You may have seen Alan Murphy's incredible signature work: beautiful birds on gorgeous perches with uncluttered backgrounds, presented with the elegance of an artist.
But did you know Alan came to this country as a birder?
Growing up surrounded by the beautiful countryside of Ireland and England, Alan developed a love for birds and nature early on. He was a quick study of these birds and upon immigrating to the US in the early 1980's, Alan was thrilled to find many new species to learn about and new habitats to explore. After studying field guides, Alan wanted to capture similar images, and so began his quest to learn photography. Most of Alan's spare time became devoted to chasing the perfect shot. His artistic background cultivated his creative use of perches with uncluttered backgrounds and excellent lighting.
Spare time was hard to come by, for as Alan was developing his photographic style, he was also starting and developing his own salon business. Today, the Alan Murphy Salon is a leading salon in the Houston area and is consistently ranked among the Top 200 Salons in America by Salon Today magazine.
For most people who straddle two careers, there comes a time when a person must choose one path or another. Several years ago, Alan followed his passion, turned the operation of his salon business over to his manager, and jumped headfirst into photography. Today, all of the talent, drive and ambition that served Alan on several fronts is now channeled into his photography business.
And what a business it is! Alan has speaking engagements throughout the country to photo clubs and birding organizations alike. His audiences are eager to see his images and learn the thought process behind them. Alan schedules intensely focused workshops, and of course, sells his images around the world.
In the last 6 months, Alan has scored cover images for the publications Birding, Birder's World, Wildbird, Bird Watcher's Digest and Wildlife. Now that's productivity!
Perhaps the most sought-after part of Alan's photo business is a spot on his workshops. Alan intentionally keeps his groups very small to insure intense individual instruction as well as consistent backgrounds for shooters. Due to the small group size, Alan's workshops sell out quickly in advance. In fact, for 2010, Alan has only two seats left for a workshop in his favorite location: the Ramirez Ranch in Roma, Texas, running April 12 to 15. You can find more information about that workshop here.
Workshop participants come from all over the globe to learn the secrets of Alan's set-ups and perches. But if you can't afford the time, travel or cost to attend in person, Alan has unveiled his CD book The Guide to Songbird Set-Up Photography. Years in the making, this CD sheds light on Alan's set-up secrets and thought processes. The CD is full of ideas, tips and tricks you can make use of in your own back yard.
Speaking engagements, cover images, workshops and training CDs. Yes, Alan Murphy is one busy photographer!
You can learn more about and purchase Alan's CD here.
You can learn more about Alan's workshops here.
Editor's note: I had been to the Ramirez Ranch 4 years in a row when Alan asked me to be his assistant on a workshop there last year. I had not planned on going back for a few years, but the chance to work with Alan and to learn his methods was enough for me to head there again. When I saw that Alan limited his group to 4 participants, I asked him if he really needed an assistant for 4 people. His answer was an adamant yes. He wanted to make sure he could be instructing his participants 100% of the time.
Heading back to Roma with Alan was a truly rewarding experience. His level of focus and his professionalism on his workshop was unlike any workshop I had assisted. In addition, I did get to learn some of Alan's techniques, seeing Roma in ways I had not seen before.
If you do get a chance to go on Alan's workshops, I would highly encourage you to do so. I'll be with Alan again this year in Roma, assisting participants and performing my duties as ranch cook and host. Only two spots are left in April. Come join us for good food, intense instruction and of course, incredible images. –Chris Klapheke