Light & The Landscape

Course Requirements

This landscape photography workshop is aimed at photographers who already feel comfortable with their cameras and who aren’t grappling with a lot of technical issues. Its focus is on the creative issue of light, not how to meter and fiddling around with your camera. However, the class covers a brief review of hyperfocal distance, polarizing filters, and split-graduated neutral density filters. In the field, if you have trouble with the technical issues, we will help you to get past that issue so that you can focus on the topic of the class: how to use light.

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.


Here is a list required items in order to fully participate in the course:

  1. Camera: Digital SLR, Medium Format, or Large Format Cameras. No point-and-shoot cameras.
  2. Wide Angle Lens with MAXIMUM EFFECTIVE FOCAL LENGTH of 28mm (35mm format equivalent), after taking crop factor into account. However, you’ll find landscape photography much more exciting if you have a lens with an effective focal length of 12 to 16mm. Essentially, the wider the better.
  3. 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.┬áThe head should be a ball head. I love this tripod head: Manfrotto Heavy Duty Joystick Grip Ball Head (322RC2). And this sturdy aluminum tripod is a good choice: Manfrotto 190XPRO Aluminum 4-Section Tripod. To make your life so much easier, get an over-the-shoulder tripod strap. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck carrying the tripod by hand.
  4. Filters: Circular polarizing filter and, if you know how to use them, split grad filters.
  5. Hyperfocal Distance Guide: Don’t worry if you don’t have one. We sell one for $10.
  6. 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.
  7. Fresh Camera Battery: Make sure your camera battery is freshly charged and have a backup with you. Be prepared.
  8. Memory Card: It would help to have a fresh card and also a backup.
  9. Optional: A remote shutter release allows you to take sharper images because you can engage the shutter without touching the camera with your hand.
  10. Backpacks: Please try to leave your photo backpack behind. It’s cumbersome, gets in the way on narrow trails, and often damages fragile plants.


  1. Hiking Boots, if possible
  2. Long Pants: Protects your legs against injury and from insects like ticks and mosquitoes.
  3. Brimmed Hat: It’s really hard to compose a picture when the sunlight is getting into your eyes. But, you also want to protect yourself from the sun.
  4. Jacket: Have something warm to take along with you, just in case.
  5. Sunscreen
  6. Insect Repellant: Wearing the recommended clothing will also help you a lot.
  7. Snack & Liquids: It’s important to keep hydrated.


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.


Due to the nature of the course, it’s important to have good light during the field session. In case of bad light or inclement weaather, the field session will be rescheduled to the following day. The lecture will still be held as scheduled. If light is a problem on the following day, then the session will be held one week from first field session. Example: Saturday is the field session, which is the 10th day of them month. The first postponement date is on Sunday (the 11th). The 2nd postponement date is the following Saturday (the 17th). The 3rd postponement date is the following day, the 18th, and so forth.

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

CONVENIENTLY LOCATED: Creative Eye Workshops offers a variety of photography classes in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove, Illinois (near Naperville, IL). Because we are located off the 63rd Street/Hobson Road exit of I-355 and close to main thoroughfares like Warrenville Road, Ogden Avenue, Belmont Road/Finley Road, 75th Street, Butterfield Road, and Route 53, we are quickly and immediately accessible from nearby towns like Bolingbrook, Lisle, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Oak Brook, Westmont, Woodridge, Plainfield, and Aurora. But, because of our accessibility, students come from all around to take our weekday evening photo courses, including those from Oak Park, La Grange, Orland Park, Schaumburg, Arlington Heights, and the city of Chicago. Students have driven from as far as away as Indiana, McHenry County, and Evanston because they know that we offer something better and different.