What’s New

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Dear Fellow Shutterbug,

A belated happy new year and wishing you a successful 2016 photographically.

I have a great line-up of workshops coming this year with more of an emphasis on travel and nature destinations, though flower photography is still very much in the mix.

The spring months will feature a workshop in Key West, Florida; a return to Texas for their glorious wildflowers; a great opportunity to photograph Holland at the peak of its phenomenal bulb bloom; a wonderful chance to visit and photograph four the best public gardens in the mid-Atlantic region; and a new twist on Cuba that will bring us closer to its people and let us visit iconic locations in Havana and beyond. (I’ve run two photo trips to Cuba in the last year and learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t so you can benefit from my experience.) And that’s just the beginning.

I’ll be back in Chicago twice this year. First, I’ll be there in July with a brand new exploration of the fabulous Chicago Botanic Garden plus four other amazing gardens in the vicinity, all at the peak of their summer bloom. Then I’ll return in October to offer a multi-faceted program consisting of a lecture, a workshop and a symposium on digital flower and nature photography. Lots of learning in Chicago this year.

The year will wind down with a few favorite destination workshops. In September, by popular demand, I’ll be taking a group on a photo adventure called “Landscapes of the American West,” which will explore some of this country’s prime western locations, including Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, Monument Valley and much more. I haven’t offered this trip in quite a while so don’t miss the opportunity to come along.

Then in November, I’ll be returning to Big Bend National Park and in December, I’ll be offering “Birds and Landscapes of New Mexico” following our sold-out expeditions to these locations last year.

Scroll down to read more about all these offerings. I hope you will join me at one or more of these exciting opportunities to learn, have fun and meet wonderful people who share your interest in photography.

All the best and hope to see you soon,

Allen Rokach

Upcoming Workshops

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To view additional images of these destinations, check “New Shoots” posted to the right.

SOLD OUT — March 4-6: Key West: Color and Light: a weekend photography workshop that explores the unique charms of this South Florida destination; sponsored by the Key West Art and Historical Society; for details, click here.

SOLD OUT — April 7-10: Wildflowers of Texas: a 4-day photography workshop in the countryside around Brenham, Texas; sponsored by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden; for details, click here.

April 25-May 5: Storybook Holland: an 11-day travel photography experience that will take participants to the best locations for capturing Holland’s vast expanses of bulbs at the peak of the spring bloom; for details, click here.

May 16-20: Photographing the Great Gardens of the Mid-Atlantic Region: a 5-day photography exploration of Chanticleer, the Winterthur Estate, Longwood Gardens, and Mount Cuba Center; co-sponsored by Chanticleer Pleasure Garden and Mount Cuba Center; for details, click here.

SOLD OUT — May 27-31: Cuba: Incredible Havana and Beyond: a 5-day travel photography workshop that will concentrate on fascinating locations in Havana and Vinales; this portion is sponsored by Key West Art and Historical Society; a 3-night optional extension will explore the countryside and historical towns around Cuba; for details, click here.

July 11-15: Photographing the Great Gardens of Chicago: a 5-day photographic exploration of five spectacular gardens in and around Chicago at the height of the summer bloom; sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Garden; for details, click here.

September 16-26: Landscapes of the American West: an 11-day landscape and travel photography experience that will take participants to the best locations for capturing the dramatic beauty of the American West; for details, click here.

October 14-17: A Weekend of Photography Programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden: an evening lecture; a 2-day flower and garden photography workshop; and a symposium on business techniques for aspiring nature photographers; all sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Garden; for details, click here.

October 22-29: Big Bend National Park: an 8-day photography experience that explores the natural wonders of this evocative off-the-beaten-path Texas national park, plus excursions to the nearby towns of Marathon, Alpine and Marfa, TX; for details, click here.

December 2-9: Birds & Landscapes of New Mexico: an 8-day photography workshop that combines the Basque del Apache Wildlife Refuge and White Sands National Monument; sponsored by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden; for details, click here.

Key West: Color and Light: March 4-6 (SOLD OUT)

Sponsored by the Key West Art and Historical Society

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This digital photography workshop begins with an evening lecture on “The Power of Natural Light” to awaken your sensitivity to the beauty of all kinds of natural light.

Then we will have two days of intensive photography at the most iconic locations around Key West, as well as some little-known gems. We will concentrate on creating distinctive images built around color, shape, line and texture, making strong visual statements using these abstract elements of design. In the end, each participant will have a rich portfolio of images of this charming, picturesque and spectacular island.

We’ll be out in the field at sunrise and sunset to get the most interesting light. In between, we’ll have time for instruction in techniques you can apply immediately that focus on problem-solving, helping you hone your individual skills, and working with smart phones and iPads.

In addition, in our daily review sessions, we will explore ways to improve and fine-tune our images working with today’s amazing but simple after-capture applications, including instructions on the “Rokach effect,” which allows you to give your photographs an impressionistic cast. For more information, click here. THIS WORKSHOP IS NOW SOLD OUT.

Wildflowers of Texas: April 7-10 (SOLD OUT)

Sponsored by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

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We’ll be returning to the Brenham area of Texas, a prime spring wildflowers destination, for this popular 4-day digital photography workshop. We will go to several locations, including private ranches, to find the best places for photographing the eye-popping array of bluebonnets, coreopsis, Indian paintbrush, Texas wine cups and other colorful specimens which blanket wide swatches of the landscape here. We’ll be photographing at sunrise and late afternoon to sunset with time in between for instruction on the finer points of digital photography, including after-capture techniques; review sessions; and personal exploration of the local towns. This workshop sold out last year so register early. For details, click here. THIS WORKSHOP IS NOW SOLD OUT.

Storybook Holland: April 25-May 5

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It’s been a few years since I last offered this very special foreign travel photography workshop. So don’t miss this chance to join me as we focus on Holland’s amazing extravaganza of tulips and other bulbs at prime locations in the Dutch countryside. We will also explore several of Holland’s charming and colorful villages.

You’ll be amazed by the acres of beautifully planted bulbs at the Keukenhof Gardens and a countryside blanketed with tulip fields. You’ll be delighted by the canals of Giethoorn and the iconic windmills around the town of Lekkerkirk. Visits to wonderful private gardens will complete your rare photo experience.

Our trip is geared to the needs and interests of photographers. Our group is limited to ten participants so you will get personal attention and one-on-one assistance throughout the workshop, whether you need advice on choosing the right lens, using the right settings, making the most of available light, adjusting to various kinds of weather or creating exciting compositions with color, texture and lines. Along the way, we will make time for review sessions to learn from each other’s images and develop our skills using easy after-capture techniques.

I invite you to join me on this spectacular photographic journey. For a detailed itinerary and additional information, please email me at arokach@me.com. To hold your space, your deposit of $1,000 is due by February 10.

Photographing the Great Gardens of the Mid-Atlantic Region: May 16-20

Co-sponsored by Chanticleer Pleasure Garden and Mount Cuba Center

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This unique 5-day flower and garden photography workshop gives you the chance to develop your creative and technical skills while exploring four spectacular gardens: Chanticleer, the Winterthur Estate, Longwood Gardens and Mount Cuba Center.

Instruction will be geared to the special features of each garden and the needs and interests of all participants. We have special permission to enter each park at sunrise and we’ll be able to stay in the gardens until sunset to make the most of the beautiful low light. We’ll have at least two field outings each day with the emphasis on composition, color and clarity of purpose. In our daily review session, we’ll find ways to improve our images and enhance them using today’s amazing after-capture applications.

All instructional and review sessions will take place at The Mt. Cuba Center. Lodging arrangements can be made by contacting Allen at 646-519-1751 or arokach@me.com. For more information and to register, click here.

Cuba: Incredible Havana and Beyond: A Photographic Adventure: May 27-31 (SOLD OUT)

Sponsored by Key West Art and Historical Society

Optional extension from May 31-June 3

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With relations between the United States and Cuba on the way to normalization, the things that make Cuba so visually rich and culturally interesting are likely to be transformed as an influx of tourists brings development and standardization. All the more reason to get there soon, before Cuba’s character changes.

During our basic journey — four days in Havana and one day in Vinales — we will visit and photograph some of Cuba’s UNESCO World Heritage sites; districts with historic colonial architecture; cobblestone streets and picturesque port areas lined with fisherman and vendors of all kinds; small art studios and cultural shops; open air markets with handicrafts; tobacco and other plantations with typical farming families.

The optional 3-night post-trip extension takes us to two of Cuba’s prime UNESCO World Heritage sites in Cienfuegos, with its French flavor, and Trinidad, one of the most beautiful towns in Cuba. In addition, we will venture into natural areas of great scenic beauty to experience Cuba’s mountains, waterfalls and beaches.

This photographic adventure has been arranged with an agent who has long experience running trips to Cuba and has all the necessary permits and approvals. It will include the full range of Cuba’s people, places and culture with enough time for meaningful photography and many opportunities to interact with local people. To add to our immersion in local culture, we will be staying with Cuban families with appropriate space to offer us comfortable lodging and breakfast. In addition, we’ll meet artists, writers, musicians and dancers.

For full information, click hereTHIS WORKSHOP IS NOW SOLD OUT.

Photographing the Great Gardens of Chicago: July 11-15

Sponsored by the Chicago Botanic Garden

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This intensive 5-day flower and garden workshop offers a unique opportunity to visit and photograph five magnificent gardens in and around Chicago at the height of the summer bloom: the Chicago Botanic Garden; the Bahai Temple gardens in Willamette, IL; the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millenium Park; Mettawa Manor, in Mettawa, IL; and Cantigny Park in Wheaton, IL.

Through lectures, daily field sessions and individual consultations, participants at all levels of photographic experience will receive in-depth instruction on the technical and aesthetic aspects of digital flower and garden photography: understanding composition; working with natural light; representing garden design; using selective sharpness; choosing the best lens for your purpose and much more. During daily review sessions, we will emphasize problem solving, improving our images and creative after-capture techniques using todays amazing software applications. As an added bonus, we will have access to the grounds of all gardens at sunrise to capture the special qualities of early morning light.

For more information and to register, click here.

Landscapes of the American West: September 16-26

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If you have a taste for adventure and want an opportunity to photograph at the best locations for capturing the dramatic beauty of the American West, then this amazing 11-day nature and travel photography experience is for you.

We will have four days to explore and capture the incredible formations, vistas and canyons at Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, lodging at the LaQuinta Hotel in Moab, Utah. Then, on our way to Monument Valley National Monument, we will make stops at a number of iconic points, to capture the fascinating formations of Dead Horse Point; Newspaper Rock and Goosenecks of the San Juan. After one night at the San Juan Inn, we will venture into Monument Valley, with a Navajo guide leading us, and spend two nights camping outdoors with full provisions. We take two more days to explore Antelope Valley and Shiprock before heading back to Moab, stopping in Goblin Valley and final visits to Arches and Canyonlands.

The workshop will include on-location, highly-individualized instruction in every aspect of landscape and nature photography. We will also have time for a few review sessions to get feedback on our images, learn how to improve them and experiment with some interesting and creative after-capture techniques.

For more information and to register, contact Allen at 646-519-1751 or email arokach@me.com.

A Weekend of Photography Programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden: October 14-17

Lecture
The Creative Magic of Digital Photography
October 14

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This public lecture and audio-visual presentation will focus on helping you discover all the fascinating creative and technical opportunities that digital photography presents us with – not just in the camera but afterward, using some amazing and simple computer software applications. You’ll see how these techniques will open new doors to your own creativity. For more information and to register, click here.

Workshop
Creative Color Using Digital Technology
October 15-16

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Digital imaging has revolutionized photography and liberated photographers. In this intensive two-day photography workshop, I will guide participants to the limitless possibilities of digital garden and flower photography, finding our subjects in the conservatory and surrounding grounds of the Chicago Botanic Garden. We will concentrate on creating images built around color, shape, line and texture, making strong visual statements using these abstract elements of design. We will also focus on portraying flowers in their garden setting, finding unusual perspectives for close-ups and groupings. While most participants will be working with digital SLR cameras, I will also offer instruction on creative uses of iPhone and iPad technology.

Then, in our review sessions, we will explore ways to fine-tune and enhance our images in creative ways using today’s amazing but simple after-capture applications. For more information and to register, click here.

Symposium
How to Make a Living as a Nature Photographer
Oct. 17

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Is it possible to turn your love of flower, garden and nature photography into a viable career path? Yes, provided you have a clear understanding about how to transform your passion into a business.

This one-day symposium will outline the techniques and strategies that will help aspiring professional photographers to start and build their business. Participants will gain valuable insights by hearing about Allen’s own experiences over nearly 40 successful years in the field. Plus Allen will interview local professionals in photography-related fields about their careers.

The workshop will cover topics such as marketing your skills and your work; creating a portfolio; developing clients and getting assignments; pricing your work; working with photo editors and art directors; creating a web presence; legal considerations, and more.

For more information and to register, click here.

Big Bend National Park: October 22-29

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Big Bend National Park encompasses the northernmost swath of the Chihuahuan Desert, a landscape of great environmental diversity and visual contrasts. This 8-day photography workshop will give participants many opportunities to hone their skills in landscape photography as we explore this subtly beautiful national park, plus take excursions to the nearby towns of Marathon, Alpine and Marfa for an in-depth exploration of this ever-changing southwest Texas destination.

Daily outings at sunrise and late afternoon until sunset will enable us to capture each location in the most dramatic light. We will focus on making the most of whatever light and weather conditions we find. We will work on portraying all aspects of the landscape, from grand desert, mountain and river vistas to the canyons, dunes, mesas, and rock formations typical of Big Bend.

We will practice a variety of approaches to composition, such as capturing overviews, vignettes and details; integrating desert plants with the landscape; and looking for abstractions, shapes, lines and textures. Finally, in this remote natural environment, the dark night sky will give us a chance try long exposures for star trails. And those with in interest in wildlife can try their hand at capturing some of the many birds, mammals and reptiles in the park.

In the middle of each day, we’ll have time to hold review sessions to look at each participant’s photographic results, suggest ways to improve them and learn some simple after-capture techniques that can enhance our images.

I invite you to join me on this spectacular photographic journey. For a detailed itinerary and additional information, contact me at 646-519-1751 or email arokach@me.com. To hold your space, your deposit of $350 is due by February 10.

Birds & Landscapes of New Mexico: December 2-9

Sponsored by the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

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This unusual 8-day nature photography workshop takes participants to two distinctive locations in New Mexico to photograph two extraordinary aspects of nature.

We begin outside Albuquerque at the Basque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, which is the winter nesting ground of huge flocks of frisky Snow Geese and elegant Sandhill Cranes, plus other birds and wildlife. We will rise early to experience and photograph these wild birds as they land in their watery feeding grounds, returning again toward sunset to capture their departing flights. We will practice various techniques for photographing these birds in action and in flight, capturing them against the dramatic mesas and foothills in the background. It is truly an awe-inspiring experience to watch and photograph these birds at such close range and in such a stunning setting.

Then we drive to White Sands National Monument for a chance to see and capture the remarkably pure white gypsum sand dunes outside Alamogordo. The sinuous shapes of the dunes and the fascinating textures along their surface are a photographer’s dream to play with in every kind of light. Finally, after reviewing our images, we return to Basque del Apache for another chance to photograph birds.

For more information and to register, click here.