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Springtime in Sicily 2016

There are many places on my ‘bucket list’ where I’ve always wanted to do a workshop. Several have come to fruition such as Prague, Paris, Napa/Sonoma Wine country, Tuscany, Portugal, and soon to be for the third time…Cuba

Way up on this list has been Sicily, and for the past few years I’ve tried to make contact with someone that would help produce it; not the easiest thing to do. Well, now I have!!!

With the help of one of my very talented students in Tuscany, and his association with the leading photographic organization in Sicily, this society has agreed to collaborate with, and co-produce the workshop. It doesn’t get any better than this!

The following is the full description:

MAY 11th:

We’ll get together in the lobby of the Massimo Plaza hotel in Palermo for the evening’s traditional “meet and greet”. At that time a schedule will be passed around so everyone will know the day-to-day events.

Please keep in mind that I will have arrived several days ahead of time to scout all the locations. This proposed schedule might change, so you need to be flexible. I want to make sure I have selected the premier locations to match the correct times to shoot, and that you are at the right place at the right time; to afford everyone the best photo opportunities.

Always remember that people can always go out on their own, in small groups, or sleep in, if so desired. My workshops are not the type where you always have to be with the group.

May 12th:

We’ll be shooting in the city of Palermo: https://www.google.com/search?q=palermo+sicily&biw=2362&bih=1225&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=4yygVeCwLYOEyQT1k46ADg&ved=0CB0QsAQ

As you can see, there are many great photo ops, so based on my tech-scout before the start of the workshop, and on Pippo’s (with the society) recommendations, you’ll be in the top locations that represent Palermo “in the best light”.

MAY 13th:

Before the sun comes up we’ll be headed to the Saltpans for an amazing sunrise shoot. This is an incredible location, highly recommended by Pippo with subject matter you’ve never seen before…or at least I haven’t.

FYI: the excellent quality of the salt is internationally known, and is exported all over the world:


At this point I’m not sure what time we’ll be back, but the plan is to be back at the hotel in time for breakfast and a chance to relax and download your images for the daily critique, sometime between 10:00 and 2:00, with a break for lunch or lunch right after. Around three, we’ll head to Trapani for the afternoon shoot. Breakfast might just be some pastries, juice, and coffee.

Trapani is well known for it’s historical center, with many famous monuments dating back through the history of Sicily. It’s the capital of the province of Trapani, and is still regarded as an important fishing port:


May 14th:

The morning will be open to those who want to catch up on their downloading, or want to walk around shooting in the historic section of Palermo. The group will meet late morning to the early afternoon in the classroom.

After the critiques, we’ll be heading to Cefalu’ to catch the famous sunsets. Besides being famous for the late afternoon light, the city’s charm is unpretentious and along with its Norman Cathedral, winding Medieval streets and food, has all the markings of a great way to spend a Sicilian afternoon. Depending on the time, we will either have dinner in Cefalu’ or head back to Palermo where people will be on their own for dinner:



Early in the morning everyone will meet in the lobby and our bus will take us to the train station where we’ll hop on for a two-hour scenic trip to Catania.

Our bus will meet us at the station and deliver you to the hotel. After we’re settled in and have had a late breakfast or early lunch the rest of the day we will spent getting acquainted with the streets and historical districts of Catania, the second largest city in Sicily.

Catania faces the Ionian Sea and is situated at the foot of Mt. Etna looming majestically behind it. Depending on the light, we are planning to wind up at the Ursino Castle at sunset. The castle was originally built as a coastal fortress to protect the city from invaders.

For those of you who would rather relax, explore, shop, or whatever you decide to do you’ll be on your own.


Our morning will be spent shooting again in Catania:


Catania’s history is more about Folklore than it’s beautiful monuments. Its town planners followed roman traditions with straight parallel streets forming a grid; with little attention paid to the Medieval and Byzantine design common in its heritage.

After breakfast we’ll meet for the daily critiques and then travel to Siracusa, where well have lunch and spend the rest of the day shooting.


Siracusa, is an historic city on the southeast coast of Sicily. Well known for its Greek history, culture, and amphitheatres, it’s the birthplace of Archimedes. After the Greeks, the Romans, Vandals, and Normans ruled this beautiful city where their influence can be seen almost everywhere you look. After the sunset shoot, we can have dinner there and then head back to our hotel in Catania.

May 17th:        

This is the morning you can sleep in, have breakfast, participate in some critique time and then head to Taormina; called by some as the Sicilian Monte Carlo…without the casinos. Rich in Medieval influence we’ll be exploring the winding streets looking for photo ops that will be around every turn:


A must photo would be the one where we’ll stand overlooking the famous Greco-Roman Amphitheatre with Mt. Etna and the sea behind it. FYI, Taormina is where D.H. Lawrence got his inspiration to write Lady Chatterly’s Lover. We can have dinner then head back to the hotel.

May 18th:

In the early morning for the people that are interested, we’ll head to the Island of Ortygia. This was the center for Greek, Byzantine, and Judaic civilizations. A maze of ancient and Medieval streets where you will be able to combine sightseeing and shopping while your camera is over your shoulder at the ready:


There won’t be a class, giving everyone a chance to catch up in the afternoon with their downloading of images for the final critique. This will be a free day to do whatever you want.

We’ll meet in the evening and go to a top restaurant for the farewell dinner. As a lot of you know, this will be a special evening with great food, conversation, and good vino!

May 19th:

In the morning we will meet at 9:00AM for the final critique and at 1:00PM the workshop will officially end. We’ll say goodbye, kiss our old friends and hug the new ones and plan on meeting again in 2017 for my next “springtime” workshop. A destination you will all love.

That’s the itinerary. As you can see this is going to be a very special workshop!

I’m working on the hotel right now and will get back to you when the people in Sicily and I pick one that’s centrally located. As you know, it will be one of the top places in each city. Naturally everyone doesn’t have to stay where I will be. There will be other hotels that will be close by for those that have a budget in mind.

You can contact me for the names of the hotels we’ll be staying in and each of you will be responsible for making your own reservations. I do this to simplify things for all concerned, as not all of the participants want the same type of room. It’s also a lot easier and I don’t have to keep track of hotel deposits.

The cost of my part of the workshop will be $1495.00 for the people that are going to shoot and $500.00 for those spouses that just want to see and experience Sicily. This will include everything that the shooting participants receive for their fee.

Once you arrive at the hotel in Palermo, I will provide all transportation, including the train to Catania. For those that want to venture off on your own you’ll be responsible for any mass transit, or taxis. Once the workshop ends on the 19th you’ll be on your own as far as where and when you want to go afterwards.

The fee will also include the wine and appetizers at the “meet and greet”, and the farewell dinner.

As the people that have taken several of my workshops know, you can take off any time shooting and exploring on your own. This isn’t boot camp, it’s a chance to see an incredibly beautiful country deep in history, meet new friends, eat wonderful food, drink Italian wine, and return home with amazing pictures.

For those that aren’t interested in the daily critiques, that’s up to you and not a problem with me. Some come just to listen and look at others’ images without submitting their own photos, and again that’s perfectly fine with me.

If you have any questions, you can send them to me at: joe@joebaraban.com

I hope to share this fantastic adventure with you.



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