McDonald Wildlife Photography, Inc.


Digital Complete Nature Photo Course -
The Advanced Course

-- the only nature photographycourse in the U.S. with an intense concentration
on using Electronic Flash !

At the Hoot Hollow Institute of Nature Photography


TBA 2008 or 2009
Please read our
August Tip of the Month

If you wish to go to the next level of Photography, this course is for you.

Here's just some of the topics we'll be covering:

1. Electronic Flash as it appllies to Nature Photography. More on this, later!
2. Mastering Exposure as it applies to working with flash.
3. Compositions in the Field.
4. Macro Photography options.
5. Panning Effectively.
6. Mastering the Digital Potential via exposure, contrast, and focus composites, as well as Digital Stitching of Panoramas.
7. Digital Workflow.
8. Critiques of Your Work

There is no more thorough a treatment on electronic flash as it applies to nature photography anywhere. You'll learn all about TTL flash and, more importantly, how to use MANUAL flash when necessary, especially for doing high speed flash setups to capture incredible action. For all of our graduated of the D-CNPC, here's the perfect follow-up -- a course that takes what you've learned one BIG further step.

In this course we'll delve further into both TTL and manual flash exposures, where you'll actually do a few setups yourself to master electronic flash lighting indoors or out. You'll have the opportunity to use studio flashes, Shutterbeams and PhotoTraps, manual flash equipment, and assorted other equipment that you may only have read about, or that you knew nothing about at all!

We'll be spending more time shooting -- working on compositions in the field, mastering exposure in real-time, and mastering difficult to shoot subjects, including macro photography, panning, and exposure/focus/contrast composites. Once again, we'll cover Digital Workflow, and specific Photoshop tasks that will allow you to maximize your images' digital potential.

If you are a graduate of our Complete Nature Photo Course, or are sufficiently advanced that you are a master of the basics, then our Advanced Nature Photo Course is for you! Although each course is tailored for the needs and skills of that session's participants, most courses spend a great deal of time understanding, mastering, and finally, executing spectacular images, via electonic flash. This course is not comprehensive ... our Complete Nature Photo course covers lens selection, exposure, and the basic tenets of composition. Instead, ...

The ADVANCED NATURE PHOTO COURSE will feature the following:

1. It is designed to allow the maximum amount of time in photographing, both in the field and in studio. Photography will occur in a variety of locations, including the nearby mountains, farm-country, Faylor lake, the Mt. Dale Farm, and areas around Hoot Hollow, and in our studio setups where you'll work on the practice of using electronic flash effectively.
2. Topics to be covered in depth will include macro photography; set-ups, both in studio and in the field; problem solving; and electronic flash and Shutterbeam (Dalebeam) photography. We'll also be demonstrating a variety of photo blinds, the use of kayaks (land demo only!), and using mouth and electronic game calls for attracting wildlife. We'll practice panning techniques and the importance of various shutter speeds for effective images.
3. Digital Photography offers tremendous potential for maximizing your photography, allowing you to capture images that were, until digital, impossible to do. In the past, the limitations of your optics and the limitations in exposure latitude compromised our vision, and distorted the reality of a scene. While one might argue that digital manipulation is the distortion, we think that's archaic thinking, and we'll cover the modern world, and the ehtics that this requires.
4. Seminar discussions on marketing images, editing, captioning, and filing digital, and marketing strategies. We'll be demonstrating at least two methods of doing most of these tasks, using Capture One and Adobe Bridge. If Lightroom proves worthy, we'll be covering Adobe Lightroom as well.
5. Homework assignments, both prior to arrival and during the duration of the course. Our goal is for you to learn by doing, and we'll be giving you several tasks to do just that.
6. A review of portfolios, with a special emphasis upon its sales potential. We'll do this 'the easy way, or the hard way' giving you a choice of a gentle review or as brutal as we can be, but mind you! great images can't be savagely critiqued if there's no reason to, so don't expect to be beaten up for no reason!


The ANPC will be limited to 10 participants. Although not required, previous attendence at our Complete Nature Photo Course or one of our off-location workshops is recommended. The course will run from Sunday at 5PM to Saturday at 11AM.

Photography Time: If you are a 'veteran' of the D-CNPC you know our class time and field time were roughly equal. On the Advanced course, participants will spend the majority of their time photographing. We'll have theory sessions involving our topics or items that are particularly troublesome, but the course is designed to allow the maximum amount of time shooting. The course is designed to thoroughly acquaint you with TTL flash on the first day, and Manual flash techniques on the second. On following days you'll have in-class time to spend on fun, and challenging, team photography projects. You will learn by doing -- using our equipment in our setups and studios, as you tackle and master flash photography problems. And it is fun!

Locations: Central Pennsylvania offers a variety of shooting locales and subjects ranging from typical farm scenes from roadside or hill-side overlooks; scenics, sunrises, and macro work around Faylor lake; the incredible diversity of subjects found at Mt. Dale Farm (your home-base for lodging and most meals; and the wealth of wildlife subjects typically found around Hoot Hollow.

Subjects: The above locations suggest some of the many subjects available during a week's shooting. I'll also have several reptiles on hand, similar to what we've done with our Reptiles of the World Photo Shoots, but here you, the participant, will be involved with the planning of the studio set and with the arrangement of the lights. The date of the course correspond with the highest abundance of ruby-throated hummingbirds and you'll have an opportunity to do setups using high speed flash on these birds!


Flash Photography

There will be a heavy emphasis upon electronic flash photography in all its formats. We'll cover, in-depth, TTL shooting, and its pros and cons. We'll cover MANUAL FLASH in even greater depth, as it applies to Olson High Speed Flash systems, Metz flash systems, Studio lighting setups, and traditional hot-shoe flash systems where TTL may fail.

We'll cover flash macro techniques, and perhaps include the application of fiber optics for channeling light into tight, cramped areas. We'll cover fool-proof methods to determine manual flash exposures, via guide numbers, flash meters, and incorporating inverse-square law principles, as well as the easiest method available today -- using your LCD monitor!

Additionally, we'll explore the unseen world that only flash photography can cover via devices like the PhotoTrap and the Shutterbeam . Using balloons, we'll illustrate techniques you'll be able to put to use with birds, insects, bats, frogs, chameleons, or similar subjects.



PRICE: $1,695, including lodging and food from Sunday's evening meal to Saturday morning's breakfast. You'll be staying with a member of the Farm Vacation Association, the Mountain Dale Farm. The farm is located about 12 minutes from our home. You'll be doing some of your shooting here, in a very photo-rich environment. This bed and breakfast type lodging will also be serving you dinner. Meals are served family-style, and most participants return home ready for a diet. The meals are delicious!

Flash equipment is supplied, so you will have an opportunity of using at least three different flash systems, including Metz, Dynalite, Sunpak, and either Canon or Nikon. Shutterbeam and Photo Trapper remote camera triggering devices will also be available -- so if you had questions about gear, you'll get your answers here.

There are limited single room supplements available, on a first come, first served basis. The single room supplement varies between $70 and $130, depending upon cabin or room arrangements. If you need a single room, contact us ASAP.

Transportation: For those flying in, the nearest full service airport is in Harrisburg. Most major air carriers -- Delta, Northwest, etc. -- service this airport. Car rentals are available at the airport.

Course Duration: We'll begin with our evening meal at the farm Sunday evening at 6PM. Participants are encouraged to arrive by 5:30 PM for orientation and to unpack.

For the next five days we'll be starting early (weather permitting) and working late. Typical evenings do not conclude before 10PM. The course formally ends at 11AM on Saturday morning.

Preparation and Evaluation: Participants are encouraged to bring along a digital portfolio representing work they are proud of, and wish to share, or work that has provided trouble where they need assistance. This portfolio should be limited to 40 images.

Equipment Required: This course is based upon DIGITAL SLR photography. A full list of recommended equipment will be sent to participants.

If possible, participants should have two cameras of the same brand (in case one breaks); a wide-angle or zoom incorporating a wide angle; a macro lens or extension tubes; and a telephoto of 300mm or greater. Since flash will play an important role in the course, one (or more) flash units are recommended. If possible, use a flash unit that has the ability to adjust its power ratio, either via manual adjustments, or through TTL exposure compensations.

About Your Instructors

Contact our Office to REGISTER for this Photo Shoot

Contact us by email:

Or FAX us at: (717) 543-6423.

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Price includes great food, lodging, computer supplies, and a wonderful portfolio of photographic subjects. All the courses include FOOD and LODGING and all materials necessary for the course.
Each course is Limited to 10 students and with TWO INSTRUCTORS. Fee: $1,695.



A Personal Note …

On a trip to Chile in December of 2003 I used a 35mm camera and the full potential of Adobe Photoshop. When shooting landscapes exposure values between foregrounds and backgrounds were often extreme, and far beyond the capability of film to record accurately, even with graduated neutral density filters. Sometimes the distance was too great for depth of field to cover both a foreground and background. In traditional photography, these scenes that I could enjoy with my eyes and senses were not recordable. Yet the scenes, the views, the subjects all exist in reality, but film, with traditional photographic methods, could not record the reality!
On this trip I shot for Photoshop on many occasions, taking two exposures of the same scene to incorporate into Photoshop later to produce an image similar, or identical, to what I really saw. I shot multiple images with telephoto to create panoramic views of scenes I'd normally be forced to cover with a wide-angle.
To quote from one of my friends on this Chile trip: "…I think the landscape images will be significantly boosted by application of the "digital blending technique" that you so kindly put forth to us. I consider this to be a ground breaking technique that will be as important to me as when several years ago, at Hoot Hollow, you explained how manual exposure and middle gray fit …"
Photoshop is not just image manipulation. It is a tool that will broaden our vision as photographers and one that all of us should learn to incorporate into our future work.

About Your Instructors


Joe McDonald has been a full-time professional wildlife and nature photographer since 1983. He is the author of six books on wildlife photography and another on African Wildlife, as well as a how-to video produced with his wife, Mary Ann, on Photographing on Safari. His work has appeared in every major nature and wildlife publication published in North America. Along with operating their own stock photography business, Joe is represented by over a dozen stock photo agencies worldwide, including Corbis, Animals Animals, Auscape, Okapia, and others.
In addition to maintaining an active and informative website,, Joe is columnist for OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER, writing the 'Big Game' column, and Joe and his wife Mary Ann are Field Correspondents for NATURE'S BEST Magazine, and KEYSTONE OUTDOORS, writing a photography column, and Joe Van Os's web magazine, where they write a regular column on wildlife and nature photography.
For over fifteen years Joe and Mary Ann have been teaching photography courses and leading photography tours and workshops. Their very popular photo tours and safaris have them afield for over twenty-five weeks each year. Joe has worked with Photoshop for several years, mainly for creating sales promotional material and for web site use. Now, with the advent of digital cameras, he is using Photoshop nearly daily. He is a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

Ellen Anon is a freelance photographer who specializes in all types of outdoor photography. Her images are poetic statements, vivid in color and intent, imaginative in their portrayal, and comforting in their beauty, and are included in collections in several countries. Ellen earned a Ph.D. in psychology and is a clinical psychologist who evolved into a professional photographer in the mid 1990's. She is represented by a stock agency in Japan and her photos have been used in numerous books (including Sierra Club's "Mother Earth"), articles, calendars, posters, promotional items and billboards. In addition she has been Art Morris's teaching assistant for several years on his larger bird photography workshops.
In recent years she has become increasingly involved with the various aspects of digital photography from scanning film images to using digital SLR cameras to using Photoshop to enable her to make her gallery prints at home. She has attended courses at the Lepp Institute of Digital Imaging. She has begun sharing the knowledge she has acquired via individualized instruction and now these workshops, so that other photographers can make the transition into the digital world with ease and fun. Ellen is a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

Rick Holt has been involved with photography for over twenty years. In the last three years he has become a Photoshop junkie. After taking courses at the local art schools and colleges he found that many Photoshop courses were too oriented towards graphic artists as opposed to the photographer. Feeling unfulfilled, he took a workshop with George Lepp which as just the beginning. Rick now teaches "Photoshop for Photographers" classes at local colleges in the Lehigh Valley. He continues to attend workshops throughout the country to "keep up." In the last year he has attended workshops with industry leaders like Tim Grey, Sean Duggen, and Dave Cross. Rick believes that the digital darkroom has brought the creativity and control, once recognized by black and white photographers, to any photographer with a computer. You can go beyond the limits of film and recreate what you saw and felt when you recorded the image. In Rick's past life he was co-founder and CEO of Fiberoptic Medical Products.
Rick is a member of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals.

Our Educational Commitment - a note from Joe McDonald

If you've read the above biographies, you'll see that all of us are dedicated photographers that are interested in sharing our knowledge and helping people. I've been involved in teaching my entire adult life, from teaching assistantships in graduate school to a six-year stint as a high school biology teacher before starting my career as a wildlife photographer and photo workshop instructor. Ellen has taught college level courses as well as individual instruction, and has been assisting Art Morris with his birding workshops for years. Rick is actively teaching Photoshop right now, and feels, as both Ellen and I do, that knowing Photoshop will take you (quoting from Rick's bio) "beyond the limits of film and recreate what you saw and felt when you recorded the image."
I intend to make our Digital Courses every bit as successful, in terms of the knowledge conveyed, the quality of the experience, the intensity, and, just as we've done with our CNPC and ANPC courses here at Hoot Hollow.

Contact us by email:

Or FAX us at: (717) 543-6423.

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