I just completed a three day intensive photography tour with Geraint Smith of Taos, New Mexico. I dumped my Nikon DSLR heavy and bulky camera and accoutrement and treated myself to a new Lumix G85 mirrorless 35 mm camera and new glass in preparation for my journey into the unknown.
After many years as a public school teacher, university instructor and professional photographer I think it’s fair to say that I know a bit about teaching and learning in my areas of expertise.
And now, I have bumped into Geraint Smith. And, yes! He has rekindled the flame in me as a photographer. I am filled with gratitude for the many ways he has gifted me with his amazing ability to transfer his knowledge technically and philosophically around seeing, sensing and composing photographic images. This is the “stuff” of life for me.
Hanging out with Geraint for so many richly filled hours, following my heart and heeding his advice and wisdom, made the entire experience truly worthwhile…and it all came so unexpectedly! That is how I often know when I am living life most fully. Being with Geraint has proved again that at least for this man, I believe that “life is a rip-off when you get what you expect!”
I’ve often spoken about the difference between “change” and “transformation,” both with friends and in college courses I’ve conducted. The problem with “change” is that all too often, people who value “changes” in their lives seem to come around sooner or later to lament that, “yesterday I was different…today I’m the same…”
My time touring and talking with Geraint was without a doubt, one of the finest and most satisfying learning experiences of my life. I now recognize it as transformative. The writer George Leonard wrote in the 70’s in his powerful book, “Education and Ecstasy,” that learning should be an ecstatic experience. That describes exactly what happened over the course of my three days with Geraint. I will never forget the lessons learned from Geraint because many things have moved inside me in terms of how I see Mother Nature, still objects and of course, people. Yes, I have had an ecstatic learning experience with Geraint Smith and I wish the same for you.
So, in gratitude, I want to share some of the numerous superlatives that come to mind about this charming Welshman, Geraint Smith. How about…Master Teacher, genius at through the lens composition and light, kind and patient, bold in giving feedback, generous and strong, wily as the foxes and wolves he photographs, loving and compassionate, thorough and committed to his art and that of the student and yes, the sweetest guy you could ever wish to talk with about the meaning of life and the importance of taking photographs from within.
So, you see, my testimonial stems from a very deep place. I returned to my home in Mill Valley, California, renewed, more aware of my surroundings than I can recall in way too many years and eager to go right back to study with Geraint again and again. I love photography like never before and I am ready to leave my lazy-making I-Phone at home in a drawer now that I have reclaimed my passion and my chops for photography.
Thank you, dear Geraint for being you and sharing yourself so fully with your students. You make all the difference in the world to those who are open and willing to just stop, look and listen. After all…why not!
–Don Kline, Mill Valley
A great big GIGANTIC "Thank you" for the AWESOME photo tour!
It was fantastic....indeed a highlight life experience. I'm really greatful for the shooting tips but more so for your "photography as a meditation" philosophy. Of all the instruction you gave me, this mindfulness viewpoint resonated the most and will endure with me in all my future endeavors. I also appreciate your flexibility and am now convinced that a good scene can be had, no matter what the situation may be.
–Gabe Mounce, Albuquerque, NM
Geraint Smith and I have been doing photo day trips as friends for a very long time. As a landscape painter it is wonderful to explore the back roads and villages of northern New Mexico. Usually I do solo trips, but find the search for new material so much more fun in Geraint's company. He openly and unselfishly shares his knowledge of this area - it would be a great privilege for any visual artist to work with him. I have total admiration for his beautiful photography and talent. Any of the photo tours on his itinerary is the essence of northern New Mexico at it's most beautiful best.
–Donna Clair, Taos, NM
He was generous with his time and even more giving with his knowledge. His patient, supportive approach created a learning environment where I could proceed at my own pace. We explored some wonderful locations and were able to interact with a number of colorful characters. Mark van Doren said, "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." That's a perfect description of what Geraint does.
–Ron Richardson, Jasper, Alabama
My photo tour with Geraint was worth every penny.
He is a master at seeing beautiful compositions where most would drive by without a second glance. The tour was from 9-5: no sunrise, no sunset, yet he still found many good subjects. Geraint gave suggestions on how to frame, focus, and expose the shots. He brought a laptop and for some of the shots we did post-processing. This immediate feedback was helpful in visualizing the final result when taking shots.
While driving between locations, we had the opportunity for unhurried conversation about photography. This tour is about the art of photography, not the camera gear. Afterwards, I felt creatively re-charged.
I would recommend Geraint’s photo tour for any level of photographer, from beginner to professional.
–Colin Barnett, Albuquerque, NM
We had the opportunity to do three days of photo touring with Geraint. What a treat!
We were able to do three different tours, all of which were outstanding. The High Road to Taos, Georgia O'Keeffe Country, and the Rio Grande Gorge area were all a visual delight. The added plus was that the Cottonwoods had changed to their fall colors, a golden yellow. Magnificent!! Geraint 's intimate knowledge of knowing the time of day for the best natural light on the preferred shot was a real added plus. He was able to incorporate historic architecture, western weathered buildings and churches, old country stores, and a whole lot more into our day. It was a photographers delight! If you are an avid photographer you will really enjoy Geraint's tips and instruction. When we began our time with him he was our guide, at the conclusion of our time we parted friends.–Bill and Gretchen Northrup - Columbus, Ohio
Geraint, Susan and I wanted to thank you for the wonderful day we were able to spend with you last Wednesday.
Thanks for so many things - for showing us how to use our camera features more efficiently, for new ways of "seeing" a subject, balance and composition, we could go on and on! We have lived in NM most of our lives but had never seen many of the places you took us. The weather was stunning; thunder clouds, rainbows, mountain villages. It was a day that we were truly filled with wonder at all we saw!
You were so very patient with us as we would try to grasp concepts that come naturally to you. And finally, it was a pleasure to get to know you as a person, not just a photographer. Thank you for sharing a day with us.
–Mark and Susan Schumpert, Maine
After completing your half-day photo-tour session, in the back country around Taos, NM, I can only say that it exceeded my expectations and left me with both wonderful memories of the terrain and a renewed perspective of landscape photography.
I can certainly recommend your service to any Taos bound beginning or intermediate photographer who wants to enrich their view of nature’s grandeur, as seen through your eyes. Thank you again for your knowledge and patience with the slowness of my 73 year old brain and ability to hike the area.
–Kenneth S. Cohen, California
As an enthusiastic photographer, I found instruction with Geraint a unique opportunity.
He is generous and patient as well as thoroughly knowledgeable about digital cameras and photo-editing software. I would not hesitate to recommend his photo-tours to anyone, tourist or photographer alike. This is a great way to experience the special sights of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.
–Elizabeth Manny, El Prado, NM