A Photography Workshop With Joel Sartore


One of my 2016 goals is to learn more about photography and, hopefully, get better at it. Now that I am accountable to the millions of people that read this blog, I decided to attend a photography workshop in January and start the year on the right track.

On Saturday, I took a photography workshop with Joel Sartore at the LA Zoo. He is a national geographic photographer that is the author of, among other things, the Photo Ark, a photograph project is trying to help animals in extinction.

Goals: attend a photography workshop, done; join a book club, done (I will write more about this later); exercise at least one time this year, NOT DONE. I need encouragement, people! I can’t get it together. Can somebody create a day with 60 hours, please? 20 of which should be dedicated to reading a book or binge watching Netflix’s series like “Master of None,” which is HILARIOUS, in case you are wondering what to watch next.

Back to the real topic of this post: as you might imagine, photographing animals requires a lens with a good zoom. I don’t have a lens with a good zoom. The closest I have to a zoom is a lens that shoots 50mm, which is the same perspective that humans see through their eyeballs.  Bad news, right?

The good news is that at the beginning of the workshop we got to photograph animals that were really close to us, so I had no problem doing that (see below), but the animals that came afterwards were a different story.

With this challenge in mind, I realized that I needed to be creative about how to take my pictures, and, as I am a people person anyway, I decided to take pictures of the people taking pictures. I am SOcreative (and SO humble), am I not? Cuek.

Here are some of the results:

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The workshop was a delight. I enjoyed being surrounded by people that had my same interests. Conversations flowed easily and I learned a lot by looking at the work of others. Joel Sartore was very nice and approachable, and the whole experience was a great way of spending a Saturday afternoon. New 2016 goal: sign up for another photography workshop.

Let Us Connect:
6 replies
  1. Elise Xavier says:

    Absolutely love that picture of the owl!

    Pro tip – photography is half what you take in your camera and a whopping 50% of what you make of it afterward (in photoshop/other editor programs). VSCO‘s filters are a godsend – they work magic – and are 110% amazing for what they do. Basically find the kind of pictures you like looking at and then invest a bit of dough in the types of filters that the photographers use to get them because they’e worth more than your camera in terms of value (in my opinion!). You can even make crummy phone pictures look great with some heavy duty editing. So yup, if you’re into taking better pictures – start investing time & a little bit of money on editing as well. It’s so worth it!

    • Mila says:

      So true… I use fotograf for iPhones and Photoshop on my computer, but I am not really good at it. I just change the contrast and exposition. Sometimes saturation, but not often. I need to take a workshop on photo editing, then!

  2. Lori says:

    Cool. I love photography. I used to take awesome photos with film back in the day. Now, I have trouble with all the computerized buttons on digitals. Sigh. I will have to spend a day with my photographer friend and have him tutor me.

    I’ll have to check out Master of None. I prefer watching comedies, because everything else just seems so dark and negative, and we have way too much of that in real life these days.

    Those photos turned out really nice. I especially loved the owl photos. It sounded like a lot of fun. So glad you had that opportunity.

    • Mila says:

      You are going to love Master of None if what you want is to laugh. I agree with you about watching dark or negative shows. I just don’t want to do that right now in my life.
      If you lived around LA, I would volunteer to teach you some tips. Also, if you have any questions one day, I would be happy to answer if I can. I am happy you liked the owl pictures!

  3. Arielle says:

    Loving these shots! Working on photography is one of my goals for the new year. I’ve gotten better at things I can control (like, taking a photo in my home when I have plenty of time and good natural light), but it’s SO hard for me to take great photos when I’m out on the run. I’d love to find a good workshop here.

    And yeah, I’m working on that gym resolution too…

    • Mila says:

      I agree. I feel that all good pictures take a lot of tries, but that is common. I am sure they must have some good workshops over there, ideally, by a blogger.


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