Imagine thirty-five shooters, from nineteen states converging on Santa Fe for our “Spring Shoot.” Gathering and meeting at the centrally located and beautiful La Fonda Hotel.
Everyone was told to be ready to “shoot!” Our days were filled with world-class photographers who inspired and educated us about how they work and their experiences traveling and shooting all over the world. The idea was to create a freelancer’s experience, asking everyone to step outside of their safe photographic zone. Push, try and shoot things differently.
The schedule was tight. Each morning and afternoons we heard from the speakers: Don Usner, Tony O’Brien, David Spielman and Wilbur Norman. About why, how, when they became professional freelance photographers. Some of their trials and tribulations with their assignments, clients, and locations. Then the 35 photogs were broken up into small groups of six and assignments were given. Architecture, shadows, people, weather were just a few subjects assigned. Out they went, they needed to produce, realizing that maybe the light wasn’t right, the weather wasn’t perfect. Like a pro, you have to work around the givens and produce images. A good and challenging exercise for all. With each different assignment, the groups switched, allowing everyone the opportunity to work with and get to know some of the other photographers. The sharing of ideas and information is and was an important part of this workshop.
Another critical part of this shoot was to try and get everyone to slow down and “look.” Learning to look is very important because if you don’t look, you won’t see, and if you don’t see it, you can’t photographic it! The awareness of your time and space is important. We shouldn’t be pondering which lens, messing in our camera bag because we will be missing important images. Remembering photography is really the only way we can stop time.
Our sponsors helped make it all possible: the Leica Stores in Miami, San Francisco, and Koh’s Camera. They are good friends to LSHA. Tom Smith from Leica was with us. too He brought a wide array of equipment, bodies, lens permitting us the opportunity to see, hold and shoot with whatever he had. Answering our questions and helping us to better understand our amazing gear.
Santa Fe was a great location for the Shoot. It’s photographic history, unique architecture, it’s old and rich traditions proved to be inspiring and challenging. Seven thousand feet above sea level, it’s spring wind and fleeting light kept us focused and on our toes. The human subject matter was equally impressive, street musicians, poets, artist, and tourist-filled the streets and cafés with photographic opportunities.
It was intense, challenging, stimulating and most of all fun. Seeing so much Leica gear in one place was inspiring! Being able to sit, sleep and eat photography with like-minded individuals was wonderful. The comradery was evident and will have long-lasting benefits for all who were there.
The Spring Shoot isn’t over just yet. We are in the process of producing a self-published book of images of all who were there. Every photographer has submitted three images and a portrait of themselves. Which will be included in this book project. Everyone will receive a copy and additional copies can be purchased. The idea is to showcase the work and images that were made in Santa Fe. Secondary we want the Santa Fe Spring Shoot group to keep and stay in touch with their new Leica friends. We are also hoping that the alumni of this event will show other Leica shooters and in the following years more and new photographers will join in and participate.
One final thing will also take place. The images from the book will then be woven into a slideshow with music and it will be placed on YouTube for all to see. Again, trying to widen our circle of interest and information. High lighting the talent and images of our Leica shooters.
The LHSA Spring Shoot is a great and wonderful opportunity for Leica shooters to experience and learn about Leica, it’s equipment. Also see and get to know other photographers who share the same keen interest in becoming a better photographer.
Thanks to Richard Rejino for the cover image.
Below are just a few of the many images taken at the 2018 LHSA Spring Shoot in Santa Fe!