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Jonathan Kingston is a contributing photographer at National Geographic and founding board member of Submerged Archaeological Conservancy International. His work primarily focuses on maritime archaeology, natural history and the human story of our world. His photography has appeared in National Geographic Magazine and has been used commercially by fortune 500 companies. He has won multiple accolades from international photo competitions including the Communication Arts photo annual, the PDN photo annual and the PX3 photo annual.

Molokai, Hawaii – Photography Workshop Day 1

Ironwood, Molokai, Hawaii.  (Photo by Jonathan Kingston/Aurora)

Rekindling the Creative Spirit – the title and intent of our week on Molokai.  Today, enough baco bits of wisdom have been sprinkled on the proverbial salad bar of life to float us for the rest of the seminar — and we are just getting warmed up!  It is an interesting week for me, because I come unarmed.  My sword, my professional camera passed away two weeks ago and with no home to take a second mortgage on to finance a replacement, i am left with my pocket panasonic and less baggage.  While my wallet mourns its loss, I love the idea and the reality of being free from the weight and judgment of carrying all that metal and glass and circuitry.  To paraphrase a good friend, ‘There is a mistaken belief that some special gear is necessary to take good pictures, Whereas the only real requirement is the ability to see clearly and objectively. Plus of course having the urge to take photographs.’ 1 In a fantastic presentation this evening by fellow instructor Dewitt Jones on focusing the vision, a video of Sir Ken Robinson at the TED awards lodged in my mind and would not leave.  I will leave you his thoughts on how we are being educated out of our creativity so that all of you not sharing this time on Mother Molokai can take a peek over the edge of the rabbit hole we are tumbling down this week.

Hawaii bound

Raindrops on the window of a plane.

There is rain on the window of this giant jet plane as we push back and roar into the sky.  My eyes close in sleep before the plane reaches cruising altitude.  Six hours later the wheels chirp as they hit the pavement.  The door opens onto the sticky sweet warm air that instantly forms a sheen of sweat on my forehead.  Luau sounds spill over the pa system in the terminal.  A few tourists walk around with sweet smelling lei’s around their necks.

Mentor – Paul Liebhardt

The first and second jobs I had out of Brooks Institute of Photography were directly due to Paul Liebhardt.  While there were many instances during my first job in India that I couldn’t decide whether he was playing an elaborate joke with me as the unwitting victim, Paul set me on a trajectory that I have been following to this day.  He once said “The best pictures are taken by those who feel some excitement about life and use the camera to share their enthusiasm with others.”  Please – do yourself a favor and share some of Paul’s enthusiasm for life by viewing his images.  Click on the image below to go to his site.

Paul Liebhardt Photography


© Marcia Duff 2008

A successful week in Ketchum/Sun Valley Idaho and the “Masala of Digital Imaging Techniques” workshop.  The above image was produced by Marcia Duff after a introduction to digital montages in Photoshop CS3.  Photoshop is such a complex behemoth of a program  that it is very refreshing for me to see my participants artistic vision emerge like it did during the workshop.  Great job Marcia and all the other participants who produced fantastic images during the two day event!


Rekindling the Creative Spirit Workshop, Molokai, Hawaii.

I will be teaching six photography workshops in 2008. Other Photoshop courses out there focus on techniques that aren’t applicable to everyday shooting. In my courses, Photography is at the heart of every bit of instruction behind the lens and the computer. The complete workshop schedule with links is posted below. I hope to see you there!



Last year I had the privilege to work with National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin, videographer Jason Sturgis and whale researcher Jim Darling in Maui. Along with a few other dedicated people, they facilitate research for The Whale Trust – an organization that supports marine research, education and conservation.Whale researchers near Maui, Hawaii. One of the many “wouldn’t it be nice if…” conversations we had during my time there was for a pro level camera that had GPS built directly into it for geotagging your location when you pressed the shutter. Well that hasn’t happened yet – but a couple of interesting devices has appeared recently that are almost as good. One is the GeoPic II here that works with Nikon cameras, and the other is the ATP device here, that looks like it will work with any device as long as the respective clocks are synchronized. Technology is a wonderful thing!