I offer the premiere Lake Superior photography workshops, photography courses and one-on-one and private small group photography instruction in Grand Marais, Minnesota and Lutsen, Minnesota. I also offer workshops at national parks including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park (ND Badlands), Grand Tetons National Park and the Badlands National Park.
I’m a professional outdoor photographer and outdoor educator with over 25 years of experience. I’ve been teaching workshops since 2006. You can find testimony about my popular workshops below the workshop descriptions.
My workshops combine classroom time, field time at stunning locations and an image review. Using this combination, I teach you how to master your camera, exposure, filters, how to see and how to capture better photos, how to make better compositions and specific techniques for the subject matter. I find that this combination of teaching tools hits multiple learning styles which helps reinforce the learning process. Experiential learning allows you to quickly learn skills that would take months or years to learn from books or lectures.
When teaching I break down topics into their component parts to give you an analytical workflow and that workflow helps you increase and free your creativity. On my workshops, you not only learn about making great pictures, but you’ll also learn how to look at the photo on your computer, identify why the image works and identify how to make it pop while processing it.
During my workshops, I teach:
- How to make better compositions. Going beyond the typical techniques so you gain an understanding of not just the techniques, but why the techniques work, so that you can arrange compositional elements organically in your photos.
- How to see and how to capture better photos and how what your camera sees differs from what you see.
- How to use my method of composition called Juxtaposition in Landscape Photography to create fine art landscape shots.
- How both balance and visual flow are more important than specific compositional techniques.
- Background/foreground relationships at different focal lengths and how that relationship can create a stronger landscape photo.
- Bolder Lightroom processing to maximize the visual impact through emphasizing the flow and reducing flow interruptions.
- A concrete field technique for determining the proper exposure using your histogram.
- How to use filters to maximize the exposure range of your image, for long exposures and to make colors pop without looking supersaturated.
My photography workshops help you shortcut the learning process, and you will learn techniques that can improve your photography.
The small group size ensures that you’ll get plenty of one-on-one time. If you want more one-on-one time, I offer personal and private small group workshops for you and your friends. I also make sure that my workshops are fun, because learning should be fun.
Because these workshops take place in a wilderness context, I hold your safety as my top priority. I’m a WMA-certified Wilderness First Responder and I’m an experienced wilderness guide with formal guide training and the proper permits where required to run workshops. On my workshops, I get you to the best locations while minimizing the risks.
Find this year’s workshops below, and if you have other questions email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I personally answer every email I receive.
Note: All workshop participants receive a discount code for Singh-Ray Filters and Smugmug and full pdfs of all the presentations and a detailed participant package.
2017 Photography Workshops
- February 3 to 5 — Lake Superior Winter Photo Workshop — Full – Waiting List Available
- February 17 to 19 — Lake Superior Winter Photo Workshop — Full – Waiting List Available
- April 6 to 9 — Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop — NEW – 1 space left
- April 22-23 — Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge Photography Workshop – Filling
- April 28-30 — Spring Waterfall Photography Workshop – Over Half Full
- May 18-21 — Spring in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photography Workshop — Full – Waiting List Available
- June 16 to 18 — North Shore Wildflower Photography Workshop – Filling
- June 22 to 25 — Milky Way Photography Workshop – NEW – Nearly full
- July 13 to 16 — Bluff Country of Northeastern Iowa Photography Workshop — NEW
- July 19 to 23 — Night Skies and the Milky Way of the Gunflint Trail — NEW 5-day format — Full – Waiting List Available
- August 16 to 20th — Northern Night Skies: Night and Milky Way Photography Workshop
- September 6 to 10 — Grand Teton National Park Photography Workshop – Over Half Full
- September 27 to October 1 — North Shore of Lake Superior Fall Photography Workshop — Filling
- October 19 to 22 — Great Smoky Mountains National Park Fall Photography Workshop — Half Full
- November 3 to 5 — Gales of November Photography Workshop – Filling
- November 11-12 — Achieve Your Vision: Processing Photos in the Digital Darkroom
- December 1 to 3 — Badlands National Park Photography Workshop
2017 North House Folk School Photography Classes – 1.5 day classes
- May 12-13: Focus! The Basics of Photography (Note: register via the North House)
- June 2-3: Northern Landscapes Photography (Note: register via the North House)
- October 7-8: October Skies: Night Photography Workshop (Note: register via the North House)
- You can make your final payment here: Workshop Final Payment
Photography Workshop Descriptions
Lake Superior Winter Photography Workshop
In the winter, the combination of all day golden-hour light, sea fog, ice and open water make Lake Superior’s shoreline and tributaries the premier winter photo destination in the Midwest. The best month to photograph the area is February, because the sun sets and rises over Lake Superior and the rivers are solid ice which allows for exploration. During the workshop, we hike up the frozen river valley’s during the day and spend time on the shore at sunrise and sunset. You also learn how to keep your camera running in the cold. This one always fills up quickly, so we often add a second session.
- February 3-5, 2017
- February 17 to 19, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Winter Photography Workshop details
Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains Photo Workshop — NEW
Spring wildflowers covering the forest floor, rushing mountain streams surrounded by glowing green moss, cabins flanked by flowering dogwood, freak spring storms covering the mountain tops with snow are just a few of the photographic possibilities in the Great Smoky Mountains in the spring. This four day workshop will focus on areas where the spring is showing off and will compliment my fall workshop by visiting different areas of the park.
- April 6 to 9, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Spring in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Des Moines Photography Workshop at Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge
I’m teaming up with John Gregor of ColdSnap Photography out of Two Harbors, Minnesota to run a Des Moines Photography Workshop at Iowa’s Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has great classrooms, a bison herd, elk, tallgrass prairie, oak savannas and sedge meadows. We’re staging this workshop at a perfect time to kick off your spring and having multiple instructors will give you different perspectives and takes on photography.
- April 22-23, 2017
Cost: $199 ($189 for members of the Friends of Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge)
Sign up and More Info: Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge Photography Workshop in Des Moines, Iowa
Minnesota Spring Waterfall Photography Workshop
In April when winter’s snowpack melts, it rushes down Lake Superior’s tributaries and over the numerous waterfalls. The waterfalls thunder, the narrow canyons fill and the ground shakes from the excess water. No other time of year allows for the dynamic photography of waterfalls along Lake Superior.
- April 28 to 30, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Spring Waterfall Photo Workshop Details.
Spring in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photo Workshop
May in Theodore Roosevelt National Park is when the park comes back alive from a long winter. The golden grasses contrast with the spring green cottonwood trees. The bison and wild horse have calves and the landscape is bathed in fog and golden light. Come experience the park that made President Roosevelt the man he was.
- May 18-21, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Spring in Theodore Roosevelt National Park Photography Workshop
Badlands and Black Hills Photography Workshop
The Badlands and Black Hills Photography Workshop starts in Badlands National Park. We’ll split our time between the Badlands and Custer. Once in Custer we’ll photograph the Black Hills. Destinations include Badlands National Park, Scenic, Custer State Park, the Needles, Sylvan Lake, Spearfish Canyon and depending on conditions Bear Butte.
- June 22 to 26, 2016
- May TBD, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Badlands and Black Hills Photography Workshop
North Shore Wildflower Photography Workshop
In the middle of June, the wildflowers along the north shore of Lake Superior peak. The lupine are starting to appear and the lady slippers bloom. In past years, I offered this as a one day workshop and in one day, we often photographed as many as 30 to 40 unique wildflowers in bloom. The common request was to make the workshop longer. It’s now a full weekend of wild flower photography.
- June 16 to 18, 2017
- June 17 to 19, 2016
Sign up and More Info: North Shore Wildflower Photography Workshop
The Bluff Country of Northeastern Iowa Photography Workshop
I’m looking forward to offering another workshop in my old stomping grounds in Iowa. Northeastern Iowa is in the driftless zone, where the glaciers didn’t make everything flat. It’s bluff country over the Mississippi River. Summer is in full swing in July and bluff country is green. We’ll spend four days romping through northeastern Iowa on an adventure to photograph the best part of Iowa.
- July 13 to 16, 2017
Sign up and More Info: The Bluff Country of Northeastern Iowa Photography Workshop
Night Skies of the Gunflint Trail
Learn how to photograph the night sky in northern Minnesota. During the Night Skies of the Gunflint Trail we’ll explore some of the darkest locations in Cook County, which offers some of the darkest skies in the world. Combine the dark sky with the numerous lakes, twisted pines, cedar and spruce trees and we have some of the best foregrounds to combine with the night sky.
- September 1 to 3, 2016 – 3 full nights
- July 19 to 23, 2017 – Format change to 5 full nights
Cost: $450 (2016), $699 (2017)
Sign up and More Info: Night Skies of the Gunflint Trail Photo Workshop
Northern Night Skies: Night Photography Workshop – 5 day
Cook County, Minnesota on the north shore of Lake Superior is 92% public and undeveloped land. With a summer population of about 10,000 people mainly living near the shore of Lake Superior, there isn’t much in the way of night pollution. When it’s dark out, the stars fill the sky, the Milky Way is bright and because of our proximately to the magnetic north pole, we get northern lights more often than other areas at the same latitude. August generally has clear nights or nights with lightning and thunderstorms, and this night photography workshop takes advantage of those clear summer nights. For five days, we’ll work on capturing night images and learning how to process them.
- August 3 to 7th, 2016
- August 16 to 19, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Northern Night Skies: Night Photography Workshop
Grand Tetons National Park Photography Workshop – 5 day
The second weekend in September in the Grand Tetons National Park isn’t yet fall, but it isn’t summer either. The grasses have gone brown and a tree here and there might just show signs of color. It can be stormy (rain or snow), and it can be clear. In the mountains, it’s the transition time between seasons that I love to photograph. It’s also a relatively slow time in the park. I wouldn’t be surprised if we have some of the sunrise locations to ourselves.
- September 7 to 11, 2016
- September 6 to 10, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Grand Teton National Park Photo Workshop
Minnesota’s North Shore of Lake Superior Fall Photography Workshop
During late September, the hills and shoreline surrounding Lake Superior turn a mix of fiery red and yellow. The combination of the dramatic shoreline and moody fall weather makes the north shore the best photography destination in Minnesota. During the workshop, we’ll visit the best locations to capture fall colors, visit a maple syrup factory and drive roads that will literally take your breath away. During the workshop, you’ll learn compositional techniques, how to use several filters and how to control your camera to capture stunning fall photos.
- September 28 to October 2, 2016
- September 27 to October 1, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Minnesota Fall Photography Workshop
Great Smoky Mountains Photography Workshop – Fall
The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is one of America’s greatest and most majestic national parks. During the fall, weathered ridges covered with fall colors literally stretch as far as the eye can see. Streams run down all the valleys and traverse a diversity of biomes. The northern forest intermixes with the southern forest in one of the biologically richest places on the planet. We’ll spend three days immersed from dawn to dusk photographing the fall colors on the peaks and in the streams.
- October 20 to 23, 2016
- October 19 to 22, 2017 – Format change to 4 full days
Cost: $599 (2017 – $699)
Sign up and More Info: Great Smoky Mountains Photography Workshop
Gales of November Photography Workshop
November is the stormiest month on Lake Superior. It’s the month with the best chance of capturing this inland ocean showing off its explosive nature. I lead you on a learning experience to some of the most beautiful out-of-the-way locations for making great storm and lake images. Workshop time is divided between the classroom – learning about metering, manual camera controls, lighting, composition – and the field. Evenings are spent peer reviewing the day’s images. Although there will be some classroom time, expect to spend most of this workshop in the field.
- November 4 to 6, 2016
- November 3 to 5, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Gales of November Photography Workshop
Early Winter in Badlands National Park Photography Workshop
The landscape in South Dakota’s Badlands National Park feels like something out of a futuristic movie. Rugged Badlands formations seem to rise abruptly out of the grassy plains and rise into a crisp sky. When standing at overlooks, the terrain unfolds before your eyes. Your eyes follow the lines carved by water for 10s of 1000s of years. December in the Badlands is a time of transition and the perfect time for photography. On this Badlands Photography Workshop, we’ll spend three days photographing the park from sunrise to sunset.
- December 2 to 4, 2016
- December 1 to 3, 2017
Sign up and More Info: Badlands National Park Photography Workshop
Individual and Private Photography Workshops
I offer personal Minnesota photography workshops and Lake Superior photography workshops targeting your learning needs. The workshops are hands-on in the field. We’ll visit a location and spend time on subjects that you need help with. I’ll teach you my approach to photography and by the end of the workshop, you’ll have the skills that will improve your photography. Select a half-day or a full-day workshop.
Price: 1 person: $225 half-day / $375 full-day
2 people: $280 half-day / $480 full-day ($140/$240 per person)
3 people: $330 half-day / $585 full-day ($110/$195 per person)
4 people: $380 half-day / $660 full-day ($95/$165 per person)
Half-day: A four to five hour private photo workshop starting before sunrise or leading up to sunset. Midday lessons are also available.
Full-day: We meet before the sunrise and shoot for around eight and nine hours or shoot eight hours leading up to sunset. In the winter, that might mean that we shoot both the sunrise and sunset. Total lesson time runs between eight and nine hours.
Weekend: Contact me for special full weekend workshops for four or more people.
Required down-payment: Full payment. 50% of the total is nonrefundable but may be transferred.
More info: One-on-one photography workshops and small ground photography workshops