Sean Bagshaw (Ninth of Thirty three)
A man stuffs some protein bars in his pocket, grabs his camera gear and ventures off to a remote location with no real roads or cell phone service. He camps out in a small pup tent in the snow and bitter cold and wakes the next morning as the sun is yawning. He scopes out the perfect location for his sunset shot, hours before the sun will begin its descent. After many test shots and sky calculations, he’s ready for the one image he envisions in his mind that afternoon. National Geographic explorer? (No, but his resume indicates he could be. His work has been in the Smithsonian!) Ashland local Sean Bagshaw lives for extreme and exacting conditions like this. A former middle school science teacher (whose class every kid wanted to take), Sean traded in his microscope for a DSLR a number of years ago. Now every big kid with a camera wants to be in his class; and in lieu of scientific equations, Sean now throws around phrases like “Orton effect,” “luminosity masks” and “salmon light”.
I’ve been fortunate enough to take a few classes and workshops from Sean. (Warning: They fill up quickly, so you have to book well in advance!) The first was in Bend, Oregon with my friends Anni Jones and Ellen Ahern. Like a safari guide, Sean led us to the perfect spot–Smith Rock (which I’d never even heard of, being a newcomer to Oregon). It was pitch black and I couldn’t even see the darned rock. I was afraid I’d trip and fall, and days later Sean would enlarge his image on his computer screen and discover me in the river below, tightly clutching my camera. A member of the talented Photo Cascadia group, Sean often teams up with another expert photographer for his workshops. This time it was with the incomparable Zack Schnepf. Sean and Zack hurried their small entourage like geese in formation (15 flashlights and tripods dotting various spots on the trails), and we all attempted to nail a perfect sunrise shot of our own making. When the sun finally ascended behind us, the colors on Smith Rock were awesome! Sean pointed out a tightrope between two rock formations to me, and my jaw dropped and eyes widened! (Hey, I’m a suburban girl. This extreme outdoor stuff is new to me!) He just shook his head and laughed. After breakfast, classroom discussion and photo editing, we then caravaned to a remote mountain spot above Bend. Now it’s snowing to beat the band and our cars are slipping all over the road. Quick thinking Sean consults with his buddy Zack, and in a moment they lead us to an even BETTER location–complete with fall colors, water reflections and, yes, wonderful “salmon light.” Some of my favorite shots came from that splendid detour!
Sean has an international presence in the art world, has won many awards, and his work appears in magazines and books (including Ashland, Oregon). His name is a household word, accompanied by phrases like, “Wonderful Guy!” Sean’s beautiful images on display in many homes and office buildings. (Both my bank and doctor’s office have his larger-than-life photos smiling down from their walls!) Sean’s in-depth Photoshop videos and online-tutorials make it easy for anyone to understand blending modes, non-destructive editing, and layer masks. His workshops are thorough and action packed. His voice is soothing. If he’s not out shooting incredible landscapes with his camera, you’ll probably see him on his bike or rough-housing with his two young boys in Ashland.
In my Tenth blog about the book, Ashland, Oregon, you’ll meet Brian LeBlanc.
To purchase Ashland, Oregon and see more photos by Sean Bagshaw, as well as from all 33 photographers, go to the Order page of my website.