Art of Landscape Photography

Course Requirements

This hands-on landscape photography workshop is for photographers who feel comfortable with their cameras and who aren’t grappling with a lot of technical issues. This is a creative class that deals with creative issues. Therefore, it’s important that you’re able to concentrate on your compositions and not on how to operate your camera. If you have questions about your experience level, please email us or phone 630-852-8448.


  • Camera: Digital SLR, Medium Format, or Large Format Cameras. No point-and-shoot cameras.
  • Wide Angle Lens with MAXIMUM EFFECTIVE FOCAL LENGTH of 21mm (35mm format equivalent), after taking crop factor into account.
  • Tripod & Head: Precise composition is required, and longer exposures are the norm. As long as you have a tripod and head, you’ll be okay. However, tripods and heads are designed for the photographic application, and it can be frustrating using a video or studio tripod in the field. Outdoor tripods have legs that do not have a connectors to the center column, and the center column that is not “geared,” but freely slides up and down. The head should be a ball head. I really like this tripod/head combination from Manfrotto. (Here’s a link for the tripod, and here’s the link for just the head. To make your life so much easier, attach a tripod strap to fling over your shoulder. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck carrying the tripod by hand.
  • Filters: Circular polarizing filter and, if you know how to use them, split grad filters.
  • Hyperfocal Distance Guide: Don’t worry if you don’t have one. We sell one for $10.
  • Small Tape Measure (metal tape): Use this to calculate the hyperfocal distance. It probably doesn’t need to be longer than 10 feet. But it helps if the tape is not floppy.
  • Fresh Camera Battery: Make sure your camera battery is freshly charged and have a backup with you. Be prepared.
  • Memory Card: It would help to have a fresh card and also a backup.
  • Optional: A remote shutter release allows you to take sharper images because you can engage the shutter without touching the camera with your hand.
  • Backpacks: Please try to leave your photo backpack behind. It’s cumbersome, gets in the way on narrow trails, and often damages fragile plants.


You need to be ready for all weather conditions to protect yourself and your equipment. As with any outdoor situation, it is highly recommended that no cotton clothing of any sort be worn. If in the morning or in the springtime, you’ll probably need to wear gloves. It’s often very common to get wet in morning dew. Here’s a brief list of what you should bring:

  • Boots: Assume muddy and wet conditions.
  • Brimmed Hat to keep the sun out of your eyes when looking through the viewfinder and to protect from insects.
  • Long Pants: Protect your legs from the plants, branches, insects, and falls you may have.
  • Hat, Gloves, & Jacket for morning shoots or cooler weather.It’s always cooler
  • Rain Jacket & possibly Rain Pants: For morning shoots, the prairie is covered with dew and you can become completely saturated. Think “Wet Photographer Contest.” On second thought, don’t think it!
  • Synthetic Undergarments will keep you warm and wick away moisture from your skin.
  • Snack & Liquids: It’s important to keep hydrated and keep your energy.
  • Insect Repellent: Use a DEET repellent to hold the mosquitoes and ticks at bay.


When we’re in the field it’s important to have what you need for landscape photography. For instance, if you have a wide angle zoom, that’s the only lens you’ll need. But, it’s also important to respect the home of these very special living plants and creatures. So, we all need to tread lightly and be careful not to damage or crush plants. Therefore, if you normally use a backpack, try to go without. If you absolutely cannot, then please be extremely careful about where you place it when you’re shooting.


Unless there’s a downpour, we’re shooting. But, if for some reason the weather prevents us from shooting, the field session (only) will automatically be rescheduled for the same time on the following day. However, the initial classroom session will be held as scheduled.

If you have further questions about Mike MacDonald workshops just email or phone 630-852-8448.