In late May 2014, I attended the first Fstoppers Bahamas Photography Workshop in the Bahamas.

The workshop was actually a series of classes, led by  photographers with great expertise in their respective fields. The workshop started on Wednesday and went on through Sunday. On Friday, we had a group session where all of the instructors got 20 minutes to talk about their own work and vision. The other 4 days were dedicated to classes.

The choices...

The attendees could pick and choose from the list of instructors and classes and decide what to take part in. There was no minimum requirement for taking classes, so you could go for a half day class, or go for 4 full day classes. I went for the latter option, which turned out to be a great choice for me.

The instructors were:

  • Peter Hurley - headshots
  • Mike Kelley - architectural photography
  • Pratik Naik - high-end retouching
  • Dixie Dixon - fashion and beauty
  • Mike Wallace - lighting
  • Pye Jirsa - wedding photography
  • Aaron Nace - compositing
  • Michael Grecco - environmental portraits / fashion
  • John Keatly - portraits
  • Rob Grimm - product / liquid photography

As mentioned, some of the classes were half day, others were one day and yet others were 2-day workshops. From what I understand, the most successful classes were the one day or 2-day ones. The half day classes were not that well attended.
I guess it means that people really want to go deep into a subject matter when they are at such an event.

Bahama Mama

I arrived at the Bahamas on Monday May 26th, after spending a couple of days in South Beach, Miami. My Scandinavian pale complexion needed some time to adjust to the sunny Caribbean climate ;)

After settling in at the hotel, I met some of the other attendees around the venue. I also went for a walk around the hotel and the water park, which is HUGE. That evening, a group of us met up at the Olives restaurant in the hotel casino for dinner. I must say it was quite surreal to sit there with Peter Hurley, as well as Lee Morris and Patrick Hall from Fstoppers. All three of them have been showing up on my scdreen regularly for the past couple of years. Mike Kelley also dropped by during the evening. Apart from the "celebrities" at the table, I thoroughly enjoyed the company of some really nice photographers and fellow students from around the world. It's amazing how many nice people went to this event!

Sunrise shoot with Pye Jirsa

On Tuesday, I got up EARLY to join Pye Jirsa from SLR Lounge on a sunrise shoot. As Pye mentioned, the sunrise was really beautiful, the sunset not that interesting.

The image you see at the top of this post is from that morning. We used mirror lockup, a tripod (of course), bracketing and ND filters to produce the dreamy look you see in the image. I used a 5 stop filter - next time I'll bring a 10 stop filter like Pye had, to get an even smoother water surface. This impromptu session with Pye gave me a taste of what would come at the wedding intensive a couple of days later. I can tell you I didn't regret choosing that class, for sure.

Water Park fun

Later that Tuesday, Lee and Patrick gathered a group of people in the water park and we explored the water slides. The water park at the Atlantis resort is just amazing. Lots of different slides and pools, and a lazy river that just keeps going. The slides have names like "Leap of faith" and "The Abyss". I guess you can imagine what they are like.

In the lazy river, we were a group of around 30 people, each of us in a tube and holding on to each other. Great fun!

The Fstoppers crew filmed a lot of it with their GoPros, so I guess it'll show up at their site at some point. All in all, a great day to get to know people and to relax a bit before the classes started.
Next year, I'll make sure to get even more time to enjoy the resort.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post.