Thursday, May 11, 2006

Enrollment now open for FW5

Hello all!

We are pleased to offer an open enrollment period for photographers wishing to participate in Foundation Workshop 5 next February! The enrollment is based on a first-come, first-served basis, based on completing the enrollment form and paying the retainer. Please read the FAQ for more information, and of course, if you have any questions, please contact me at bill at

We look forward to seeing you in February!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Anonymous surveys for FW4 participants, faculty, and staff

Greetings all,

Firstly, thanks to Huy for inviting me to be such an integral part of the Foundation Workshop's future. I hope to see many of you again next year!

Secondly, as we prepare for FW5, we're taking a good look at ourselves to see what worked really well and what didn't work quite as well. Your help in this would be greatly appreciated. On the forums Huy mentions below, there is a link to an anonymous survey that will take about 10-15 minutes to complete. If you don't want to sign up for the forum just to get to the survey, please email me at and I'll send you the link.

Your time and honesty are greatly appreciated by us all, and will help us make an even better experience for those involved in FW5!

Warm regards,

FW5 - Moments of Truth

For Immediate Release

March 13, 2006


We’re excited to announce FW5 - Moments of Truth, the fifth-annual Foundation Workshop, to be held February 19-22, 2007 in McKinney, TX. Like past Workshops, FW5 offers wedding photographers the unique opportunity to work closely with top photojournalists and established documentary wedding photographers in examining and redefining their own shooting processes and approaches.

Also, please join us in welcoming Bill Holland as the FW5 Workshop Coordinator. Having attended both as a participant and staff member, Bill has extensive understanding and experience with the philosophy and daily management of the Workshop. We’re definitely looking forward to working with Bill in the days ahead!
More nitty-gritty details regarding FW5 will be forthcoming.

Meanwhile, to help us in planning for the Workshop and assembling the FW5 staff, we need to hear from you. There will be an online survey for former participants and staff. Please use it to let us know your thoughts, ideas, and suggestions on how we can improve.

You are also invited to visit our new discussion forum at

We hope that it will be become a lively place of information and ideas for the Workshops. Please sign in and participate.

If you’d like to contact us privately, you can email us directly

Huy Nguyen - Foundation Workshop Director -
Bill Holland - FW5 Coordinator -

Looking forward to another meaningful Workshop experience!


Huy Nguyen
The Foundation Workshop

Sunday, March 05, 2006

First wedding after FW4

What I did different:

I witnessed the moments, I further explored the angle for the story; I did not let the "image" in my head distract my attention from what was happening in front of my eyes.
I shot about 2000 less frames that I normally do.
I worked the shot more, I stayed with it longer. Thanks Amy.
I started working as the hired photographer, who was I fooling "shooting and running". "Yes lady, I took that shot! I am here to do that, and yes I just took one more :-)". Thanks Hay.
I felt smoother, I felt like I was sliding, sometimes I felt I was floating even (just weird, difficult to explain).

Overall. I still think that I sucked as a PJ last night, but I definitely feel that I was much different and, strangely enough, I ended up less tired than most weddings. I even went for drinks afterwards.

I will try to post some pictures Monday or Tuesday.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Has it already been 4 days?

I'm still trying to process everything and am looking forward to the wedding I'm shooting on Saturday when I can put some of what I've been thinking about into action.

For anyone interested, I put my cut of my slideshow up on my blog - you can access it here

Cheers! Keep the posts coming, I'm loving seeing everyone's stuff and reading everyone's accounts of the week.

FW4 in summary

Huy asked me to give a general overview of the experience that was F4, so here’s a basic review of the week in my eyes (okay, so it’s a bit long…blame Huy b/c he saw a rough draft and approved it!) :)

We arrive on Sunday to a flurry of activity. Smiles and hugs abound. The bonding begins almost immediately. Sunday night we were treated to an amazing Mexican feast at the home of Huy's business partner, Gary D. The food and company was fabulous. We all left there with full bellies and happy spirits.

Monday began early as we were transported to the Storybook Ranch for a day of seminars.

A personal note: David Leeson was my team leader. I first noticed him on Monday, standing toward the back of the group, ball cap down low on his face, a stubble of a beard, and very quiet. When he was introduced as the first speaker a new friend sitting next to me agreed; “Whoa- He looks INTENSE!" And for about two minutes I was rather nervous about being in David's group.
Then David began to speak.

There was a connection to his words that made myself and, I'm sure, the rest of my group feel immediately at ease and ready for an amazing workshop. Like David, the rest of the speakers were, in a word, inspirational. Cheryl was completely profound and articulate. Huy was, as usual, filled with fall-out-of-your-chair inspiration. The day ended with Amy giving us inspiration and encouragement through her wonderful photography and heartfelt convictions for making images.

That evening we met in our small groups (and the fun began). The team leaders gave out our assignments as we sat in the small groups and this was the first time we each were privy to what we were to shoot over the next two days.

For the most part, many of the Life assignments were rather difficult b/c we had to FIND the story in the assignment. The "story" was not laid out for us. This gave us the opportunity to get out of our comfort zone w/ weddings. In a wedding we KNOW the story. We know whom to shoot and why. But here in the workshop we had to put our skills and instincts to work to FIND what was worthwhile and create a photo essay from our findings.

My assignment was the SPCA (where I was promised 161 fighting roosters but was sadly let down by humane people who saved the roosters before I arrived for my assignment- oh the disappointment!). So I prepared myself to find a story somewhere between the cute little puppies and sweet little cats. Other assignments were similar (a Christian school, a truck stop, a SWAT team, a fire station, a sheep farm... find the story)

Tuesday we shot all day. After our assignments we came back to the hotel for an evening of critique with our team leaders and coaches. It was long, exhausting and, mostly, it was a struggle. No one was able to get lost in the shuffle of the workshop. No one was able to skate by in their assignment. Everyone was humbled after that first day of shooting. I can say honestly that I saw men and women alike shed some tears. Not bawling, hysterical tears, but rather tears of frustration and exhaustion. There were feelings of humbleness and of relief that the whole "being exposed" part of the process was over and we could all now go on and shoot with out egos or fear.

Basically we were broken down to a point where our individual pride or comfort zone was no longer an issue. Once we were down to that point, there was nowhere else to go but up.
David Murray had a great way of explaining it. He said, "This is a re-birth."

After an intense first day, we all went BACK out to our assignments on Wednesday and re-shot the whole thing. Some people shot to finish their photo essay. Some people started over with a new story. And some people just wanted to go home. The rest of the day/night Wednesday and all day Thursday we went through our images with our team leaders and edited (”Feel the PAIN of editing OUT an image you are married to!"). David had a great lesson for our team in editing, and we had some lively and thought-provoking conversations about 'tight edits', how many images we give in our weddings, and what impact that number of images may (or may not) have on our clients.

On Thursday night the workshop again provided a fabulous meal at a gorgeous location in downtown Dallas. I'm sorry I can't remember the name of where we were. But suffice it to say it was a very nice atmosphere and a pleasant way to end the week. Oh yeah, and the OPEN BAR certainly helped the happy, shiny feelings as well.

During our farewell party each group presented a slideshow of each, individual assignment. It was so awesome to see the assignments and the GROWTH each photographer had during the week. Seeing the thought process take a NEW turn for each photographer during the week was totally amazing. Again, it was a re-birth.

A personal note; once we got our assignments on Monday night to presenting the images on Thursday night I slept a TOTAL of about 5-6 hours. And even those naps weren't solid sleep. They were restless and difficult, filled with my thoughts on various comments about my images, conversations with David, discussions with my team coaches (Bill H. and Tyler W.- AMAZING coaches and completely FABULOUS people!), and searching my soul to see WHERE I could possibly pull any more out of myself to put into a stupid story about cats and dogs. Heh.

But in the end I think I found something inside. In the end I found a passion and a way to see "beneath the emulsion."

The workshop was an experience I am so thankful to have shared.

The End.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

FW4 for Scott

Well I must have caught a few bugs at least from the past week with everyone... Aside from a runny nose I took away a new skill of being able to engage people on their own level and outside of my comfort zone. I was able to care a little more about people and get past my personal walls of narrow view and depth of vision concerning a scene and people in general that usually I wouldn't think twice about.

I was able to grow photographically by learning a wide variety of things from focusing on layering my images better to quickly reading a scene and evaluating how to capture parts of it. I learned to look a little past the obvious, and instead of seeing blank faces I was able to see people... and talk to them. Once I was able to get past the fear of talking to strangers, the comfort of being a fly on the wall and looking at my assignment as "nothing going on" I found myself sitting for long stints of time talking to people about their lost loved ones, their pets, their pasts, and their lives in general. I was amazed at how cool a lot of people really are when you give them a chance and open your mind. My photos went from a lot of the backs of people's heads to more faces and genuine interaction (well as much as goes on at a truck stop between strangers ^_^ and without me joining in on Trucker showering action).

A HUGE thanks to Huy and all the crew for making it all happen, and a personal thanks to Tim Zeilenbach and Cheryl Diaz Meyer for sticking it to me and encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone and change as a person. Also a big thanks to Linda for having a warm sense of faith in me. It really was a personal challenge for me to shoot the truck stop as it was not an ideal assignment for me at first. I'm sure I will still do the "tilty-tilty" or kill people with my "frickin' wide angle verticles", and super fisheye madness to a degree, but at the very least but most importantly I feel like I became a better human being. There are many tidbits and skills that I can apply to my wedding photography that I feel will help me grow as a photographer and hopefully show through in the images I make in the future.

Now I'll share some random pics from the week... nothing special really... other than that they're of people I like. ^_^ I didn't take that many pics at all, and on a lot of them are very snappy... but here they are

Dennis introducing the speakers

Sergio working the Trio

L to R: Amy Huy Anna

Sergio working the Group shot "Just say Seerrggiiiooooohhh"

Caught Bill and Anne being cute

Piggy back

CamRon checking for rattles after it hit the floor...


Cold enough that Mimi Tsai had to use the candle for warmth

Me and a trucker

Cheryl's mini excercise about wide angle lens use

Layering the scene of the room? CamRon center working her wide angle

L to R: Cheryl, Cameron, Linda

Everyday scene

Does this need a caption?

JoeG and Tem framing my scene

Late night editing

Leigh and Cameroon


Look! a real moment!!!

"I'll give you a moment" ~ Cameron

Amy and Cameron framing my scene

Clockwise from bottom (6 o'clock position): Me, Linda, Serigo, Cameron, Tem

Cameron late night munchin'

Katrina working her scene: JoeG and Nicole

That's about it... there's a few more in this directory if you wanna see, but pretty much the same stuff:

Thanks to all the staff, and every single person who honored me with the friendship and words of wisdom, comedy, and encouragement. Words honestly are not enough to really express how much the workshop and the people meant to me... but there they are.

My FW4 Experience

I posted about FW4 and my family (they were awesome) on my blog, below is one of my favorite images.

how to post

If you've already accepted your invitation to be a Contributor, log in here

Look under Posting and Create .

Follow instructions to add images (either upload or host from your server).


Monday, February 27, 2006

photo story

I didn't get to shoot much - only one story I'd like to call "Linda".

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Fun Pictures @ FW4

I am not a very social guy, but I made more friends last week than I do in a year.
An enormous thank you goes to Huy, Amy, Cheryl, David for being the best tough ass instructors/editors ever.
Thanks to all the coaches for slapping us upside the head some times. And special thanks to the most amazing support team put together, Eddie, JP, Kym, Dennis and Sandy. These people busted their ass for us and they were always there.
I need some sleep now, so I'll express more of my gratitude later on.
The Group

Tem, Scott, Huy, Anna and Amy

Scott, Huy, Anna and Amy


Joe G experiencing the consequences of fire station food.

Close call ( EMT having some clean fun with Joe). "This one is for his wife", he said.

Joe G having fun with his new friends

Joe G seeing the light

Here is Linda when I told her she came too late

Mark Gardner talking about vertical wide angle shots

Hollye's Shaving Cream-Off Challenge. Katrina, Hollye, Kiki and the CVS employee.

The Duel

The shooting

Hollye. There is always next year

Kiki, Kristen, Katrina and Huy (clockwise)

Kiki, Kristen, Katrina and Huy (clockwise)

John after the beer ran out

JP and Eddie. I take my hat off for these 2 guys, incredibly talented shooters and great guys.

Kristen, Huy and Linda. Huy trying to convert wine into water (I think is the other way around)

Katrina, Kiki and Sergio

Kiki, Sergio, Linda, Huy and Eddie

Joe G, Kristen, Sergio, Linda and Huy

Joe G, Kristen, Linda, Sergio and Kiki

Kristen, Sergio and Linda

Nice framing

And my self portrait