Why Not Photoshop World?

By Mark

Usually about this time of the year Roger and I start beating the drum for people to go and attend Photoshop World.  I’ve been 11 straight years and Roger for 10.  This year, we made the difficult decision not to go.  Enrollment is open, and if you haven’t been before and really want to pack a lot of learning into a few days, it is a good place to begin.   We have watched it change over the last few years and this year are going to do something different.  We have watched with concern as the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) transformed into Kelby Media Group and then into Kelby One.  Scott is a fantastic instructor and author, but the organization really started to shift and be all about Scott, and not about the training.  

This spring, they made a radical shift and terminated all of the Photoshop Guys, who really carried the creative load.  RC Concepcion, Pete Collins, Brad Moore, and Corey Barker, all were let go on the same sad day.   The Original crew of Matt Kloskowski and Dave Cross had already departed.   Some of the best instructors had also stopped attending or announced they were choosing to not come this year.

o what are we going to do instead?   Well one of the things both Roger and I loved about PSW is the chance to get out and shoot things you normally don’t have access to.  Events such as the live model shoot, put on by Westcott, the Precon photo shoots with heroes like Moose Peterson and Joe McNally were the highlights of the week.

Last year, in Vegas we even went out a day early in order to visit the Neon Graveyard museum, just to force ourselves to take the camera out and use it. 

We knew that Bill Fortney, another renowned photographer was holding a seminar in the Great Smoky Mountains in the fall.  What we didn’t know was just how fast it would sell out—our mistake.  Well he leads photographers out into the woods and they shoot at both the dawn’s early light and at twilight’s last gleaming.  They process and critique photos during the day and then start over the next day.  We figured, heck we can do that ourselves.   We are going to head off into the fall woods and try to capture the magic of the changing colors.   

We also are going to do some people photography, but haven’t quite figured out where yet.   For us, it is a matter of just spending a few days concentrating on making better pictures.  After all this time learning Lightroom and Photoshop, what we have discovered over and over again, is that you have to dedicate time to practicing what you have learned or it goes away. 

Fallingwater

By Mark

Yes, after missing the last two weeks due to sheer laziness, or lots of work—you pick which one you believe, I’m back.  Last weekend we took a trip to Morgantown West Virginia in order to watch the OU Sooners play fooseball.  It was a surprisingly fun visit as the fans tailgating in the acres of parking lots surrounding the stadium were incredibly friendly.  Not at all what we had been led to believe.

All of the hotels in the town were booked solid, so we stayed up in Uniontown, PA.  That was a different kind of experience.  Anyway, to get there you have to drive through the mountains by Ohiopyle.  One of the most famous architectural landmarks in the country is also right there—Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.  

Built in the great depression for what was even then an outrageous sum, this compound defines “organic architecture” even today.   He designed and built it from local materials and it is built into and around the rocks and waterfalls of the hills.  I’ve wanted to visit for years and so I reserved our tickets online at: http://www.fallingwater.org/

Unfortunately, because of the fact that the furnishings are original and fragile and the volume of people so great, they don’t let you take photos inside during the tour.

Looking back in through the windows

Looking back in through the windows

Afterwards though, you can wander around the external terraces and especially around the grounds.  Now, FLW loved design most of all.  From a structural engineering perspective, he didn’t do so well.  The flat roof and huge terraces attract a lot of water.  They had over 50 leaks when they first moved in and still have water issues today.  The huge cantilevered terraces didn’t quite have enough support and started to sag.  Luckily the owner brought in an outside firm and they installed extra supports during construction, which mad FLW mad, but probably saved the house. 

The entryway fountain with soap on a rope for the guests

The entryway fountain with soap on a rope for the guests

Water and stone work together everywhere you look.  It was a rainy and misty day, which softened everything.  There is a trail specifically designed to get you to this view. 

Up in the hills, the first signs of fall were already visible, even before the equinox. 

Winter is coming

Winter is coming

We stopped in the town of Ohiopyle for lunch and to see the waterfall.  Even though the water levels were down, the power was impressive to see and to hear.  

I can highly recommend making the four hour drive there to see it.  Just get your tickets well in advance.  

Fall Already?—How Time Flies

We had the great fortune to have Sarah’s daughter visiting us this last weekend and took advantage of the gorgeous weather to get out and see some of the local scenery.  It has been dramatic how quickly the leaves have changed all across the area. We found a 19th century farm nearby that was celebrating their heritage as part of the local Civil War history.  http://www.historicweston.org/

It was fascinating to listen to the local members of the Warrenton Antiquarian Society act out the lives of the residents.  This gentleman portrayed a younger man to joined the local Confederate militia two weeks before the First Bull Run battle and was promptly wounded and died.

 After such arduous learning we had to relax in the pumpkin patch.

That also proved very tiring, so we wandered off to visit a few local wineries.  Most of the harvest is completed, but a few grapes are left hanging for late harvest wines to come.  We wound up lounging on Marterella’s patio to reflect on just how lucky we are.