New York, we love you!

We know a number of people who love New York City and an equal number who can’t stand it. And while we can understand both, we certainly love this exciting city and enjoy coming back every time. This time (a couple of months ago already) our main focus wasn’t the city itself though. It was a photography workshop that took place in NYC. And not only was it an educational and very exciting adventure but it also enabled us to see New York from a non-tourist perspective which made it even more exciting.

When you start to dig into photography, at some point you will own a camera with a build-in flash. And since you don’t know much about photography jet, you will use the “auto-mode” most of the time. And this means that the camera decides when to use the flash. The result is that when you for example take a picture at a concert, the camera will decide that the stage is too dark and it will try to throw some light in with the build-in flash. Of course the stage is much too far away and the only thing you throw light on is the back of someones head. If you stick with photography you will sooner or later realize that you will have to tell the camera when to use the flash and when not to. And very soon you will stop using the flash at all because it is either useless or makes horrible pictures.

If you still stick with photography you will at some point realize that knowing how to handle your camera does not make you a photographer any more than knowing how to shift gears makes you a car driver. It is all about the light. It’s all about quality, direction and quantity of light to be more precise. And since the perfect lighting doesn’t always come for free you will have to learn how to shape light and if needed how to add some extra light. And as soon as you learn how to use flashlight, you will realize that it is a powerful companion. Even if you still favor available light (like we do), you wouldn’t want to miss that speedlite that’s in your camera bag.
Realizing all that is one thing but learn how to effectively use flash light is still not easy at all. At some point we have watched “The Language of Light” by Joe McNally and followed his work ever since. No one is able to master flash photography like he does and we decided to learn from the best-of-the-best to enhance our knowledge. That’s what lead us to this workshop.
We had such an exceptional time. Joe is not just a genius, he is also one of the nicest and funniest persons we ever got to know. The hole team of the National Geographic Expeditions instructors was outstanding as well. Also all the other members of the workshop, who came from all over the world, were loving people and we’re more than happy that we’ve not just gained more knowledge but gained some new friends as well. The pace of the whole workshop was like the pace of NYC itself: ULTRAFAST. And we loved being pushed to our limits by Joe and his team. We had to leave our comfort zone a lot and that was leading to a huge number of exceptional images by all of the workshop members. It’s like Neale Donald Walsch said: Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.
The following pictures have been taken before, during and after the workshop and we hope they show you a new side of New York City! We certainly can’t wait to return and hopefully we will also get the chance to meet Joe again sometime.
All the best,
Sabrina & Horst

Photo credit of the last picture (group shot): National Geographic Expeditions