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Around Croton

A number of years ago, we spent a long weekend attending one of Rick Sammon‘s Creative Workshops in and around Croton on Hudson — two intensive days of photography, post processing, discussion, critique, and community. After the workshop, we spent a day meandering around the area, and wound up at the Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. It was a great trip, and more than a few photographs were made…

From my original blog posts, from October 2012, about the workshop and weekend:

I have to say this has been about the best workshop experience I’ve ever had. And I think that everyone else participating in the workshop would agree. Rick and Susan Sammon go out of their way to make sure that everyone has a good time and gets the most from their time in the workshop.

One thing that was unique in my experience was how important the interpersonal aspect of the workshop was to Rick. I think he took as much time getting to know everyone as he did teaching. We all left feeling as if we’d been friends for years. In a Facebook post yesterday, I commented that “I really had a blast, met some really great new friends, and I even learned a few things along the way.”

A good bit of what I took away from the workshop was software related. Two things in Lightroom that had been evading me was using the graduated filter and the “paintbrush” tool. And, I had been avoiding Photoshop‘s merge to panorama automation tool like the plague.

As with most workshop leaders, Rick does mention certain products that he recommends. He’s a big fan of Nik software. I’ve historically not been a fan of Nik products, but I have purchased Snapseed, and find it a joy to use. I presently use a selection of plugins from Topaz, because I found them easier to use and less expensive to own (I can use my Topaz software on both PC and Mac with the same license. That said, Nik does offer some unique advantages over other, similar products, most notably their “control points” for local adjustments. I may consider adding the Nik tools to my arsenal once I get the money. Unlike many other workshop leaders, Rick does not bombard participants with a “you have to buy this to be any good” message. He’ll certainly tell you that there are products that will make your life easier — that’s what Photoshop and Lightroom plug-ins are for — but not that they’re absolutely required.

Now, here’s my hard-sell “commercial.” If you want are a photographer who wants to improve you craft, make the opportunity to join Rick on a workshop. He even conducts free photowalks, and while I haven’t attended one, I’m sure they’re amazing. You can find out about everything Rick Sammon at this web site: and on his Facebook pages.

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