Earlier this spring I took part in a weekend photo workshop in Drumheller, Alberta. The workshop was put on by Darlene Hildebrandt ( digitalphotomentor.com ), an Edmonton photographer and educator. Darlene is also a contributing editor for Digital Photography School. In addition to running her own workshops and photo tours, Darlene also instructs for the Burwell School of Photography. Due to there being a few more students than normal for the workshop, Darlene was assisted by Bruce Clarke, another Edmonton photographer. Bruce also teaches at the Burwell School of Photography. Both instructors obviously came with great credentials.
Drumheller is located in the Red Deer River valley and is well known for the multitude of dinosaur fossils that have been found in the area. It is the home to the Royal Tyrell Museum. The Drumheller Badlands offer a multitude of photo opportunities ranging from hoodoos to old coal mines.
I have been wanting to take this workshop for a couple of years and this was the first time that timing worked out for me. The workshop was great. One of the best aspects of the weekend was that it was a bit of a potpourri of photographic opportunities. We dabbled in sunrises, sunsets, daytime photography, landscapes, close-ups, night photography, light painting and even some portrait photography. Throughout the coaching provided by Darlene and Bruce was excellent. Another interesting aspect of the weekend is hearing the similarities and differences between Darlene and Bruce as to how they would approach a particular subject to photograph it.
And of course, as always with these types of workshops, the opportunity to chat with other enthusiasts from different backgrounds and photographic interests is always extremely interesting.
One of the fun activities was a visit to a ghost town to do some night photography and light painting. Later in the evening we were extremely fortunate to have the northern lights make an appearance!
A highlight to the weekend had to be the visit to an old coal mine (one of several that operated at one time in the Drumheller area). Our guide, Bob, worked at the mine in his younger days. Not only was he full of stories but he served as the model for our portraiture session (a role he has played for Darlene in many past workshops). On of the fascinating things he demonstrated was the miner’s lamp which used the chemical reaction between calcium carbide and water to produce acetylene which fuels the lamp.
The weekend was all about trying new things and trying to look at subjects from a different perspective. All-in-all it was a great weekend.