Tag Archives: Ames Photography Workshop

“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!

First Workshop of 2015: The Midwest Winter Landscape



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!


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!


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!

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!

Octagon workshop update

octagonI’ve received a few email questions about registration for my upcoming workshops at Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames:

January 26, 2013 ~ Intro to Digital SLR Photography
February 9, 2013 ~ Intermediate Digital SLR Photography

As of today, seats are still available in both of these workshops. Since I’m doing these workshops for the Octagon, registration is different than for most of my workshops and events. For just these two workshops, registration is through the Octagon website rather than via my own workshop website.

To register for a seat in one or both of these workshops, just fill out the Octagon’s online registration form, here. You will likely need some of the info found on their “Winter Adult Classes” page that can be found here, to complete the form. Payment is submitted directly to the Octagon, as well.

I’ll post an update here, if and when these two sessions fill.


2013 Workshop Calendar

Daffodils & RiverbirchAfter a busy end-of-2012 season, a few days off over the holidays, and an international project just after the first of the year, I’m pleased to announce that I’ve posted my 2013 calendar of photography workshops. I’m again offering a full range of classes this year, ranging from Intro to DSLR Photography for photographers new to the DSLR world, to full-day field workshops that will appeal to advanced and professional photographers.

Please see the full photography workshop calendar over at my dedicated workshop website, PetersonPhotoWorkshops.com, where you can view course descriptions for my Midwest Nature Photography Field Workshops and Studio Workshop Events, and where you can register online.

I am grateful to those of you who helped make 2012 a great workshop year – and especially to those of you who are “regulars” of my workshops (I’m thrilled to have such a high rate of returning participants!) – for your continued support.  Previous workshop participants were sent the calendar a few days early, and I’m pleased to be able to say that initial registration is brisk! My photography workshops do frequently fill well in advance, so don’t hesitate if you’re interested in joining us this year – your paid registration reserves your seat in the class.

Thanks for your interest in my photography workshops – I look forward to crossing paths with you in the field or the studio this year!

Workshop Website

I’m pleased to be able to post that my workshop information/registration website is back up and running, with the registration form again fully functional! With several workshops coming up in the next month or so, you can now again register and pay online without having to fuss with emailed registration forms.

My next workshops are the twin October 13 + 14 one-day autumn color workshops at beautiful Ledges State Park in Central Iowa.

Please check out petersonphotoworkshops.com – I hope to see you at a workshop soon!

iPhone Photo Adventure Fun!

The MSPP team had a great time with a fabulous group of participants at Saturday’s iPhone Photo Adventure at Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames! Thanks to everyone who joined us that day! A sampling of participant iPhone Art is above – check out these great images!

We started out with some instruction, hints, and tips, then set out to visit a number of amazing locations for iPhone photography in Ames! Many thanks to the kind folks at the following Ames businesses for accommodating our group:

Anything But New
Casual Revolution
Cupcake Emporium
Skunk River Cycles
Vinyl Cafe

And Michael A. sends his thanks to the dude in the alley, too!

After shooting up Main Street, we returned to the Octagon’s North Gallery to explore some new image editing apps, to share some secrets to creating powerful iPhone art, and to create some masterpieces! I’m including in this post a few images captured and edited by our Adventurers that day – check out these amazing images!

Thanks again to our participants, and thanks to the Octagon for hosting us!

Below are some “Behind the Scenes” photos of participants at work!

If this looks like fun, we’ll be offering additional iPhone Photo Adventures – see our website workshop page (note we’re adding workshops regularly!). Or, if you have  a group or club whose members have an interest in iPhone imaging, contact us to discuss customizing a workshop for your group!

Intermediate DSLR Photography Workshop – May 26

There are still a few seats available for our upcoming May 26 “Intermediate DSLR Photography” workshop at Octagon Center for the Arts in Ames! If you’re a photographer using a Digital SLR and know how to use it – but want to improve your understanding and skill of the craft that is DSLR photography – this 3-hour class is for you!

This workshop is targeted at participants who have either taken our “Intro to DSLR Photography” class, another SLR photo workshop, or who have a firm grasp of their DSLR and it’s capabilities. This workshop moves beyond the basics of camera settings, and we’ll work hands-on on the streets of Ames to explore creative SLR techniques. Regardless of your level of skill with your DSLR, we’re pretty sure this workshop will help move your SLR photography to the next level.

Participants should bring their camera, lenses, accessories, and a tripod if they have one (it’s okay if you don’t have a tripod, but after an afternoon of shooting with us, you’ll see why a tripod may be your most important accessory!).

Join us for a fun afternoon of photography while firmly advancing your skill with your camera!