Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wandering and workshops

I was wandering around the Internet, like we don't. Ok, bad joke, but I like to just think out loud and wander using search engine and other Websites, and occasionally links from reading. Really, reading. Some columnist write in periodicals. Anyway, I was reading the latest issue of LensWork, my favorite periodical and the editor referred to a Website which tracks Website popularity.

Well, I discovered my Website is only about 4,450,000th in the world. Ok, not great but good enough for me. I use Google Analytics to track which Web pages people access. It's a cool tool for see what your visitors are reading, or just peeping and surfing on. Ok, I got a lot of work to do to improve my standing. Or not. I'm not in this for popularity, but longer term to develop my Mt. Rainier NP photo guide, first as a Website and then as a book.

Well, looking at the stats on the Website I found two other Websites I wasn't aware of focused on Mt. Rainier and the NP. The first is Visit Rainier. It's a general NP and area tourist guide with lots of good stuff, and ok, one link I found to my Website. This isn't a recommendation but just a "Hmmm..., how did they find me." thought.

It could be useful to you and for your visit, and worth looking at if you're planning a trip. The second one is a photography one, Mt. Rainier Photography Institute, which is another name for photography workshop with field trips to the NP.

I can't argue with the photographer's credentials, clearly excellent and his images are good. I'm not an advocate for overly colorful or saturated calendar images, but hey, they sell and they look pretty, but then I'm an ordinary photographer who prefers realism more pretty. I like this looks like what I saw standing there images.

I know there are other professional photographers working around the Puget Sound region and southwest area (this guy works out of Morton southwest of the NP) on the way to Portland (Oregon for non-northwestern folks), and this guy's prices seem within the ballpark for what the photographers offer with their workshops.

To me, it's a matter of if you want the instructor and guide or like to venture out yourself. I like the latter, and why I work on the photo guide, for other like minded photographers. But some like the former, so it's woth the consideration for a top-notch professionals to provide the expertise and services, but you really have to look at the details of their workshop and their experience, especially in Mt. Rainier NP.

For example. Someone with lots of experience in photography and Mt. Rainier NP is Scott Bourne. I've listened to his presentations and talked with him years ago. He's spent much of his life around Mt. Rainier and exploring and photographing the NP. It's ironic because he also shows you can learn what he does by doing your homework about the places and working at your photography.

Another is the famous Art Wolfe who offers workshops in Mt. Rainier NP. While no one can doubt his photography, personally I would wonder about his workshops. I watched one of them in my excursions in Mt. Rainier in 2008. I got the impression people took the workshop for his persona than his teaching. But that's just my impresson and opinion.

And just doing a Google search, I found an upcoming workshops by Jon Conforth. I don't know about him but his images are very good and his reputation equally good.

In the end, though, the question is if you really need a workshop, especially since they run $300 and up per day, loding not included. Some workshops on specific subjects, such as waterfalls, wildflowers, etc. by local photographers run about half, because they're focused and aren't providing the full services of the others, namely they're the guide and all the rest is up to you.

But this is why I'm developing the photo guide, for the motivated, self-learning photographer, along with, for now free, some help with research and information. I won't guide you or tell you where to go specifically, but provide the background and resources for your interests and goals.

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