Reflections on the Southwest Digital Workshop:

To sum up in one word: Superb!

This workshop, which utilized a “digital” bus for the first time, was an unbelievable experience. Even though I have been shooting photographs most of my life, I had never concentrated on landscapes. Going out with Stephen and the other participants to photograph extraordinary sites at dawn and dusk made me rethink what and how I photograph. The capability to download images immediately and analyze what is good or bad was invaluable.

Working with high-end computers and the latest Photoshop software was a constant learning experience. Photoshop is such a “deep” program that learning how to control an image and make it resemble what I “actually” saw was a constant mental challenge. Stephen was always there to make suggestions, and demonstrate ways to improve an image.

Stephen is a great teacher. Continually attentive to student needs, always ready with suggestions for improvement, he is quite a presence. Dealing with ten participants, ranging in age from 12 to 72, each with a different skill level was quite a test, yet a wonderful sense of community developed among us.

A week after the workshop my head was still spinning with ideas. And I came to the conclusion that I would no longer work in film. I bought a digital SLR, like the one that Stephen had arranged to provide as a “loaner” during the workshop. I am deeply grateful to Stephen and my fellow participants for having made this trip so memorable.

-Andrew Stern