Advance Your Skills Boot Camp (Pre-Summit)

On Thursday, February 28, before the Summit, we have assembled a group of the top photography instructors in the country to help improve your photo skills. The program features a full day of instruction with sessions from Lewis Kemper, George Lepp, Tony Sweet, Mike Moats, and Greg Downing. This is a going to be a very popular program – and sure to sell out.

Lewis Kemper – Light, Color and Composition
(7:30am – 9:00am)

Greg Downing – Tips & Tricks for Digital Bird & Wildlife Photography
(9:00am – 11:30am)

Lunch (included in registration) – 11:30am – 12:30pm

Mike Moats – Macro Photography in Nature
(12:30pm – 2:00pm)

George Lepp – Extending Depth of Field
(2:00pm – 3:30pm)

Tony Sweet – Creative Alternatives – Plugins Unplugged

(3:30pm – 5:00pm)

Lewis Kemper – Light, Color and Composition

This presentation will concentrate on the three main components of color photography – Light, composition and color. When you are taking pictures you are doing two things: Capturing light and placing a frame around something that exists. The lecture will concentrate on these steps by emphasizing the importance of light, color, and the placement of the frame.

The first half of the equation – capturing light, will cover areas such as exposure control, depth of field, selective focus, filters, and shutter speeds for effect. Starting with light we will explore the principles of light including direction and quality. Topics include, Hard Light, Soft Light, Warm Light , Frontal Light, Side Light, Backlight and Diffuse Light. There will be a discussion on HDR, High Dynamic Range Imagery including tips for shooting HDR and tips for processing HDR imagery. We will discuss color relationships including cool with a warm accent; warm with a cool accent; no color; saturated color; pastel color; and monochromatic color. Just as you use line, shadow and form to create compositions, we will explore how to use these color relationships as compositional aids.

The second half of the equation – placing a frame around something that exists, will concentrate on lens choice; leading lines; placement of elements, horizontal vs. vertical, highlights and colors; and basic design principles.

Greg Downing – Tips & Tricks for Digital Bird & Wildlife Photography

Photo by Patsy Hall

Digital photography has given us new tools and new challenges. As a recognized expert in the field for at least the last decade Greg knows nature photography and he knows digital. Whether you’re just getting started in photographing birds and wildlife with a digital camera, or you’ve been at it for a while, Greg has lots to share and teach with simple tips and techniques that will help you quickly capture, and process, your best images ever. From capturing the best in-camera image, to efficient and easy post processing techniques, Greg will show you a number of tips to maximize your camera’s full potential with each image you create.

Topics covered will be: Setting up your camera to get the most out of it, evaluating and understanding your camera’s histogram, making proper exposure choices, capturing dramatic lighting, composition considerations, depth of field, perspective and more! Join Greg and take your photos to the next level.

Mike Moats – Macro Photography in Nature

Are you interested in learning more about camera technique, subject and composition used in macro nature photography? If so, this session is for you. Mike Moats will be discussing his style of nature photography. Mike will share his thoughts on the best cameras, lenses, tripod and ballhead for macro. He will also cover some important accessories that every macro photographer should not be without.

Mike will talk about the seven “Elements of Design” that help him create his unique macro style. And if you want to take your flower photography to the next level, you will especially like the section on “Finding Character in Nature.” You will learn about composing “Two Subject Compositions” which is Mike’s signature style of macro.

The most common problem for macro photographers is working with depth of field. It’s not just about the f/stops, there are other factors involved. Finding the right subjects and working the camera angles is a big part of controlling the depth of field. Mike will simplify what most people consider the toughest part of macro photography. This session is designed for any interested nature photographer from beginner to intermediate.

George Lepp
– Extending Depth of Field

Seldom is there enough depth of field (that is, range of sharpness) in an image, especially if the photographer is working with telephotos or in macro. Digital imaging is offering photographers techniques to extend depth of field beyond that which can be achieved with traditional manipulation of exposure or by using specialized lenses.  This program offers a complete discussion and demonstration of the concepts and technique of stacking, or compositing a series of images that capture a full range of sharp focus throughout the image. The program will cover the following topics:

Overview of Methods to increase Depth of Field
- Stopping Down, Tilt/Shift, Stacking.
Applications and Techniques for Stacking Images.
- Stacking for landscapes and larger subjects
- Manual stacking technique
- High-magnification stacking, flowers, bugs and snowflakes
- Introduction to the StackShot
Software Programs for Assembly of Stacked Images
- Zerene Stacker
- Helicon Focus
- Photoshop CS

Tony Sweet – Creative Alternatives – Plugins Unplugged

In this digital age, it’s apparent that photography is not what it used to be. Cogent and intuitive software plugins have given us remarkable and unlimited ability to create whatever we can see in our imaginations. No longer does one have to master complicated Photoshop techniques.


This presentation will discuss and illustrate the use many of the most popular and cogent plugins on the market today. Images will illustrate the creative use of Nik Plugins; Alien Skin’s Bokeh, Snap Art, and Exposure 2; and Topaz Labs. Given the rapid popularity of iPhoneography, there will be an iPhone image presentation while discussing apps and what to look for and processing techniques.