Joe and MaryAnn McDonald's



The FLASH Course

-- the most unique flash course in the U.S.!

At the NEW

Hoot Hollow Institute of Nature Photography


July 29-August 4, 2007

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

You'll have the opportunity to use studio flashes, Shutterbeams and Dalebeams and PhotoTraps, manual flash equipment, and assorted other equipment that you may only have read about, or that you knew nothing about at all!

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 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. Seminar discussions on marketing images, editing, labeling and filing slides, and marketing strategies. A demonstration involving electronic imaging (via ADOBE PHOTOSHOP) is planned, if participants' interest lies in this direction.

5. Homework assignments, both prior to arrival and during the duration of the course.

6. A review of portfolios, with a special emphasis upon its sales potential.


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. Dates throughout the Summer will offer similar subjects and number of photo opportunities.

Photography Time: If you are a 'veteran' of the 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. The following days in-class time is spent 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. To be more precise, however, I plan on incorporating a mini- Venomous Snakes shoot, but one where YOU, the participant, will be involved with the planning of the studio set and with the arrangement of the lights. The dates of the course correspond fairly well with several species of birds nesting around Hoot Hollow. Additionally, ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive in May, and reach a high level of abundance in August.

High speed flash set-ups, again, with your thinking and my guidance, is probable at that time.


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, including 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.

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, Dalebeam, Wave Sensor, 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.

The course fee does not include a transportation fee for airport pickups (if required), or personal items.

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 5PM 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 slide 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 slides.

Additionally, participants are asked to bring along a one or two reel slide program, using 50 to 140 slides.

During the week, participants will have the opportunity to have film E-6 processed (make sure you bring E-6 film like Fujichrome, Lumiere, or Ektachrome) and their work evaluated. Participants will be required to produce a short slide program based upon their week of shooting.

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.

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

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