It time to start thinking about the California Photo Festival coming this October 10-14th! There are over 170 sessions with 15 industry leading photographers and digital imaging gurus in an all-inclusive price. Classes are starting to fill up so you should register soon to make sure you can attend the sessions of most interest to you. For your convenience, I thought I would include my sessions descriptions here:

Intro to the Digital Zone System:

Lee Varis will guide you in a brief “hands-on” introduction to the concept of tonal “zones” used by Ansel Adams. This old-school approach to photography is still valuable in the digital age with a few modifications. You will learn how to identify “zones” and how to adjust your exposure to set up your capture to get the best quality in your RAW file workflow and post processing. You will put these concepts into practice by photographing in and around the picturesque San Luis Obispo Mission de Tolosa.


Intro to Digital B&W Photography:

Lee Varis examines new techniques for B&W imagery in this lecture/demo. You will learn various methods for getting from color into B&W and back! Learn how to combine different grayscale conversion techniques to achieve the ultimate tone and contrast control for any given image. Lee will also cover: color toning, split-toning, color gradients and hand coloring effects to take your B&W imagery to the next level.


Portraits on the Beach:

Lee Varis will present simple outdoor lighting techniques to achieve old-school glamour portraits in this late-afternoon photo adventure. You will work with a glamorous model and an assortment of reflectors to create classic glamour lighting effects and learn how to deal with the harsh glare of late afternoon sun on the beach.


The Classic B&W Portrait:

Lee Varis will teach the secrets of the Hollywood masters for B&W portraits. Learn the beauty lighting techniques of George Hurrell, Clarence Sinclair Bull, Edward Steichen, etc… to achieve the classic look of a bygone era. Lee will also show updated techniques for converting to B&W from digital color—specifically oriented to skin— to get the creamy tones that were popular in the 30’s and 40’s.


Conceptual Table Top Studio Photography:

Lee Varis will lead you on an improvisational adventure in creative table top photography. You will assemble a still life composition from a collection of objects, props, textures, backgrounds and surfaces. Then Lee will demonstrate various lighting approaches to create  extraordinary images! This extremely fun exercise in thinking “out of the softbox” will get your creative juices flowing and provide a lot of material for further experimentation.


Lighting with Layers:

Lee Varis reveals powerful lighting techniques only possible with digital photography. This lecture/demo examines the development of a new style of  lighting that takes advantage of the idiosyncrasies of digital capture to create false color effects and “impossible” lighting effects. Lee will show numerous examples of techniques for still life, product, industrial, portrait and landscape photography to create amazing illustrative effects. He will also construct a complete image step-by-step in Photoshop from multiple, separately lit, images, blended together into a seamless composite-light photograph.


Black and White Phtotography: Visualizing the BW Landscape:

Lee Varis will act as your guide in this shooting adventure into the B&W landscape. You will join with an intrepid group of explorers to capture stunning images that will ultimately be converted into B&W photos in the computer lab. Lee will coach you in pre-visualizing tone and contrast and exposing for the most important elements in the scene so that you have the best chance of capturing the necessary information for great B&W photography.


Evaluating and Processing B/W Landscapes:

Lee Varis takes you into the computer lab to complete the journey into the world of B&W! You will learn various methods for converting the color in your landscape photos into stunning B&W.  Lee will show how to combine different grayscale conversion techniques to achieve the ultimate tone and contrast control for your image. Lee will also cover: color toning, split-toning, color gradients and hand coloring effects that you can use in your landscape images.


Sunrise Photo Shoot:

Wake up to an incredible photo experience with Lee Varis. Capture the mystical early morning light of the picturesque Morro Bay Harbor. Start your day with a good dose of photo inspiration and learn how to be sensitive to the nuances of rapidly changing light. From the dim pre-dawn to the full brightness of morning, let Lee show you the way to photo enlightenment.


You can register for my sessions here: