I Am Back

What A Great Trip

Our group portrait with our guides
Our group portrait with our guides

It’s always nice to be home. I just completed the Rockhopper Workshops / PhotoPXL’s Svalbard Workshop.

This workshop has seen several postponements due to COVID, over the last few years, but it finally launched and was quite an amazing trip. As the map will show we traveled far and wide. We saw amazing sites as is always the case in Svalbard and I came home with 12,000 plus images.

Many of those images are because of shooting wildlife at 20-plus frames per second. I have made initial edits already but it will take some time to go through all the images and make sure I haven’t overlooked anything.

There we eleven attendees plus myself on this trip. All but three of these photographers have been with me before on some of my other workshops. We cruised the Svalbard region on a small 12-passenger ship that was 69 years old. Just shy of my age by one year. The M.S. Stockholm had a unique and wonderful charm. Her Captain and crew were incredible.

There is a lot to share about this trip and I will do so in pictures and an upcoming article with some videos.

Over the last two-plus years, I have had just about every workshop get canceled due to COVID. For a travel business like mine, that is very bad. So, to get out and do a successful workshop with no COVID is a big deal. Things are finally getting back to normal.

All travel went flawlessly, and no bags got lost. I tracked my bags with Apple Air Tags and I’ll do an article about why I think these are an essential part of every photographer’s kit. This was reassuring all along the way to know my bags were close by and not left behind.

My camera gear performed above my expectations. I now make the declaration that the Sony a1 camera is the best camera I have ever owned. I’ll do an article on this too. I also had the Sony a7riv with me and it also did excellent. I had 4 lenses with me too, 16-35mm, 24-70mm, 100-400mm, and 200-600mm. Every one of these lenses worked great. The 200-600mm lens was a perfect choice for a trip like this. I was able to photograph great bird shots as well as wildlife like Polar bears, and Walrus. The ability to have a zoom lens in a changing environment where wildlife is far away and then comes closer makes this lens a perfect fit. Oh, did I mention an almost instantaneous AF with the a1 and these lenses?

I wasn’t afraid of using high shutter speeds and high ISOs. If needed, I dropped the images into TOPAZ DeNoise AI and Sharpen AI, and bingo, the images improved significantly. I’ll also do a piece on this software in use with images I made on this trip.

I have lots of great content to work on.


I did a layover for 2 nights in Amsterdam. It was cheaper to do this than catch a Friday flight. Don’t ask me how the prices work but it gave me a day to decompress and spend a whole day shooting around the beautiful city of Amsterdam. The city around the canals is a photographer’s paradise,e especially if you like street photography. For this adventure, I used my Sony RX100vii and iPhone. I just didn’t want to be encumbered walking the streets. I’ll share that part of the adventure too in an article.

The Bad News

Two days before I left for the trip I received bad news. For 8 years I have had a studio working space at the Stutz. II’m sure you have seen photos of our space. I did a story last September “Welcome To the NEW PhotoPXL Studio and Classroom” https://photopxl.com/welcome-to-the-new-photopxl-studio-and-classroom/. The notice was that they wanted me out of the building by November 1st.

Needless to say, I was a bit upset. The space is large and has printers, classroom tables, chairs, and a lot more. Now all of it has to go somewhere by the end of the month. While a bit saddened, I always approach things from a positive side. Maybe it’s time not to have a space like this anymore. Maybe it is time to simplify things.

The Stutz is undergoing an 80 million dollar renovation.  I was hoping to be part of the new Stutz but alas the management didn’t see it that way.  Most of the artists in the building have left and it looks like the plan is to make this a more corporate space high-value office space building than having small businesses like mine be part of the plan.  All things happen for a reason and I’m sure my next chapter will be for the best.

I can move some stuff to my home. I have some options on where to put other things. It makes for a busy October, but last night Debra and I got a head start and moved the first batch of things to our home. Lots of books and that kind of thing. Maybe we will add more bookcases to our living room for my book collection. Lots of maybes but between Debra and I, we will figure it out. I’ll probably bring the Canons and Epson 17-inch printers to my house. I have a rather large man-cave and we can put the printers there.

As I evaluate things, I am looking at doing smaller 4-person workshops and offering private printing lessons and consulting here at my home. We even have a guest suite for those that will be partaking. Lots to think about and do but it will keep me busy and of course, I’ll be sharing it with you.


Ice abstracts

Admitting all of this I’ll be working on new content, videos, and a lot more. I’m anxious to see how the future takes shape. No matter what, I’ll do my best to have fun doing this. I’ll also remember as I ask all of you, “Get out there and take some pictures!”

Girl reading a book in Amsterdam
Girl reading a book in Amsterdam


Kevin Raber
Indianapolis, IN

Photography is my passion and has been for 50 plus years. My career in photography has allowed me to travel the world, meet some of the most interesting people on the planet and see things I could never have dreamed of. My goal is to share the passion of picture taking through photographs and teaching with as many people as I can, hoping it brings them as much joy and happiness as it has me. I do this through photoPXL.com, this site, as well as Rockhopper Workshops, and other projects, as well as teaching as Artist In Residence at the Indianapolis Art Center.

Article Type: News, Columns, MISC

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