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A pro in the know

Whistler's Blake Jorgenson to host a two-day photography seminar and silent auction

by Susan Hollis

It took some gentle nudging - two-and-a-half years of it - but one of Whistler's best-known photographers will be sharing his technical savvy with aspiring action and landscape shutterbugs during a weekend seminar in Whistler on Oct. 23 and 24.

Blake Jorgenson's name is synonymous with mountain photography of all kinds. The 35 year old honed his skills on the wily trails and steep slopes of the Coast Mountains and today works for some of the world's heaviest hitters in the outdoor adventure industry. He is senior photo editor at Powder and Skier magazines and shoots regularly for campaigns by Rossignol, Helly Hansen, Oakley, Salomon, Red Bull and Nike.

"I have always described photography as learning a language - once you learn a language it flows out and when you don't and only know one sentence lines it is tough to communicate," he said during a phone interview. "There is such a massive photography community for still photography and video in Whistler and there are so many people who want to take pictures, obviously because Whistler is awesome."

To ensure Jorgenson can provide one-on-one instruction to attendees, the seminar will be capped at 10 people. If interest exceeds capacity for the first weekend, Jorgenson said he will run subsequent weekend sessions throughout October. He would eventually like to progress to week-long seminars featuring a variety of different photographers specializing in different fields.

"There really isn't anything like this going on, so this is just the starting point and hopefully it grows into something bigger for a greater variety of photographers and interests and ability," he continued. "Digital photography has raised people's interest, it's become a lot easier to get equipment and software, but it has also become a lot more complicated."

The first morning of the seminar will focus on theory in preparation for the afternoon's hike and landscape shoot. Following the excursion, participants will head back to the classroom to download their photos and digest the lessons of the day in a Q&A with Jorgenson.

The final morning of the seminar will be spent deconstructing the photos from the landscape session and preparing for that afternoon's action shoot with a pro mountain biker. To wrap up the weekend, Jorgenson will critique each photographer's shots from the bike shoot and host an open forum.

Each participant is expected to bring a basic understanding of photography along with his or her own camera equipment and laptop with appropriate software, such as Adobe Light Room or Photoshop.

Those who prefer to appreciate Jorgenson's work from their living room walls can attend a silent auction party on Sept. 23 at the Firerock Lounge in the Westin Hotel. Starting at 9 p.m., Jorgenson will be offering discounted rates on his photo stock while guests and prospective buyers mingle over local drink specials and live DJ sets by Foxy Moron and Vinyl Richie.

For more details, or to register for the seminar go to