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My Experiences with A Nature Photography Workshop

Updated on September 19, 2013
Au Train Falls, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan's Upper Peninsula,
Au Train Falls, Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan's Upper Peninsula,

My Goal: Photographer

As long as I could remember I had always wanted to be a photographer. I have wanted to become a nature photographer for quite a while and really working hard to become a professional photographer for about six years. Before I even started sending out my promotional materials to publishing houses and magazines I wanted to be certain that my work was up to the standards with other professional nature photographers. Well it felt as if someone had hit me upside the head. My photographs were not anywhere near the caliber of what the calendars, books and magazines I was reviewing. I knew I had to do something. And reading all the "how to" nature photography books just were not cutting it.

Wagner Falls, Wagner Scenic Park, Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
Wagner Falls, Wagner Scenic Park, Hiawatha National Forest, Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Week

I decided to attend a one day seminar first to see if it might help me. Maybe, my thinking was, if I just listened to the photographer hard enough that all of that information and experience would sink into my brain down to my eyes and hands so when I went to photograph landscapes that somehow my photographs would look like the ones I saw during the seminar. It did help me understand some of the basics about photography. But I needed more than just listening and understanding the basics. I needed a hands-on approach to photography. So I decided I would attend a workshop.

The first night of the workshop the photographers (there were two of them) held a get together with everyone who was attending the workshop. It was a good idea to do this because we would be working all day for a week. This was an unexpected surprise and one of the more interesting aspects of this and any workshop. You get an opportunity to meet different people form different parts of the country and different backgrounds all interested in the same thing you are. It was nice to be able to talk to other people about photography.

Then came the next morning and the rest of the week. It was fantastic. We became true nature photographers for the entire week. We breathed, ate and slept nature photography. We learned everything from what a proper exposure is and what it should look like in the final image. Also, we learned when the best time to photograph such subjects as waterfalls, macro shots and landscapes. We learned that one of the best times to shoot landscapes is early in the morning. Of course everyone in nature photography knows that one of the best times is morning. But at the time of this workshop I really didn't believe it. Actually, I didn't want to believe it because this meant I would have to wake up really early in the morning (particularly in the summer time). We were also taught how to read the sky to know what the weather will possibly be that day so we know what we would be shooting that day. I really think sometimes this is better than listening to the local weather forecast.

The Conclusion

Most importantly we learned to enjoy nature and everything that is great about it; the unexpected, the dramatic beautiful landscapes, down to the smallest dragonfly, wild blueberries and wild ferns.

In conclusion, if you ever get a chance or are considering attending a workshop I highly recommend it. But I want to give you a few suggestions on how to pick the right one for you.

If you have a favorite photographer and he or she holds seminars and workshops I recommend going to a seminar first to get an idea of what type of personality he/she has. If you really don't care for his/her teaching techniques then what would be the point of attending one of his/her workshops? If the photographer (s) only have workshops then before you fork out anywhere from $400 to $5,500 or more, do your research. I found the internet is the perfect way to do research and find out more about the workshops and photographer (s).

Please do not forget the most important reasons for attending a workshop; to enjoy nature and the outdoors and to learn as much as you can about nature photography. The workshop I attended improved my photography skills by 150 percent.

Shoreline of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
Shoreline of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

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    • crookedcreekphoto profile image
      Author

      crookedcreekphoto 4 years ago from Ohio, USA

      By the way, this article is based on my experience with the Gerlachs (one of the links I supplied.)

    • theframjak profile image

      theframjak 4 years ago from East Coast

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I have always wanted to attend a photography workshop, but have not been able to yet.

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