Archive for 2017

What’s New

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Summer 2017 update

Dear Fellow Shutterbug,

I hope you didn’t think that I’d stepped off the planet for a while. I know I’ve been delinquent about updating this website but I’ve still been running a full schedule of workshops, including “Wildflowers of Texas;” “Cuba: People and Places;” “Landscapes of the American West;” and “Birds and Landscapes of New Mexico,” with many of you in attendance.

In addition, I hope you’ve been reading the articles Anne and I have been writing for the Adorama Learning Center. We’ve gotten lots of good feedback and would love to get more so let me know what you think or send us your requests for subjects we can write about in the future.

I have a great line-up of workshops in the coming year with more of an emphasis on travel and nature destinations, though flower photography is still very much in the mix. In fact, my first summer workshop will be a brand new one to photograph lotuses and waterlilies at two magnificent aquatic gardens in the Washington D.C. area. Now that I’m based in New York City, I’ll also be teeming up with Fotocare to run some local weekend workshops that explore special destinations around the city, some in each season starting this summer.

I’ll be off for some personal travels this fall, but I’ll be back in time to offer “Birds and Landscapes of New Mexico,” which went very well last year. Then the new year begins with another incredible India workshop, a 3-week odyssey which focuses on the people and places of the Hindu region of South India. Please note that this workshop is already nearly full.

The spring months will feature a Color & Light workshop in Key West, Florida; another very exciting new workshop to explore the diverse landscapes of Death Valley; a return to Texas for its glorious wildflowers; a great opportunity to photograph Holland at the peak of its phenomenal bulb bloom; a new twist on Cuba that will bring us closer to its people and let us visit iconic locations in Havana and beyond; and a brand new exploration of the fabulous Chicago Botanic Garden, this time in the spring.

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

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Conveying a Sense of Place - Allen Rokach

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

July 5-8: Focus on Flowers: Lotuses and Waterlilies: a weekend workshop that gives us a wonderful opportunity to focus on photographing lotuses and waterlilies at two prime aquatic gardens in the Washington D.C. area. For details, click here.

August/September: New York City: People and Places: a series of one-day workshops plus review sessions, co-sponsored by FotoCare, that will explore various locations around the five boroughs to capture the diversity of the city and its people. Check back for exact dates and locations.

December 1-8: Birds & Landscapes of New Mexico: an 8-day photography workshop that combines two special locations: the Basque del Apache Wildlife Refuge, a major destination for wintering birds; and White Sands National Monument, famous for its pure white gypsum dunes. For details, click here.

January 4-24: Travel Photography Adventure in South India: a 21-day travel photography experience that will take participants to the best locations for images of India’s people and their fascinating culture. For details, click here.

March 2-4: Key West: Color and Light: a weekend travel photography workshop that explores the unique charm of this South Florida destination. For details, click here.

March 12-19: Desert Landscapes of Death Valley: a 9-day workshop that will explore a variety of fascinating landscapes in Death Valley National Park, plus a few destinations near Las Vegas. For details, click here.

April 4-8: Wildflowers of Texas: a 5-day flower photography workshop in the countryside around Brenham, Texas. For details, click here.

April 19-29: Storybook Holland: an 11-day travel photography experience that will take participants to the best locations for capturing Holland’s gardens and vast fields of bulbs at the peak of the spring bloom. For details, click here.

Fall 2018: Cuba’s People & Places: A Travel Photography Adventure: a 10-day photography workshop that will explore fascinating locations in Havana, Vinales, the countryside and historical towns around Cuba. For details, click here.

Fall 2018: Fall Color at The Chicago Botanic Garden: a weekend workshop that will feature the lush autumn colors at this world class botanical garden. Check back for more information.

Focus on Flowers: Lotuses and Waterlilies: July 5-8

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Peony - Allen Rokach

There’s something very alluring about water gardens and this workshop will take you to two of the best: Lilypons Water Garden and Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, both in the Washington, D.C. area.

At each location, we will hone techniques to capture the beauty of lotuses and waterlilies, which will be in full bloom at this time. The techniques will help you incorporate reflections, eliminate glare, expose properly, and compose beautifully even when you can’t get very close to your subject.

There will be early morning and late afternoon shoots plus two review sessions during and after lunch. 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.

The cost of this workshop with 3 nights’ accommodations at Hampton Inn is $450 for a double room and $650 for single room including breakfast.

New York City: People and Places: August & September

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

NYBG - Allen Rokach

Check back soon for exact dates and locations.

Birds & Landscapes of New Mexico: December 1-8

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

New Mexico - Allen Rokach

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 home to 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.

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


Travel Photography Adventure in South India: January 4-24

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

India - Allen Rokach

This intensive travel photography workshop takes participants to South India, one of the world’s most exotic and colorful destinations. I’ve been to India numerous times and can tell you that it is a photographer’s dream — visually rich and culturally fascinating. South India is home to fabulous Hindu temples, colorful markets, fascinating villages, unspoiled beaches, misty hillside plantations and much more, offering a stunning array of photographic opportunities.

This workshop will pay special attention to the needs of photographers. The group is limited to ten participants. That means you’ll have plenty of individual attention in the field and enough time in each location for serious photography. We’ll have opportunities to respond to the unexpected and even for review sessions every few days along the way.

For more information and to register, contact Allen at arokach@me.com or 646-519-1751. Note: this workshop is almost full.

Key West: Color and Light: March 2-4

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Sponsored by the Key West Art and Historical Society

Key West - Allen Rokach

This digital photography workshop begins with an evening lecture on “The Power of Natural Light,” that will 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 smartphones 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 and to register, contact Allen at arokach@me.com or 646-519-1751.

Desert Landscapes of Death Valley: March 12-19

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Death Valley - Allen Rokach

Death Valley is a magical landscape. Despite its forbidding name — it is hellishly hot in the summer — it contains some of the most exquisite desert landscapes on Earth.

Here you’ll find countless colorful landforms, like Zabriskie Point and Artist’s Palette, sculpted by the forces of erosion and painted by the varied minerals in their sedimentary layers. You’ll also discover sinuous sand dunes, deep canyons and craters, massive salt flats, snow-covered mountain peaks and much more to inspire and challenge you photographically. The repeating patterns and sweeping vistas at the salt flats will provide endless opportunities for the landscape photographer, while the details in the salt are a macro photographer’s dream. Please join me on this incomparable 8-day photographic adventure for the chance to experience and shoot all these amazing sights.

I’ll get you to each location at the optimal time for capturing them, from sunrise to sunset and even into the night so you can appreciate and photograph the amazing star-studded desert sky. And with a little luck, we’ll have the chance to witness a desert bloom and shoot wildflowers in this stunning environment — perhaps with snowy mountains as the backdrop.

In addition, in our 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.

To top it all off, I was able to reserve just five rooms at the historic Furnace Creek Ranch inside Death Valley National Park. I have only a limited amount of time to hold these rooms so, if you are interested in participating, I must hear from you and get your $500 deposit by September 1, 2017. Send your check to Allen Rokach Photography, 205 West End Ave. #27B, New York, NY 10023

This workshop is open to photographers at all levels but you must be familiar with your camera. For more information, contact me at arokach@me.com or 646-519-1751.

Wildflowers of Texas: April 4-8

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Wildflowers of Texas - Allen Rokach

We’ll be returning to the Brenham area of Texas, a prime spring wildflowers destination, for this popular 5-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 more information and to register, contact Allen at arokach@me.com or 646-519-1751.

Storybook Holland: April 19-29

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Wildflowers of Texas

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 more information and to register, contact Allen at arokach@me.com or 646-519-1751. To hold your space, your deposit of $1,000 is due by February 10, 2018. Send your check to Allen Rokach Photography, 205 West End Ave. #27B, New York, NY 10023

Cuba’s People & Places: A Travel Photography Adventure: Fall 2018

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Conveying a Sense of Place - Allen Rokach

With the recent normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, more people than ever have been heading to this heretofore off-limits Caribbean island. All the more reason to get there soon, before its character changes.

This 9-day travel photography workshop has been arranged with an organization that has long experience running “People to People” humanitarian programs in Cuba – and has all the necessary permits and approvals, both from the US Department of State and Cuba. That means we can depend on going there and getting to great locations chosen especially for photographers.

Our journey will take us to Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Vinales and Havana so we can experience the full range of Cuba’s people, places and culture. We will include time at 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. We will visit many small art studios and cultural shops, open air markets with handicrafts, and will have opportunities to interact with local artists, writers, musicians, and dancers. We also will venture into natural areas of great scenic beauty – mountains, waterfalls, plants and beaches – and into the countryside for a glimpse of tobacco and other plantations, where we’ll meet typical Cuban farming families.

Along the way, we will make time for review sessions and 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, a complete itinerary and to register, contact me at arokach@me.com or 646-519-1751.

A Weekend of Photography Programs at the Chicago Botanic Garden: Fall 2018

Sunday, June 18th, 2017

Essence of a Wave - Allen Rokach

Check back soon for more information.

How to Plan a Photography Road Trip

Saturday, April 15th, 2017

How to Plan a Photography Road Trip - Allen Rokach

[Originally posted at Adorama Learning Center]

We’ve taken more than our share of road trips, almost always with the idea of gathering images.

Sometimes it’s been for specific projects, like filling photographic gaps in a book, as we did when we were working on Focus on Travel. Other times, we’re on a personal mission, like getting to see all the U. S. national parks. And then there are road trips we take just to explore an area and see what we find.

Whatever prompts you to take a road trip, you’ll want to come back with interesting photographs, not just to document what you saw but to capture the spirit of what you experienced.

Here’s some advice to make the most of your upcoming road trip: (more…)

Wild About Wildflowers

Monday, March 20th, 2017

Wild About Wildflowers by Allen Rokach

[Originally posted at Adorama Learning Center]

Anyone who enjoys being in nature knows the special thrill of coming upon a field blanketed with wildflowers. These swaths of brightly colored flora usually emerge starting early in the spring and generally last only a week or two before yielding to the greens of summer.

Among the many places I’ve photographed wildflowers are the deserts of Israel and the dry foothills of Death Valley, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and the coastal meadows of Maine — even the outskirts of Cape Town. But the region I’ve returned to most often is the hill country around Brenham, Texas. The flowers in this area of Texas are so easy to get to and so reliably beautiful that I’ve led at least ten photography workshops there — with one coming up this spring (April 6-9, 2017). But the lessons we learn apply to any wildflower location so check out what you can find near your own home and start your photographic outings soon. Here are some suggestions to help you come back with stunning images of wildflowers: (more…)

How To Achieve Sharper Images

Saturday, March 4th, 2017

We have gotten so used to looking at images on television, in newspapers and on smart phones that it’s often a shock to see a truly sharp print at an exhibition. A sharp image can dazzle the eye so unexpectedly that we may feel we’ve never really looked at things that way.

That’s why professional photographers and serious hobbyists devote considerable thought and energy to achieving the sharpest image possible. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to achieve a sharper image.

Continue reading at Adorama Learning Center.

Sand dune - White Sands National Monument, New Mexico

Sand dune – White Sands National Monument, New Mexico
Receding lines, using a very small aperture of f/22 plus converting the image into black & white give this image a sense of sharpness and great depth. Shot with a Fujifilm XT-1 with 10-20mm Fujinon lens.

 

Stan Hywet Garden in Akron, Ohio

Stan Hywet Garden in Akron, Ohio
Sharpness is created with a very small aperture of f/22 and the lines of the pathway. Shot with a Hasselblad with a normal 80mm lens at f/22.

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
I spotted this meadowlark as we were driving so we stopped the car to assess the situation. (Stopping the car always helps.)To get maximum sharpness in this image, I locked my long Nikkor 28-300mm telephoto lens between my driver’s side window and the car frame to minimize camera shake and I focused very carefully. Luckily, the bird was a very cooperative subject and didn’t move. I didn’t want the background sharp so I used f/5.6 with my lens at 300mm.

 

Trinidad, Cuba

Trinidad, Cuba
Receding lines. V shapes on path and on wall (left). Fast shutter speed (1/500sec.) to freeze workman’s motion gives this image sharpness and appearance of great depth. Fujifilm XT-1 with 18-55mm Fufinon lens set at f/11.

 

Death Valley National Park, CA

Death Valley National Park, CA
I stopped the car, framed the shot through the car window and used the curve in the road to lead into the frame. The multiple colors and the receding rounded hills have the appearance great sharpness and depth. Nikon D800 with 24-70mm lens at f/16.

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
Creating a high contrast of light and dark gives the image clarity and depth. The slight diagonal line running from right to left help create a better sense of depth. I focused on the point 1/3 into frame from right and used a tiny aperture of f.22 to give this image clarity and drama. Nikon D800E with 28-300mm Nikkor lens.

 

South India

South India
Insisting that the subject not move was critical. The subject wasn’t sure where to look so I asked him to look directly into my eye. I waited patiently for the “right” expression on his face, using the time to focus accurately on the subject’s eye. A small aperture of f/11 and the warm background helped keep the subject’s white stubble and mustache sharp.Nikon D800E with 24-70mm lens.

 

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife refuge, New Mexico

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife refuge, New Mexico
Again, I stopped the car — feeling lucky to be at the right place at the right time. However, having my camera ready and close by and set on burst mode with a super fast shutter speed (1000/sec.) was not luck but good planning. Nikon D800E with a 28-300mm Nikkor lens set at f/5.

 

White Sands National Monument

White Sands National Monument
Mindfulness and photographic seeing were necessary to craft this composition. Optical deception, large and small wiggly receding lines plus the decision to convert into a moderately contrasty b&W was helpful. Including photographer on right was brilliant. Hand held. Shot with a Fujifilm Xt-1 with 10-20mm Fujinon lens at f/22.

 

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona

Antelope Canyon, Page, Arizona
Making sure I did not get too close to the wall of this slot canyon was important. If I got too close to the wall and focused on the front part of the wall I would not have enough depth of field to get the background sharp. The receding curved lines on right and left of frame and the lightening of the image on both the right and left side helped me create a decent composition. Camera on tripod. Shot with Fujifilm XT-1 with 10-20mm Fufinon lens at f/22.

Aerial Photography: Alaska

Tuesday, January 17th, 2017

Aerial Photography: Alaska - Allen Rokach

A few years ago, we traveled to Alaska to visit the state’s numerous national parks — eight in all. As we planned our trip, we realized that only three of the parks — Denali (which we had been to before), Kenai Fjords and Wrangell-St. Elias — were reachable by road. And even those are so huge that we wouldn’t get to see much of their interiors unless we ventured further by boat or air. (Denali NP, which gets the most visitors, offers organized bus tours and allows private cars into the campgrounds but no further except by foot.)

Since we were determined to experience even Alaska’s most remote national parks, we booked boats and flights so we could see more of these magnificent wild areas and photograph them. In all, we took nine flights to explore five of Alaska’s most remote national parks: Kobuk Valley, Gates of the Arctic, Wrangell-St. Elias, Lake Clark and Katmai NP. We got to them on small planes of various sizes, including bush planes that can land on water.

Continue reading at Adorama Learning Center.