Upper Michigan Summer Field Workshop

Landscapes and Macro

with John Gerlach and Dixie Calderone

August 16 - 22, 2020

In Michigan's Beautiful Upper Peninsula

at Pictured Rocks Nat'l Lakeshore and Hiawatha Forest

The summer nature photography field workshops teach you how to shoot quality nature images. Meadows, bogs, Lake Superior shorelines, and the forest offers a wide array of exceptional nature subjects to photograph during mid-summer. On cool mornings, we'll explore wet meadows to photograph dewy spider webs, dragonflies, wildflowers, butterflies, and blueberries. On cloudy days, we'll photograph the nearby gorgeous waterfalls, colorful wildflowers, and delicate mushrooms growing in the forest. On clear evenings,  photograph stunning rocky landscapes along the shores of Lake Superior and end the day with a glorious sunset. 

Our workshop take you to special places where you're sure to find magnificent subjects to photograph. We show you how to select appealing photo prospects from the chaos of nature. Then we demonstrate how to shoot excellent images of the subject with high-quality techniques that anyone can learn and master. 
We spend 100% of our time in the field helping you take pictures with your equipment. We don't shoot any of our own images during the workshop.  Instead, we spend all of our time with you in the field finding exciting images for you to shoot and help you use your equipment the best way possible. On occasion, we demonstrate certain techniques like focus stacking, fill-flash, main flash, and live view shooting strategies, and normally use your camera to do that.

To ensure that instruction is complete, informative, and helpful, the group size is limited to fourteen participants (1:7 instructor/student ratio). 

John presents three detailed instructional slide programs on exposure, close-up photography, and flash.  On Friday night we kindly critique your images made during the week.

John presents a program featuring new images he produced during the past year. This popular program shows you the new things John has discovered about nature photography.  Lately, John has been doing plenty of focus stacking for unlimited depth of field in both close-up and landscape photography, the starry night sky, main flash in the landscape, LED lights for lighting the landscape, and getting sharper results by AF micro-adjusting his lenses.  We teaches you all of this!  

Bring some digital images or prints from home to share with the group. Though optional, it's an effective way for us to see where you have been. If you would like a critique of your images, just ask; and we will gladly do this for you. 
We eat, breathe, and sleep nature photography at each workshop.  But that doesn't mean it's all work and no play. We take our field trips at a leisurely pace, providing time to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. We even get a little silly at times, but then laughter and humor add to the workshop experience.

Participating in our nature photography workshop is a super way to improve your nature photography.  It's always a pleasure to share experiences and knowledge with other nature photographers. We believe in taking our field trips at the times that we are normally out capturing images. Therefore, we take field trips every morning, beginning 1/2 hour before sunrise, and stay out until 9:30 to 10:00 a.m. Getting up for our early morning field trips isn't going to be as difficult. We are on the far western edge of the Eastern Time Zone. One-half hour before sunrise is about 6:15 a.m.

Evening field trips begin 3.5 hours before sunset, and we always stay out for the sunset if it looks promising.

We'll conduct most of our instructional programs -- which cover exposure, close-ups, and advanced flash techniques -- during the middle of the day because the light isn't normally the best for photography. All mornings and evenings are reserved for field trips.


About the Pictured Rocks Area

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore earns its name from the colorful rocky high cliffs along the southern shoreline of Lake Superior between Munising and Grand Marais. This whole region is a photographer's paradise. The land features a mixture of beech-maple and conifer forests, clear meandering brooks, quiet beaver ponds, undeveloped Lake Superior shorelines, several spectacular waterfalls, and hundreds of small secluded wild lakes. Since very few people live here, it's a land of unspoiled beauty.

Field Trips

Field trips are 3-4 hours long to let you shoot many outstanding nature images. We'll visit scenic beaches, rocky Lake Superior shorelines, wildflower meadows, waterfalls, and much more in the north woods where subjects abound. We'll car pool on each field trip. Since we know this gorgeous part of the world so well, we'll take you to many productive photo spots.
Digital Photography

We use a high-quality digital television for viewing your images. Give us a copy of your images (JPEG) on a jump drive to let us view them. 



We eat many meals as a group, but meal time is highly variable. Weather determines our field trip destinations.  Meals must be worked in around photography. We'll eat breakfast as a group after the morning field trip. All other meals depend on our schedule. Since predicting the weather is not our strong suit, we'll have to see what happens. Generally, we'll go to the Falling Rock cafe in Munising after the morning field trip. By the way, the lodge has a full kitchen for cooking, and each of the motel rooms have a microwave oven and refrigerator.

Generally we all eat a late lunch at the nearby Buckhorn Resort restaurant.  In all cases, when we go to restaurants, everyone orders off the menu and pays for their meal then. Think about bringing snacks with you as we work our meals in around taking beautiful images, not the other way around!

Farewell Dinner

The group will enjoy a pizza and salad dinner Friday night at the Timber Ridge Lodge and  we are picking up the check.  When dinner is finished, we turn out the lights, and view the best images you shot during the week.  This is a fabulous way to crown such a busy and productive week.


Non-participating Spouses

If space permits, a few non-participating spouses who don't shoot images are allowed to attend part of the program for $150. Since the meeting room space is limited, non-participating spouses are not allowed to attend any of the instructional programs. However, they are allowed to attend the participant's images brought from home, John's images of the year, and Friday nights "best images of the week" program. They also can join field trips with their spouse and the farewell Friday night dinner is included.

Workshop Dates

August 16 - 22, 2020

When the Workshop Starts and Ends

The workshop begins Sunday at 7:00 P.M. at the Timber Ridge Lodge. The program ends after breakfast on the following Saturday. 


Workshop tuition is to be determined. A $200 deposit is required at this time to hold your space in the workshop. The deposit is refundable, less a $50 service fee, until May 1, 2020. After May 1, the $200 deposit is non-refundable, unless we can refill your space on such short notice (minus the $50 service fee). Tuition includes all classroom and field instruction, detailed notes, Pictured Rocks and Hiawatha National Forest user fees, and the farewell dinner Friday night. Meals, lodging, and items of a personal nature are not included. 



Our workshops are based at the Timber Ridge Motel and Lodge. These accommodations are nestled among the hills and lakes in the heart of Hiawatha National Forest. Timber Ridge Lodge is on Hovey Lake, and the nearby Timber Ridge Motel overlooks  Hovey Lake. These two locales give our participants immediate nature photo opportunities and a perfect place to begin our workshops.


Please note:  Lodging prices shown could change by the time of the actual workshops by the owners of the facilities, though, that is not likely.

Timber Ridge Lodge: (4 Bedroom House)

The fee for each person with no roommate is $285 for six nights, plus tax. The fee for the room if sharing with a roommate is $315 split two ways for six nights, plus tax. The two large bedrooms are reserved for non-smoking participants. In the lodge, there is also a basement where John and other instructors stay. Rooms are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis. The four or five people staying here will share the two bathrooms. This house has a color TV, full kitchen facilities, air-conditioning, and borders Hovey Lake.


the Lodge is especially good with a single person in each bedroom.

Timber Ridge Motel

The motel has nine units. Each unit has its own private bathroom. The motel is in excellent condition and well-maintained. Each room has a color TV, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, and an individual deck overlooking Hovey Lake. This is the best choice for those who wish to room together. The lodge accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, traveler's checks, and cash.

Single Person: The fee for a single person is $84 per night, plus tax. 

Two People per room: The fee is $89 per night, plus tax. 

If you would like additional information regarding the Timber Ridge Motel and Lodge, please contact the owners.

Mary Sue Nolan 
Timber Ridge Motel 
HCR 1, Box 52 
Munising, MI 49862
(906) 387-3790

You also have some camping options, if you prefer.

Otter Lake Campground

The Otter Lake Campground is the best choice for those who wish to camp or stay in their recreational vehicle. Cost is approximately $30/night. It's right on Otter Lake and only a couple of miles from the Timber Ridge Lodge. The campground is busy, so make reservations well in advance. Call (835) 723-3662.  The campgrounds directly is 906-387-4648.

Travel and Equipment Information

After making a reservation, we'll send pre-departure information describing photographic equipment and clothing that is most suitable for the workshop and a detailed map showing  to the Timber Ridge Lodge and Motel.

How to Get to the Pictured Rocks Area

Since most of our workshop participants drive to our workshop, we rely on car pooling. You may prefer to fly to K.I. Sawyer Airport, which is only about 40 miles from the Timber Ridge Lodge. There are a few car rental companies at the small airport. We recommend renting a car because it's convenient. If you wish to rely on car pooling, you can get a taxi at the airport. If you would like to share a rented car with another participant, let us know, and we'll connect all interested parties.  Many of our guests do this!

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