Behind the Scenes: Las Vegas Creative Photography Workshop Part 1

Part 1


Our Workshop Group Photo!

At the end of July I eagerly counted the days until arrived in Las Vegas, to attend Jenna Martin and Joshua Malik's creative photography workshop. On the plane's decent to sin city, I witnessed one of the most beautiful views I had ever seen. The sun was setting and the colors of everything were so vibrant. I couldn't believe it. This is the reason why I love having a window seat when I fly. 

When I arrived at the hotel, the lobby smelled of chorine; only to find out later it was because Joshua and Jenna had taken advantage of the hotel's 24 hour indoor pool, shooting some awesome underwater photos. I was so excited to see Jenna again and to finally meet Josh in person. After getting settled for the night, we finally caught up for a bit and went over what they would be covered for the first day of the workshop. 

The next morning we gathered for breakfast.  Jenna walked over and showed me one of the beautiful things I had ever seen; DIY waffle machine. Easy to say there was almost always a line, but man, they were delicious! 

After breakfast and meeting everyone, we formally started off the workshop with some presentations from Jenna and Joshua about their work, what inspires them, and some behind the scenes deconstructions of their images. When we finished, we did a portfolio review of everyones work and did a photo exercise involving various props to choose from. 

Though it was the end of July, we had such great luck with the weather. We were lucky enough to be shooting on the coolest day of the month and the skies were partly cloudy for a nice overcast. We packed up our gear and headed over to our shooting location. 

Everyone I met at the workshop were so friendly, and I loved how we excitedly shared our concepts and helped one an other on different ideas to shoot. 

As we traveled through the desert and mountains, we finally arrived at our destination; an old abandoned gold mine on the property of an old western town and gas station. All across the property were rusted vintage cars, buses, trailers, an old water tower, barns, and a crashed plane. I remember seeing the plane before in the workshop advertisements and I was pretty excited to use it for a shoot. I just had to! 

We signed in at the museum/giftshop filled with an abundance of more amazing things. We gathered our gear, and Joshua and Jenna each did a photo demo for everyone, while I modeled for their shoots. As much as I enjoy being behind the camera, I think I equally enjoy being in front of one as well when I'm portraying a character. Something about making where you are a stage and the ability to communicate a story contained within the camera is such an amazing process that I love experiencing; though sometimes it does come with its challenging moments. 

After the photo demos, I explored more of the area on the property, going inside buses, finding a kayak with Joshua, modeling for some of the other workshoppers too. When  the sun had fallen behind the mountain, we thought it would give us some more time to shoot in some overcast light, but to my surprise it continued to grow darker, so I scrambled over to the airplane to shoot the concept I had floating in my head. By the time I finished, I couldn't see much detail on the back of my camera screen, but my histogram said that enough information was their for me to work with. We gathered all together after I finished shooting my expansion shots to shoot a group photo of us on the plane. 

As we were loading our gear back into our cars, I looked up after someone pointed out they saw a shooting star, and I saw the Milky Way for the first time in my life. The sky was clear, and the stars shined so brightly (Such a different sight from what I'm used to in Philly). At the last minute, we came up with the idea to shoot some long exposures of the stars in the background of the plane. 

I was pretty excited to do this, because I had never shot the stars before and this had to be one of the best locations to give it a try. We experimented with lighting the plane with flash lights and iPhones, trying different settings on our cameras. I had pulled out some smoke bombs I had brought with me that I picked up on a road trip. I set them off behind the plane and made the location come to life, at least for a few seconds.