Path leading into deep green forest

Workshop Summary

Saturday, May 14, 2022 – Spring Woodland Nature Photography: Macro and Landscape Photography in the Spring Forest
One-Day field nature photography workshop
Location: Forest known for bountiful spring woodland wildflowers, near Des Moines, Iowa
Starts: 7:00am / Concludes: 3:30pm
Main Topics Include: Field macro photography techniques, nature photography techniques, spring woodland wildflower photography, artistic considerations particular to macro photography, overcoming the challenges of landscape photography in a dense forest setting.

What to Expect

In this part of the US, spring wildflowers are the woodland species (with prairie wildflowers blooming mid-summer). The woodland spring wildflowers generally experience a peak bloom in early May each year. At the same time, mid-May tends to be a timeframe of explosive growth of Midwest vegetation, with forest trees and ground cover budding like mad. Fresh, green leaves that haven’t yet experienced summer drought, bug infestations, or other maladies, birds and insects actively building nests and colonies, flowing streams still burgeoning from spring snow melts, dew-laden leaves and flowers, are all fabulous nature photography subjects at this time of year.


Join me in the field for a full day of nature photography field education, while we photograph these things in a lush, Midwest forest setting!

This is an instructional workshop that employs hands-on active photography in the field with three over-riding objectives:
– to improve participants’ nature photography field technique, specifically in the arenas of macro photography, general nature photography, and landscape photography
– to better understand camera and lens settings, equipment, and accessories that can help a photographer to optimize the impact of a nature photograph
– to help participants better understand general artistic concepts that will improve their photography
– to create a portfolio of successful nature photographs from the day

This workshop meets early-morning, while the leaves are still saturated with dew, at one of my favorite “hidden gem” locations for fabulous Midwest spring nature photography.

The objective of this workshop is to help photographers build solid field macro, landscape, and general nature photography techniques. Wildflower blooms are very unpredictable from year to year, but the location at which we will meet is known for wildflowers such as Dutchman’s Breeches, Bloodroot, Wild Ginger, Rue Anemone, Spring Beauty, Hepatica, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, May Apple, Sweet William, and Trout Lily [*see note]. “Nature portrait” and landscape photography opportunities also abound in this forest location.

[*note: there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to photograph each of these mentioned wildflower species, but all have been found at this location, around this timeframe, in past years.  Actual blossoms the week of our workshop, of course, will heavily depend on local conditions that strongly vary year-to-year].

The workshop will be held rain or shine – in fact, often the best nature photography is in the rain! In the event of dangerous storms or tornadoes, however, the rain date will be Sunday, May 15.

A liability waiver will be sent to all participants at registration – a signed returned liability form will be required from each participant prior to the workshop.

The workshop will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants.


The location of this Workshop is not well known, and the land steward prefers it that way to preserve its pristine status. It is located within 30 miles of Des Moines, Iowa, and is probably less than a 45-minute drive from anywhere in the Des Moines area. The exact location and maps will be emailed to participants prior to the event.

Who Should Attend

This workshop is open to photographers using DSLR or Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Cameras of all skill levels, who have general familiarity with their camera and its settings. Bring your camera manual if you will be using a new or unfamiliar camera.


What to Bring

A detailed gear list will be emailed to participants upon registration. Participants will at a minimum want to bring
– a DSLR or Mirrorless camera (required)
– a macro or close-focusing lens
– other lens(es) for landscape photography
– a sturdy tripod (required)
– enough batteries and memory cards for a full day of active photography

Food and Drink

Please plan to bring a lunch – we’ll break mid-day to eat together. We’ll also hold a general Q&A session at this time. Bottled water and snacks will be available throughout the day.

Physical Activity Level

This workshop requires moderate physical activity: participants should be in good enough physical condition to be able to walk carrying their own photographic equipment for up to 200 yards or so at a time, in uneven terrain. Please come prepared with comfortable hiking shoes/boots (or rubber boots if it’s been raining heavily in the days preceding the workshop). There may be possibility of a stream crossing to get to some of the best photography locations. (No we won’t wade through a stream, but be prepared for a leap or perhaps a walk along a fallen log).

COVID Safety

COVID safety protocols will be emphasized, as we work as a socially-distanced group to photograph throughout the day.

Post-Workshop Image Review

In past years, we debriefed at the end of each workshop day to review and discuss images from the day. Currently, I’m using Zoom to host an image review session from each workshop, a few days after the event. We’ll schedule this during an evening or the weekend following the workshop, giving each participant time to cull, select, and edit some favorite photos from the workshop. We’ll each share a few photos from the day, and I and other participants will provide feedback. This session is included with your workshop registration.

Workshop Date and Time

Saturday, May 14, 2022
Start Time: 7:00am
End Time: 3:30pm


$169 per person, includes instruction, handout, and snacks/water throughout the day.