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Posted on Jul 01, 2013 in The Seaside Institute , Photo Workshop , July-August 2013

Brenna Dorney with Jessica Schwartzman, “Splashes of Red in Seaside” In order to create a set of pictures that would capture attention and create drama, a lady in red was photographed throughout the pastel Seaside canvas. Schwartzman: I learned how to use my camera — how the different settings affect the composition of a photo (light, movement, etc). Dorney: I learned about placement and cropping — how to best position an object or place, as well as what should or should not be included in the picture.

Seaside is one of the most photographed towns in the country, luring professional and amateur photographers inspired by the urban design and natural beauty of the area. It’s the ideal place to work on improving photography skills.

During the Seaside Institute’s photography class on light and shade, six students — an attorney, an architect, a biochemist, a marketing director, a sales associate, a global health program manager and a newspaper editor — learned about the medium of light in photography from Sandy Sorlien, professional photographer and book author. The group spent a week photographing the architecture, seascapes and people in Seaside.

Sorlien, photographer, urban code writer and author of “Fifty Houses: Images from the American Road,” is finishing a book about American main streets. Working with Seaside designer Andrés Duany, she edited the model SmartCode ( In 2011, she brought her two career paths together with a place-based photography image bank for architects and planners at

The Institute has been hosting spring and summer workshops in other subjects including home design, plein air painting and drawing. The Academic Village, currently under construction, provides a workspace and houses students needing residence while taking a course. In addition to offering courses in the arts, the Academic Village will serve as a place to hold professional workshops and retreats and will also host university faculty and students from all over the country who want to learn about planning and architecture. Five universities have already reserved weeks in the village for the upcoming school year.

Diane Dorney is executive director of the Seaside Institute. She can be reached at

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Lori Leath Smith, “Seaside Sunset” Caption: The sun lingers a bit longer before leaving one of its favorite places — Seaside. A couple of things I learned: How to straighten up buildings and structures in photos and to determine what your subject is in the photo and make sure it’s the focal point of the picture; then to look around and beyond for any other subject matter that is distracting, such as textures, colors, poles and lines.

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Don Long, “Natchez Pavilion at Dusk” Sandy focused our attention on the variable qualities of light and particularly the excellent light for photography during the “golden hours” each day at dawn and dusk.

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Sandy Sorlien, instructor, “Night Cottage, Seaside” I don’t usually take night pictures, but was out practicing to help the workshoppers with their settings. I had walked by this spot several times during the day, but had never noticed this charming cottage. The next day, I learned that things are different at night in Seaside. It’s really only the entryway for a large yellow house that was lurking, mostly in the dark. Settings: ISO 12800, f/5.6, 1/30 second.