Tag Archives: Peterson Photo Workshops

2016 Portrait Lighting Techniques Workshop Report

Iowa Portrait Photographer

 

It’s been a while since I’d offered a portrait lighting techniques workshop, and I was thrilled that a fabulous assortment of photographers came together for the one I offered this fall in West Des Moines, Iowa. The group ranged from experienced portrait artists, to photographers of other genres wanting to learn some portrait skills. We had a very fun full day of photography and I’m pleased that the feedback has been extremely positive.

Mark S Peterson Photo Workshops
Ayeesha by Minniette Bucklin

We started the day going over some lighting concepts in a classroom setting. After nailing down the basics of lighting patterns, equipment, and some techniques, we were joined by three fantastic models – Ayeesha, Kasi, and Sara – whom I’d hired to be subjects for a morning studio portrait shooting session. We shot in a studio setting with a few different plain backdrops and straightforward lighting using studio strobes, my favorite triggers (PocketWizards), and a variety of modifiers – soft boxes, umbrellas, and reflectors. We discussed lighting strategies for getting started as well as some more elaborate lighting approaches.

Mark S. Peterson Photo Workshops
Ashley by Luciana Sarmento

In the afternoon, we moved outside to discuss location lighting techniques and equipment. We were joined again by model Ayeesha,  as well as by models Ashley and Sabah, and all three patiently posed for our group members in a variety of locations as we explored several of the many portrait-friendly backgrounds and locations that can be found throughout the Valley Junction area of West Des Moines.

Mark S. Peterson Photo Workshops
Sabah by Cynthia Hanevy

The day was fast-paced and moved quickly, and I think the group of photographers and models had as much fun as I did. Below is a gallery of photos some of the participants have forwarded to me to share, and be sure to follow the links in the featured photos embedded here in the text. I extend my thanks to the great group of photographers who really worked hard throughout the day to master their lighting skills, and also to the models who joined us for this fun workshop!

2016 Spring Wildflowers & Landscape Photography Workshop Report

Chuck_King_2I’m pleased to finally be able to post a workshop report for my Spring Wildflowers & Landscape Photography Workshop. The sold-out class took place in early May, and was made up of a very solid group of photographers ranging from beginner to very experienced enthusiasts. It was a very fun group with which to work.

As always at my field workshops, we started early in the day at 6:30am in order to photograph during the peak morning light. And we were not disappointed! Meeting once again at Berry Woods south of Des Moines, Iowa (Berry Woods was The Nature Conservancy’s first official parcel of land in Iowa, and today remains pristine forest). It’s a somewhat hard to find location, but once located it treats the visiting photographer to fantastic natural history subjects, and is a lovely outdoor photography classroom.

Typical for springtime in Iowa, we experienced periods of sun and a few showers throughout the day. It rained hard for a short while (perhaps an hour) around noon – the only time we had to take shelter in our cars during the entire day. The rest of the day was cool and beautiful, though we did break out the camera rain covers a couple of times during sprinkles. But the showers led to great saturated colors and plenty of macro opportunities for dripping leaves, water droplet photography, and wildflower petals capturing moisture.

Participants were treated to several varieties of wildflowers including Sweet William, several phlox and anemone varieties, wild geraniums and wild roses, and a group favorite HUGE (and I mean REALLY HUGE) Jack in the Pulpits. We didn’t encounter tree frogs at this location as we have a time or two in the past, but the wildflower photography in the morning was excellent.

After lunch we switched into landscape mode and the group elected to remain at Berry Woods to photograph natural history landscapes. Working through several concepts and practicing landscape photography techniques, we enjoyed a great afternoon and I was impressed with the back-of-camera previews I was seeing.

Below are a few sample images submitted by workshop participants Chuck King and David Miller. Thanks Chuck and David for sharing, and congrats on some fine images!

A few more images have been shared over at my Peterson Photo Workshops group page on Flickr. You can find it here.

And in case you are tempted to ask, no I don’t have photos that *I* took at this event – at my one-day field workshops, I spend 100% of my time helping participants create images, and do not take my own photos.

I enjoyed working with this fine group of photographers. While I have several other workshops coming up in 2016 (full schedule here), my next nature photography workshop is my Midwest Autumn Color workshop on October 15. I’m already looking forward to it!

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.

UPDATED: Winter Landscape Workshop Report – What a Day!

20140215-_DSC2392

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!

Spring Wildflower Workshop – Follow-Up and Participant Images

Woodland Ivy Vine, © Mark S. Peterson Photography
Woodland Ivy Vine, © Mark S. Peterson Photography

After postponing my annual Spring Wildflower and Landscape Photography workshop a week due to an unprecedented week of May snow in this region, a great group of participants came together at one of my favorite woodland wildflower locations for a productive day of learning and nature photography.

We started the day at Berry Woods Preserve, which was the first Nature Conservancy acquisition in Iowa, and is a gorgeous forest a few miles south of Des Moines in Warren County. A lovely variety of the wildflowers native to this area can be found here. The spring wildflowers in this region tend to be woodland wildflowers (prairie wildflowers, in general, bloom later in Iowa – we’ll catch that action in my Midwest Summer Prairie workshop next month!), and lucky for our group the unusually cold and snowy May caused a slightly delayed bloom this year. We had some fabulous specimens to photograph.

At lunch time we proceeded to nearby Warren County Conservation’s Lundy Acres, and spent the afternoon there working on landscape techniques. It was very windy, and the wind presented some challenges. The attraction of this location is that it is also a native, unspoiled forest. It presented a strong challenge to those photographers experienced with shooting manicured or man-made landscapes, and forced participants to deal with the chaos of nature – working within that chaos to create simple, meaningful compositions. Some participants rose valiently to the challenge; others struggled to find their vision for the site. We worked on this through the afternoon, and some great images resulted.

Check out the fabulous work submitted by some of our participants below, and head on over to our Peterson Photo Workshops Flickr Group to see an even larger selection.

And here are a few behind-the-scenes looks at our workshop participants, hard at work!

Thanks to all of you who participated, I had a great time working with you – and congrats on creating some stellar nature photographs!

March 2 Intro to DSLR Workshop in Des Moines

SnowStreamAfter working with several great groups of photographers at my January and February photography workshops, I’m now prepping some brand new images and content for my next photography workshop – Intro to Digital SLR Photography – 12:00-4:00pm, March 2, 2013 in Des Moines, IA.

As of now, there are still seats available for this session.

Full information about this class can be found here: http://petersonphotoworkshops.com/calendar/intro-halfday/

Register online at: http://petersonphotoworkshops.com/register/ (note that advance registration is required, as it is for all of my workshops)

And while you’re on my workshop website, why not check out the full photography workshop calendar? http://petersonphotoworkshops.com/calendar/.

I have a great season and some fabulous locations planned for the field workshops this year. Join us!

Lightroom Workshop Update: almost full – register soon!

LightroomThanks to everyone who has registered for one or more of my photography workshops since I announced the 2013 dates just a couple short weeks ago. Registration has been the most active of any workshop year to date, with some events coming within a couple seats of filling the first week they were available. Some photographers are signing up for their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th Peterson Photo Workshop this season – thank you, I greatly appreciate your interest and support!

The upcoming February 16 Introduction to Adobe Photoshop Lightroom workshop in Des Moines is among those that is almost full. If you’ve been thinking of registering for this, I urge you to do so quickly as this workshop will almost certainly be sold out within days.

Detailed info about the workshop can be found over on my workshop website, here:

PetersonPhotoWorkshops.com

I’ve been using LR since version 1.0 (actually, I used a beta version even before then), and it totally changed the way I manage and edit my images. I really enjoy sharing my workflow and teaching LR to photographers, but due to my project and travel calendar this year, I’m not going to be able to repeat this workshop until November. So again, if interested, please grab one of these last remaining seats!

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.