Tag Archives: Nature Photography Workshop

Lake Superior North Shore Photo Tour Report

Peterson Photo Workshops photo of birch forest

 

A workshop participant photographs Gooseberry Falls

After a fun spring season of classroom and field workshops, one of the highlights of my summer was exploring my favorite stretch of Lake Superior’s North Shore in Minnesota, with a great group of workshop photographers in my North Shore Instructional Photo Tour. Our group met up in Beaver Bay, Minnesota, on a Thursday evening, and we photographed numerous locations through Sunday at noon. I’ve traveled and photographed extensively in this area over the past couple decades, and it was great fun to share some of my favorite and most photographically productive areas with the group.

Peterson Photo Workshop river in fog and rainEarly-summer on the North Shore can see some unpredictable weather, and we experienced a little bit of everything – from warm sun to pouring rain (and even a hailstorm just as heading out of town at the end of the event). Everyone in the group were real troopers, though, and simply donned their rain gear and camera water covers when it rained hard, and kept on shooting.

The group was a mix of Canon and Nikon shooters, with one of the Canon photographers also bringing along a Fuji  mirrorless. We only had one camera fail during the one day it actually rained hard, though that camera revived after drying out overnight. That was our only gear “situation” though I was nervously keeping an eye on the group at one of my favorite area waterfalls where we were hopping from rock to rock mid-river with tripods. Though I’ve had photographers drop cameras off of tripods during workshops (always, it seems, Nikon users – are we Nikon users clumsier than others?) but the gear has always kept right on shooting! And though we shot in more than a couple rivers and waterfalls, as well as along the rough rocky lakeshore on this tour, we kept my workshop record of “no gear losses” intact for another season.

Sunrise at Ellingson Island Split Rock State ParkPhotographically, I was really pleased with the tour. After a fun “Intro to the North Shore” evening shooting at Gooseberry Falls, we met in our lodge parking lot the first morning at 4:15am to shoot sunrise over Split Rock Lighthouse. Yes, you read the time correctly: sunrise on the north shore in mid-summer is at about 5:00am-ish, so the short drive and hike to our shooting location got us there in time to get some lovely silhouettes of the lighthouse in pre-dawn light, and to enjoy some fabulous sunrise photography. As the days progressed, we photographed a number of lakeshore areas ranging from sandy beach to rocky shoreline outcroppings, as well as waterfalls, a birch forest, colorful stone and wildflower closeups, and some classic lakeshore landscapes. We were “skunked” on one sunrise when it was raining (I think the group secretly welcomed the opportunity to sleep in that morning), but enjoyed another great sunrise at one of my favorite Tettegouche State Park sunrise locations, as well.

Our accommodations at Cove Point Lodge in Beaver Bay were Avon Falls near Beaver Bay Minnesota by Mark S Petersonexcellent, and the lodge and its surrounding property helped inspire some of the participants and offered a great variety of instructional opportunities and meeting places. Post-sunrise shoot breakfasts at The Rustic Cafe were exactly the hit I anticipated they’d be, so we ended up there pretty frequently for breakfasts, lunches, and their amazing pie (yes, “breakfast and pie” is a thing).

Thanks to participants who have shared a few of their favorite images from the trip with me to post here on the blog. Check out these great photos:

More participant photos from the trip can be seen in my “Peterson Photo Workshop Participants” Flickr group, along with photos from other of my workshops and photo tours:

https://www.flickr.com/groups/petersonphotoworkshops/

(And if you’re an “alum” of one of my workshops and a member of Flickr – and would like to share some of your photos in the group pool – feel free to join and do so!)

Thanks much to the great group of photographers who joined me in Minnesota for this photo tour – I had a great time with you, and I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did. I also hope you learned some things and came home with a portfolio of North Shore photos you’re proud of!

Finally, while my own time on my workshops is dedicated to helping my participants get the best shots possible, I shot a few photos of my own either when my participants were fully engaged shooting away, or when scouting locations a few days before the workshop. Here are some of these photos from this trip:

So the big question for 2017 is whether to return to this location or plan one or more instructional photo tours to other locations. Any thoughts?

2016 Winter Landscape Workshop Follow-up

It’s been a crazy couple of months here at MSPP, and while the world  is thinking “spring” I feel like I’m still trying to wrap up winter! Is it March yet? (I know, I know, we’re halfway through April).

Regardless, I’ve wanted to share some info and some of the awesome photos created by participants in my February “The Midwest Winter Landscape” workshop. We had a fabulous winter season from mid-January through mid-February and I was thrilled that just a couple days prior to this workshop, the ground was covered with 8-10″ of snow and rivers and streams were frozen – with a few open areas, perfect for water feature photography. Scouting locations at Ledges State Park, the location for this workshop, 48 hours before the workshop, I was thrilled with the conditions. In fact, while scouting spots where I wanted to cover specific teaching material, the scene looked like the below gallery (note, these are just handheld snaps made with my favorite little fixed-lens mirrorless camera, largely to create references for location and possible compositional recommendations):

And then, the unthinkable happened: a mid-February HEAT WAVE! 24 hours after shooting the above photos, it was 50+ degrees fahrenheit, and the forecast was for the temps to remain that warm through the weekend! Ugh! For once in their life I had 10 participants praying for cold and snow, but instead we got two days of May in February.

The lovely snow pictured above melted. Nearly all of it. By the next morning the little meandering stream pictured above, which was crossable in places by walking across 8″ or so of ice cover, had become raging river of snow-melt. It was completely uncrossable on foot – too deep and moving too swiftly. Really, raging.

This led to a somewhat last-minute re-plan of the workshop itinerary. We did have a fantastic sunrise, and found some excellent ice crystals and frosty landscapes early in the morning. And I knew of one area within the Ledges that is shaded all day – there is never direct sun in the winter months. I suspected that there would still be a (small) snow field here, and perhaps some frozen stream water segments. But it required a bit of a hike over a muddy, somewhat slippery (due to overnight-refrozen melt from the day prior) ridge. Luckily, my awesome participants were game for the hike, and I had my fingers crossed that I was right on the snow field call. Turned out, I was! We descended the ridge trail and found a lovely section of snowy woodland. Though there was only a very small amount of ice remaining in the nearby stream. But plenty of subjects to photograph, nonetheless.

After a lunch-hour trip into town for some warm food and a bit of classroom-style discussion (it was so warm out we could have just picnicked!), we returned to the field to photograph at some scenic overlooks, and found some more snow in another section of the forest.

Two participants in the workshop shared some of their images with me directly, and generously have allowed me to include them in the gallery below. So please enjoy the below gallery of photos created by participants Chuck King of Des Moines, IA, and Frances Kuelz of Minnetonka, MN:

Thanks for allowing me to share these, Chuck and Frances!

Additionally, some other participants have shared some images in my Peterson Photo Workshops Participants flickr group. You can find these here.

Thanks to all the participants for a very fun day – we cursed the warm temps in the morning, but had fun, hopefully learned some solid landscape photography techniques, and created some great landscape and nature photographs. Congrats on the excellent work!

I’m looking forward to my next nature photography field workshop, Spring Wildflowers and Landscapes, where we’ll study professional macro and close-up field techniques while photographing Midwest varieties of woodland wildflowers, and explore the Iowa forest landscape in spring. I do still have just a couple spots left in that workshop, coming up May 7.

“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

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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