Roger’s Photo Workshop

A couple of weeks ago I went to a weekend photo workshop offered by my Vendee buddy Roger Stowell. You’ll find him on Instagram at roger.stowell.35. That’s Roger in the photo above and Roger in action — lots of action, so sorry for the blur — below.

We — I forget whether there were 5 or 7 of us, though clearly he likes to keep the groups small — had a great time. As you can guess from Roger and pomegranate, above, we spent some time on still lifes.

We took a walk through Fontenay on market day. They have finished some upgrades to the city center, so life is returning to the place. The photo below was taken from a new pedestrian bridge crossing the river.

We spent a lot of time on Photoshop, which I have yet to manage beyond the most cursory edits — most of what you see here was edited either by Roger on Photoshop or by me using Lightroom. However I now have a little-student-sized tablet, which is fine for photos, and I found Photoshop 6, the last version that you can use without a subscription, at Software Deal, which I highly recommend, for just under $100. On my iPad I use Darkroom, which is pretty cheap, but for photo editing on a computer, $100, once and done, no upgrades, that’s a steal. Roger made a good case for wading into this complicated program and gave us a starter kit of easy edits. I’m picking up more tips on YouTube. I think learning the program will be a good next step for me.

Anyway, we rounded things out with a stroll through Vouvant, an absolutely charming little village.

My little cat portrait above illustrates a Photoshop tip that I am sorry I did not implement. I edited on a medium gray background, the default, instead of switching to a white one. The deal is, with a darker background your eye can be fooled into thinking that the photo is lighter than it is. Oops. I guess the expert was right. If you ever see that cat again, he will be properly exposed.

Anyway, Roger offers a class every so often, maybe once a year. Everyone, including the non-photographer spouses, had a great time. The vibe was much more relaxed than the other “aspiring pro” type classes that I have taken. If you are looking for a reason to visit the Vendee or just a good reason to pick up your camera again — iPhones welcome! — keep an eye out for Roger’s classes.

14 thoughts on “Roger’s Photo Workshop

  1. Judging by my latest efforts I would benefit a great deal from that course!
    I remember Vouvant…it was a lovely village on the edge of the Mervent forest…and nearby I think there was a railway viaduct designed by Eiffel.

    1. More than one? There is a pizza joint not so far from my house — bad pizza snotty owners — but that would put it a good hour from Vouvant. The Eiffel bridges are quite cool, no question. Thing is, folks seem unaware that bridges were Eiffel’s day job. He worked out a system that was easily reproducible and cheap. They went in all over the place and one is much like another. The only question is how many are left.

      1. There was..and is.. a super one just outside Thouars.
        He went in for church clocks and spires too…we could see his spire of the local church from our bedroom window.

          1. Thouars is splendid despite the best efforts of the local council to ruin it. If you are that way don’t miss Tourtenay and the troglodyte pigionnier. They used to make good wine there, too….

          2. Oh, don’t get me started. Back in architectural school we used to joke about all those little villages being so charming because they were time capsules. Nothing had happened there in 100 years, or 500 years, so of course they still looked great. Sadly, it was no joke. My little village had its town square given over to a spec office building, cheap as can be, simply because there was a government grant on offer. The main roads are lined with these awful, cheap spec buildings. My old stone house is surrounded by ugly little boxes — cue Pete Seeger — one as tacky as the next. It’s suburban sprawl, as if they never heard what a bad idea it is. Ugh. I’ll try the wine, though. I bet it’s still good. The buildings may be getting worse, but the wine in Vendee is getting a lot better.

          3. Helen, you’re a serial blogger! A recidivist! It’s fun, isn’t it? I’m sad to see that in the decade since that was written nothing has changed and no one has learned. How many times have I seen the clueless stagiare in the tourist office? And I got a tiny change in my roof through — a small detail that caused a flood every time it rained — only because my contractor was a well-connected local boy. For Olivier, there are no rules. To be fair, some folks are pitching restoration and preservation as a money-making enterprise in its own right and they are making a little headway. Not much and it doesn’t extend to thoughtful city planning, sensitive design of new builds and the like, but it’s something. I suspect that it is coming now, when there is almost nothing left, because all the money has been wrung out of the old way of doing things. Anyway, I’ll look for Tourtenay winery. I’ll need an excursion. Thanks!

          4. Old. M. Pichot of Toutenay, now dead, started the local resistance museum which has now become the usual useless educational twaddle. He and his friends from the resistance collected all the eyewitness reports they could from the French retreat in 1940 to the end of the war, including the reprisals and infighting at that point between the genuine resistance and the latecomers. You have never seen blackmail material like it!

          5. Yeah, WW2 and its aftermath do not show France in a good light. I hope there is at least an archive where that stuff is available. Better evidence of human frailty could hardly exist.

  2. Younger daughter is head of graphic design for a big architectural/design firm so, as you might expect, she is fluent in all things Photoshop and lots more which only makes more glaring the contrast with me who is naive in all things photographic and obviously the offspring of genetic double recessives in terms of visual arts talents. All by way of saying that I’m impressed with your skills and photos, especially “Bar – Cafe.” 🙂 I once tried to immerse myself in Photoshop but I was overwhelmed by the program’s complexity and while I admired all the things it could do, I guess I just didn’t have the smarts and fortitude to continue studying it. I still think Jacques and the vintage sportscar would make an excellent subject.

    1. Sadly, I am temporarily parted from the spiffy silver Lexus. We were just scheduling our return to Amerique-en-Vendée — AKA my house . It looks like the weekend of the 10th. I’ll be sure Jacques gets to the groomer. Maybe I’ll even find him a pint-sized beret. It’s time for another Jacques Report.

  3. Why do I feel so pleased when two of the bloggers I follow get together? Almost as if I were with you! I was about to say I’m sure Roger gave you a good time … well, the results look good!

    1. lmao — Separate rooms, dear, separate rooms. It was all about the photos. Since you also follow Roger — I think he is only on Instagram now — watch for his announcement of his next class. I’m usually a once-and-done with photo workshops. Everybody has one great idea to share, but two? But if you go, I’ll go. It would be great to meet you.

Comments are closed.