Tag Archives: Photo Instruction

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 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!

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

UPDATED: Winter Landscape Workshop Report – 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

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.