As creatives, and importantly, as professionals, we should all take a workshop, if you live in Ottawa, you should take THIS workshop specifically.
In 2009 I had learned my camera, all the lenses, f-stops, buttons, and settings and whatever other douchery I could handle. But I was strugling with a fundamentally "noob" issue, a weak-point that bugged me: my composition. Yes I was taking photos, and yes they were pretty good, but they weren't as good as I wanted them to be, and there was something that I literally wasn't "seeing" the best way to frame a subject in a setting.
Up to this point I was taking pretty decent portraits, but I wanted to expand and include a more creative set of environmental images to my repetoire. I wanted to take great portraits, of great people in great places. The thing about photography is that - while some may have an innate ability to see an image - you can practice and learn to get better, if you want to. I needed to get better at composing my images and then a wonderful opportunity came my way.
Workshops, in my mind, had been for the wealthy, and well travelled. They always seemd to be in Nepal, or Arizona, or California, or basically somewhere I'd have to pay to get to, and then pay to stay, and then pay to participate. This was not going to fly on my humble salary. Then, along came Younes and his (noteably quite affordable) Fall workshop right here in Ottawa!
Who better to teach me the art of composition than one of the better landscape photographers I had ever seen (and at this point, no, I did not know him beyond the internets). And teach he did! Me and (five... I think?) others took a two day, full day, crash course in getting up early, hiking to some great locations, setting up and photographing them. The group was small enough that Younes was able to take his time with each one of us and see what we were shooting, offering suggestions on composition, camera settings, and alternative options if we were way off track.
There's a very small Flickr group with his early workshop participant photos here. But I think it's important to know that these are the students, Younes can only show you the way. Like any good teacher, he wants to guide you not cram his way into your brain. You take the teachings and make them applicable to you. And it's important. It's important to have an outside opinion, to try something that you don't normally do (Landscapes seem far from Portraits right?). And it's important that you become the final measure of your own work.
For me, taking the workshop boosted my skillset, allowed me to see, and photograph in a way I hadn't previously. It improved my technique, it improved my product for my clients, and it improved my own satisfaction with my art. It also allowed me to meet one of the best friends I've made in a long time. Younes has helped me countless times since his workshop, photographically, as a friend, and a part of my family (he recently came into my home and my 3-year-old Son didn't even blink, he just sat on the couch and they both watched TV until I came into the room).
Canon EOS-1D Mark II
2 sec | f 18
ISO 50 | 17 mm