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On June 27th, thirteen students left Redding, California, for the 2009 Oachs/Rueb Mt. Shasta photography workshop...three of these students had already taken a previous workshop...and inexplicably, they had returned for more.
Their lives will never be the same.
The first stop was to watch the sun rise on Mt Shasta. The students had a vast area full of wildflowers and old trees for use as a foreground and a dominating view of the 14,000 foot Mt. Shasta in their background. A perfect way to start the day.
From there, a drive south led the workshop group to the Middle Falls of the McCloud River. This is one of the most scenic waterfalls in Northern California, and the timing was perfect, as we were able to spend a solid hour photographing the falls before the light became too harsh to continue. The rocks and foliage there provided many opportunities to come away with a memorable shot. We used that spot as an ideal place to work on longer exposures, and further work on helping the students bring the types of images they see in their minds to the screen in front of them.
Everything was still relatively sane at this point. As the day progressed, our group camaraderie continued to build...as the group gelled, new friendships were made. This tended to loosen the group up, and before long...jokes were flying around, and everyone was having a good time.
At our third stop, one student...who we won't mention by name ("Mel")...dropped his camera into the water while photographing Hedge Creek Falls. This was after already dunking his foot in the same water seconds earlier. It was no surprise that, once we discovered his camera had survived the plunge and still worked, he never heard the end of it. Having your camera dunked in the water is VERY rare for one of our workshops...in fact, this is the only time it's EVER happened.
Our fourth stop was the Tuscan-style Mt. Shasta Lavender Farm, where we found a beautiful view of the mountain, and a crop of lavender at its absolute peak. (While we can't control the weather for one of our workshops, we make every effort to make sure each destination is at its best when we arrive.) We spent a couple hours at the farm, where we provided the students with lunch, an opportunity to see the farm, and some time to rest and continue to visit with one another. As you can see from the students work, the photography opportunities weren't too shabby either.
Long hikes aren't normally a part of our workshops, but when the hike can provide an unmatched view...sometimes we go for it. The hike from Castle Lake to Heart Lake is, well, brutal...and takes some considerable effort to accomplish....but the view is SO worth every drop of sweat, and every mumbled curse word. We're very proud of every student for making it up the trail--and the images we'd seen from the top were worth it!
When you take a workshop with us, our goal is to provide as much instruction and opportunity to shoot as possible. We have a "shoot till you drop" mentality for our workshops, and by the end of day, most students are ready for the drop portion...as were our Mt. Shasta students...they had photographed all day at some amazing locations.
They needed their rest, as did we.
Day Two was just as much fun as the first.
We started off with a hike to Mossbrae Falls, which is another magnificent example of the diversity of landscape that Northern California has to offer. Being at Mossbrae is like being flown to a tropical paradise. Water flows out of the side of a lush green mountain, in hundreds of streams of various widths, into the Sacramento River...it's truly a stunning place to photograph.
Our group spent as much time at the falls as the light would allow before heading back to Redding for a group lunch at a local restaurant and some time learning post processing techniques.
After lunch, our first stop of the afternoon was Burney Falls, a challenging, but beautiful, waterfall.
The students had so much fun trying out different compositions, and hiking through the brush to get new vantage points, that we lost track of time...and ultimately missed an opportunity to head out to Lassen Park. However, we were able to adjust the schedule to include a night photography lesson at the famous Sundial Bridge in Redding, where we again practiced composition, use of long exposure, and creative dance moves to balance out tricky bright spots.
If your instructors aren't dancing for your image improvement, you're in the wrong workshop.
All of our workshops have a listed "end time," but, if students are still photographing, we stay and make sure everyone gets that last image they see.
Even after the photographing was over, the students weren't ready to leave...the camaraderie built over a weekend like that is hard to leave. However, with "Steak Dinners" having been a popular topic of conversation amongst several of the students all day, when the shooting was completed, we held a wrap-up meeting at a local steak house that was kind enough to let us in.
Food, drinks, and lots of laughs were had by all. Stephen Oachs laughed so hard he almost "choked on his crouton." Thankfully, he didn't...and both instructors are alive and ready for the next round of workshops...are you?
Join one of our upcoming workshops and be part of the next adventure!
Until next time!
Stephen & Brian
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.