Photo Hikes & Lectures at the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge

As a volunteer for the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge, I will be running 6 free photography programs.  Some of the dates later in the year are still being firmed up so check back for updates.

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/

2020 Photo Hike and Lecture Schedule

Winter Wonderland Photo Hike

February 15th

7:00 AM - 9:00 AM

Cedar Ave. Bridge Unit - 9450 Old Cedar Avenue, Bloomington, MN

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 Free Webinar

April 26th

11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Webinar - details to be provided after registration.

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.

 

Click here to register for this free webinar.

Flower Photography Lecture and Photo Hike

June 6th

10:00 AM - 11:00 AM

Webinar - details to be provided after registration

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.

 

click here to register for this free webinar.

Macro and Butterfly Photography

July 25th

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Bloomington Visitor's Center - 3815 American Boulevard 

Bloomington, MN

By late July, the butterfly gardens around the visitor’s center should be full of activity.  We will try to take full advantage of the gardens during this event. 

 

We will begin with a lecture discussing both macro photography as well as butterfly photography.  This will include both shooting tips as well as how to find the best locations and times for photographing butterflies.

 

After the lecture we will spend time photographing around the various gardens at the refuge.

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

Photographing America's Public Lands

October 10th

9:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Bloomington Visitor's Center - 3815 American Boulevard Bloomington, MN

From Acadia Maine to the Redwoods of California, America’s Public Lands provide some of the most amazing scenery in very unspoiled settings.  It is truly a photographer’s paradise.

 

We will begin with a lecture that includes:

  • Planning your trip

  • Landscape photography tips and techniques

  • Dos and don'ts

 

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

Sunset Photo Hike

November 21st

3:30 PM to 5:30 PM

Bloomington Visitor's Center - 3815 American Boulevard Bloomington, MN

Join us for our final photo hike of 2020.  An annual favorite, as we capture the setting sun over the refuge. The location is perfect as we capture the sun as it sets over the grasses which will be showing their full fall color.

 

At 3:30, we will head down the trail and get into position. Along the way, we will experiment with capturing sun bursts through the trees, and some long shadow landscapes.  During the hike, Don will share tips on composition and camera settings.

Recommended Equipment:

  • Camera with spare batteries

  • Warm clothing

  • Tripod

  • Wired or wireless shutter release

Optional Equipment:

  • Graduated neutral density filter