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Springtime in Berlin

Springtime in Berlin

Hello once again to all my fellow photographers who enjoy traveling and are as passionate about photography as I am…which would include all of you! I just can’t imagine a better partnership.

So, having said that, I’m introducing my next “springtime” workshop description that many of you have been asking me about when I was going to do it.

I was not aware of the fact that so many photographers had Berlin on their bucket list. Several people from my workshop in Houston last April told me that they were “in” before I ever even began thinking about writing the description.

I always try to release my descriptions as soon as possible, since a lot of people that work for corporations need up to a year to get the vacation days they want.

For those of you that know, besides the workshops I do for organizations I’ve been conducting my own personal workshops for several years going back to my first one in Prague.

My first workshop, “Springtime in Prague”, was in 2011. A woman (and very good photographer) name Katka with help from her husband Petr (also very good) helped me to produce the workshop. Since then, they have been involved in my Tuscany, Portugal, and my Autumn in Provence workshops.

Well Katka and Petr are back onboard for my “Springtime in Berlin” workshop starting May 23rd, 2018.

As a lot of you know, Katka and Petr have been instrumental in making my workshops such a success. Without her amazing knowledge of Europe, organizational skills, and ability to speak several languages, I would not have been able to conduct such memorable workshops.

Now a bit about the amazing city of Berlin. Berlin dates back to the 13th century, and after doing extensive research on the city’s history, there was a considerable amount I realized I already knew, as most of you know as well.

After WWII, the city was divided into East and West sectors until the reunification in 1990; at that time Berlin was declared the capitol of all Germany. One would be hard-pressed to find a city more diversified than modern day Berlin.

Home to world-renowned universities, museums, and orchestras, it’s also well known for its architecture, nightlife, festivals, and contemporary art. Not only is one-third of the city made up of parks, gardens, rivers, canals and lakes, but Germany is now a powerful leader in the European Union; a city of culture and politics.

We start our workshop with my traditional “meet and greet” the evening of May 23rd. For those of you joining me for the first time, this is when we all get together, introduce one another, and the final workshop schedule for the week is passed out and discussed.

For those of you that have taken anywhere from one to nine other workshops with me (that would include lots of you), it’s a time to hug and say hello to who would now be considered old friends.

The following is Katka and my preliminary schedule as far as the locations where we want to shoot. As always, I will be meeting Katka in Berlin three days ahead of time to actually scout each of these places to find out if they should be an early morning shoot, a sunset shoot, or one that lends itself to the ‘Blue Hour’; even whether we should replace it with another location, which has happened before.

Below is more of a list of photo ops than a written in stone day to day schedule, since I haven’t seen any of them as of yet. Depending on logistics and time of day, these locations will probably move around. You can be certain that Katka and I will provide everyone with the best possible opportunities to take home the best possible visual memories of what will be a wonderful experience.

Since there are so many places to see, some of you might be interested in visiting the Jewish museum and/or concentration camps while others might not. So, for the first time, I’m planning on adding a day in the middle of my regular five-day workshop so people can have the entire twenty-four hours to do and see whatever they like in this amazing city or surrounding countryside.

Once you read this description, and based on the locations all of us will be going to together, you can plan your personal day off by checking out all there is to see on the internet.

You’ll find that Berlin has an extraordinary metro, train, and subway system that can take you anywhere in or outside the city.

Thursday, May 24th:

We’ll meet in the morning to look at what you consider to be your six favorite images. This has been a long-standing tradition that helps me see where each of you are. These can also not be your best photos but ones you might have questions about.

It’s important that you know that this is not a competition. There will be photographers from all levels of expertise so don’t worry if you don’t think you’re a strong enough shooter to come shoot with me. This is about having fun, eating great food, learning from one another, taking your work to the next (individual) level, making new friends, and going home with some great images of this fantastic city.

After lunch, we’ll be heading to the famous East Side Gallery:

The East Side Gallery is an international memorial to freedom. A section of wall located near the center of Berlin that consists of paintings from artists from around the world. It documents a time of change and expresses the hopes for a free world:


For the late afternoon and evening shoot we’ll head over to the famous Tiergarten for a relaxing time strolling around with a variety of photo ops everywhere you look:


Friday, May25th:

We’ll be meeting in the morning for the daily critique followed by lunch.

After lunch, we’ll head over to Museum Island for some great architectural and people photos with five museums to pick from:


While we’re there, for those interested we can also visit the Berliner Kunstmarkt for some street people photography and view the work of local artists:


At sunset, we’ll wind up at the Brandenburg Gate for the last light of the day, continuing until the end of the Blue Hour:

The Brandenburg Gate is an 18th Century Neoclassical triumphal arch that is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Europe. Commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace, hundreds of thousands of people stood before it to celebrate the Berlin wall coming down.

It also stands for the unification of East and West Berlin, and following in the footsteps of Kennedy, Clinton, and Reagan, Obama became the fourth president to deliver a speech there.


Saturday, May 26th:

After the early morning review, we’ll be getting in our mini-vans and head to Potsdam for the day, returning after sunset.

Potsdam is best known for its palaces and parks, and a famous focal point during the end of the war in Europe where the Potsdam Conference was held in 1945. Stalin, Churchill, and Truman participated and it was there that the three decided how to divide up the newly defeated Nazi Germany.

Here are the locations where we’ll be shooting. If the time permits we’ll try to see them all:




Sunday, May 27th:

This is the day that you’ll have to yourself, and there will be no morning critique.

One place I would recommend, and where I’ll probably be spending a little time at is the famous Mauerpark Flea Market:

A great place to people watch, with music and great food everywhere; and more photo ops that you ever see in one location!!


Monday, May 28th:

We’ll meet in the morning for the review and then head out to the Hackescher Market for lunch:


In the afternoon, we’ll be going to the Reichstag (Imperial Parliament) Building:


Few buildings have as rich an historical heritage as this one does and events span from the German Empire to the present day.

The new dome is a fabulous structure and it’s become a must see; it has become a symbol of the Parliament and government district.

Unless Katka and I find something going on in the city while we’re scouting, a festival for example, the late afternoon and early evening will be open for us to walk around the area by our hotel for some street shooting.

Tuesday, May 29th:

After the morning review, we’ll be visiting the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church:


This church is the most famous landmark in the western city center and one of Berlin’s most important. It is composed of the ruins of the church that was destroyed in the war, as well as a modern-day structure.

Built in honor of Wilhelm I, this Neo romantic church stands as a memorial for peace and reconciliation.

From there time permitting, we’ll travel to the Memorial to the Sinti and Roma murdered under the National Socialists Regime:


This will take us close to the time for everyone to go back to their room and get ready for the final dinner. As the ones that have been to one of these, it’s always a great night to remember.

Wednesday, May 30th:

We’ll meet for the final review and the workshop will end at 12:00PM.

The cost of the workshop will be $1595.00 and that will include the meet and greet, coffee and tea breaks during the review, private mini-vans, and the final dinner. It will also help to cover some of Katka’s expenses for the scouting beforehand.

For all non-shooters, the fee will be $500.00 which will include everything but the daily reviews. All other expenses will be up to the photographers. A non-shooter would be a spouse (many of them come), partner, friend, or relative.

Katka and I are in now in the process of talking to several hotels to stay at for the workshop, including having the meeting room there.

As past participants know, it will be a reasonably priced four-star hotel located in an area that will be in the central part of Berlin.

For those that prefer to stay someplace else, you’re more than welcomed to do so.

Once we decide on a hotel, I’ll let everyone know so you can book your reservations yourself. It’s a lot easier to do it this way, as people are looking for different size and priced rooms and it will eliminate mistakes by the “middle man” …that would be me!!

My workshops are limited to ten photographers, not counting the non-shooters. I can tell you people have already asked me to hold a spot, so if Berlin has always been a city you wanted to visit, I suggest you give it serious thought to signing up sooner rather than later.

Since I first saw Berlin and surrounding areas, I’ve been wanting to go back and produce a workshop there. It’s a beautiful city, full of energy and friendly people; it’s history notwithstanding.

I hope to see some old friends there, meet new ones, take great photographs, and have a wonderful time!

Wir sehen uns in Berlin,


Here’s a few testimonials from past workshop attendees:

I just finished taking Joe’s workshop. I simply cannot recommend it highly enough.  I cannot adequately express my gratitude to Joe for his approach to teaching and his willingness to share his tremendous wealth of knowledge. Learning about critical elements of design and the discovery of the artist’s palette has changed the way I make pictures, and the way I look at the world. This has been a truly outstanding experience with an outstanding teacher. Thank you Joe!


I recently completed my third workshop with Joe Baraban, and all I can say is that I will be coming back for more. All aspects of the workshop were fantastic. Joe’s approach to teaching, the shooting locations, the daily reviews, the accommodations, the planning and organization, and the communications were all at the highest level.

From the “meet and greet” reception the first night, to the final dinner, Joe paid strict attention to every detail to make sure we were well taken care of…all the time. Joe’s selection of locations were diverse and challenging and presented many, many opportunities for great shots and learning.

The daily reviews are a wonderful educational experience as you discuss your own work as well as the work of the other photographers. Joe teaches how to “make pictures”, not just take them. The quality and creativity in my images continue to ratchet up a notch with every workshop as I continue to learn from Joe.

I highly recommend Joe’s workshops and online classes.


I just finished taking Joe’s workshop and again it was nothing short of extraordinary. Because of Joe and the ideas and concepts he teaches, I see everything differently now. Whether I’m driving along a country road or watching TV, I now see negative space, vanishing points, color, light, texture, pattern, line, angle of reflection, tension, perspective – everywhere.

Knowing these critical elements of design have truly not only changed how and what I photograph, but have changed the way I look at the world in a very real way.

I cannot adequately express my gratitude to Joe for his caring and expertise and if you are considering taking a class or workshop with Joe think no more as I cannot recommend him highly enough. Just DO IT!!!


Joe Baraban’s workshop is first rate, and pitched at a level that in my opinion would provide a strong learning experience for any photographer, no matter their level or their primary area of photographic interest.

Joe is attentive and his workshops are well prepared and illustrative of the concepts being put forward. Better yet, supplementary tips and advice were passed along to participants in neat little packages with titles like “The fifteen-point inspection plan”. His photo critiques are honest and very helpful. A number of us would definitely take a second, third, and fourth workshop offered by Joe.


I attended Joe’s Paris workshop and received a lot of valuable information in less than a week.

Joe’s workshops begin with an informal meet and greet where all the participants and spouses are able to meet each other with food and wine.

Usually, each day start before dawn with an air-conditioned private bus trip to a pre-scouted shooting location. Joe gives suggestions for shooting before and during each shoot. He moves around to each photographer during the shoots and gives “hands-on tips” and suggestions that are wonderful and instructive.

Each day there is a very constructive critique of the work that was shot the day before. Joe has everyone involved and he asks people their opinions.

I have not attended many formal workshops and I was happy that the comments of the other shooters and those from Joe were very helpful and allowed everyone to get real feedback so soon after shooting.

I can truly say that the workshop immediately helped me, and I believe that my photos have much improved. It was a wonderful experience and made me a better photographer. It also gave me a chance to make friends with the other photographers.

John B



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