Camera Clubs – upcoming lectures

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I am honored to have been asked to give a talk at two local camera clubs. The first, on Thursday, March 20, is for the Millbrae Camera Club. The program begins at 7 pm in Room A at the Millbrae Library, which is located at 1 Library Avenue, Millbrae, CA 94030

The second talk is at 7pm on Thursday, March 27 in Pleasant Hill at the Winslow Center for the Contra Costa Camera Club (see the flyer below).

At both, I will be presenting and discussing my work as a street and travel photographer.

In Search of Unique Experiences

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As a photographer who loves to travel, I crave unique places and experiences to explore with my camera. As the world becomes smaller, it becomes more difficult to find those special places that have not already been exposed by hundreds of thousands of photographers before me. I search for unique locations with beautiful scenery, warm and open people, and fascinating culture and history. In 2010, I found all of this and more in Cuba..

Cuba is only 90 miles from Florida and yet, it is worlds away. When you arrive in Cuba, you are immediately struck by the smells of tropical flowers mixed with salt air and gasoline from the American Chevy’s from the 1950s and Soviet-era Ladas. The sounds of old cars, salsa music, kids playing baseball in the streets, and their mothers yelling after them fill your ears. The heat from the Caribbean sun warms your skin as you notice the incredible light bouncing off of the stunningly beautiful Spanish and French colonial-era walls coated with layers of peeling paint and years of incredible history. Cuba radiates creative inspiration and you will want to pick your camera up and start making photographs right away. It truly is a photographer’s paradise

The most incredible thing about visiting Cuba is that you actually can pick up your camera and start making photographs as soon as you step out of the airport. Cubans are so open and friendly, that engaging them for photos is as easy as walking down the street. In Cuba, everyone is in the streets, in their doorways, or out on their balconies. Cubans are genuinely curious about the United States; as curious as we are about Cuba. This mutual interest opens doors for us as photographers. Being invited into their houses and shops is common and gives us more than mere glimpses of how Cubans live and work. They don’t mind if you photograph in their houses, their places of business, their classrooms, farms, bars, or during their dance recitals and musical performances. There are few places in the world where this kind of access is possible. This openness is what I seek as a traveler and as a photographer. I am free to make the photographs that I want to make, to create the images that make others envious and that help me to tell the story of an incredible and unique place. When you visit, your experiences in Cuba will shape your photography in ways you can never imagine.

I have since returned to Cuba and the changes between the first visit and the second were quite dramatic. As the world opens to Cuba, Cuba adapts and modernizes. The changes are energizing, and the old Cuba is slowly disappearing. That is why I am excited to return in October as an instructor with Incredible Travel Photos. This is the most exciting and important time to visit Cuba. The tropical beauty and charm of old Cuba is still evident while the dynamic changes of a modern Cuba are rushing in the most Cuban way possible, with open arms and set to a modern salsa beat.

Bright Lights, Bustling Streets Workshop – San Francisco

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Despite the bitter cold, my workshop participants persevered on December 7. We had a grand time and with all the wonderful activity around Union Square, there was plenty to photograph. In the evening we practiced using available light for our street photography. Using the bright lights from a shop window is always fun. It requires patience but if you find a great spot, stay there and someone will walk past and give you a great image.

January is sold out, but March is available

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WOW! What a fantastic way to start 2014! My upcoming photography workshop with Incredible Travel Photos at the Chinese Flower Festival and Parade is now sold out. I have just scheduled another for March 22, 2014. In this next one we will be photographing in San Francisco’s Chinatown during one of the busy market days of the week. March is still early enough in the spring that the number of tourists is fewer than usual, so there will be a more intimate feel to the neighborhood. As always, there will be surprises because we never know what fun we will discover.

Workshop Update

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WOW! and WOW! My January workshop is already half-way sold out! Thank you! Thank you! I feel so honored to have such wonderful students. Below are a few snaps from my Chinatown workshop held on November 2. I don’t take many photos while I am teaching, but occasionally I have a moment to grab a photo with my cellphone camera.

New Workshop Announced

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I’m excited to announce that due to the success and popularity of my photo workshops in Chinatown, I have developed a new workshop for Incredible Travel Photos. This one will take place in San Francisco’s Chinatown on January 25. We will spend that Saturday, photographing during one of Chinatown’s best cultural street festivals. San Francisco’s Chinatown celebrates the Chinese New Year for two weeks. This flower and street fair kicks off the New Year’s celebrations with a wonderful little parade of fan dancers, dragon dancers and other performers from public schools and community organizations around the Bay Area. (Note this is not the bigger Chinese Lunar New Year Celebration.) The flower fair is held so that families can come to Chinatown and purchase their traditional holiday plants, such as orange trees and lucky bamboo. Grant Street, the main thoroughfare of Chinatown is shut down between Clay and Broadway, as are many of the side streets giving us an opportunity to photograph Chinatown when it is at its most open and festive.

People are already registering. The class is limited to 10 people. All of my workshops have sold out, so please be sure to register early. You can find the registration information at the link below: http://incredibletravelphotos.com/workshop/wsB/flower-fair-parade/

Workshop sold out – Again!

I am so excited that my November Chinatown workshop has sold out again. I love teaching street photography and San Francisco’s Chinatown is just about one of my favorite places in the Bay Area. Due to the popularity of this workshop, we have just added another Chinatown workshop at the end of January. This one will be special because it will be during the Lunar New Year’s Flower Market Festival. Stay posted for details.

Two exciting workshops

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I am excited to announce that I have two new workshops coming up. The first is in San Francisco’s http://incredibletravelphotos.com/workshop/wsB/chinatown-san-francisco/ Chinatown on November 2. Chinatown is one of the most interesting and photogenic neighborhoods in San Francisco. I taught this workshop in July and we sold out, so be sure to register soon as there are only a two seats left as of October 4.

The second workshop is a new one that I am thrilled to offer. In this workshop http://incredibletravelphotos.com/workshop/wsB/holiday-bright-lights/ titled Bright Lights, Bustling Streets and Holiday Merriment we will combine street photography during the most festive and decorated time of year with the surreality of window reflections. I just love San Francisco when she is all dressed up for the holidays. The bustle of the shoppers, the decorations, the shiny streets and the wonderful reflections from the decorated shop windows. There are currently five seats available in this workshop. It is filling fast.

I look forward to seeing you at one of my workshops. more details can be found here: http://www.neeleymain.com/?page_id=1688. Drop me a line if you have any questions.

It’s World Elephant Day

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I had the opportunity to photograph elephants at the Performing Animal Welfare Society in Northern California. Pat Derby and her partner, Ed Stewart founded PAWS in 1984. Sadly, Pat passed away this past May. She was passionate and inspiring. I will always remember the afternoon that I was able to spend with her and the wonderful elephants at PAWS.