Fir trees

Workshop Summary

June 4, 2022 – The Textures of Spring: Artistry in Nature – seeing and artistically capturing beautiful patterns found in wild locations. 
One-Day field nature photography workshop
Location: Elk Rock State Park (near Knoxville, Iowa)
Starts: 8:00am / Concludes: 4:30pm
This is primarily a macro & “nature portrait” photography immersion focused on creating visually-stunning photographic art in wild environments in the springtime. Emphasis is on the textures and patterns of nature. Main Topics Include: learning to see creatively, developing compelling compositions using landscape, macro, and creative techniques, creative exposure, and mood.

What to Expect

Thick, vibrant green leaves in the dense forest of late-spring/early summer. New growth climbing and tangling over woodland life of seasons gone by. Summer prairies just starting to come to life in warm spring tones of pale yellows, oranges, greens, and browns. If there’s such a thing as “pastel brown” it’s on the midwest prairie in late-spring. The rocky shoreline of a deep lake. Perhaps – if the spring rains are plentiful enough – a small hidden waterfall.

These are some of the subjects, among others, that this workshop will explore over the course of a day at Elk Rock State Park, as we seek to create springtime photographic artistry emphasizing the textures and surfaces of springtime in the Midwest.

During this workshop we’ll thoroughly explore the forest, the prairie, and the shoreline of Lake Red Rock, concentrating on the patterns, texture, and natural design of the native landscape. Yes, we’ll cover camera & tripod settings, lens choice, and exposure to create beautiful landscape, nature “portrait,” and macro images. But this workshop focuses more on the artistry of nature photography – composition, image design, creative exposure techniques, and mood in landscape and nature photography.

Alternating between hands-on shooting and instructional sessions on nature photography topics, we’ll explore multiple locations within and outside the boundaries of the park, working to build solid nature photography technique – and a robust portfolio of images – for the full day. 

Topics covered will include both basic and advanced topics of outdoor nature photography, including exposure, selective focus, proper field technique, numerous creative techniques, equipment and gear, and much more.  We’ll also discuss aspects of artistry in photography, including composition, color vs monochrome, and authenticity in your own art. 

I am a very hands-on instructor and I do not shoot my own images in the field; rather, I focus 100% on assisting participants to learn proper technique and to create successful images. My goal is to help you return from the field at the end of the day with a collection of publication-quality photographs including landscapes, close-up or macro images, and evocative artistic images – and the knowledge to continue to create these images on an ongoing basis on your own.

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, June 5.

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 workshop will take place at beautiful Elk Rock State Park, which is adjacent to Lake Red Rock near Knoxville, Iowa. A map and meeting location will be sent to participants prior to the event. Our workshop group will move to several locations throughout and adjacent to the park over the course of the day. We’ll have the opportunity to photograph forest, prairie, and lakeshore nature subjects.

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, if you have one
– other lens(es) for nature/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 lunch as a group. 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: we will drive to a few general photography locations within Elk Rock State Park, but will then walk to access the exact area at which we’ll shoot. 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).

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, June 4, 2022
Start Time: 8:00am
End Time: 4:30pm


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