Alberta on the 22nd and drop you back off in Banff, Alberta in the afternoon on the 25th. If you are flying in, Calgary International Airport is closest. There are shuttle services that can be arranged to take you directly to Banff, Alberta (Banff Airporter or Brewster Express) that take about an hour and a half.  

See you there!

Not convinced yet? Hear from just a handful of satisfied alumni back on the Workshop Page .

the small print
Workshop Class Size
  • There is a minimum class size of 2. If we do not reach our class a minimum 14 days before the “Canadian Rockies Photography Workshop” (henceforth called the “workshop”) date, I hold the option to cancel the workshop. In this case, a 100% refund of your payment will be issued in this scenario.
Weather
  • I have no control over the weather. However, with enough accessible locations, I do not doubt that we will fill our days. In the case of a heavy winter storm, Parks Canada may close sections of the Icefields parkway. We will also monitor the weather before traveling on the Parkway as cell reception is limited. YOUR SAFETY IS MY MAIN CONCERN and I will not risk a trip up the Icefields Parkway when conditions are questionable. Your life is not worth a photograph.
Refunds 
  • A 50% non-refundable deposit secures your spot. The remaining balance will need to be paid 60 days before the start date. If you cancel outside of 60 days from the workshop date you will receive a refund minus your deposit. If you cancel inside of 60 days from the workshop date you will receive a refund minus your deposit only if I can fill your spot. Any non-refunded amounts are transferable to another group or private workshop by Scott Aspinall.
  • There are no refunds for unforeseen weather events that take place during the workshop dates. This includes cloud cover, wildfire smoke, park closures due to unforeseen weather events, or other such events. If park closures or other such conditions arise we will make every effort to present you with a reasonable alternative. I am not responsible for reimbursement of travel, lodging (outside of what is included above), equipment rentals, or other such expenses. I recommend purchasing travel insurance to cover your non-refundable fees, travel, and other such expenses.
Other Requirements
  • You will receive the itinerary, Leave No Trace Principles, and liability waiver after I have received full payment (60 days prior). This is when you are considered confirmed. Leave No Trace Principles and liability waiver MUST be signed and submitted at least 48 hours before the workshop or you will forfeit your spot.
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