Chicago Spring Wildflowers
Nature Photography Outing & Learning Adventure

Photography Outing Requirements

NOTE: These outings are planned several months in advance based on the best available knowledge and history, but there is no way to know what nature will bring. We’ll make the best of it!

If you have questions about your experience level, please email us or phone 630-852-8448.


You should be fairly comfortable with your camera’s operations and controls. If you’ve taken a class with us before, you probably qualify. However, this outing is not for people who are using their cameras for the first time. Instead, we offer very nice fundamental photography classes designed for your needs like Get to Know Your Camera.


  • DIGITAL SLR or EVF (mirrorless) Camera with:
    • LENSES that may anything between wide-angle, macro, and telephotos.
      • Wide-angle or super wide-angle lens for scenes and landscapes
      • Macro lens for flowers and mushrooms.
      • Zooms ranging from 24mm to 200mm (effective focal length) for intimate scenes or close-ups
      • IT’S DARK IN THE CANYON. Handholding the camera will only result in blurry images. So, bring a sturdy tripod with an easy-to-adjust head.
      • A GOOD TRIPOD AND HEAD makes for enjoyable and effective shooting. If the tripod is flimsy and the head doesn’t accept a quick-release plate or has lots of levers, then you’ll be very frustrated. (Hint: If either is made of plastic, it’s going to be a problem.) Knowing this now will allow you to buy a tripod and head so you can enjoy taking pictures at the outing and far into the future!. Contact us for tripod and head recommendations. If it’s now lose to the date of outing, please contact Mike (using the above link) to discuss possible options.
      • A TRIPOD STRAP flung over your shoulder is the easiest way to carry a tripod. A good photo backpack should also allow you to attached a tripod.
      • ELECTRONIC SHUTTER RELEASE (OPTIONAL) to reduce camera shake
    • FILTERS: Circular Polarizer has its advantages for reducing glare, improving color, and slowing motion.
  • PHOTO VEST or BACKPACK: Where do you put all of your equipment? Well, I love photo vests with the possible addition of a fanny pack. But a lot of photographers carry backpacks. If you bring a photo backpack, I’m going to be on your case to be careful where you set it down so that you don’t harm the plants, which are always very closely spaced.
    • You’ll need a steel tape measure and a way to determine the proper f-stop. If you don’t have the latter, do not fear. I offer a water-resistant hyperfocal card for just $10 that you can purchase from me BEFORE hiking in.


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. You’ll probably need to wear gloves and 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.
  • Long Pants, Hat, Gloves, & Jacket: Protect your legs from the plants, branches, insects, and falls. And it’s usually pretty cool during the spring. Mornings can also be damp.
  • Rain Jacket: For morning shoots, the prairie is covered with dew and you can become completely saturated. Think “Wet Photography Vest Contest.” On second thought, don’t think it!
  • Synthetic Undergarments will keep you warm and wick away moisture from your skin.
  • Brimmed Hat to keep the sun out of your eyes when looking through the viewfinder and to protect from insects.
  • Snack & Liquids: It’s important to remain hydrated and keep up your energy.
  • Insect Repellent: If it’s a warm spring, use a DEET repellant to keep the mosquitoes at bay.


When we’re in the field it’s important to have just what you 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, please be extremely careful about where you place it when you’re shooting. Macro photography shooters need to be particularly conscientious.


Unless there’s a downpour, we’re shooting. But, if for some reason the weather prevents us from shooting, you’ll be notified the night before or just prior to the shoot. So, have your cell phone on. In case of inclement weather, the field session will automatically be rescheduled for the same time on the following day.

If you have further questions about Mike MacDonald’s workshops just contact us.