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The Summer Workshop

Lesson 4 of 8

The River: Kayak, Underwater and Drone

Alex Strohl

The Summer Workshop

Alex Strohl

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Lesson Info

4. The River: Kayak, Underwater and Drone

Lesson Info

The River: Kayak, Underwater and Drone

(camera click) In this chapter, you're coming with me on a solo kayak mission to a turquoise river near Tulum called the Grand Cenote. So here I show you how I approach a quick adventure by myself. It's more fun to go with friends and take photos of them but sometimes those plans don't work out, and I end up soloing things. I'm going to tell you how I stay open, and have all my senses available when I go out. So you can pick up things, and come back with solid shots as well. And the thing is, you don't always need humans in your shots, it's easy to rely on that. This chapter is all about following you gut, and making it work by yourself. (adventurous music) (trickling water) It's about seven o'clock, I'm at this river/Cenote, and when I saw it online I got really excited because it's actually a river, you can follow it. The Yucatan doesn't have many rivers, so I thought I'd check it out. (paddling water) We go to the river about one hour before the sun was gonna set, and the bonus ...

of getting to these places at these times is that, usually, everybody's gone, so you have the whole place to yourself. Which means no retouching people out, you're just on your own devices, and you can just let your creative juices flow. (enchanting music) To get solid images, you need solid light. So, I shoot 90 percent of my work either at sunrise, or sunset. Yeah, I feel like this is going to speak under water. We should go get the underwater housing, because the sun at this time of day, whew. We don't have much sun left. (enchanting music) (camera click) So here, after my initial scout, something I hadn't planned for became obvious. As much as it's fun to kayak this river, honestly the most impressive photos lie under the water. (enchanting music) So first, when you get somewhere, you want to make sure you scout it properly. I can't remember how many times I've shot a photo somewhere, and then I found a way better place just down the trail and re-shot the same photo again, but better. So, scout first. Take time to watch, and take the place in. Not just with your eyes, but with all your senses. Listen, smell; it might give you ideas for what photos to capture. (enchanting music) I noticed these leaves floating in the water, and they didn't look like much at first. Until I swam around them, and saw that the setting sun was back-lighting them, making this crazy glow around them. (enchanting music) Little pro tip: when you're shooting photos in the water, with a GoPro or a camera, grab a life jacket, and put it around your belly so you can float more easily. Trust me, it makes the process much more enjoyable. This is hands down my favorite shoot of the whole workshop, because I'm in no agenda or schedule. I'm just on my own time, letting things flow. It's this pure innocence, and I always seek that when I take photos. So try not to always be on a schedule. Follow your gut and just play. (enchanting music) So the most common thing people do is snorkel, but I thought I'd spice it up a bit and go for a kayak first. Then snorkel. Partly because I do a lot of kayak back home, so this just works for me. So this summer, when you're trying to pick what to do during your trip, pick stuff you like doing. Don't try to force things and do something just because it looks good. (enchanting music) (rustle) So that's it for this solo trip at the river. I hope this will inspire you to slow down and observe on your next trip. It is not always about epic scenes, sometimes it can just be a dead leaf floating in the water. Think big and small, wide and tight. And even more importantly, follow your gut, and go the extra mile for your photos. If you think you have to jump out of the boat because the water's cooler underneath, do it. You might regret if you don't. In the next chapter, I head to this very, very old ruins, called Coba, which are in the middle of the Mexican jungle. (gentle music)

Class Description

Summer is the most active time of the year. Everything is more accessible, it’s nice outside, the perfect time to go shoot new work and have fun. Alex Strohl is bringing his course to CreativeLive to get you ready to confidently make the most of your summer.

You’ll learn:

  • Camera gear, tech gear and accessories to pack
  • Setting yourself up for the iconic sunrise and sunset pictures
  • Light, Lenses and Composition
  • Utilizing a drone
  • Underwater techniques
  • Editing techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop

This summer set yourself to have fun, explore creatively and expand your photography portfolio. 

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