“Natural Exposure” event appearance added to calendar ~ June 6

 

bannerI’ve been invited to teach a couple of landscape photography sessions at Story County (Iowa) Conservation’s second-annual “Natural Exposure” event coming up June 6 at McFarland County Park in Ames, Iowa. McFarland Park is a beautiful, large county park that I frequent regularly for excellent Midwest nature photography subjects.

The event is an all-day nature photography educational day. I taught a couple of classes at this event last year and it was a lot of fun! This time around, the Story Conservation team has added several additional sessions (with some great instructors who are friends and colleagues of mine – it’s going to be a great group of class facilitators) as well as online registration. This should be a very fun day and educational day!

My classes will both be brief one-hour landscape photography sessions:

First, I’ll host an outdoor hands-on field session that will cover the basics of successful landscape photography. Equipment, technique, and artistry of creating great landscape photographs.

After lunch, I’ll host a one-hour presentation in the McFarland Park Conservation Center amphitheater on panoramic photography. I’ll cover techniques for creating panoramics in-camera, as well as for creating stitched pano’s using multiple images and software.

Info, the complete schedule for the day, and online registration can be on the Story Conservation website, here. Advanced registration is required, and includes lunch. This will be a very fun event that Iowa nature photographers won’t want to miss. See you there!

Winter Workshop Follow-up

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We ended up with a beautiful, sunny day for my annual Midwest Winter Landscape workshop this month, and now that participants have had a chance to edit and post some photos created during the event, I’m thrilled to post this blog follow-up.

The day started pre-dawn near the entrance to the Iowa Arboretum. The forecast was for a clear, warm day, and there are some lovely century-old burr oak and sapling locust trees on the edge of a prairie on the Arboretum’s native area, that have captured my attention for a sunrise shot for some time. After shooting the sunrise, we captured textures in the prairie’s freshly fallen snow; the beautiful soft directional morning light really emphasized the swirls, ridges, and crystals of the beautiful fresh prairie snow.

_MSP8055 We moved on to photograph some compositions using specific tree specimens in the Arboretum itself, and then drove to a nearby Des Moines River Canoe Access area that is actually on the southern-most tip of Ledges State Park. Here, we used the leading lines of some snow drifts to emphasize dramatic features along the riverfront, worked with some intriguing fallen trees, and captured reflections and textures in open water areas of the river.

After a couple hours of classroom and Q&A time in a nearby town, we returned to a prairie area in another area of Ledges State Park and photographed tree patterns, grasses and snow, and some fabulous landscapes involving the S-curves of the river and reflections of the far-shore landscape in semi-melted open areas.

_MSP8056The photographers that came together for the event made a really fun group, and I had a great time working with them. It included some very hard-working landscape photographers, who continued to shoot right up until sunset. I’ve been really impressed with the images shared with me by the participants so far, and I know more work from the workshop will be appearing as they have more time to edit.

As of today, the most recent 45-50 or so images posted to my Peterson Photo Workshops Participant Flickr Group archive illustrate some of the fine work by this group. Please check it out and enjoy their work! And to the photographers in the workshop – I hope you had a fun day, learned some new skills, and created some work you’re excited about!

First Workshop of 2015: The Midwest Winter Landscape

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I’m really looking forward to kicking off the workshop season with what turned out to be one of my favorite workshops last year: The Midwest Winter Landscape. It’s coming up soon, on February 7!

I’ve selected some outstanding locations for Midwest winter photography for this session, all of which are within a 45 minute drive of Des Moines, Iowa. Where we start and how we structure the day will depend on the local snow conditions at the time: some locations are better for morning photography, some better for afternoon, some only interesting with lots of snow, some best with little snow. Participants will be informed exactly where to meet a few days prior to the workshop.

20140215-photo 2Last year’s event was really exciting, and featured a subtle pastel sunrise, a mid-morning blizzard that led to some great images, and a warm-and-sunny afternoon with lovely golden light. Here’s a link back to my blog post from that event, featuring a gallery that includes some excellent photos created by workshop participants Penny Adam and Tanmay Roy.

The workshop will start early at 6:30am on Saturday, Feb 7. The early meeting time allows us just enough time to acquaint the group and get set up to photograph the sunrise. We’ll plan to end by 4:00pm or so.

Full details of the workshop are available here. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have questions!

2015 Workshop Series Announced!

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All-new workshops, studio seminars, and instructional photo tours!

Updated Workshops
Happy New Year! I’m happy to announce my new 2015 workshop offerings. Full details can be found over on my workshop website, Peterson Photo Workshops. For this upcoming yera, I have dramatically updated the format and content of each workshop.

I’m frequently humbled when photographers register for what is their 7th, 8th, or 9th workshop with me, and I thank each of you who have joined me for even half-a-day one time! This year’s workshops should be better than ever!

One-day Studio Seminars
I’m also bringing back two studio photography workshops that I haven’t offered in a few years: a full-day Portrait Lighting workshop, and a full-day Tabletop Studio workshop. These are both skill-sets I use weekly in my magazine, corporate, and portrait photography, and both promise to be exciting hands-on learning and portfolio-building events.

Instructional Photo Tours
Finally, I have made a significant schedule addition this year: I’ll be offering two Instructional Photo Tours to extremely photogenic locations in the Central US! I have extensive knowledge and experience at both of these locations and will get participants to spots for outstanding photography. These will be Thursday-through-Sunday events, and while I’m not quite ready to announce the dates and locations, info will be available soon. If you’re potentially interested, please keep an eye here as well as on my social media and of course on the workshop website.

Based on conversations I’ve had with field workshop alumni who have asked for such trips, I expect these photo tours to attract groups of interesting, highly talented photographers. I am also very confident that these trips will result in a very strong portfolio of nature, landscape, and cultural photographs for the participants.

Overall, I’m anticipating a very fun year of photography education, and I invite you to be part of it. The list of workshop offerings is below with links to individual workshop info. I hope to see you soon!

2015 WORKSHOP CALENDAR

Saturday, February 7 ~ The Midwest Winter Landscape – Des Moines area, IA. All-day. $119

Saturday, February 28 ~ Intro to Digital SLR & Mirrorless Photography – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm. $69

Saturday, March 7 ~ Advanced DSLR & Mirrorless Photography – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm. $69

Saturday, April 18 ~ Introduction to Lightroom – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm. $69

Saturday, April 25 ~ Advanced Lightroom – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm. $69

Saturday, May 2 ~ Spring Wildflowers and Landscapes – Central IA. All-day. $119.

Sunday, June 28 ~ The Midwest Summer Prairie – Rural Marshall County, IA. All-day. $119.

Saturday, August 29 ~ Studio and Location Portrait Lighting – Des Moines, IA. All-day. $189.

Saturday, September 12 ~ Tabletop Studio Photography – Des Moines, IA. All-day. $189.

Saturday, September 19 ~ 9th Annual Living History Farms Photography Day – Living History Farms, Urbandale, IA (see LHF website). While this is not my workshop, I look forward to offering instructional sessions at this always-fun annual event – one of the largest outdoor educational photography events in the world!

Saturday, October 17 ~ Midwest Autumn Color – Ledges State Park near Boone, IA. All-day. $119.

Saturday, November 7 ~ Intro to Digital SLR Photography – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm. $69

Saturday, November 14 ~ Advanced DSLR & Mirrorless Photography – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm. $69

2014 Autumn Color Workshop

 

© 2014 Diane Lowry
© 2014 Diane Lowry

Just a few weeks ago, my 2014 field workshop series came to a fabulous finale. An outstanding group of photographers joined me at Iowa’s gorgeous Ledges State Park for my annual Autumn Color Photography workshop. I’ve been holding this workshop here for several years, and have found both the location to be tremendously popular with the participants and the Iowa DNR organization excellent to work with.

While some years in the past have brought rain, frigid temps, or in one year even really high temps, this year it was a lovely day. The morning was cool and damp (for just a few minutes around sunrise, some donned their camera rain covers, but many didn’t even bother), it was overcast much of the day (perfect for autumn macro and “nature portraits”), then cleared off and became a little breezy in the afternoon (not ideal but we were having too much fun by then to even notice).

© 2014 Sarah Becker
© 2014 Sarah Becker

The group ranged from novices who were just starting out, to a semi-pro or two, as is often the case with my workshops. It’s always fun to have a range of experience in the group, as we work together throughout the day and learn from each other. For the first time, I conducted my demos not with an SLR as in years past, but with my Fujifilm X-Pro1 mirrorless camera. Also for the first time, there was another mirrorless camera user in the group. Not that the DSLR vs. mirrorless issue means much – or anything at all – for the photographic content of the workshop. I’m just always interested in cameras and it’s interesting to see the mirrorless cameras taking hold in the US. (For that matter, for those of you who may like to keep track, the workshop was dominated with Canon shooters, with only two or three Nikon users in the mix; usually it’s fairly balanced between those two brands, but not this time. And unlike most of my field workshops, there were no Sony or Pentax users present; generally we see a couple of these). Regardless, we had no major malfunctions and no one knocked over their tripod in the stream, so equipment-wise it was also a fantastic day.

Several of the participants forwarded images from the day for me to share here. Please take a few minutes and view the photos. The group created an excellent body of work that day, and we had a fun time doing so. I hope the participants learned some things along the way, as well.

BUT! If you’d like to see more, please also check out my Peterson Photo Workshops flickr group, where quite a number of additional participants have posted work from the day. And wow, there are also some outstanding images shared there as well!

To all the participants in this workshop, thanks for participating and for sharing your photos! I look forward to working with you again sometime next year!

Group portrait fun, revisited

So as usual, it’s been a while since I’ve posted to this blog. What a frantically busy season! While I logged in today to post on another subject, I immediately noticed my last post below, in which I posted some photos of my oldest daughter’s high-school homecoming group of friends from last autumn. This reminded me that I had just recently photographed my next-oldest daughter in a similar situation, with two of her “besties” prior to this fall’s homecoming dance. It’s her sophomore year of high-school, and she and a big group of friends gathered for dinner and to attend the Homecoming Dance as a large entourage.

So here she is with a couple of her closest buddies. We had a great time taking these photos, as I think you might be able to see when you view the gallery. I tend not to post many client galleries, but I am happy to post these (I’m the client I guess?) – I hope you like them.

And for the photographers reading, my gear has changed a bit since the last similar session I photographed a year ago. This time around, all of the photos were created in natural light, with a Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera and Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4R lens. All at f/1.4, auto-ISO, in the Fuji RAF raw format, and processed in Lightroom 5.

Group portrait fun! Iowa portrait photographer

The past year has turned out to be immensely busy. As one can likely tell by my posting frequency (or infrequency, as it is probably more accurately described), I don’t tend to blog very frequently. This isn’t because I don’t enjoy it or don’t want to share my work. I simply have very little unscheduled time between back-to-back or even overlapping projects, and blogging falls by the wayside. I have recently told myself I need to do so more frequently, so I’m going to “catch up” by posting images I’ve meant to blog but just so far have not.

I mention this now, because while I frequently shoot portraits for both portraiture and editorial clients, I had a group portrait session last fall that was very special to me. My oldest daughter and a number of her very best friends asked me to photograph them as part of a school homecoming-dance event, and we had a great time. Ever since that evening, I have meant to post a few of the photos from the session.

So finally, with a short block of available time tonight and that particular shoot in mind, here are a few favorites from that session. Enjoy – and thanks for reading!

(Oh, and for the photographers reading, these were shot with a Nikon D800E SLR, the Nikon 50mm f/1.4G lens (which I tend to use as a “long wide-angle” on full-frame cameras), and a combination of natural light and subtle fill from an off-camera SB-800 speedlight triggered with an SC-28 remote cable).

UPDATED: Winter Landscape Workshop Post-Mortem – What a Day!

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They say around here, “If you don’t like the weather in Iowa, just wait ’til tomorrow – it’ll be different!”

We had a fine group of photographers come together Saturday for our “The Midwest Winter Landscape” photography workshop, in Des Moines, Iowa. It was a dedicated group of hardy souls, and wow, did we experience a wide array of weather. Forget waiting “’til tomorrow” as the saying goes – we experienced an entire winter season just in one day.

20140215-_DSC2401Starting with single-digit temps in pre-dawn light, we met at 6:30am to be able to be set up before sunrise. With a group ranging from beginner to advanced photographers, we alternated  between instructional gatherings and shooting in the morning. We enjoyed a…shall I say….”fleeting”…sunrise? If 90 seconds of beautifully red-glowing clouds in the Eastern sky during a steel-grey overcast morning represents sunrise, then yes it was fleeting. But if you weren’t paying close attention, it would have been easy to miss altogether. With snow forecast for mid-morning, we were focused on contrasty landscape images of some beautiful trees in the prairie.

Right on schedule as forecast, the sky broke and we were hit by a (beautiful!) wet, driving snow for an hour or so. While it was tempting to stay in our warm vehicles, almost all of the participants braved the driving snow to capture some beautiful wild riverfront-in-snowfall images, using slow shutter speeds to emphasize the hard-falling snow. Reviewing some participant photos later, there were some very fine images captured during this part of the workshop.

Retreating to a warm coffeeshop – with only one photographer putting her car in the ditch on the way (thanks again to those of you who successfully pushed her out!) – we enjoyed a few hours in a meeting room, mid-morning through the lunch hour, for a few hours of discussion-style instructional content. The group asked lots of fabulous questions. While there, the snow outside stopped, the sun came out, and the temps rose by twenty or more degrees. By the time we were ready to head back out mid-afternoon, it was a warm, glorious afternoon.

Heading to another favorite location outside town, we enjoyed a beautiful afternoon in a lovely pine forest, shooting some serene scenics and enjoying fun techniques such as camera-shake and zoom-blur action. By late-afternoon the light was a mellow golden hue, giving the group great opportunity to capture hillocks of fresh, glistening snow, prairie grasses glistening with fresh powder, and beautiful areas at the prairie’s edge.

20140215-photo 2With ten minutes remaining until sunset, another front moved through and our hopes for a beautiful sunset images were dashed. More steel-grey sky. But everyone left with a solid collection of images, and I had a great time working with this great group of photographers. I hope you all who came out for this event had as much fun shooting as I did working with you!

UPDATE: I have added workshop photos photos from two Peterson Photo Workshop veteran participants – Penny Adam and Tanmay Roy – below. Great work, Penny and Tanmay! Thanks for sharing these fine images with us!

 

2014 Photography Workshop Calendar Announced

20130615-_MSP3384I’m pleased to announce my 2014 photography workshop line-up. While I will be cutting down the overall number of workshops I offer this year, I have added some new sessions and topics and I’m enthusiastic to get into the field and the classroom with you this year!

A few notes about the first sessions of the year…

I’m kicking off the season with my popular Intro to Digital SLR Photography workshop, coming up right away in late-January. If you’ve been interested in this workshop but haven’t ever taken it, please note that I’ll not be repeating this one as often in 2014 as I did last year. As of now, it’s on the calendar once – January 25. I may add another session later in the year, depending on my late-year photography calendar overall, but no guarantees. So if you’re thinking about this class, I encourage you to register right away. It will likely fill soon, so don’t hesitate.

I am also excited to be offering a new winter landscape field workshop – The Midwest Winter Landscape – coming up mid-February. We’ll do this in the Des Moines area, and it will be a slightly different format than my other field workshops. This workshop will meet pre-dawn for landscape shooting in the beautiful winter dawn light, and will continue shooting through most of the morning. But then in the middle portion of the day we’ll retreat to a warm location for small-group instruction, critique of images from the morning session, and hot chocolate or coffee. We’ll then venture back out in the afternoon to shoot in the mellow afternoon light, and sunset until dark.

I also want to note that I’ll be offering an Advanced Lightroom class, and I have kicked up my former “Intermediate” DSLR Photography class a big notch and have re-packaged it as an all-new half-day Advanced DSLR Photography classroom workshop.

Autumn Color Photography WorkshopThe calendar as it stands now:

Saturday, January 25 ~ Intro to Digital SLR Photography – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm

Saturday, February 15 ~ The Midwest Winter Landscape – Des Moines, IA. All-day

Saturday, March 8 ~ Advanced Lightroom – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm

Saturday, April 19 ~ Advanced DSLR Photography – Des Moines, IA. Half-day – 12-4pm

Saturday, May 3 ~ Spring Wildflowers and Landscapes – Central IA. All-day

Saturday, July 12 ~ The Midwest Summer Prairie – Rural Marshall County, IA. All-day

Saturday, September 20 ~ 9th Annual Living History Farms Photography Day – Not my event, but I’ll offer instruction here! This should be on the calendar of any photographer in the Midwest!

Saturday, October 18 ~ Midwest Autumn Color – Ledges State Park near Boone, IA. All-day

20130511-_MSP0529Complete information and registration for all of the above can be found at my full workshop website, petersonphotoworkshops.com.

Please note that I do generally add some mid- and late-year classes, sometime around late spring. I have already had some people asking about additional Intro to DSLR Photography classes and my Intro to Lightroom class. Please stay tuned – I’ll add sessions as my calendar for mid-year and beyond becomes more clear.

2013 was a very fun year for Peterson Photoworkshops, and I was humbled to have so many repeat workshop participants – some photographers have returned for up to seven or eight of my workshops. I greatly appreciate your support, and I look forward to working with many fabulous photographers in this upcoming year.

Happy New Year!
Mark

Autumn Color Workshop Fun!

Autumn Color Photography WorkshopFor the first time in a few years, the 17 photographers joining us for this year’s Midwest Autumn Color photography workshop at Ledges State Park in central Iowa had a perfect, blue-sky day. It was even warm! The past few years have been either overcast steel-grey skies – typical of autumn in this part of the country – or full-out rain like we had on both days of last year’s special “two-fer” offering of this workshop. It was really nice to be warm and dry for this year’s session!

That said, since it’s been so dry here all year, the fall color has really been delayed in this region. Thus while mid-October is normally “peak” fall-color time here, while the day was gorgeous, the color wasn’t quite as stunning as some recent years. Still, we had some amazingly talented photographers in the group, and they produced some outstanding autumn photographs over the course of the day. And moreover, it was a very fun group that I can confidently say had a great time working together in the field.

Autumn Color Photography WorkshopWith over half of the group consisting of returning Peterson Photo Workshops alumni – including some members who are on their sixth or seventh of my workshops, and seven participants who had even previously completed a Midwest Autumn Color workshop previously (thanks for coming back guys and gals, I appreciate your support so much!) – I tried to mix up the locations within the park that the workshop visited. This was somewhat challenging, as there are just a few spots that can’t be missed on any photographic visit to The Ledges. But it was very cool to see returning participants taking a fresh look at a couple locations I knew they’d seen before, and extremely cool to see them employing new knowledge since the last time out!

The group met at 6:30am and basically photographed from 7:00am to 5:00pm with merely a short break for lunch. Wow, we filled a lot of cards with lovely fall color photographs.

Here are some fantastic images created by participants Penny Adam and Joe Herriges. Thanks for letting me feature these here, Penny and Joe!

To see some more photos from this event, please check out the Peterson Photo Workshops Flickr Group, where a number of extremely talented photographers have posted images from this and several of this year’s field workshops. So awesome to see these photographers sharing and discussing each others’ work here.

This was the last of my 2013 Field Workshops, though I still have two classroom workshops remaining – Intro to DSLR Photography on November 2, and Intro to Lightroom on November 23. Registration for both is over at PetersonPhotoWorkshops.com. I look forward to announcing the 2014 Field Workshop calendar soon!