Crossroads Sitka 2016

Workshop report

I just returned from a great week in Sitka helping out David Middleton and Brenda Berry with another Crossroads workshop.

If you're not familiar with Crossroads, the idea is blending photography and philanthropy. These workshops are for people who've already done the other kinds of workshops and are looking for something meaningful to do with their images.

Crossroads assumes you already know how to use your camera and take good pictures; so in that respect, it's not geared toward teaching the mechanics of photography. Instead, it's geared toward teaching you how to work with a non-profit organization, come up with a shot list of their needs, the thought process behind getting those images, and presenting the non-profit organization with great images that will further their cause.

The workshops are fun but demanding; you'll not get a whole lot of free time, and the free time you do get needs to go toward downloading and editing images. It's just like if you were on assignment.

During the workshop you'll find your perspective changing. If you're used to taking pretty pictures that you can print or add to your web gallery, you'll notice that you're now looking for pictures that will illustrate something. The interesting part about this is that you end up finding more subjects to photograph. And these images now have a value both to the non-profit you're working with and to you.

I really like Sitka. It's small and the climate is wonderful (for me). There's lots to photograph too: harbors, fishing boats, fishermen, whales, streams, forests, and a lot more. You do have to keep an eye out for grizzlies if you're on a trail, or even on a road for that matter, but that just adds to the allure. Plus you never know who you might meet. Like a distant relative.

During the workshop we again got great access to the Alaska Raptor Center where we photographed a Red Tail Hawk, Snowy Owl, Kestrel, Pygmy Owl, and a Barred Owl. We also took trips on Sitka Sound with Paul Davis of Gallant Adventures. These were small boat tours where we photographed fishing boats, otters, seals, and humpback whales. Lots of whales!

This year's Crossroads workshop in Sitka sold out. Next year's trip is planned for around the same time (early August). And whether I go along to help out or not, if you're looking for something new to do with your photography and you want to visit Alaska, get on the Crossroads mailing list so you'll be sure to know when the next workshop is open for signing up.

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