Fall Workshop Dates: Sunrise Friday October 27, 2017 until 1:00 PM Sunday October 29th, 2017
Arrival is suggested for Thursday evening and may begin as early as 5PM
ABOUT THE WORKSHOP
This is an opportunity to learn photography or enhance your knowledge of photography while visiting Southern Illinois and seeing some of it's most amazing treasures at the best time of day in one of the prettiest times of the year. It is a rain or shine workshop that can take you into actual wilderness areas. All of these locations have been prescreened to allow for maximum impact for the seasons and weather, while building your knowledge base of photography. There are some sites that are on private property and coordination has already been made on your behalf to best utilize the time and offer you the best opportunity to take awesome pictures while you learn. Several locations are not on any tourism maps or nature guides, offering you a special treat you will not find on your own. Because of the size of area and distances from major urban areas, you will rarely run into other individuals in the same places that you are photographing. Meaning you don't have to wait for "tourists" to get out of our shots, or other such interferences. While it has and still may occur, it is rare.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND
Anyone who is comfortable outside and doesn't mind getting a little dirty, a little damp, mind a little vigorous walking and a slight possibility of some rock climbing (only if you want to). If you love the community of photography and can talk or engage in photography for 2 ½ -3 days... This is for you ! You'll rarely go "off trail" but not all trails are groomed or maintained and there is a moderate probability of some slips and falls, stream crossings, fallen logs to climb over and healthy inclines to navigate. If you do get off trail it's usually a "bonus trip" that I allowed myself to get talked into by a few participants during rest or down times.
This workshop is designed to accommodate all levels of photographic experience. First timers to professionals.
It is important, however, that participants attempt to be as familiar with their equipment and its operation as possible. This workshop will emphasize practical applications and techniques for all cameras but it is important you know the basics of how yours works. Bring your manual as well not every camera is intuitive, even for me.
EQUIPMENT TO BRING
A digital SLR with a wide-angle lens for scenery; a telephoto lens for capturing wildlife or isolating landscapes; and if interested in close-up, a macro lens or extension tubes with your telephoto; plenty of flash card storage, depending on your shooting style; and if you have one, a laptop with external hard drive for downloading and storing images. You’ll need a USB flash drive to transport images for critiques. Other recommended accessories include your camera's operation manual, a quality polarizing filter, a ND filter at a minimum of 3 F-stops, and even a graduated ND filter, a sturdy light weight tripod, extra batteries, a diffusion disk & reflector could also come in handy, LCD loupe to avoid LCD glare, flashlight, lens cleaning cloth, blower to clean lenses, cable release/remote control, sun screen bug spray/lotion and ground cloth &/or knee pads for macro work. While we may not do a lot of flash photography, if you have a flash – bring it. If you are considering purchasing any equipment before the workshop, feel free contact me for suggestions.
Southern Illinois is filled with amazing geological formations, canyons, streams, waterfalls, trails, caves, forest wilderness, old cemeteries, abandoned barns or homesteads, wildlife, etc. unfortunately not all of them are right along the road. Some uneven terrain hiking will be required. The hills can be quite steep for short distances but can get a little exhausting with a backpack for of gear. Wet mossy rocks also may provide a bit of a traction challenge. Since the ground is often damp or wet I strongly recommend over the ankle waterproof hiking boots. Comes in especially handy for stream crossings. Check out more with the IL DNR and also www.shawneeforest.com to see the maps of paths and trails.
The weather can be quite unpredictable in Southern IL and this is a rain or shine workshop, so come prepared for combinations of wet, dry, cool and warm conditions. Since the ground is often damp or wet I strongly recommend over the ankle waterproof hiking boots. Comes in especially handy for stream crossings. If you have boot dryers you may need them. For the weather forecast, check Weather Channel or Intellicast before you leave home.
TRANSPORTATION and MEALS
The participants are responsible for their own transportation to the area and throughout the workshop. Carpooling to photo locations is encouraged because it helps with parking. Lunch and dinner on days one and two will be provided. Breakfast will be your responsibility. Each cabin has a full refrigerator freezer, stove, toaster and microwave and 12 cup drip coffee pot (whew). On some or all mornings will be rising and departing early so you may want to keep your breakfast simple and even portable.
Actual Previous Workshop Images
$689 (min. 6/ max. 12), A The registration fee covers Lodging, instruction, presentations, critiquing, lunch and dinner on days one and two. It is recommended that participants purchase travel insurance. Be sure to contact an insurance agency before registering.
Willowbrook Cabins are right in the heart of the Southern IL and centrally located to minimize travel time to locations. Don't let the name fool you, the cabins are really furnished 2 and 3 bedroom 1 or 2 bath homes that can sleep up to 9. We maximize the sleep capacity of these cabins so you may end up with a room mate you haven't met yet. They also have full kitchens including all the utensils plus a refrigerator and microwave, as well as a washer and dryer and a Weber grill. For fun after hours each cabin has a fire pit and wood if you like bonfires and s'mores. Take a tour of the grounds and two of the cabins.
ABOUT YOUR HOST
Many novice and amateur photographers begin their love affair with photography in nature. Keith was no different. A few years after learning how to control his camera Keith took a tour of the Smokey Mountains in the early spring, the camera opportunities were abundant in all directions. He was hooked. Not yet a full time photographer, Keith carried his cameras everywhere, Japan, Spain, Australia, both US Coasts, and the desert southwest. At the same time Keith was getting requests to photograph people, products, events, and saw each new opportunity to branch out into other aspects of photography. After 18 years of self teaching, and mentoring under professional photographers, Keith became the owner of an existing retail camera store and photo studio in 2002 and used that opportunity to accelerate his now professional career in studio photography. It wasn't long before camera classes were being held at the store to share the passion on a regular basis. Comfortable in front of a class from his military days Keith has had hundreds of customers take his beginning photography class. An experienced outdoors-men and land navigator trained by the Marine Corps, and an experienced teaching photographer make the transition to this type of workshop a natural progression.
Keith initially spent a week in the Southern IL scoping out sites, sun angles, terrain, ruling out areas, networking with local landowners, farmers, and photographers to put together a most enjoyable and lasting experience. Now after dozens of trips for workshops, planning and personal enjoyment, an even greater understanding of the area has been gained. Participants are going to be in for a real treat as continual improvement has taken place to better utilize the resources and the accommodations available.
As you tour this site you will see that with Keith French it's more than just taking photos and doing some fancy post production editing to create stellar images. Keith is passionate about preserving and archiving your memories. Not only will your new images be printed on the longest lasting archival images known to exist but Keith will work with you to repair your damaged images, your attic treasures of family memories, and he is willing and able to teach you what he has learned to make your photo taking experience fulfilling and fun.