29 April

Updated Spring Workshop Schedule – oopoomoo Photography Workshops Across Canada!

We just returned from a 3-day photo seminar with field workshops in Toronto where we met wonderful people and received some very positive feedback about our content, presentation and teaching style. John Weatherburn, past president of the Toronto Digital Photography Club related this to us:

Thanks again for spending the weekend with us. It was a very informative seminar and set of workshops. I have received very positive feedback from our members. I would say more so than with any other speaker!
The two of you working together works perfectly. Your complimentary interests illustrate clearly that there is no wrong way. Even using different equipment works well (always a debate in the club: Canon vs. Nikon!).

We love it when we can impart the oopoomoo values of create, inspire and educate to photography. The great thing is we learn just as much from our students as they do from us; it’s truly a collaborative adventure. Thanks, Toronto, for your hospitality and warmth and open hearts!

Next up on our schedule are the following events – we’d love to meet you and help you take your photography to a new creative and artistic level. To learn more about each event just click on the title for the event that interests you.

Creating Story and Mood in Photography
Winnipeg, Manitoba – May 2 and 3, 2015
©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Camera Controls Made Easy – From Confused to Creative in Four Hours!
Black Diamond, Alberta – May 9, 2015 – Sold Outwait list only
©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

Creative Landscape Photography Weekend Intensive Workshop
Edmonton, Alberta – May 22 – 24, 2015 – Sold Outwait list only
©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

NEWWorking Advanced Compositional Patterns in the Landscape
Black Diamond Alberta – May 31, 2015
©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Learning to See: Developing Your Creative Vision
Montreal, Quebec – June 5 – 7, 2015
©Samantha Chrysanthou

©Samantha Chrysanthou

2 September

Last Chance (for awhile) for oopoomoo Photography Workshops

Summer is flying by! In Alberta, there’s already a nip in the air — autumn is basically here! The brisk winds and unsettled skies always seem to indicate that change is in the air…and for us here at oopoomoo, we’ve decided to continue with the spirit of exploration that we’ve created by beginning our creative sabbatical. In 2015, we plan to pursue some exciting opportunities to learn and grow and continue our quest for ‘the good life’.

Road into sunrise

The road less traveled? ©Darwin Wiggett

This means we will be taking a hiatus from the whirlwind of workshops we’ve been organizing or involved in over the last few years in order to continue with the spirit of our creative sabbatical. We will share our adventures from time to time with you on our blog, but for those of you who have always wanted to come on an oopoomoo photo workshop, now is your last chance for a little while! Outside of photography events organized with Camera Clubs, we will not be running our usual slate of oopoomoo workshops in 2015.

While there is still plenty of opportunities to get involved this fall, space is limited! Click on a link below to learn more and for info on how to register:

Workshops out of Aurum Lodge in the Canadian Rockies

Glory of Autumn, Sept. 23-28 – This popular workshop was sold out, but one opening has just come up due to a cancellation! We explore the grand vistas as well as the secret nooks of this stunning region during a season when nature dons her most beautiful colours. One spot left.

Fall Colours on the Kootenay Plains - ©Darwin Wiggett

Fall Colours on the Kootenay Plains. ©Darwin Wiggett

Beyond the Icon, Oct. 21-26 – Tired of taking the same old shots? Do you struggle to express your own creative ideas or ‘see’ photo opportunities in the field? In this field-intensive workshop, we dig deep, encouraging you to develop your creative vision through the study of one of nature photography’s most challenging styles – intimate landscapes. Four spots left.

Allstones Creek, Kootenay Plains, Alberta, Canada

It’s in the details…©Samantha Chrysanthou

Fire and Ice, Nov. 4-9 – Devoted photographers visit the Canadian Rockies in late fall/early winter. They know that they’ll have the quiet roads to themselves yet still experience the charm that this season of flux can bring. From snow squalls to shorts weather, the variability leads to exciting photo opportunities. Oh, and did we mention the fiery light? Six spots left.

North Saskatchewan River - Kootenay Plains - Alberta Canada

Icy fringe and fiery light…what’s not to like? ©Darwin Wiggett

Artists in Residence (until Nov. 15) – Can’t make any of these dates? Now is the perfect time to take advantage of our presence at Aurum Lodge as Artists in Residence. Customize your learning! We work with you on your personal learning goals in these value-packed sessions.

Yellow leaves in blue pond

Creative filtering in nature photography. ©Darwin Wiggett

Watch for these oopoomoo photography workshops in 2014 and 2015!

Edmonton, September 2014 and May, 2015 – The Creative Landscape Photography course we delivered this past spring at the Burwell School of Photography was a smash hit! Two  more dates have been added to this popular workshop and one is just around the corner, starting September 19. Offerings with other Clubs and schools are the best bang for your buck since you can save on accommodation costs when we’re in your neck of the woods – so check ’em out and support local education!

Toronto, April 2015 – More details coming soon!

Winnipeg, May 2015 – More details coming soon!

And to all of you who said you would visit us at Aurum Lodge…come see us already!

Sam and Darwin relaxing in their cabin at Aurum Lodge

It’s tough being Artists in Residence! Here, we take a break with our chicken friends. ©Darwin Wiggett

Our home away from home - Aurum Lodge, ©Samantha Chrysanthou

Our home away from home – Aurum Lodge. ©Samantha Chrysanthou


4 April

Fave Photos – Rusting Cars in the Prairie – The Power of Personal Interpretation

Anyone who was born and raised on the prairie knows that prairie summers are filled with hot sun, big sky and grass-rustling wind. I wanted to capture that feeling  in a photo but also show nature reclaiming itself from the assault of modern society. This photo taken on our annual Buicks, Badlands and Old Buildings: The Prairie Workshop hit the mark for me and says everything I felt at the time of making the photo. I used camera technique (long exposure with a polarizer and ND filter) and post processing techniques to add to the message I was trying to make with this image.

We think that good photographs illustrate more about how the photographer feels about the subject and less about documenting the actual subject. After all, we all ‘see’ the subject in different ways and there probably is no way to make a purely objective representation of a subject.  Somebody else taking photos of this exact scene might concentrate on other aspects that interest them more. For example, one of the participants in the workshop made a photo that showed just the top of the car in the air with nothing grounding it. It was awesome and made the car look like a diving bird. One of the powerful things about a workshop is the inspiration and surprise we get when we see how others interpret the same scene we have photographed. Are you thinking about how you feel and why you are attracted to a subject before you press the shutter button? If you are, then you are well on your way to making interpretive images!

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett 

22 August

Forest Cars – Off to “Buicks, Badlands and Old Buildings: The Prairie Photo Workshop 2013”

We are super excited to be heading off to St. Ann Ranch in Trochu for our annual Buicks, Badlands and Old Buildings: The Prairie Photo Workshop. Our photo romp through the Alberta prairie leads us through undulating crops, down into the Red Deer River badlands, across the history of early settlement in the region and to bone yards of metal and wooden relics. This year the workshop sold out far in advance… stay tuned for possible 2014 dates. If you’re really keen on coming next year drop us an email at info@oopoomoo.com and we’ll put you on the pre-announcement list. For now here is a new location of rusted wrecks on private land that we have added as a bonus for returning workshop attendees. Thanks to Lisa Couldwell for introducing us to this location and the land owner!

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

©Darwin Wiggett

14 September

Badlands, Buicks and Old Buildings: The Prairie Workshop – Results

We are pleased to announce that the Badlands, Buicks and Old Buildings Workshop was such a resounding success that we are offering it again for 2013! We even have a very special ‘pillow fight’ room rate for the ‘haunted attic’ in the country mansion where we stay (see this link). This prairie workshop offers some of the most unique locations in central Alberta along with structured, assignment based learning.

We asked this year’s participants to send in their favorite photo from the workshop. Check them out below — the variety speaks for itself! We had a range of skill levels from beginners to more advanced shooters which is great because we all learned from each other. To see more images from this workshop, be sure to visit the links provided by photographers with websites!

Andy Stanislav

©Andy Stanislav

 Catherine Byram

©Catherine Byram

Claude Bissonnette

©Claude Bissonnette

Dale Sorensen

©Dale Sorensen

Stan Masters

©Stan Masters

Keltie Masters

©Keltie Masters

Ed Byram

©Ed Byram

Ian McGillvrey

©Ian McGillvrey

John Fujimagari

©John Fujimagari

Wayne Simpson

©Wayne Simpson


13 August

Why We Have Decided to Stop Doing Photo Tours

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Looking Back (from the Buicks and Badlands Workshop)

Back in February of 2005, Alan Ernst of Aurum Lodge and I organized our first photo tour of the Kootenay Plains area of the Canadian Rockies. We thought we would offer a tour to one of the most scenic, least developed and least visited areas of the Canadian Rockies. Our first tour was designed to highlight the magic of winter on the Kootenay Plains (see our special places eBooks for more information on this wonderful area). We took people to hidden gems that they likely would have had a hard time finding on their own. The idea of putting experienced photographers in ‘secret spots’ at the right place at the right time was born. To see the results of that first photo tour see this link.  The Winter Tour in particular became very popular due mostly to the great pictures of ice bubbles on Abraham Lake that resulted.

We expanded our offerings to cover other seasons and lighting conditions and a full slate of tours was born. The Fall Tour and the Fire and Ice Tour each became popular, often selling out two years in advance. On a tour, we are like hunting guides taking shooters to where the best trophies  are hidden. After eight years of  successfully putting photographers in front of  desirable prey, the pursuit has begun to ring hollow for us as guides and for the photographers who wish to grow as artists. We want to offer our clients more than just pretty locations! Note: Don’t worry all the tours scheduled through 2013 are still a go; so if you want one last kick at the trophies be sure to sign up.

When I teamed up with Samantha, she recognized early that photo tours, although fun and intense, didn’t really help people grow beyond adding a few more notches on their trophy belts. In response, we designed our immersive photo workshops with directed topics and assignments that would help photographers grow technically and artistically. We wanted to help people develop their own vision and voice and go beyond just making copycat trophy images.

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Double Vision (from the Buicks and Badlands Workshop)

The workshops we’ve developed have been incredibly well received. In fact, we have been invited back by Grande Prairie Photography Club for the third year in a row to present a new workshop, Mastering the Art of CompositionWe are also being hosted by Foothills Camera Club in Calgary (contact dana@mountainladdiephoto.com for registration information) and the Whitehorse Photography Club in the Yukon in September of this year.

Our final oopoomoo workshop for 2012 is Buicks, Bandlands and Old Buildings which combines great locations with immersive instruction. We still have openings for two photographers (August 23-26, 2012). So if you really want to take your artistry to a new level, be sure to come out for one our intensive workshops. As a little teaser for what’s coming up, we will be hosting Guy Tal in an intensive workshop based out of Aurum Lodge in October 2013 – stay tuned for an announcement here in a few weeks! (Hmm, and maybe a newsletter is overdue…with something special just for subscribers!) And speaking of learning don’t forget about the big seminar and workshop that oopoomoo is hosting with David duChemin in March, 2013!

So even though we’re not doing the ‘photo tour’ format anymore, we think these opportunities are even better — that’s a lotta learning!

©Samantha Chrysanthou – Wrecks (from the Buicks and Badlands Workshop)

©Samantha Chrysanthou – History (from the Buicks and Badlands Workshop)


6 August

Persistent Vision “Walkabout” Photo Contest – July 2012 Results

Coming in March of next year (2013), travel photographer and popular blogger David duChemin is coming to the Canadian Rockies at the invite of oopoomoo for a weekend photography extravaganza in the small mountain town of Bragg Creek, Alberta. There are still a few spots left for the exclusive weekend package (Friday night Meet-n-Greet, Saturday full day seminar and Sunday’s field workshops). There’s still lots of space for the Saturday seminar itself but, keep in mind, only people who sign up for the ‘full meal deal’ are able to attend all three events. Of course, if you win one of our monthly photo contests, you can still meet David on Friday March 15, 2013 even if you don’t invest in the full weekend pass (click here for full rules and guidelines). And you get a framed 16×24 print from Winter Photographics of your winning entry!

Until word gets out, your chances of winning are actually quite good; in July we only had six entries! Part of the reason why this contest may not attract as many entries as most photo contests is because this contest has a twist; only images accessed by the photographer’s own non-motorized, locomotive power can be entered into this contest! This means you can only enter images that you made by walking, biking, skateboarding, jumping or skipping from your house to the great big world out there (or stay in your house of you prefer). If you took a bus, drove your car, flew in a plane or otherwise used motorized transit to get yourself out of the house and then you walked — sorry that won’t count. You gotta be motorized-free right from your home to qualify. Be sure to enter for August!

This month’s judge is supermom and ace nature and stock photographer, Varina Patel. We have not met a nicer, more down to earth person in a long time! And talent… did we say talent? Be sure to check out her website and her blog if you haven’t already!

From our six entries, Varina chose Scott Dimond’s shot of an outfitter’s tent (we think this is actually his home)! Here is what Varina said about Scott’s winning photo:

“These are some gorgeous shots! A tough choice – but in the end, I kept coming back to Scott’s photos of the tent in the field. It’s got everything going for it – a beautiful and unique point of interest, a gorgeous location, and tons of beautiful details. I love the dark greens surrounding the brightly lit tent – and the rich golden tones of the light shining from within. The flowers add a quiet beauty to the image without pulling my eye away from the tent itself. All those elements come together to pull me into the photograph – it makes we want to walk through the meadow and settle myself in that tent for a peaceful evening in such a beautiful place. I hope Scott got to do that after he took his shot. :)”

©Scott Dimond

Darwin and I get to pick our favorite entries and these are below. First up is Leslie Degner’s painterly flower image. Leslie created a unique flower portrait that had us both ooohing and aaahing! Wow, Leslie that is both fresh and beautiful! Incredible work with aperture, as well.

©Leslie Degner

And we love the photo below from Nigel Roberts. Also, Nigel had an inspiring idea that he’s trying out…. Why not make this monthly contest a little assignment for yourself? You still have August, September and October to enter!

“Reading over the contest rules I get tired just thinking about all the walking, biking, hiking, etc. that I could be doing to enter this contest!  So being the lazy photographer that I am (and not wanting to break a sweat by straying too far from my beer fridge), I’ve decided to challenge myself to only submit images that I take within 100 m or so of my home.  I’ve also challenged myself to submit  an image a month to force myself to come up with something – should be interesting!”

©Nigel Roberts

24 June

Persistent Vision “Walkabout” Photo Contest – May 2012 Results

In March 2013, travel photographer and popular blogger David duChemin is coming to the Canadian Rockies at the invite of oopoomoo for a weekend photography extravaganza in the small mountain town of Bragg Creek, Alberta. There are still a few spots left for the exclusive weekend event (Friday night Meet-n-Greet, Saturday full day seminar and Sunday’s field workshops). Only people who sign up for the full meal deal are able to attend all three events, but you can still come and meet David on Friday March 15, 2013 if you enter and win one of six monthly photo contests (see full rules and guidelines).

Until word gets out, your chances of winning are actually quite good; in May, we only had six entries! Part of the reason why this contest may not attract as many entries as most could be because this contest has a twist; only images taken within a distance accessed by the photographer’s own non-motorized, locomotive power can be entered into this contest! We wouldn’t want to call photographers lazy, now would we?

The entries and the winner for May are below. So far for June we have only one entry so get out walking, skateboarding or biking for photos and get your entry in for June (just follow the guidelines and send us your shot by the deadline of  June 30 11:59pm MST)! This contest runs monthly until October so if you miss the June deadline, not to worry.

Chris Martin, a renowned photographer from Bragg Creek and Bob Cook, owner of Branded Visuals (a wonderful photo gallery in Bragg Creek) were our celebrity judges for the May contest. Thanks guys for arm-wrestling for a winner!

©Rosana Ramos

©Scott Dimond

©Gail Foster

©Leslie Degner

©Craig Taylor

And the winner is Tim Lutic for this photo of the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton Alberta. Congratulations to Tim and see you in March for beer with David!

©Tim Lutic

27 April

Destination Travel Workshop: Pay What It’s Worth To YOU

Darwin and I like to experiment. And we’d like you to join us in an experiment that might seem a little crazy at first (or an incredible deal!). For this year’s Destination Travel Photography Workshop June 25-28, 2012 at Island Lake, we’re going to take our professional fees out of the cost and let participants pay what they think the workshop is worth at the end of the weekend. We know times are tough, and sometimes you can’t afford to take that class or book that holiday or buy that special vacation for your significant other. Well, we still have space in this exciting workshop, so if cost has been a factor for you, now’s your chance! Here’s how it works:

Darwin and I are going to run the workshop no matter what. Participants who have already registered will get the same deal; all you have to pay are your accommodation and meals charged by Island Lake, who is giving us an great deal. You could attend this four-day workshop for as little as $433! That’s just over $100 per day and includes all your meals and accommodations plus a wine tasting event  in a luxury lodge on a private reserve. You can’t beat that! Check out the updated prices here.

The program is the same, and I’ll go into a few more details below, but this is definitely an opportunity that we can’t do with every workshop we offer, so don’t miss out. The lodge is located just outside Fernie, British Columbia, on a 7000 acre private forest. From old growth cedar to lush undergrowth, the place is very private and ecologically unique. Here are a few more images from the lake just below the resort:

The Lizard Range, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

© Samantha Chrysanthou

Last year when we were scouting the place and arranging the details of the workshop, we saw a black bear on this lake at the far end of the picture here. Apparently a mother moose and her calf are also frequent visitors to this tranquil scene! And fresh flowers are coming up and everything is so green and lush!

Forest trail, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

© Samantha Chrysanthou

Forest trail, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

© Samantha Chrysanthou - same scene, horizontal framing. It's lush in June!

You might be wondering why we’re attempting such a crazy project. Well, we’ve found that the photography industry is in a constant state of flux. New products are entering the market all the time, and it’s hard to know how to price your offerings. For example, more and more eBooks are being made by photographers teaching you how to make pictures, yet no can even agree yet on how to call them — is that ‘eBook’, ‘ebook’, ‘e-book’ or ‘E-Book’? By doing this little experiment, we hope that we’ll have a better idea at the end of this workshop how much people feel is fair value for this style of photography instruction. By the way, if it seems a bit intimidating to price your own workshop, don’t worry; we’ll put our original pricing (with percentage breakdowns like 75%, 50%, 10% etc.) at the front desk as a guideline at checkout. You pay us only what you think the value of our instruction was worth and your ‘donation’ will be anonymous to us!

Lizard Range, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

© Samantha Chrysanthou

So what are some of the classes that we’ll be teaching? This is a really comprehensive workshop designed to get you quickly on your feet as a photographer when traveling. We start out with Story Trumps Technique and show you why a story with impact will survive minor technical faults. We’ll also be going over practical, hands-on skills such as using your camera controls creatively, effective lens choice to tell a story and basic outdoor lighting for portraits. And because we’re at a resort with incredibly talented chefs who source a lot of their produce from nearby farms, the workshop wouldn’t be complete without a quick and dirty lesson on food photography on the fly! All this work is bound to make you thirsty, so a little wine tasting will help rejuvenate any tired energies! In all, this package of photography skills will have you bringing home memorable images from your future travels so that friends and family will be able to grasp the spirit of your adventures. Head to the information page here.

Island Lake also has a beautiful cookbook of their recipes (which you get as part of the price), and Darwin and I are going to pick a few dishes to make and photograph for the blog, so watch for that if you’re a foodie!

We hope that you will be able to join us June 25 – 28, 2012 (coming up soon!) for our little experiment. It’s a terrific opportunity to participate in an intensive, educational but fun workshop that is also programmed to be like a little holiday — and you’re in charge of the price! See you at the workshop. If you can’t come, tell a friend, this is a fantastic deal. We believe in it so much we are willing to do the event for free!

Lizard Range, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

© Samantha Chrysanthou

Natural spring, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

©Samantha Chrysanthou

Lizard Range, Island Lake, British Columbia, Canada

©Samantha Chrysanthou