Portland to Harpswell Photography Workshop: July 15, 2022
4 participant maximum
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. Ben knows the coast of Maine like no other, and his excitement for photography is absolutely contagious. The Portland area has won one accolade after another in recent years, and is frequently mentioned as being one of the best places to live in the world. It’s not just the food that has everyone raving, it’s the scenery as well! In addition to the iconic Portland Head Light and Portland Harbor area, we will take you north to Harpswell. This is a relatively quiet part of the coast that is replete with image-making opportunities. Ben will determine the best locations on the day of the workshop based on his reading of the weather and conditions. Possible locations include Portland Head Light, Spring Point Ledge Light, Portland Harbor, Harpswell, and Orr’s and Bailey islands. 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.
We will meet as a group for dinner the night before to go over expectations in the workshop. We meet on location the following morning 30-45 minutes before sunrise to get in position and take advantage of the best light. After shooting in one location for about an hour, we will move on to a second, and sometimes third location. We’ll then break for breakfast. After breakfast we’ll head to a classroom location and engage in a lesson and short critique of images we captured in the morning. You can bring your own laptop, although it is not necessary. Ben will answer any questions you may have about certain techniques or processing challenges. This will go on for about an hour and a half, and after this we usually have a 1-2 hour break for rest, which is very important because there is still a lot of day ahead. After break we’ll go out for a shoot in the early afternoon, followed by a late lunch/early dinner. After that we will continue shooting in the field right through sunset. If you sign up for a June workshop, the days can start at 4 AM and end at 9 PM, in October they usually go from 6 AM to 7 PM.
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.
COVID: We will continue to evaluate trip cancellations as state and CDC guidance is updated. We will notify all participants immediately if we decide to cancel a trip. All participants will be required to follow state guidelines.
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 about transportation?
Participants are responsible for their own transportation.
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