Aircraft Carrier Workshop


Take your HDR photography to the next level this fall with a one-of-a-kind weekend workshop aboard the decommissioned WWII aircraft carrier USS Yorktown.  Learn HDR camera setup, composition, and post-processing with Photomatix, Topaz, Lightroom, and Photoshop.  In addition to the carrier, you will also have the opportunity to photograph aboard the destroyer USS Laffey, as well as the diesel-electric submarine USS Clamagore.  We’ll also be taking a ferry trip out to Fort Sumter to get a unique look at the carrier while in-transit and photograph the site of the start of the Civil War.

The 3-day workshop starts on Friday October 25 with a foundational session, followed by a day of shooting on Saturday and an editing session on Sunday.  Here’s the day-by-day breakdown:

Friday Night: Laying the Foundation (5pm-9pm)
The workshop begins at the Charleston Center for Photography with a meet & greet, camera check, an overview of shooting for HDR, and an introduction to editing.  Friday night will give you the foundation for the Saturday shoot.

Saturday: Yorktown, Laffey, Clamagore & Fort Sumter (Sunrise)
Saturday starts with a sunrise shoot.  We will make our way early to the Yorktown’s flight deck to photograph the aircraft onboard.  After sunrise, the team will board a ferry out to Fort Sumter where, while in transit, you will have a unique vantage point to photograph the carrier.  We’ll then spend a couple of hours at Fort Sumter before returning to the Yorktown for lunch.

Mid-day Saturday will be spent photographing aboard the Yorktown, Laffey and Clamagore.  The day ends with a sunset shoot on the flight deck.

Saturday Night: Optional Downtown Charleston Social Hour & Photowalk
An optional outing to have dinner and do a bit of night photography in Downtown Charleston.  This is a time to relax, chat, and just enjoy the night.

Sunday: Post-Processing 9am-2pm
Editing and critique time at the Charleston Center for Photography.  We will dive into preparing images for export to Photomatix, deghosting, tonemapping single- and multiple-raw source images with Photomatix, noise reduction with Lightroom and Topaz Denoise, color correction, and the utilization of layer masks for mixing source and tonemapped images.  I’ll also be discussing halo reduction and multiple sharpening techniques, little tricks like double-tonemapping and using lightroom alone to create hdr-like images. Additional topics will include the complexities & nuances of  utilizing layer masks without tonemaping to create HDR images.

Cool Door Prizes:
The following gear and tools from the awesome sponsors will be given away as door prizes to help you with your photography:

  • Topaz Plugin-in Bundle ($299)
  • Photomatix Pro Plus Bundle ($119)
  • ThinkTank Suburban Disguise 30 Camera Bag ($84.75)
  • $100 Gift Certificate from

Cost & Booking
$349 for the weekend – price includes entry fees to the Yorktown and the ferry to Fort Sumter.  Class size is limited to 15 as an absolute maximum.  Click here to book now & reserve your spot.

Stuff you’ll need

  • Tripod: You’ll want a stable easy-to-carry tripod and head or you will be frustrated shooting HDR.  I’m a fan of the Induro AT-213 Tripod with the Manfrotto 498 RC2 head.
  • Lenses: The carrier’s interior rooms are designed for military operations and are quite small.  You’re going to want to have along a wide angle, as well as, a standard lens.  BorrowLenses is offering a 10% discount to workshops attendees (you’ll get the code in your booking confirmation email.)  Below are a couple of wide-angle lens recommendations:
  • Extra batteries: shooting all day can drain you battery.  Be sure to have at least two charged batteries.  You don’t want to be hoping to find an outlet to plug you charger into for an hour in the middle of the day.
  • Laptop & Software: Some folks are auditory or visual learners and feel having their own laptop would be distracting.  Others feel having a laptop to experiment with techniques is a must. My recommendation is to bring a laptop with at least Lightroom and Photomatix if you can.

The Yorktown, Laffey and Clamagore are military vessels, and while efforts have been made to make the accessible to the public, it is worthwhile noting they can be difficult to navigate for those with mobility concerns or are in poor health.  Please carefully consider your ability to climb steep, narrow, stairs and your comfort level with being in the small areas inherent in naval vessels (especially submarines).

Note that the vessels are open to the public; the carrier will not be shut down for the workshop.  The vessels are active museums and are not abandoned locations.  Be aware the public will be there and someone may get in your shot.  That said, we will have access to the flight deck at times not open to the general public (e.g. sunrise).

The Holiday Inn, Mount Pleasant is just a few minutes from the Yorktown.  Room rates are $119 per night.  Contact the hotel at: (843) 884-6000 for booking.  You do not need to stay at the Holiday Inn to attend the workshop, but the arrangement is there for you should you need lodging.

[customcontact form=2]


  • Sound like a great and very interesting workshop. I’ve been shooting a bit on the USS North Carolina but never been to the Yorktown.Being able to the ship from the ferry also seem like a very good ideas and should provide for some unique photos especially during sunset.
    Really would love to learn more about HDR post processing as well and it seem it will cover all the necessary software and tutorial to really enhance my skills.

  • Looking forward to going :]

Leave a comment


Error. Page cannot be displayed. Please contact your service provider for more details. (16)