Midcoast Maine Photography Workshop: July 10, 2020
INSTRUCTOR: BENJAMIN WILLIAMSON
Breathtaking images taken by acclaimed photographer Benjamin Williamson have filled the pages of Down East and many of its covers for the past four years, and earned a raft of accolades, including first place in the 2016 Maine Photography Show. In 2018, the U.S. Postal Service chose Ben’s photo of sunrise on the east-facing shore of Bailey Island for its “O Beautiful” series.
Ben is largely self-taught — he began taking pictures in 2012 while working nights tending bar. Likes of his iconic New England scenes on Facebook and Instagram quickly became requests for prints, and within two years of picking up a camera, Ben’s photography hobby had evolved into a full-time profession. “When I find something I enjoy, my first instinct is to share it,” says Ben, a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, who lives in Brunswick with his wife, Kimberly, daughter, Charlotte, and two dogs.
Ben’s love of photography — and the beauty that he sees — is infectious. And his desire to share the work he loves is what drives the popular Down East photography workshops.
These one-day and multi-day trips, which fill up fast, draw photographers of all abilities from all over the world. At Ben’s favorite shooting locations around Maine, and in concentrated classroom sessions, Ben shares his best shooting and editing tips, helping new photographers master the basics and seasoned photographers take their skills to the next level. The bonds participants forge last long after the workshop has ended. “I love the camaraderie that develops,” Williamson says. “That’s very gratifying.”
Explore Maine with acclaimed photographer Benjamin Williamson. When we think of what makes Maine special, we think of quiet working harbors and scenic lighthouses on rocky peninsulas. The coast from Pemaquid to Port Clyde encapsulates this mystique perfectly. Ben will determine the best locations on the day of the workshop based on his reading of the weather and conditions. Possible locations include Harpswell, Orr’s and Bailey islands, Popham Beach, Five Islands, Pemaquid Point Light, New Harbor, Port Clyde, Marshall Point Light, Owls Head, Rockland, Rockport, and Camden harbors. These workshops are designed to maximize learning opportunities and provide guidance on creating the kind of images you want to create. This is not a photo tour. There will be individual instruction based on your goals and your questions. We photograph from sunrise to sunset on our one-day workshops. There will also be classroom time where we discuss a range of topics that lead to successful image making. Lessons are limited to 5 people per day.
UPDATED: Our first Down East Adventure this year is May 17. While we have not yet canceled any trips, we will continue to evaluate trip cancellations as state and CDC guidance is updated over the coming weeks. We will notify all participants immediately if we decide to cancel a trip.
The payment is 50% refundable in the event you have to cancel, as long as the cancellation is made 21 days before the trip. After that time, your payment is non-refundable. Alternately, 100% of your payment will be refunded if a replacement can be found prior to the trip. However, if, due to state and/or federal COVID-19 policies, a lockdown is still in effect, we will refund 100% or offer credit on future trip.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need a lot of experience or expensive gear to take this workshop?
No. You can make great images right away with simple equipment, and that’s what this workshops aim to teach you. If you have photographed before and aim to update yourself on the latest techniques in digital photography, this is definitely for you. If you are just starting out and have a new camera you want to learn, this is for you, too. If you are a seasoned veteran who doesn’t need much help, just wants to go to great locations and have fun with like-minded individuals, well, this is for you, as well! You will need a basic DSLR camera and a tripod, but you don’t need a lot of fancy gear. I’ve put together a list of recommended accessories.
What does the workshop schedule look like?
We will start the evening before with a group dinner, and then plan on leaving for our photo workshop very early the next day. We generally leave an hour and a half before sunrise to allow time to travel to our location and set up in time for the best light. If it looks like the morning will be very cloudy or rainy, we can forgo the extremely early start and head out at sunrise. After stopping at a couple of places to photograph, we’ll enjoy breakfast together and then convene for classroom lessons. Ben will give a short presentation, go over basic Lightroom editing, and then open up the floor to look at student work and give critiques. After classroom time, we will enjoy lunch and rest a bit, and then head out again for our afternoon shooting, and go right through sunset. Depending on the time of year you sign up, some days can go from 4 AM until after 9 PM. These are long, grueling days, designed to give you the best possible experience and set your passion for photography on fire!
What about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation. We encourage carpooling to reduce our environmental footprint, and also to park at locations with limited spaces. If you prefer to drive yourself, you can do so.
What about lodging?
Maine is a popular place and many hotels and BnB’s fill up fast. We ask that you stay close to our predetermined morning meet-up location.
What should I wear?
The most recommended piece of gear is a pair of sturdy shoes. We walk across the hard and angular rocks in many of these locations, so hiking shoes are very helpful. We also like to layer, which usually means a base layer of synthetic, fast-wicking material, a warm fleece or soft shell, and a down jacket for cool mornings. Other suggested items are found below.
– Insect and Tick Repellant
– Waterproof Outerwear
– Wool Socks
– Two hats, one for warmth, the other for sun protection
– Rubber Boots (not absolutely necessary, but there may be mud or wading in some locations)
Should I be concerned about ticks?
Yes. All outdoor activities in New England carry the risk of picking up these nasty hitchhikers. Please use bug repellent that you can apply to your skin, or even better, permethrin, which you apply to clothes you plan on wearing in the field. Also, give yourself an extensive review when you get home at night to check for ticks.
What happens if the weather doesn’t cooperate?
Bad weather is good weather to landscape photographers. If you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes. There are many idioms that apply to the weather, and if you don’t already know, following the weather is one of our favorite things to do! Ben’s been running workshops for years now, and he can honestly say that there hasn’t been a single day where we haven’t enjoyed being out photographing, even in the rain. Please keep an open mind when it comes to your expectations about what ‘good’ conditions are. We want to teach you how to shoot in all conditions!
What does my tuition cover?
The price of the workshop includes all fieldwork, group instruction, and individual tutoring. It does not include travel insurance, meals other than what has been specified, transportation, and lodging.
Should I bring a laptop?
Yes. We recommend you bring your laptop to follow along during classroom time and to take notes. We also recommend you bring a card reader so that we can share and critique your photos if you’d like.
What camera equipment do you recommend I bring?
– DSLR or mirrorless camera
– Lenses to cover 16-200mm are recommended
– A sturdy tripod and head
– Circular polarizing filter
– Waterproof camera bag