Tours, Workshops & Events
Thanks for checking out Vivid Aspect Photography events!
Starting in 2013, I’m very pleased to announce a new series of photo tours and workshops. A key concept of this new series is to partner with other experienced photographer / tour leaders, to offer even more productive and valuable experiences to our group members. Some of these events will take place in my beautiful home province of Alberta, while others will take place in fantastic international areas! Not sure about the idea of touring with a larger group with a single tour leader, where it’s challenging to get any personal input? This new series — with multiple instructors, a low attendee-to-instructor ratio and a focus on your experience — may be for you!
Also in 2013, I’m continuing my series of field-intensive photo tours begun in 2010, based at the award-winning Aurum Lodge in beautiful David Thompson Country. This location lies along picturesque Abraham Lake in the front range of the Canadian Rockies. It provides many immediately accessible photo opportunities plus access to the world-famous Icefields Parkway running between Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper.
In the past, I have been an event co-leader at the first major NatureScapes.Net photo event, held in 2008 at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico. I’ve also been an event co-leader with acclaimed Alberta photographers Samantha Chrysanthou and Darwin Wiggett, including our 2010 Masterclass. On a smaller scale, I’ve done one-on-one photo guiding in locations around the Canadian Rockies.
On this page, you’ll find:
- A list of upcoming events on the schedule, and links to descriptions & photos from past events.
- A highlight about Aurum Lodge, a unique vacation & photography destination.
- Notes about what to bring and what you can see on these events.
- Thoughts about why you might want to attend one of my events.
- Some comments about events I’ve led in the past, from event participants and other highly regarded professional photographers.
- Summer 2013 Landscape Photography Masterclass, June 5 – 11, 2013: This summer, join professional photographers Brian Merry and me for special photography and learning experience in the Canadian Rockies. Brian and I will not only bring the group to a series of amazing photo locations in the iconic Rockies, but we’ll be presenting a series of seminar topics and field exercises designed to improve each participant’s creativity behind the lens. Spaces are available.
- Summer 2013 Photo Tour — Icelandic Summer Light, July 15 – 24, 2013: This special photo tour is the first in my new partner series! Teaming up with Iceland-based Markéta Kalvachová, she and I will lead a small group on 10 days of photograph in fantastic sites across Western and Southern Iceland. The long summer days in Iceland are full of opportunities for photography. Share in a group experience of this wonderful land in 2013! Now taking registrations, spaces are available.
- Fall 2013 Photo Tour, September 14 – 19, 2013: Fall is a popular time to visit the Rockies. If you need extra time to book your travel plans, then reserve these dates now! Spaces are available.
For more information on these events, or if you would like to book me for an event you’re planning, please contact me.
Read about past events, including links to photo results from participants:
- Fall 2012 Photo Tour, September 15 – 20, 2012: Fall this year was unseasonably warm but still brought some brilliant color, changing weather conditions, and — as always — shorter days in the field. The group enjoyed several spectacular days in David Thompson Country (in the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies). Plus a special bonus of back-to-back day trips to stunning Lake O’Hara interleaved with visits to Moraine Lake and other locations surrounding Lake Louise. Click the link to read about the fall tour and see some sample images from the group!
- Spring 2012 Photo Tour, May 11 – 15, 2012: Our first tour of 2012 at Aurum Lodge ran in mid-May. Spring came on time, along with a bit of good weather timed just right for the tour. We had fresh blooms, wildlife and amazing scenery to enjoy and photograph. We also had access to a special location, the historical Brazeau Collieries mine site. Click the link to read about this tour, including some image results.
- Light Matters Masterclass: Creative Expression, November 2 – 6, 2011. This was a unique and (based on participant feedback) successful event. Working together with acclaimed photographers Samantha Chrysanthou and Darwin Wiggett, we gave participants an intensive workshop experience covering topics in the art, craft, and profession of photography combined with field work. The goal was to help everyone improve their photography by improving their ability to see and create; and we did just that.
- Fall 2011 Photo Tour, September 26 – October 1, 2011. During this tour, the group took advantage of great photo opportunities, including a fantastic day-trip to Lake O’Hara. A great time was had by all! Click the link to read about this tour, including some image results.
- Summer 2011 Photo Tour, August 19 – 22, 2011. During this unique event, experienced photo guides Samantha Chrysanthou & Darwin Wiggett, Leslie & Mark Degner, Alan Ernst and me took a small group of photographers to locations around Aurum Lodge. Highlights included special full-day access to the abandoned Brazeau Collieries mine site in Nordegg, and to the Athabasca Glacier ice-walk at the Columbia Icefields. It was a cracking good event! Click the link to read about this tour, including some image results.
- Spring 2011 Photo Tour, May 15 – 19, 2011. Based at Aurum Lodge, our small group enjoyed a fun experience in the Rockies, including landscapes, wildlife and spring conditions. Click the link to read about this tour, including some image results.
- Fall 2010 Photo Tour, September 28 – October 3, 2010. This small group enjoyed an excellent fall photo experience based at Aurum Lodge. Click the link to read about this tour, including some image results.
I want to highlight the place we use as “home base” during the events in the David Thompson Country region. I’ve been a guest at Aurum Lodge many times, and I’m always eager to return and visit with lodge operators Madeleine and Alan Ernst. Beyond the personal connection, as an event leader I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to work with Madeleine and Alan. They are truly partners in the success of every event.
Aurum Lodge is a warm and inviting place, with a friendly and professional hospitality — a rare mix. And since Alan is very accomplished behind the lens in his own right, the lodge just so happens to offer an extra edge for photographers who may not be familiar with the area. The lodge offers an experience that you won’t get at any town hotel!
Even if none of my event dates work out for your travel schedule, consider the lodge as a perfect spot for a get-away to the Canadian Rockies at any time of year. It’s a warm and inviting place set apart from the crowds at the normal destinations of Banff or Jasper, among truly amazing wilderness surroundings. Contact Alan and he’ll be happy to arrange something that works for you.
Looking for some input on what to bring to a photo event? Have a look at these articles:
And of course you can always contact me with any questions you may have.
The Canadian Rockies are world-renowned for their rugged grandeur, offering spectacular beauty in any season of the year. Massive snow-capped peaks tower over alpine forest and meadows, while glacier-fed rivers run to crystal aquamarine lakes that appear like jewels. An abundance of wildlife and plantlife make their homes here, following the turning seasons. Whether visiting mountain towns, camping under the stars, traveling along the roads or venturing out along hiking trails, the Canadian Rockies offer breath-taking vistas and intimate details, rich with photographic opportunities.
Here are some links to slide shows:
You may be wondering if going on one of the events listed here is right for you. In part, it depends what you would like to get out of it. Be sure to pick the right kind of event for your expectations:
- Do you want to learn basic photographic theory or camera operation?
- Are you looking to improve your mastery of subject, composition and light?
- Would you like instruction on digital techniques using PhotoShop?
- Do you want a field-intensive experience that gets you ample opportunities to take pictures?
- Are you interested in mastering fine art reproduction techniques including post-processing and printing?
Different instructor teams and types of events cater to different levels of skill and experience, they offer different learning opportunities, and they have different balances of instruction vs. field time. Be clear about what you’re after, and think about what a specific event offers, to make sure the match is good for you.
Many of my events are called “photo tours” because the emphasis is on field time. If there is any kind of usable light and a good subject anywhere within 100 km of our location, generally we will be out there photographing. The ideal participants in my tours are intermediate to advanced — they know how to use their cameras, have the relevant equipment needed to photograph on location, and are looking primarily for opportunities to photograph as well as some field-based, hands-on instruction.
In-class time is minimal in a photo tour, though there may be some sessions inside to cover specific topics of interest to the group. The field orientation of this type of event doesn’t mean instruction won’t occur, however — far from it. All my events are very focused on helping you achieve satisfying photographs during the experience, as well as helping with anything you share about goals for improving. In hands-on situations in the field, we’ll talk about working with the subject, composition choices, using the light and how to approach each location. We’ll also look at lens selection, useful gear, exposure choices and other variables influencing how you take the photograph. If there’s interest, we’ll discuss ways to realize interesting final images from the raw exposures, and any other topics that come up. The bottom line: my primary goal is to help you have a fulfilling photography experience and bring away a great portfolio of new photographs.
A new series of events I’m involved in are described as “masterclass” events. What is a masterclass? It’s not just a fancy name designed to sound impressive! A masterclass is an intensive, mentoring-based workshop format. The event brings together an integrated blend of seminars on key topics, targeted field work including assignments, and constructive critique. Hands-on lab work is often involved as well. All of this is presented by photographers who have recognized mastery of the topics, and are experienced instructors as well.
While a lot of field time will be available to make new photographs, the primary purpose of a masterclass is to focus on achieving a level of mastery of some aspect of photographic craft, art, or profession. It’s a chance for learning first & foremost, supported by doing. Masterclasses usually are held with a low participant-to-instructor ratio, to ensure significant personal attention on creative learning & achievement of goals. An event may include a team of instructors for even greater depth of focus. These events are not your garden variety workshop! They are immersive blends of learning and doing in a concentrated package, designed to take participants to a new level in their photography.
Here are some of the key benefits you can get out of my events:
- The chance to photograph with one or more experienced photographers who are familiar with the location and material. And are good at instruction!
- Opportunity for realtime feedback from the instructors and other participants as you photograph the location.
- Exposure to different styles, uses of equipment, ways of seeing and creative approaches.
- Improved understanding of what will make your photographs technically solid and creatively interesting.
- The ability to really get into the location without having to spend all the time researching it in advance, or going through trial-and-error.
- Intense focus on photography with minimal distractions, giving the opportunity to quickly build solid entries in your portfolio.
- Fun socializing with the group… that is, when not sharing photography ideas with the other participants.
Having a good instructor on a photo event is just as important as picking an interesting location. A good event leader is: a) a good photographer, who knows what photographers need to take good photographs; b) someone who knows the area and isn’t just relying on luck to find satisfying photo opportunities; c) a person who can mix the ability to do with the ability to teach; and d) someone who can blend all of this in an effective way for the participants. Without a good event leader, you might as well be tagging along with a general outdoor guide, or going by yourself! Here are some comments that will help paint a picture of my event leading style.
I’m thankful for the feedback from the 2010 tour participants, one of whom has already signed up for a 2011 tour! Here’s a sample comment:
I got to go over your reviews and have to say thanks for the input. You and Alan have made the tour a great experience. I hope to continue my training with both of you in the future.
Preeminent Canadian photographer Darwin Wiggett had some kind words on his blog (New Fall 2010 Photo Tour in the Canadian Rockies) about Aurum Lodge tour co-leader Alan Ernst and me:
Alan has been on every tour I have ever done out of Aurum Lodge and really knows the area better than anyone plus he is a fantastic photographer.
Royce has been on three Aurum Tours and is also familiar with the area plus he is one of the best photo instructors I know of both in the field and in the classroom. I am confident anyone who signs up for this tour will get great photo opportunities and fantastic instruction. If you want the pleasure of being on one of the best Rockies photo tours out there, then grab this opportunity before it is gone.
A kind note from California photographer Mac Danzig:
I highly recommend doing this to anyone who is considering… I can’t say enough good things about Royce and these locations…
From a few participants in the NatureScapes.Net 2008 event at Bosque del Apache, New Mexico:
Thanks to Greg, E.J., Royce, and Rick Sammon for great workshops. — Wayne N
All the classes were great, as were the field events. Greg, E.J., Royce and Rick thanks for the classes. — Bill B
Special thanks to Rick, Greg, Royce, E.J. for the fantastic instruction both in the class room setting as well as in the field. — Vivek K
Greg and Royce — I learned a LOT from you guys. — Joel G
I wanted to email you and let you know how much Dolores and I enjoyed your classroom as well as field workshops. [...] You are an excellent teacher and really showed us something at Bosque that we have missed forever. Thank you for opening our eyes. — Sandy C & Dolores V
If you are thinking about attending one of my events but have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’ll be happy to provide any information that may be useful in helping you reach a good decision based on what you’d like to achieve.