A Big Thank You

thankyou

 

What a crazy few days. We have been riding the speeding train called the 5 Day Deal. Of course as a reader here you are well aware of that. It is over and life can now get back to normal. The sales of the 5 Day Deal bundle  earned four fortunate charities over $200,000! Seriously. How exciting is that?  As an affiliate, I was in line to make a tidy little profit off of each sale as well. But I was inspired by my good buddy Gavin Gough who was giving away all his profits from this sale to his charity SeedLight. What a quick and easy way to raise funds so I followed suite. All my earnings went towards my young non-profit, On Field Media Project. Affiliates are asked not to share the amount of their earnings, so let me just say we replenished our piggy bank. One of the biggest helps came from our friends over at FujiRumors.com. Patrick blogged and posted on his social media about what I was doing and encouraged his readers to support the effort. So a big thank you goes to him and the readers of FujiRumors.

 

Top 10 Reason *Not* to buy the 5 Day Deal

nottobuy

 

There are a lot of reasons I can tell you why to buy this photography deal. But I want to give you 10 of the top reasons why NOT to buy it. Here we go…

  1. This bundle makes learning too easy and enjoyable. Let’s face it, you’ve always enjoyed a struggle.
  2. 95% off just isn’t good enough of a saving for you.
  3. You have all your shopping done for Christmas.
  4. You are saving up your money to buy a Game of Thrones Iron Throne for $30,000.
  5. Because $89 USD is equivalent to 1,081,795  Indonesian rupiah and that means you’re a millionaire. And you didn’t get to be a millionaire by spending your money!
  6.  70 plus  hours of training video is too practical. You rather spend that amount of time watching cat videos on YouTube.
  7. You want to be able to slap yourself on the forehead and utter a “d’oh!” like Homer Simpson when you realize it is too late to purchased this bundle.
  8. There is not enough material in this bundle to help you with your photography. Yeah ’cause 23 contributing photographers and companies, with a total of 42 products, all different from the previous bundle isn’t enough.
  9. Success always scares you. You don’t want to grow in your photography. You know that if you buy this bundle you risk the high probability that you will get much better at your craft and you like being where you are.
  10. You don’t like helping charities. Over the past four and a half days the associates of the 5 Day Deal have raised over $160,000. and this bothers you for some reason.

 

Let’s be serious for a moment. None of these are good reasons. The fact is you want to grow in your skill as a photographer, that’s part of why you read this  blog and others like it. I could list numerous reasons to buy this bundle but frankly I just don’t have time because the sale ends today. In fact it ends in:

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motionmailapp.com

 

So let me conclude with these few facts.

  1. There are 6 products in the bundle that are worth over $89
  2. The average product price in the bundle is just under $50
  3. There are 42 different products included in the bundle
  4. Over 70 hours of video training is included in the bundle
  5. There are 5 different products that teach about lighting techniques
  6. All of my personal proceeds from this sale are being donated to the On Field Media Project. A charity that teaches other non-profits how to tell their story through photography, video and social media.

 

It’s your call, the Iron Throne or $2,000 worth of photographic resources for $89 and help several charities at the same time.

buynow

 

$2,000 Worth of Photography Tools for $89… Really!

Blog Post Image – 600 x 500

This is not a joke. This is one of the best deals in photography since.. well since ever. Seriously, this is not one of those events where some site is selling a piece of software that is on sale more than it is full price. $2,000 is the real value of this offer. Not only is it financially a great deal – it is product produced from the industry’s best. When I say the industry’s best I mean names like Darlene Hildebrandt, Zach Arias, Gavin Gough, Alex Aoloskov, Lindsay Adler, Trey Ratcliff, Nicole S. Young and more. Check out the list below of resources offered in the bundle.

But there is a catch to this deal. It is limited to 5 days. That’s right, you have 5 days to purchase (check out the timer)! So don’t wait too long.

As a reader of this blog, I have never asked you to support me financially. But I am, today. If you purchase this amazing bundle through the link here or in my social media links, you will be supporting the On Field Media Project. When you purchase this deal, as an affiliate, I receive a commission. I will give 100% of that commission to the On Field Media Project. OFMP is the charity that I started last year. We teach non-profits how to tell their story through photography, video and social media. But you are not just supporting OFMP, $8.95 will be donated to one of four charities of your choice. You can choose from Flashes of Hope, Mercy Ships, Camp Smile-A-Mile or Bethel.

 

This Deal Expires on

motionmailapp.com

 

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    • Advanced Techniques in Liquid and Splash Hi-Speed Photography

      Alex Aoloskov

      $185.00

    • Birds Through the Lens

      Juan Pons

      $50.00

    • Designing an Image

      Lindsay Adler

      $225.00

    • Midnight In Paris

      Trey Ratcliff

      $79.00

    • Take the Mystery Out of Lighting

      Joel Grimes

      $49.00

    • Mask it Like a Pro

      Klaus Herrman

      $69.95

    • The Photographer’s Post-Production

      Gavin Gough

      $69.00

    • Compositing Bundle

      Jaime Ibarra

      $159.00

    • Portrait Lighting on Location – your guide to using natural light and off-camera flash

      Darlene Hildebrandt

      $149.00

    • One Light 2.0

      Zach Arias

      $75.00

    • The Created Image Video Series Vol.1

      David duChemin

      $50.00

    • 10 Common Photography Mistakes (and how to fix them)

      James Brandon

      $29.97

    • Photoshop for Photographers + My Full 2014 Workflow Bundle

      Serge Ramelli

      $197.00

    $1,386.92 CATEGORY TOTAL

    • THE VISUAL IMAGINATION

      David duChemin

      $10.00

    • Chasing the Look

      David duChemin

      $5.00

    • Drawing the Eye

      David duChemin

      $5.00

    • Light and Process – Landscape Photography

      Nicole S. Young

      $30.00

    • Time Is On Your Side ebook and Preset Bundle

      Scott Wyden

      $29.95

    • Absorbing Light

      Scott Wyden

      $4.95

    • Mastering Photography

      Andrew S. Gibson

      $11.37

    • Mastering Lightroom: Book One – The Library Module

      Andrew S. Gibson

      $11.37

    • Mastering Lightroom: Book Two – The Develop Module

      Andrew S. Gibson

      $13.00

    • Mastering Lightroom Book Three: Black & White

      Andrew S. Gibson

      $13.00

    • Bokeh – Creating Shallow Depth of Field

      Christopher O’Donnell

      $19.00

    • The Golden Hours and Exposure Blending

      Christopher O’Donnell

      $19.00

    • Tack Sharp: A Step By Step Guide To Nailing Focus (3rd Edition)

      James Brandon

      $9.97

    • Fashion Posing Guide

      Lindsay Adler

      $29.99

    • There’s No Excuse For Bad iPhone Photography

      Joseph Linaschke

      $11.99

    • Vision is Better 1, 2, 3

      David duChemin

      $12.00

    $235.59 CATEGORY TOTAL

    • Great Eight Preset Bundle

      Nicole S. Young

      $40.00

    • 5D Mark III Viewfinder Mockup Tool

      Martin Bailey

      $49.00

    • Amanda Diaz Product Bundle

      Amanda Diaz

      $59.00

    • Lightroom Develop Presets

      David duChemin

      $10.00

    • 25 Lightroom Fashion Presets 2014

      Lindsay Adler

      $25.00

    • Lucca Textures

      Lindsay Adler

      $10.00

    • JD Texture Pack Bundle 1-4

      Jessica Drossin

      $97.00

    • Stormy Skies Lightroom Presets

      James Brandon

      $4.97

    • Starry Nights Lightroom Presets

      James Brandon

      $4.97

    $299.94 CATEGORY TOTAL

    • ReMask

      Topaz Labs

      $69.99

    • 30 Days Free Trial of Lynda.com

      Lynda.com

      $37.50

    $107.49 CATEGORY TOTAL

 

Ladakh Photo Trek Part 3

 

f/9, 1/280 sec, at 18.8mm, 200 ISO, on a X-T1

Nubra Valley is being developed with guest houses and luxury tent accommodation. It is a good idea to visit it sooner rather than later.

 

After the official workshop ended, as often, we offered an extension on the trip. The planned extension was to Srinagar Kashmir and the surrounding valley But as you might know the Kashmir region was faced with unprecedented flooding and there was no way we would be able to lead a workshop in such surroundings. So Piet, Alou and I had to put our heads together in a hurry and come up with an alternative for Kashmir. The obvious choice became the one we went with: the amazing Nubra Valley.

f/9, 1/30 sec, at 25.4mm, 200 ISO, on a X-T1

A sign posted at Khardung La.

The Nubra Valley is located Northeast of Leh over the Khardung La (Khardung Pass). The Khardung La is touted as being the highest motorable road in the world at 5,602 m (18,379 ft). Frankly I doubt that. Our GPSs all came in closer to 5,334 m (17,500 ft). Nevertheless, it is high! So much so there is a sign posted in all caps that reads, “STAYING FOR MORE THAN 20-25 mins CAN BE HARMFUL TO YOUR HEALTH”.

Once over the pass you drive a windy (winding?) road to a city called Diskit then on to another called Hundar. It was in Hundar we stayed the night in luxury tents. These are tents with permanent concrete flooring with carpet and a huge king size bed. Also each tent has a toilet and shower with hot water (on call). It was also in Hundar that we found the two humped bactrian camels.  In Diskit we visited the Diskit Monastery, the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the area.

 

 

Interested in what gear or settings I used. As always just click the photo and you will find the EXIF data.

f/4, 1/320 sec, at 70.5mm, 400 ISO, on a X-T1

Hundar was the home to the two humped bactrian camels.

f/5.6, 1/2000 sec, at 104.9mm, 400 ISO, on a X-T1

A man and his camel silhouetted against the Karakoram range.

 

f/5.6, 1/640 sec, at 74.1mm, 400 ISO, on a X-T1

 

f/1.4, 1/1500 sec, at 35mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

An old man walks his dog in the small village of Diksit, Ladakh.

f/1.4, 1/600 sec, at 35mm, 800 ISO, on a X-E2

A monk at the Diskit Gompa prepares offerings made of yak butter.

 

f/10, 1/20 sec, at 35mm, 6400 ISO, on a X-E2

A local man prays to the Buddha as sunlight is shining into a small gompa in Hundar.

 

f/9, 1/600 sec, at 115.9mm, 200 ISO, on a X-T1

Next to the Diskit Monastery sits this 35 meter statue of Maitreya Buddha or the future Buddha.

 

Given we only had three nights in Nubra,  there was plenty to photograph. Speaking of… this will be the last of my images of this trip. In the next post I want to post a few of the participants’ images. We had a talented group and as always I want to share with you their visual take of this trip.

Ladakh Photo Trek Part 2

 

 

f/3.2, 1/125 sec, at 23mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A early morning view of Leh, Ladakh from the Khardung La road. The peak sticking up is Stok Kangri 6,153 m (20,182 ft) (click for a larger view).

 

On arriving into Ladakh, India our photo workshop participants needed most of the first day to acclimatize to the altitude. Leh, the main city of Ladakh, is at 3,524 meters (11,562 ft) and at that height most of us lowlanders’ heads spin if you stand up to quickly. Heck, just walking up a single flight of stairs will take your breath away. Another thing this kind of altitude does is to give you wild and vivid dreams. Trust me, it’s not the dal & rice you had for dinner, it’s the altitude.  But acclimatizing didn’t mean doing nothing. Late in the day we drove to the Shanti Stupa and photographed the Leh Palace and the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa or monastery. You saw a couple of these shots in the last post. Below is one more. The light was just right for some stunning images.

 

f/16, 1/480 sec, at 141.3mm, 1000 ISO, on a X-E2

The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa viewed from the Shanti Stupa in Leh.

 

The next few days were spent touring local attractions and monasteries around Leh. After Leh we traveled the 4 to 5 hours by jeep to one of my favorite locations in Ladakh, the village of Lamayruru. A quaint little farming village overlooked by a large and impressive monastery or gompa.

 

f/3.5, 1/2500 sec, at 55mm, 200 ISO, on a X-T1

The monastery stands watch over the small village of Lamayruru.

 

f/14, 10 sec, at 11.5mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

Lamayruru Monastery

 

f/9, 1/180 sec, at 10mm, 320 ISO, on a X-E2

Piet Van den Eynde photographs the village from the top of the monastery.

 

f/1.4, 1/680 sec, at 56mm, 400 ISO, on a X-T1

An old man walks around the large prayer wheel at Lamayruru.

 

f/4.2, 1/45 sec, at 121.8mm, 2500 ISO, on a X-T1

Two young monks at Lamayruru seem to be passing secrets during their prayer time.

 

f/8, 1/600 sec, at 24mm, 200 ISO, on a X-E2

A young monk runs to do his chores.

 

f/14, 1/680 sec, at 121.8mm, 400 ISO, on a X-T1

Here is Piet again, this time photographing the back side of the the Lamayruru Monastery.

 

After two nights we made a slow return to Leh where we did laundry and rested. Piet and I went for a walk around the city and ended up at the Soma Gompa just off the main bazaar road. It was here we saw several old men sitting and just watching the world go by. They nodded to us, so Piet and I walked up to them and gave them our hardest, “Julley!” the local greeting. We asked them if they would like a photograph. Not can we take a photograph, but would they like one. They each smiled so Piet, our resident off camera flash Guru began setting up his lights. While Piet was setting up I sat and chatted with them and got their names and ages and where they lived. They were all in their late 80’s and all had been farmers. It was about this time that someone made a crack, “I hope you are going to pay them royalties!” It had begun. It seems like every workshop we find some tourist that is upset with us for taking photos. Never mind that we ask. Never mind that we get to know many of them (granted not everyone). Frankly in my little conversation with these men I learned much more about them that this guy knew, I am sure. The tourist made another disparaging remark and wondered off. One of the old men named Sonam asked me what was his trouble. I said he didn’t like us taking their photo. Sonam then said, “It’s our photo, not his. He should not care.” Good point. ‘Hit and run’ photography is not my thing: whenever possible I like to get to know the people I am photographing. I also like to give prints out to as many people as I have the time and money to do so. Each of these men got a small Instax print of their own that we printed from our Fujifilm instax SHARE Printer SP-1. Each of them beamed when we gave it to them. Each of them thanked me. I’ll never sell this image. I might let Fuji use it on a blog, like any of my photos. Rarely do I sell an image of the people I photograph. When I do sell an image, I pay them a model fee and have them sign a release. These men are not models, they’re men who shared a little part of their life story with a me and demonstrated the hospitality and friendship of their people.

 

f/14, 1/125 sec, at 15.9mm, 250 ISO, on a X-E2

The gentlemen from the Soma Gompa. Sonam has the fedora on. (We have the same taste in hats ;-)

 

By the way, we still have a few spots left on the Rajasthan workshop in Feb 2015.

 

2014 Ladakh Photo Trek…WOW!

 

Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

 

Piet Van den Eynde, Alou and I just concluded what might have been the hardest workshop I have ever ran. Not because we didn’t have fantastic participants. On the contrary, we had great participants, many of whom were repeat clients. Not because they were not all really talented photographers – they all were – even though that is not a requirement to participate in one of our trips. It was because so many things just happened. Like God looked down and said, “I think I’ll give you a little run for your money, Matt. You need some new stories to tell!”

It started when one participant emailed us the night we arrived to India and explained that her aircraft she was flying had one of their engines go bad and they had to make an emergency landing in Toronto. She explained she might be late. Talk about scary! But she made it and joined us a day late. Then within hours of that email I get another from another participant that said he had visa issues and maybe be several days late! When it rains… He made it two days later.

While all this was unfolding, we received news that there was major flooding in the Kashmir Valley where we had planned to run a four day add-on to the Ladakh trip. The flooding was so severe that we decided to cancel the Kashmir add-on both for our sake and in respect of the people experiencing the flooding. Frankly, it would be dangerous as well as tacky to visit as a tourist while people where struggling for their very lives.

If that was not enough, while camping at 15,000 ft one of the participants had issues with altitude and was evacuated to lower altitudes. But wait… there’s more. As a result of the flooding in neighboring Kashmir all communications with the outside world was relegated to visits to a local phone booth. Yes, they still have phone booths, but only one or two were operational for the whole city of Leh in Ladakh. Can you say, “lines of people”?

But we managed. We carried on and had fun, made friends and took some amazing photos. We replaced the Kashmir add-on with a trip to the Nubra Valley and I thinks folks were happy with the choice. I am pretty sure participants walked away with stunning, unique images to add to their portfolio. That’s one of the good things about leading workshops in India – photo opportunities are low hanging fruit. It doesn’t mean anyone can take a good photo, but it does mean everyone has the chance to.

If this has got you thinking of  joining a workshop (or in fact, if this is scaring you from joining one), know that we also have a more luxurious workshop in Rajasthan in February 2015, for which there are still a couple of places available.

 

Camping for several night was both exciting at 15,000 ft and cold! (click for a larger view)

Camping for several night was both exciting at 15,000 ft and cold! (click for a larger view)

 

Participants stop on a drive around Tsorak Lake, Ladakh to photograph the mountain light.

Participants stop on a drive-around Tsorak Lake, Ladakh to photograph the mountain light.

 

Tsokar Lake is a salt lake with many huge salt flats that the local nomads take advantage to harvest salt for their livestock.

Tsokar Lake is a salt lake with many huge salt flats. The local nomads take advantage of this to harvest salt for their livestock.

 

Alou stand on what looks like a mirror, Tsorkar Lake.

Alou stand on what looks like a mirror, Tsorkar Lake.

 

In Lamayuru, Piet gave participants lessons in off-camera flash.

In Lamayuru, Piet gave participants lessons in off-camera flash.

 

What trip with Piet Van den Eynde would be complete without using our Fujifilm Instax printer to pass on photos to our new friends?

What trip with Piet Van den Eynde would be complete without Fujifilm Instax prints being passed to new friends?

 

Mike Alexander shooting in a dark monastery in the Nubra Valley.

Mike Alexander shooting in a dark monastery in the Nubra Valley.

 

France Leclerc prepares to photograph Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass).

France Leclerc prepares to photograph Kiang (Tibetan Wild Ass).

 

 

 

 

Off to Ladakh Tomorrow.

 

Tomorrow Alou and I leave for Ladakh and Kashmir with Piet Van den Eynde and 9 other participants. (Pray it stops raining!) I wanted to add a quick interactive post to show you around where we will be and what’s in my new Think Tank Roller Derby bag. The bag photo below is interactive by a company called Sakoos. Pretty fun. (FYI: Don’t click on an open green tag unless you want to be redirected to the Sakoos site. To close the tag, just click off it.) Enjoy poking around this post and we will post when we can. Remember, we still have a few spots left on the Rajasthan Workshop in Feb 2015.

Video Blog #10 Photo Interview with Fernando Gros and more…

 

 

Yes, it is true, this is a video blog post. I know you thought it was dead and gone. Well it was only sick. ;-)  I have tried breathed into it new life. Well, I least I hopes to.

This Sunday I am off to Ladakh, India for a two week workshop. After Ladakh the group heads to Srinagar, Kashmir. Then in February, 2015 I head back to Rajasthan. The question begs answering are photo workshop worth it? Are they worth the time and the financial investment? So this issue we will look at the benefits of photo workshops. To do this I have an interview with Fernando Gros from FernandoGros.com. Continue reading