This past week was a dream come true! I traveled to Italy to study under two of the world’s most admired portrait and wedding photographers - Canon Explorer of Light, Clay Blackmore and best selling author and compositional lens-master David Ziser. Each day, from dawn till dusk we immersed ourselves in our craft - practicing advanced off-camera lighting techniques, window lighting, composition, and talked business & marketing, post production and so much more - all in one of the most scenic places in the world, a 15th century castle in Tuscany. We practiced with professional models from Milan (and soon-to-be models) on the grounds of the Palazzo Sarteano, a historical castle and farm hidden among spectacular oaks, pines, vineyards, olive groves, ponds, and creeks. If you have read the great book, "7 Habits of Highly Effective People", you'll remember chapter 7, "Sharpen the Saw." Sharpen the Saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have - yourself. It means investing in a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual. Clay and David enabled us to truly sharpen the saw in those areas and were our heroes - revealing their combined 75 years of knowledge to ensure we create our own masterpieces each and every time we are behind the camera. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
During sun-drenched lunches in the garden and dinners in the courtyard under the stars we shared the camaraderie of fellow photographers (who became true friends and family). After this fantastic experience, I was finally able to get some of the images out of post-production and onto the blog. These are a few of my favorites...
On the final day of the class, Clay and David turned their lenses on my family - bringing home the lessons of what it feels like to be on the other side of the camera. These are Clay Blackmore's photographs:
These are David Ziser's photographs:
We fell in love with the tiny town of Sarteano. It was the most charming, idyllic old-world walled village. Then, it was off to explore Tuscany - starting with the stroll through the vineyards. A day trip to Siena and Montepulciano completed the photo tour.
I'd like to send a huge shout-out to Jeff Medford who produced the event. Jeff is the owner of Monte Zucker Photographic Education - formed in 2007 shortly before Monte’s passing with the goal of continuing Monte’s expansive educational achievements. Their mission is to provide the finest photographic instruction in the world in honor of Monte’s legacy as a legendary instructor and mentor. Their approach utilizes all of the finest forms of education to provide photographers with a comprehensive set of tools to reach his or her artistic potential. Jeff is the sweetest guy and a true gem - thank you so much for making our dream come true with this trip!
Labels: Italy, Tuscany