I’m almost done with the first 7 session Photoshop class, and I’ll soon move on to the next one. The schedule kills me, but I’m learning a lot, so for now, I’ll deal.

I have become increasingly bothered by something, which is not unusual and likely more expected than not. Each class seems to lead to another that is useful to take. Two Photoshop classes actually seems fairly reasonable, given the complexity of the program. However, they are not cheap, and I wish there had been an accelerated class because I had way too much time where I was not learning anything as the much much slower people with much much lower computer skills struggled to keep up.

So that’s one thing, but he also offers a printing workshop. He warned us against trying to figure out how to use the printer profiles ourselves. Hmpf.

He also offers a Lightroom seminar, and highly recommends both the program and the class. What I wonder, however, is why something like Lightroom really needs a class. I never felt like I got a good answer on why I’d need Lightroom. He mentioned file organization and tagging, but you can do that in Bridge (which came with CS3), so I’m not sold.

And then tonight he showed us some prints of some of his pics. They were gorgeous, he’s a talented photographer, and many of them were taken in Kenya and Patagonia. Exotic. Different.

And here’s where I really started to be bothered. He leads photography trips. Seems like many if not most landscape photographers do, and I imagine it is the most consistent way for them to make money. Classes and trips. And fair enough, they have to be good and have years of experience under their belts for anyone to want to bother spending the money.

But there is something that bugs me about a canned photo shoot. Maybe this is just my own prejudice against tours, which I admit is a strong one. I love to travel, and I mostly travel alone. I suppose I’m also not as interested in the “purity” of the perfect landscapes. They are beautiful, but … I’m not sure I can even put it into words properly. As someone who leads a photo shoot, he sets up these tours and arranges with the drivers of the giant vehicles for certain concessions. He might get other perks, much like the guy did who I paid to go on a photo safari here in town did.

So I asked the teacher what we could do, as simple travelers not with a group, to get some of these concessions. His answer, chorused by the majority of the class, was that I simply needed to go on a photo tour.

Nope, not going to happen, not at this point in my life. What I like about traveling is finding my own way, making my own discoveries, having my own experiences. I like to travel alone, stay at youth hostels, meet the people from around the world who have ended up with me in that particular time and place. I like to mangle my wretched spanish (well, I would prefer to have actual conversations, but my spanish skills are not up to par) as I discuss Astor Piazzolla with Chileans (who have a garbled dialect for sure) in a little town in Argentina.

I did take some tours in Argentina, and one of them was worth it to deal with transportation issues, only because I didn’t feel like dealing with having a car for a day and finding my way around. I had a chance to practice my Spanish and get a thousand year history of Israel from one of the women I met at the youth hostel who came along on that tour with me.

I don’t even know what I’m saying at this point. I like traveling solo and I like meeting people. I like the hassle and headache of planning it myself, I like that when I find something that is special to me, it is that much more special because I’m the one who found it. I’m sure I miss out on other things, but I also know I don’t pay as much attention when things are being spoon fed. And how will I ever learn how to scope locations if I rely on others to bring me to the sweet spot and all but point my camera for me?


martin on the bariloche trek