The best photographers rise to the top by practicing, while the second-best photographers rise to the top by shooting blackmail photos of the first-best. Snap like a champ with today's Groupon: for $59, you get to participate in a three-hour on-location SLR photo safari workshop with Lightscapes Photography (a $125 value). Photo safari workshops take place on select Thursdays and Saturdays through November, and, after a winter hiatus, they will resume in March.
Backed by 15 years of photographic know-how, Mary Buck of Lightscapes Photography acquaints SLR owners with their flashy gadgets during photo safari workshops scattered across three scenic locations. After discovering the shutter button via a game of Marco Polo, pupils can capture the undisturbed beauty of Sims Lake Park in Suwanee, the rocky terrain of Stone Mountain Park in Atlanta, or the organic simplicity of an indigenous choo-choo at the Southeastern Railway Museum in Duluth. Students should bring their own SLR camera, the corresponding manual, and a memory card on the photographic safari, where they'll work alongside a max of 14 other students to discover the camera’s various skills, other than its ability to act as an emergency cheese plate. Mary schools students on the exposure triangle and light theory, and shares basic composition tricks. Though a milk crate and a bit of flattery can sometimes bolster beloved cameras, a tripod is recommended.
In addition to droplets of verbal wisdom, each student will receive an accompanying course manual entitled How to Take Creative Control of Your SLR Camera, plus coupons for upcoming classes. In the event of rain or a zombie invasion, snapshot sessions are rescheduled.
“So many people go through life looking at things without really seeing them,” muses Mary Buck, founder of Studio 2.8. Her mission as a teacher is twofold: to help her pupils see things and to help them share what they see with others. “Photography lets you paint with light,” she tells her classes, “but you have to go in with a vision.” She gives her pupils the tools to realize their visions during workshops that delve into all facets of digital photography, from the basics of adjusting f-stop to the advanced skills needed to capture a delicious smell of pixels.
It isn't surprising that Buck is a photography teacher; photography runs in her blood. Both of her siblings and her sister-in-law are skilled photographers, and she's been aiming her own lens at subjects since she was just 18. As a professional, her talent for catching dimples and laughter has led to portraits that families can pass down to new generations or Earth-conquering aliens. Seventeen years after starting her own studio, her passion for the art form has only grown, and her enthusiasm for sharing what she calls “that fire in my belly” with her students still burns strong.