What do Whales in Tonga have to do with Graphic Design?

2016 so far has been the year of the WORKSHOP. I teach a few of them, myself (you can see the workshops here). But I also participate in other experts' workshops.

For instance, early this year, I went up to Portland Oregon to learn Hand Lettering and also Screen Printing from the guys at House Industries. House is a font foundry and design studio that has been putting out great stuff for more than two decades.

The most recent workshop I attended was a whale photography workshop hosted by Australian Nature Photographer, Craig Parry. I've been wanting to improve my photography skills for some time now. And the Kingdom of Tonga, with its yearly migration of humpback whales was the perfect place to hone those skills.

The whales can move quickly, so the added pressure of a moving target really helped cement the camera settings in my mind. It's all about anticipating and quickly adjusting the camera settings: F-Stop, Shutter Speed and ISO.

We shot everything in Manual mode. I learned from day one that if you try and shoot underwater in Automatic mode, your photograph will come out sub-par almost every time.

I use quite a bit of photography in my designs, so these new found skills will come in handy down the road. I'm hoping to sell some art prints, or perhaps turn some of these into t-shirt designs.

Tonga has the clearest, most deep blue water I've ever seen. A big plus for underwater photography.

The "over/under" or "split shot" is another water photography technique we worked on. This is one of the many small islands in the Vava'u group.

A curious baby humpback approaches (and dwarfs) one of the photographers who participated in the workshop.

A palm tree-filled beach in Vava'u, Tonga. This might make a good t-shirt design!

45 feet in length. 80,000 pounds. Humpback whales are some of the most gentle creatures you can witness in the wild.

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