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Students of Light
Photographic Journeys 2016

I'm talking to some of my students who completed the Fundamentals of Impressionist Photography Workshop
toi toi grass

Lynn Hedges

I have always had an interest in photography but took it up when I left work 10 years ago. I joined a small group at Mairangi Bay art Centre. This group still get together every Monday and others have joined us. We travel to different places in Auckland and enjoy the social aspect as well as taking photos. I started with a point and shoot then progressed to my first slr Nikon DX40 then D90 and now have a Nikon 7100.

I was becoming a bit stale with my photography and felt I needed to go in a different direction hence my interest in impressionism. I was at the club when you came as a judge and you showed some of your images. I liked really them. That was when I became interested. I signed up to get your emails and it was there that I learned of the course. I had a busy year and kept intending to join and then you offered the 20% discount which spurred me to enrol.

I loved learning something different.The different ways you could get the same effect. I enjoyed your Facebook site and seeing what others were doing.

I could not master bokeh but not worried about that as I think I managed to get some that looked like impressionism using other techniques.

I really enjoyed the course, it made me get out and use my camera every day, trying different settings etc. I liked your feedback and agreed with what you said.

My goal for the future is to take at least one image that is really really good and get an award for it.

Lynn Hedges image

Mauro Raunich

I am happy to have completed the workshop, it has been fun and challenging at the same time and don’t remember enjoying photography so much in a long time.

I am 53 years old and bought my first camera in a pharmacy, a plastic box called Pentax Pino 35 and learned to capture moments with friends and places. Few years later came the first SLR and with it I discovered black & white and the fun to be involved in the whole process. I was late in joining digital photography, its immediateness didn’t appeal to me for a long time until three years ago when I got my first digital camera.

The impressionist style seemed to me the way to feel again the freedom and magic of photography.

I am used to a different type of photography and after seeing the work of a good friend of mine I realised that I needed help in learning to see things in a new way and decided to join your workshop.

I particularly enjoyed the assignments, the pressure and challenge that comes with it pushed me to use my imagination and the camera like never before.

The biggest frustration was to look for other than culinary inspiration in my kitchen in order to complete the assignment.

Learning to find inspiration all around me was an eye opening experience, no longer I need to travel far or find obvious subjects to make an interesting photograph.

I am not at ease with sharing my vision on social networks but from time to time I enjoy the assignment on NatGeo Your Shot site and photographs are public.

Among the images I have taken during the workshop I like the most the one of the scarecrow. I wanted to take a photograph of it for quite sometime but couldn’t find way to properly render my thoughts about it until I have joined your workshop so here it is :-)

Mauro Raunich image

Ruth Duffield

I have been exposed to photography and cameras since childhood as my father was in business processing films and making prints before labs came to town.I have owned a camera since I was a teenager but was not to interested then. it is only in the last 20 years that I have taken courses and have come to love the process of making images.

I have been interested in Impressionist Photography since 2006 when I took a class in Christchurch with Ken Ball and I could see what was possible. At that stage I didn’t take it any further but now see what is possible and I have found it to be a very creative way of using a camera.

I took this workshop to increase my knowledge in this area of photography.

I really enjoyed the freedom I found in this workshop as I like to work outside the box in some of my artistic pursuits.

The most significant thing I learnt was that I can make Impressionist Images in camera with the information that you gave us each week and that some images were more than I could have hoped for. I learnt too that photography is FUN. Very important.

My goals to continue learning and improving my photography and it would be very nice if one day I could sell an image or two.

Ruth Duffield image

Christine Howe

I am 67 years old and have had a DSLR for many years. However it was only when I retired a couple of years ago that I had some real time to spend on photography. I joined my local camera club but found that it mostly focused on ‘straight' photography and competitions. I am not at all interested in competition and I wanted to achieve softer, more ‘emotional' photos than the pin sharp images exhibited at the club but there was never really a space for this type of photography on the program. I was about ready to give up camera club!

Then a few months ago the club organised a group called 'Projects of Passion'. Participants had the opportunity to work on a project of their own choice and were guided by the experience of the group and a mentor. No rules – just imagination. My project of choice was Macro photography and my topic was flowers, but I wanted my photos to be more impressionistic. I didn’t manage to achieve the impressionism for the project but this is where I first heard your name and followed a link to your website. I was totally blown away by your beautiful images. Just where my heart was at, so I clicked the link to receive your newsletter and from there I signed up to do the Fundamentals of Impressionist Photography workshop.

From the start I just loved the new techniques that were introduced weekly and the fact that I could see results starting to happen immediately. But the most significant thing I learnt was the idea of letting the emotion of the subject guide the capture. I’ve never thought about photography in that way before so this opened up a whole new world for me. I also liked getting feedback from you; your feedback helped me see more clearly what I needed to be thinking about and I found it most helpful.

I guess the biggest frustration for me during the six weeks was our weather here in Australia (which of course is totally out of everyone's control). We had many days with really strong winds and when the wind wasn’t blowing, there was a lot of rain. This made it hard to get through all the different techniques within the timeframe.

For the future I firstly need to practice the techniques I’ve learned throughout the workshop, then I intend to do some more workshops on Impressionist and Macro photography. I also need to learn more about Lightroom and Photoshop and even Facebook, all three of which I am new to! So I have a long way to go.

I would just like to thank you again for so willingly sharing your knowledge and for providing the inspiration to continue. This whole workshop has been highly motivating and I’ve loved it all!

Christine Howe image

Sylvia Mun

I started my photographic journey about 10 years ago, by doing a basic course. I purchased a Canon 650D which I still have today.

I have attended various courses over the years, but was excited to take a step sideways into impressionist photography and to be able to do it online, was a bonus.

I love visual arts and am involved in a weekly class on collage, which I initially started because of my photography. I love the way you lose yourself in the process that is photography, looking at things differently, peering through things, exploring new angles, and now having the confidence, to just play.

I have loved your impressionist course, because it stretched me, made me look harder, encouraged me to step out of the box, and experiment with my camera by simply just doing. The end results are sometimes disappointing, sometimes frustrating but that is the journey, and the learning curve, the nature of the beast. But those moments when you catch yourself saying wow, did I take that photo,make it all worthwhile.

I watched a movie recently and noticed zooming, panning, Bokeh. I have a new awareness. I am trying not to rush towards a subject, but instead breath in its beauty, weirdness, shape or form, where possible, and enjoy new ways of capturing that image.

My goal while the lessons are still fresh in my mind, is to do a digital album of my experiences, including successes and failures, so I can look back on my journey.

As I have been going through each lesson selecting photos, I am amazed at how far I have come, what I have created, and what I have learnt.

Of course this experience was not possible without you, and I thank you Eva, for sharing not only your knowledge, but your passion, your invaluable input, and your love of photography.

Sylvia Mun image

Ann Alcock

1. Ann, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start your photographic journey?

I completed a formal course in photography in 2007-08 but had been taking photos much of my life prior to that. I now undertake documentary projects and write feature stories and take photos for a magazine and have worked for newspapers in the past.

2. Why are you interested in impressionist photography?

For sometime I have been interested in developing my practice in alternative photographic methods. I have travelled a lot with serious landscape photographers and while I have enjoyed the travel and the company, I have always felt that type of photography wasn’t my forte. I still like to travel with those people but will now be able to view the landscape differently. I have enjoyed the work of Wendy Roche, an impressionist photographer from my city. I also wanted something that was different to the photos I take for my paid work.

3. Was there any specific reason that you took this workshop?

I guess it was right place, right time! I had been searching for opportunities and I liked what the course offered and I liked your work and I wanted to study with a female tutor. Oh! and it was reasonably priced too.

4. What did you enjoy most about the workshop?

Learning to see differently and to think in a different way about possible subject material, having objective feedback and learning from your comments on the photos posted on the FB page.

5. What was the biggest frustration?

I didn’t have any, I don’t think. It was challenging, but in a constructive way.

6. What was the most significant thing that you learnt from this workshop

To think about conveying feelings in the images I make.

7. What are your goals for the future?

To do the Advanced course and to improve my skills in impressionist photography.

8. Where can we see your work? However I don’t have any Impressionist work up there yet.

Ann Alcock image

Fiona Grose

1. Fiona, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start your photographic journey?

My husband and I are macadamia farmers in Northern NSW, I used to work off farm as a financial counsellor but I am retired now and since I retired I have had the time to pursue my interest in photography.

2. Why are you interested in impressionist photography?

My main interests are landscape and nature photography and I thought an impressionistic style would be a something I could learn to add a more artistic element to my work.

3. Was there any specific reason that you took this workshop?

I have been exploring lots of different genres of photography, I saw your Instagram account and I liked what I saw and wanted to learn more about Impressionist photography.

4. What did you enjoy most about the workshop?

I enjoyed learning the techniques used to achieve the different impressionistic styles and having these tools in my arsenal so that I might be able to create some more artistic images. I appreciated your critiques and frank feedback; it can be hard to get frank and fearless feedback from friends and colleagues.

5. What was the biggest frustration?

Just the usual frustrations when learning something new.

6. What was the most significant thing that you learnt from this workshop

The most significant thing I learnt was to ‘let go’ and tap into feelings/emotions.

7. What are your goals for the future?

My goal is to continually improve my technical skills and hone my personal style. I am lacking a bit of focus right now, wanting to learn all sorts of styles and techniques, I feel I need to focus on one genre to move to the next level. I don't have plans to earn an income from photography. it’s strictly a hobby, but I am still ambitious to create great images.

8. Where can we see your work?

I have an Instagram account @fionagrose

Fiona Grose image

Anne Williams

1. Anne, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start your photographic journey?

I have always loved photographs. Even as a very small child, I loved to sit and browse through my Mother's beautiful album full of black and white photographs. Wonderful, captured moments lay forever in this book. I thought it was magnificent to be able to capture a moment forever like that. Later, my Father allowed me to use his Box Brownie to take photographs of my own. I would love to use that Box Brownie now, but I do have that beautiful old album full of photographic memories. I decided that I wanted to take my own photographs; to capture memories and beautiful photographs. I bought my first new Nikon FM camera in Tokyo in 1978. Now I have aD7000 digital camera as well. I am retired from my teaching career now, and wish to learn as much as I can about photography.

2. Why are you interested in impressionist photography?

I have loved some of my photographs would be generally regarded as 'mistakes', but I loved the flow of colours and the blur of shapes in them. Then I saw a photograph in a National Geographic magazine by a Chinese photographer who made an interesting photograph of Chinese junks by accidentally moving his camera as he shot. I realized that these types of photographs are actually far more interesting than the ordinary 'postcard' type photograph. They are more like real art. They evoke emotion more. They promote thought and ideas. I love them. I am so glad that I have had this opportunity to learn from you, Eva!

3. Was there any specific reason that you took this workshop?

I wanted to learn more about impressionist photography and saw your course on my facebook site. I had no hesitation about enrolling to do it.

4. What did you enjoy most about the workshop?

I loved everything about this workshop! Your lessons are so clearly presented, Eva, and so full of information about techniques. Most important though, is your advice on how to use all the senses whilst making a photograph, and how much of a difference this makes to the final image.

5. What was the biggest frustration?

I did have a few frustrations when I didn't feel I was able to achieve what I was envisioning. But I know that, with knowledge gained from your workshop, and practice and experience, I will be able to achieve what I envisage with lots of practice and experience.

6. What was the most significant thing that you learnt from this workshop

I loved how, in the very first lesson, we learned to put our feelings in our images. To me, that was very important. The skills and techniques are secondary in importance to being able to put emotioninto an image.

7. What are your goals for the future?

I want to learn as much as possible about photography, and in particular, impressionist photography.

8. Where can we see your work?

At the moment, I display some of my work on my personal facebook site. I would like, if possible in the future, to be able to have my own photography site.

Anne Williams image

Johan de Klerk

1. Tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start your photographic journey?

I am a retired mathematics lecturer at our local university. My interest is not only in maths, but in lots of other things as well; of course, also photography. I can say that throughout my life I have been interested in photography. However, a major turning point was during 2006 when I bought myself my first digital camera. In 2007 I took an advanced course in photography and the next year a course in theappreciation of photos. I also started at the end of 2007 to lecture photography classes ­ a venture that is still going on.

2. Why are you interested in impressionist photography?

From long ago I have been interested in impressionist paintings (Monet, etc). In my photos I like to give the feeling, emotion, rather than just an ordinary "nice to remember" photo. For example, a "normal" photo of a tree in autumn colours is in order, but an impressionist one gives the feeling of autumn.

3. Was there any specific reason that you took this workshop?

Yes. I already knew about your photos, and I also bought two of your books some time ago – "Impressionist Photography Techniques" and "Transcendent Light".

4. What did you enjoy most about the workshop?

I have really enjoyed every aspect of the class; some of my favourite parts were the videos of other photographers and artists. I love all forms of art in general, but have found photography is the medium I love to work in.

5. What was the biggest frustration?

Really nothing.

6. What was the most significant thing that you learnt from this workshop

The techniques are important but above all the most significant thing would be to put a "feeling" in the picture.

7. What are your goals for the future?

To go on, among others, with impressionist photography. Also, to do the advanced course.

8. Where can we see your work?

Some of my pictures are on my website. The address is The word "Towerlantern" means "magic lantern", bringing out the fact that one's photos should have some magic character and that light plays an all–important role in photography. On the webpage, which is in Afrikaans, go to "Ingang" (Entrance) and then to Blog and "Galery" (Gallery).

Johan de Klerk image

Kerry Saul

I first obtained a camera as a gift when I was 10. It only took black and white photos and I remember being frustrated because I wanted to see colours. I didn't obtain another camera until I started work. I've been taking photos ever since. Three years ago we went to a photographic conference in Palmerston North and heard a talk by Eva Polak. I had never heard of Impressionist art until then and found it amazing. I wanted to know more and have since read books on impressionist painting and Eva's books. I have tried some techniques with some success. When I read that Eva was going to run some online workshops I wanted to do them. I have understood the instructions and have been able to put them into practice. I am also learning to use Lightroom and this course has certainly made me use it. My biggest frustration has been cropping - working out what to leave in and take out - and then it still needs more. I have learnt that I can make great images and have fun doing it. My goals for the future are to do the next course, start a Facebook page and investigate having my own website where I can show my images. I am also going to join PSNZ this year and consider gaining my letters.

Kerry Saul image

Linda Meyers

I began photographing my family members about eight years ago. I loved capturing the spontaneity of the children and everyone's emotional responses! Inbetween, I visited Europe and fell in love with the street scenes of Paris and Venice! I began to concentrate on the joys of street photography and found the serendipity of "the moment" exciting! I endeavoured to learn as much about street photography as I could.

Then one day, I visited Monet's Garden and suddenly saw his garden through his eyes. I fell in love with the way I could capture it differently with my camera: that was the beginning of my interest in Impressionist Photography! I love how Impressionist Photography uses "light" as a tool to convey an inner feeling or emotion. It delves deeper into the reality of that which appears in front of us, and it makes us think and feel differently about the subject we are photographing. It is a freedom to experiment and see things as lines, shapes, colours….. I found your website and loved your images, Eva, and have followed your "news"; that is how I heard about the workshop.

I knew that this was what I wanted to learn more about. I enjoyed the information you shared with us and the assignments were challenging and thought-provoking. I also appreciated your honest comments about my photography, and of course, was delighted when you liked some of my photographs! What surprised me was how much I enjoyed using the Facebook page, as I had never used Facebook before! It was fun to share photos and receive feedback, and give feedback to class members! I don't think I had a big frustration, perhaps in the beginning, not starting with the others and feeling that I was one week behind (eventually, I forgot about that and just enjoyed being in the moment).

The most significant thing I learned from this workshop (there were many) was that there are others out there, like myself, who feel the same about the joys of Impressionist Photography! My goals are to continue to practise and learn what I can about Impressionist Photography. I have enrolled in the Advanced Course and look forward to more of your instruction and mentoring, Eva.

Linda Meyers image

Dale Kirk

1. Dale, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start your photographic journey?

I originally wanted to learn how to take better images of my children in 1986. My father was a very good hobbyist photographer, and he helped me tremendously. Within six years I had my own studio in our home and specialised in children and family work. I preferred working in a studio than outdoors, mostly because the weather sometimes played up on a shoot. As my children grew, I developed other interests and I had so much invested in film cameras, medium format mostly. Then digital came along and I took a step away.

2. Why are you interested in impressionist photography?

I love the emotional statement you can make with a single image.

3. Was there any specific reason that you took this workshop?

This past fall I was able to see Whyn Bullock's exhibition in Atlanta and fell in love with his Color Abstract work. I then discovered Ursula Albresch at I was so excited to learn how to work with this type of photography from you.

4. What did you enjoy most about the workshop?

I have really enjoyed every aspect of the class; some of my favourite parts were the videos of other photographers and artists. I love all forms of art in general, but have found photography is the medium I love to work in.

5. What was the biggest frustration?


6. What was the most significant thing that you learnt from this workshop

To play and not be afraid to break the rules.

7. What are your goals for the future?

To take your next class.

8. Where can we see your work?

At the end of August I will have my website up. I will send you the link and would love your feedback. Thank you for a great opportunity to learn; it has been so enjoyable to do this online and work on developing new skills.

Dale Kirk image

Karen H Colbert

1. Karen, tell me a little bit about yourself. When did you start your photographic journey?

My only arts education was in high school and, at the time, I didn't feel as though I had any talent at all. However, I did study Art History and loved it – something must have stuck! Then I became enamoured with photography in the early seventies; I played with it for a few years; had some friends with their own darkrooms. But I gave it up early on. I poo­poo'd digital until 2008. Then I purchased my first Nikon with one kit lens, and I have never looked back. Photography consumes my life: classes, workshops, printing and displaying in local galleries, entering and winning awards in national and international competitions, and selling a few pieces now and then.

2. Why are you interested in impressionist photography?

I want to stretch myself and my abilities. I want to add my inner voice, in a different way, to my images.

3. Was there any specific reason that you took this workshop?

I googled 'impressionism in photography' and found you. Your course was starting a few weeks later –kismet indeed!!!!

4. What did you enjoy most about the workshop?

Specifically, I relished the inspiration from your examples in your weekly lessons and your posts on the net and other classmates' images from the assignments. You provided easy to understand and very specific instructions for each of the techniques you taught. It was this that pushed me forward the most, actually!

5. What was the biggest frustration?

Sorry – but the chasing all around Facebook to see where I left off 'looking and liking and commenting'.

6. What was the most significant thing that you learnt from this workshop

A greater degree of simplification in an image is better with all of your techniques. I do have the 'simplify' concept in mind more now than at the beginning. I will work diligently on that!

7. What are your goals for the future?

Take and incorporate ICM, ME, use of Bokeh and vaseline in my images until I dream of them. The vaseline (I think I call it a gel on my website) technique is the most exciting as it can be so varied.

8. Where can we see your work?

Karen H Colbert image

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