A Photography Workshop for Veterans

Next Tuesday, I am going to lead a photography workshop created for a group of Cincinnati Veterans. I’m excited about the opportunity to do a little teaching. Hoping for some feedback, and maybe your participation, I am going to post the workshop syllabus here, probably in shortened form. You can follow along, and participate on your own. Since this has already been distributed to the "class," here is the Photography Workshop Info.

Thanks for joining our first Veteran’s Photography Workshop. No matter what your skill level, you will learn something to help improve your photography skills and storytelling with images. This being the first workshop, there is a need to be flexible and tweak the sessions as we go along.

Despite what some may think, photographers do need to do a little writing. Photos need captions and additional information, and photo essays usually have some text or an essay that draws the whole story together. You are encouraged to publish your photos on Facebook, Tumblr, Google+ or other social media. If you have your own web site, feel free to publish your photography, AND feel free to write about the workshop.

There is one web site for publishing that is particularly good at this very use of photography. Take a look at www.Cowbird.com. You are encouraged to join Cowbird with a basic account (it’s free), and your photography and writing will get International exposure—maybe some love!

At the end of the workshop, we’ll look at all that we have done, and entertain the idea of creating an e-book, available to the public. This is to be determined. At our first session, we will determine the class needs and schedule.

Theme
“Winter into Spring” Obviously, the timing is right so let’s take advantage of the weather as the workshop begins in an unusual Winter and will end as Spring blossoms upon us. Winter into Spring can also be a metaphor for new growth, so your photography can focus on the symbolic Winter into Spring. There is no right or wrong subject matter as long as it stays within our theme framework.

Workshop Discussions
During our workshop meetings, we will be discussing a variety of topics: Cameras, lenses and accessories; types of images for storytelling; light and shadow; composition; using flash; etc.

Assignments
There will be photography assignments. These exercises are given to help you build upon your skills, and to give you an opportunity to start building a portfolio of images. Of course, there is no grade, and you do not have to turn in your assignments, but participating fully will give you the most benefit.

Critique
Although our photography can be deeply personal, critique or review has always been a photographic process where suggestions are offered to improve your photography. We’ll be looking at your photography and offering praise and suggestions for improvement.

Instructor
D. Brent Miller, Writer & Photographer

Give me that old time mountain music

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Folk music has its followers around the world, and even more so is the music that comes from our own Appalachian region here in the United States. So, the opportunity to listen and and see a little culture is an experience to grab hold of.

I like that mountain music. It’s the roots of blue grass. There is nothing like it, and it’s common enough that you can have a group of musicians gather with a banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle, and you’ve got a band. That’s all it takes. Sure, you can throw in a bass, but you rarely see drums or any kind of percussion instrument.

Grab a bite to eat, something to drink, sit back and just listen. Let the music carry you away to the oldest mountains in the USA—the Appalachians. Yes, they are much older than the Rockies according to geologists. Not as high because they’ve been worn down, but older.

John Denver can take you home on country roads, but I’d really like to just fly, fly away. Listening to that old time mountain music can do that for me.

I need to find more festivals to attend.

See you on the highway.

Brent

The Joy of Catching a Fish

The local fly fishing group and Project Healing Waters has a regular schedule to go fishing at one of the county parks. It’s a pond on a children’s farm, and fishing is usually not allowed, but there are exceptions like for the kids and the Veterans group. Because the pond is not regularly fished, it has fish in it just waiting to bite on something. It makes for a good experience. And, it is all catch and release.

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The Veterans range in age and are veterans of too many wars—Vietnam, Iraq, Gulf War, Afghanistan. One is a Korean War Veteran. The mission of Project Healing Waters is to give Veterans a little R&R. It is amazing how disabilities disappear on the water with a fly rod or fishing pole in hand. Shaky hands become still. Troubles disappear for a little while.

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Willy was at the pond for his first fishing experience with the Veterans. Confined to a wheel chair, partially paralyzed, he needs help with just about everything. He has movement in his arm, but cannot grip your hand to shake it—that doesn’t stop him from introducing himself and sticking his hand out towards you. “Hi! I’m Willy.”

Willy cannot grip a rod, so we did like all good soldiers do, we improvised. We strapped the pole to his forearm, so that he could lift and lower the rod. Volunteers helped by baiting the hook and watching the rod for him. It was a team effort.

In what seems like the short time we were there, Willy caught more fish than anybody—eight! I guess the fish liked the piece of hot dog on a hook. Willy was happy, saying it was one of the best days he has had in a long time. I think his smile says it all.

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Of course, the rest of us had some success with the fly rods. In all, it was a pretty good day for all of us.

Brent-fly-fishing

See you on the highway.

Brent