first workshop with Derek took place at Havasu Canyon, camping
over a period of four days. Derek was extremely thorough
with regard to his pre-workshop instructions. He took great
care in explaining what gear would be needed for the workshop
(both photographic and non-photographic), conditions to
be expected, and several additional helpful hints that would
guarantee a successful venture. Derek had everything planned
out in advance, and there wasn't a single glitch during
the course of the workshop (being an engineer by trade,
I can appreciate a well-planned excursion). This made for
a thoroughly enjoyable and productive four days. I came
away from this workshop with incredible images of one of
the most beautiful areas that I have ever encountered. None
of this would have been possible without Derek sharing his
knowledge and expertise.
most recent workshop with Derek occurred in early
June 2009. We spent four days in and around the Sedona area,
shooting iconic locations as well as some less-traveled
areas that they had previously discovered. Unlike the Havasu
Canyon trip, this workshop did not require overnight camping.
This allowed for plenty of shooting time, and also several
additional lessons in post-processing techniques. Our days
began at 5:00 am and lasted well into the early evening.
Again, I came away from this workshop with some beautiful
images (several of which are now framed and decorating the
walls of my home), as well as a greater knowledge of processing
techniques and treatments.
an instructor, I find Derek to be very out-going
and approachable. While some instructors may not be very
forthcoming because of potential "competition",
he's very open and doesn't "hold back"
in his instruction. He answers all questions in great
detail, while also passing on some of his "tricks
of the trade" without fear of competition. I have come to admire him both for his skills as a
photographer and for his being a general "good guy".
As such, I have come to consider Derek a friend.
matter one's photographic skill level, he or she will come
away from Southwest Perspectives workshops with enhanced
skills and a greater appreciation for the art of photography.
Some of the best images in my portfolio have been obtained
during these workshops. I would not hesitate to recommend
Derek to anyone seeking to improve his or her
photographic skill set.
Ganz - Northlake, Texas
hired Derek for a day of photography lessons and shooting
in and around Sedona, Az and we could not have been more
pleased! Derek was the gracious host and has the rare talent
to explain his camera techniques to both "left and
right" brain people. He easily described his thought
processes on topics of focus, exposure compensation and
composition at each location we shot and what he would "see"
as a professional photographer. We left with a deeper understanding
of the techniques behind the camera and what is required
for a gallery quality photo.
Derek is a National Geographic published photographer along
with other publications and you could not find a better
day or workshop photographer in the area!"
& Kendall Campbell - Houston, Texas
had such a great time this weekend and feel like I learned
a lot. Now I need to go out and take some more photo's to
solidify everything you taught me. You are an excellent
teacher and very patient which is great."
Lindsey - San Diego, California
Derek, Well, I'm finally home and almost recuperated from
my trip. Thank you for all your efforts to get me up to
speed. I had a fantastic time and enjoyed myself, even though
you almost left me at Basha's! I got some nice photos
which I'd like to share with you, but I need your snailmail
address, if you don't mind. I would also like the web addresses
for those sites that have f/stop and shutter speed charts
when you get a chance. I'm still thinking that sometime
around the beginning of November would be a good time for
another class. The Fall colors should be starting about
then. Let me know if that will work out OK for you.
Thanks mucho, Randi"
Randi Newbill - Seal Beach, California
was with the help of our guide (and friend) Derek von Briesen
that we explored the many wonders of the area. Derek's knowledge
of the canyon was instumental in leading us to locations
that we'd never found on our own. If you're ever in the
area and find yourself in need of guidance, I'd highly recommend
him. Derek's a very talented photographer based out of Sedona,
Guy & Tami Schmickle - Bayfield, Colorado
It's so great you have such a wonderful passion about your
work (and life). It's obvious that you would do a lot of
what you do for free, as you have done with me. Thankfully
you don't have to (enclosed is proof!). This trip was worth
every penny. Your spirit, your creativity, and your talent
Powell - Maui, Hawaii
you Derek for a most wonderful weekend. I've really learned
so much from you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.
I look forward to more visits to your beautiful home of
McNally - Lahaina, Hawaii
the early part of May of this year I had the opportunity
to work with Derek for three days in the Sedona/Oak Creek
Canyon area of Arizona as a private student. My goals were
to learn as much as I could about the shooting and computer
processing of professional landscape images.
was just superb! He was a tireless instructor. We would
be on site by 5am and would be working until 8pm when there
was no more light. He taught me many components of shooting
in the field, both simple and complex, subtle and basic.
He started from my skill level, was adaptive to gaps in
my knowledge, and was able to move as fast as I could go.
His knowledge of photography, geology, meteorology, and
the local geography was extensive. He also was extremely
helpful with computer applications and generous with his
time in helping me get started with Lightroom. He is detail
oriented, patient, and meticulous without being a micro-focus
terms of his interaction style, he is easy to be with, casual
and relaxed in his mood, but still serious in what he is
doing. He is warm, genuine, and gregarious.
else can I say other than he is very bright and totally
McClees - Phoenix, Arizona
would like to comment on my personal experience on a photo
expedition that I attended with Derek. First of all I would
like to say that Derek is a very personable individual,
he was fun to talk with and shared his experiences in life
creating a friendship during the excursion. His equipment
knowledge was impressive and aided me with my use of Nikon
equipment and others with Canon. His expertise in the field
was thrilling, allowing me to capture some of the best images
I have in my collection. The great thing about Derek, is
that he is very humble, and tactfully makes suggestions
making me feel comfortable about my areas for improvement.
The small class size allowed me ample one-on-one time, but
we all learned from him as a group as well. At the end of
the shoot, we looked through the photographs on my laptop
and selected the best photos, which helped me immediately
reinforce the value of the techniques I learned that day.
He actively volunteered his experiences and best practices
working with Photoshop and various techniques to get the
best output results. I would heartily recommend Derek to
any level of photographer, even professionals looking to
improve their expertise creating landscape and fine-art
L. McLenon - Prairie Village, Kansas