Photographers’ Field Day at Meadowlark

Photographers’ Field Day

Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

Saturday, June 1, 2013
Gates open 5:30 a.m.
Admission Fee is $5 per person until 10:00 a.m.
After 10:00, regular admission fees and discounts apply.

Come early to Meadowlark to catch that lovely first light. Garden gates open before sunrise so you can get your best shots. Participate in one of our class offerings, or walk the gardens in search of your own unique subjects. Three classes will be offered:  “Cool Creatures Photo Ops,” “Capturing Insects Through Your Camera,” and “What’s in Bloom.”

Cool Creatures Photo Ops

9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Meet in the Log Cabin

Photographers and nature enthusiasts of all ages will be able to enjoy a unique photo opportunity with some native creatures of Northern Virginia. Join Roving Park Naturalist David Garcia and some of his naturalist friends at the Log Cabin, where they will display some local reptiles and amphibians for everyone to take pictures and learn of their special lifestyles. Free with paid admission to the Gardens. Reservations at 703.255.3631 x 0.

Photography Class:  ‘Capturing Insects Through Your Camera’

Date:  June 1, 2013
Time:  9:00 am to noon
Location:  Meadowlark Botanical Gardens – meet at Visitor Center
Instructor:  Bill Johnson of Bill Johnson Nature Stock Photography
Class Size: Limit of 25 participants
Class Fee: $60 payable to Bill Johnson Nature Stock Photography
Entrance Fee of $5 also applies (payable to Meadowlark Botanical 
Gardens upon arrival at the Gardens)
Enroll in Class: Send an email to billjohnson AT usinternet DOT com

How do insect photographers get those amazing shots?!  In this class, I’ll be doing ‘hands-on’ insect photography with the class participants.  I’ll be talking about the equipment that I use and showing people the various ways that I use it to create the images that I get.

The class will be mostly outdoors (weather dependent) where we’ll all meet in a group and proceed to walk around the gardens doing a ‘bug hunt’ and attempting to photograph what we run into.  I’ll show ways to be successful at it, things I’ve found that work and those that don’t work. Throughout the class I will encourage people to ask questions, and I will do the best to answer them.

Class participants can bring cameras if they want to.   If they don’t have a camera, that’s OK too. I’ll show them about how some cameras are limited in what they can do, as opposed to camera systems that can get amazing results. My hope is that everyone will come away from this experience with a whole new view and respect for insects.

I will end the class by bringing everyone into my photo exhibit to show them results of what we had just been doing in the field.  I will answer any questions people might have about how a certain photo was taken, etc.

At the end, I will have some handouts of articles I’ve written about insect photography for everyone to take home. A select group of images from the show will be available for purchase as notecards in the gift shop.

Bill Johnson owns his own Stock Photography business in the Minneapolis area and has been published in over 800 publications.  He writes the column ‘Insect ID’ for Horticulture magazine and currently has the photo exhibit ‘Insect Pollinators – Beyond the Honey Bee,’ which is being shown at Meadowlark  Botanical Gardens in Vienna, Virginia.

What’s In Bloom

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.

Education Specialist Patricia Dietly will lead a discovery tour of Meadowlark to see what’s in bloom. The tour is helpful to photographers who want to identify their botanical subjects, but everyone is welcome to come along. No reservations necessary. Meet in the Visitor Center.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me!

Patricia K. Dietly
Education Specialist
703.255.3631 x106 office
814.450.3113 cell
703.255.2392 fax
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court
Vienna, Virginia 22182


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Dean Collins on Digital Imaging

Dean Collins was early into adopting the digital revolution.  I’m not certain that he gave up his 8×10 view camera and leaf shutters, but his predictions about the future of digital were pretty much spot on.

In this video he again preaches about the need to control specular, diffuse and shadow regions of the photograph.  He recognized that even in digital photography, capturing the best possible image would make post processing more enjoyable and effective.

He predicted that there would be a huge market in digital manipulation and photo composites, something that he was working on even then, in 1998.  Definitely way ahead of his time.

I look back on these Dean Collins videos and find that they are still applicable to the photographs I make today.  I spend a good deal of time attempting to control contrast, specular highlights and shadow detail.  I employ a number of techniques that I initially learned from his videos, such as strobes/flashes, scrims and reflectors.  Dean’s videos explain the use and purpose of these techniques in simple, easy to understand terms.

If you are just trying to get into the glamor, advertising or product photography industries you can do yourself a great service by getting a copy of The Best of Dean Collins on Lighting videos.  Dean demonstrates many light modifiers, natural, studio and location lighting.  He also demonstrates some novel techniques such as moving a background rather than photographing something in motion and firing studio strobes multiple times during an extended exposure to get sufficient light at a small aperture.

For another take on “the Dean of Photography’s” ability to teach lighting like no one else, take a look at the Strobist’s review of the videos.

Judging the End-of-Year Competiton at GCC

I’ve been invited back to Gaithersburg Camera Club to judge their End-of-Year competition this year.  This will be my first EOY competition and I am really looking forward to it.  I will get more time to spend with the images, and I will not be required to critique each of the images in real time, the most stressful part of a monthly competition in my opinion.

This time I get to make comments on only the top three images in each category, which will be written down and read at the EOY banquet.  I believe this will be far less stressful for me and more beneficial to the members at the banquet.  Mainly because I will have time to think and formulate a more cohesive train of thought.  I will also be able to concentrate on why the image was chosen over the others, rather than justifying removing the image from competition as so often happens when judging monthly competitions.