Many of your questions may be answered in the FAQ below or by clicking on the links to the right. But if they're not, feel free to contact me.
Good question. Most people who take a workshop already have a grasp of photography basics.
You should understand what aperture and shutter speeds are and also understand the relationship between aperture, shutter speed, and ISO in making an exposure and you should know how to change these settings on your camera.
You should understand the term "stop" as it pertains to photography.
If you're unsure how aperture and depth of field relate to each other, don't worry. I can help you sort that out.
You should be generally familiar with your camera controls. Like how to place your camera in the Manual exposure mode or how to change metering patterns. You should know how to view the histogram on the back of your camera and how to change the white balance. If your camera has a mirror lock-up function or self-timer you should know how these work. You should know how to format your memory card. All this can be found in your camera's manual.
Generally no. For some international tours all meals, lodging, and transportation during the tour will be included in the price. This will be specified on the tour page.
Traveling companions are more than welcome to nearly all of my workshops at no extra cost. Some tours are limited in the total number of people I'm allowed to bring or because of rental vehicle space limitations. In those cases, traveling companions would have to pay the full fee.
Traveling companions are welcome to accompany us on all field shoots. There may be space limitations or extra costs involve where I've needed to contract with guides for special tours (native guided tours in Monument Valley for example).
For international trips where I'm partnering with a guide service or travel company (Iceland or Patagonia, for instance), I'm charged on a per person basis. I therefore cannot provide any discounts for non-photographing travel companions.
Workshops are specifically designed as a learning environment. We'll have regular classroom/critiques sessions that can cover anything from composition to exposure to close up and landscape techniques to processing.
During workshops I generally don't shoot unless it's to set up a demonstration. I may have a camera out but this is often to make some grab shots to show students possibilities. Toward the end of a workshop, if participants seem to be comfortable with what they're doing, I may do some shooting of my own. But I'm always available to answer questions or to help. A workshop is not about me padding my portfolio. That being said, I've gotten some really nice images during workshops. And I always share what I find and will help you capture the same thing.
A tour, on the other hand, is mainly about getting you to the right place at the right time. We may or may not have time or facilities for critiques and classroom. If we can, then that's just a bonus.
I'll generally be actively photographing during a tour but that doesn't mean I'm not available. To me, the same rules as in workshops applies: if you have questions or need help, that's what I'm there for and my photos don't come before that.
You need to be able to get yourself to our host hotel. During workshops and tours I always encourage carpooling. So once you arrive, matching those wishing to ride with someone willing to drive has never proven to be a problem. I cannot, however, guarantee that.
I can also facilitate communication between participants for the purpose of ride or room sharing.
This is a great question.
I'm a big fan of our National Park system. Each year I jump through all the different hoops to get permits to work in the various parks in which I conduct workshops or tours.
The National Parks belong to all of us and if someone is making a profit from a public resource, I believe they should be paying the appropriate fees to do so.
Each trip has a stated maximum number of participants. For two instructors it's twelve. For one, it's generally seven or eight. That being said, if there's only one space left and you're a couple wanting to sign up, I'll stretch that by one for most workshops.
For some workshops or tours, maximums must be strict due to things like space in rental vans or available rooming. For some workshops where I know that if there are too many people that we'll all just get in each other's way at many locations, I'll be strict about maximums.