The Rocky Mountain School of Photography held a photography weekend event in Overland Park, Kansas this weekend. I was lucky enough to register before it sold out. There were approximately 200 in attendance. The instructors for the weekend were Tim Cooper, Tony Rizzuto and Doug Johnson. Three different sessions ran concurrently so choosing which one to attend was a bit difficult at times because virtually all the classes sounded interesting. Fortunately, for several of the Photoshop classes I didn’t attend, they have web notes available that I can save and hopefully get a good overview of the concepts discussed.

I attended Understanding Exposure: Using the Zone System for Color (Doug); Macro Photography (Tim); Low Light and Night Photography (Doug); Processing Your Images: Fine Tuning with Layers and Masks (Tim); and Sunrises, Sunsets and Flowing Water (Tim).

I found the zone system and layers/masks programs to be the most beneficial. The zone system for color is based on the same system Ansel Adams used for black & white. I found it interesting that the human eye can see 15 stops of lights and tones, but digital cameras are capable of capturing only 4. Four!! No wonder the images we take look so different to us from what we remember when finally viewed on the computer. The camera is only capable of capturing a small amount of the light and detail the human eye normally sees. He also discussed the different types of metering and which ones are most effective to achieve the results you want. It was a very interesting presentation and I hope to begin using the system soon as I believe it will help my image quality. Fortunately, I took a lot of notes and they gave us a chart with the zone system that I’ll laminate and put in my camera bag.

The Photoshop session today was awesome. He showed how to do localized adjustments with layers and masks. Seeing how it was done in person really made it click for me. He also explained in depth the different selection tools and which one is best to use for certain images, which was very helpful. I’ve had some trouble figuring out how those tools really worked and now I feel I have a better understanding. I hope to start playing with some of my images in CS4 and applying some of these tricks soon.

RMSP does not conduct a weekend workshop in the same city two years in a row, but they said since this one sold out, they might consider holding another one next year somewhere in the same region. Since I’m on their mailing list, I’ll be watching for any information and if it’s close enough, I’ll go again. The information was great and the instructors were very patient answering questions. They gave out some door prizes such as $50 B&H gift cards (I would have LOVED to win one of those!), a camera bag, Canon fanny packs, etc. Unfortunately, I didn’t win anything. But it was a fun, educational weekend and I’m very glad I went. I can’t wait to start applying some of the things I learned!

For more information about RMSP workshops and courses, visit their web site at: Rocky Mountain School of Photography.