Refine your vision and gain inspiration in wild and not-so-wild places with nature and garden photographer Cliff Zenor.

Dates:
Jul 24, 2023 - Jul 28, 2023

Levels: Intermediate, Advanced,
Workshop Fee: $1475
Class Size: 12

Death Valley dunes at dusk - By Cliff Zenor
Death Valley dunes at dusk – By Cliff Zenor

What’s a Wild Moment? It’s a minute of good light. An animal’s quick action. A revelation about a place or a thing. An epiphany. A surprise.

A Wild Moment is exactly what we hope for when we venture into the wild world with our cameras in hand. It’s when the elements of nature come together for a pleasing image that’s beautiful or powerful or engaging. But when the moment happens, are we ready to capture it?

Cooper's hawk with red squirrel - By Cliff Zenor
Cooper’s hawk with red squirrel – By Cliff Zenor

Discerning photographers can distill these moments down to their essence. They make images that invite us into wild places we rarely see. They show us reasons to feel connected to wildness. They reveal the wonders of the natural world. They make us wish we were there.

That’s what we intend to do every day we’re together. To make captivating photographs like those, it takes an artistic eye and a creative mind. We will learn how to cultivate both. We’ll explore how the essential elements of a good image interact with each other. And we’ll discover the importance of perspective, preparation and patience.

Snow geese blurred in flight - By Cliff Zenor
Snow geese blurred in flight – By Cliff Zenor

Our workshop combines the best ways to refine your vision and gain inspiration. That happens in the classroom and in the field. We will examine the practical and artistic photographic elements like point of view, lens choice, camera settings and photographic techniques. We’ll fine tune our skills for blurring and freezing motion, softening the background to isolate a subject, and getting complete depth of field in the landscape. We’ll look at how to improve our realistic, descriptive photographs. And we will also test our creative skills for finding abstract compositions of shapes, patterns, reflections, highlights, and shadows.

In the classroom and in the field, we’ll discover how to assess the qualities of our scene or subject, the light, the background and the conditions like wind and weather before we make a composition. When we’re in the field, we’ll discuss these ideas before we even click the shutter. We’ll take time to refine our compositions before we move on to another place or subject. If we think photographically before we take a photograph, we’ll begin to make better images.

Lone tree in canola field - By Cliff Zenor
Lone tree in canola field – By Cliff Zenor

Our focus will always be on making the best photographs we can before we use image processing programs. The better a photo is to start with, the more time we can spend making more photos instead of fixing them in post-processing.

Most of our time will be spent making and reviewing the images from our field sessions. Our days will start with several sunrise sessions that are optional but highly recommended. After breakfast, we’ll meet in the classroom for short lessons followed by the reviewing of your images. After lunch, we’ll explore and photograph a good location for the afternoon. After dinner, you may choose to edit and process your work in your room or some of us may gather to edit and chat in a common space.

Whitetail doe in broom grass - By Cliff Zenor
Whitetail doe in broom grass – By Cliff Zenor

Course requirements

Consider this an Intermediate to Advanced-level workshop. You’ll need a laptop computer for processing your images that you’ll share in our image critique session. And you’ll need a small flash drive for sharing your images. A familiarity with Lightroom and Photoshop programs is recommended.

Suggested gear

A thorough list of suggested gear is available from the Registrar ([email protected]) on request.

Past student work

Left to right: Norma Levett, Barbara Buss, Nyoli Connor, Jane Mackay

Photos taken by Cliff during Maine Media Workshops field trips:

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Cliff Zenor Profile Picture (black and white)

Instructor: Cliff Zenor

Cliff Zenor is a nature and garden photographer, tour leader and workshop teacher. For 30 years he has photographed, toured, and taught in parks and preserves across the continental US and in other wild places like Kenya, the Galapagos Islands, the Pantanal Brazilian wetlands, Alaska, and Canada.