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Photo Hikes & Lectures at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

As a volunteer for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, I will be running 5 free photography programs.  No sign-up is required.  All skill levels are welcome.

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Come and Enjoy the Refuge!

 

The Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge consists of multiple units that stretch from Bloomington to Henderson Minnesota.  The refuge covers 14,000 acres, with all of the units located along the Minnesota River.

The refuge has two visitor's centers.  The main visitor's center is located in Bloomington, MN near the Minneapolis St. Paul Airport.  The other visitor's center is located in Carver, MN at the Rapids Lake Unit.

Each unit provides some fantastic hiking trails with all sorts of interesting nature photography opportunities.  My programs at the refuge are designed to highlight some of these areas.

For more information on the refuge, visit their website:

https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Minnesota_Valley/

2022/2023 Photo Hike and Lecture Schedule

Winter Wonderland Photo Hike

January 20, 2024

10:00am - noon

Old Cedar Ave Bridge Unit

Join us for an early morning photo hike to capture the winter light at the refuge.  This location provides some fantastic winter scenes.  During the hike, Don will discuss camera settings, and help with subject selection and composition tips.

Recommended Equipment:

  • Camera with spare batteries

  • Traction device for footwear - the trails can be very slippery

  • Warm clothing

Optional Equipment:​

  • Wired or remote shutter release

  • Tripod

  • Polarizer

Photographing Birds Lecture and Photo Hike

April 6, 2024

9:30am - noon

Bloomington Visitor's Center

 

 

 

April is prime migration season as the birds make their way back north.  This gives us the opportunity to see some species that only spend time in Minnesota as they head to their summer habitats further north.

 

We will begin with a lecture on bird photography.  Don will share tips on capturing photos that go beyond the typical “bird on a stick.”  He will also discuss tools for researching bird behavior, and equipment required for bird photography.

 

Recommended Equipment:

  • Camera with spare batteries

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Telephoto zoom lens (at least 300 mm)

Optional Equipment:

  • Tripod

Flower Photography Lecture and Photo Hike

June 2, 2024

9:30am - noon 

Bloomington Visitor's Center

 

 

Spring is a great time to get out and capture images of flowers.  In late May, we should have a wide variety of flowers to photograph.

 

We will begin with a lecture on photographing flowers.  Don will discuss different techniques and go over some of the common mistakes people make.  He is will discuss different types of flower photography.

 

Recommended Equipment:

  • Camera with spare batteries

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Either a macro lens, extension tubes, or a long lens (at least 200 mm)

Optional Equipment:

  • Tripod

  • Wired or wireless shutter release

  • Polarizer

Late Summer Photo Hike

August 17, 2024

8:00am - 10:00am

Bass Ponds Unit

By mid-August, the refuge is full of fantastic photography subjects.  There is everything from summer flowers, to wildlife and insects (especially butterflies).

 

We will stroll around the Bass Ponds Unit looking for interesting subjects to capture.  During the hike, Don will provide tips for capturing some late summer photos.   Don will also provide help with camera settings, composition, and subject selection.

Recommended Equipment:

  • Camera with spare batteries

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Lens or lenses that provide focal lengths of at least between 35mm and 105mm

Optional Equipment:

  • Tripod

  • Wired or wireless shutter release

  • Polarizer

Fall Photography

October 5th, 2024

9:30am - noon

Bloomington Visitor's Center

Fall colors in Minnesota can be an amazing sight to see and photograph.  The wide variety of trees at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, makes this an ideal locaiton for Fall colors.

 

We will begin with a lecture that discusses:

  • Camera Settings

  • Composition 

  • Equipment

 

After the lecture we will head over to the Bass Ponds unit for a photo hike.

Recommended Equipment:

  • Camera with spare batteries

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug spray

  • Wide angle to short telephoto lens

Optional Equipment:

  • Tripod

  • Wired or wireless shutter release

  • Polarizer

Winter Wonderland
Refuge Birds
Flowers
Macro and Butterfly
Americas Public Lands
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