blue vervain in the iowa prairie
Blue Vervain

Coming up June 30 on the lovely Midwestern prairie –  a full day of nature photography field education while photographing summer prairie wildflowers, plants, insects and other fauna, and the classic Midwest prairie landscape! If you enjoy nature photography, please consider joining us for our next Midwest Nature Photography Field Workshop!

This summer workshop is always one of my favorites – we’ll begin very early (before sunrise!) at one of my favorite “hidden gem” locations for amazing Midwest summer prairie  photography – smack-dab in the “Middle of Nowhere” in rural Marshall County, Iowa (near – you guessed it – a town called Marshalltown).  The focus of this workshop is on creating macro images, nature “portraits,” and prairie landscapes.

The objective of this workshop is to help photographers build solid field macro and landscape photography techniques.  We’ll photograph wildflowers such as Purple Coneflower, Prairie Phlox, Prairie Blazing Star, Blue Vervain, White Campion, and numerous others [*see note].  Likewise, in the morning, opportunities to photograph dew-laden insects will likely abound.  We’ll photograph the classic summer prairie, and oak savannah natural landscapes.  Additionally, those who photograph birds may want to bring their bird lens, as well – finches and other prairie birds are common at this location. Participants will leave in the evening with a portfolio of strong photos, new skills, and probably some new photo friends from the area!

[*note: there is no guarantee that we’ll be able to photograph each of these wildflower species, but all are regularly found at these locations during this general timeframe.  Actual blossoms the week of our workshop, of course, will depend on local conditions which vary year-to-year]

Like all of our workshops, group size is kept small to allow individual attention and instruction. Your instructor(s) will not photograph their own work during the workshop – the focus is on helping participants to maximize their photo skills. Instructor photography is for technique demonstration only.


Exact meeting location and maps will be emailed to participants prior to the event – our starting point is approximately 45 minutes Northeast of Des Moines in rural Marshall County, Iowa.


As with most nature photography, the best shooting times are morning and late-afternoon/evening. We will meet around sunrise, and photograph until mid-morning. The middle, high-sun portion of the day will be used for discussion, hands-on education, and technique practice. We will then again actively photograph when the sun is a little lower in the sky during the afternoon.

What to bring

Photo Gear: A Digital SLR camera, normal- , wide-angle, and telephoto- lenses, and a dedicated macro lens if you have one!  A sturdy tripod and plenty of media cards for a full day of shooting are also essential.  If you do not own a tripod, you will want one, but please contact me before purchasing one!

Appropriate clothing and safety gear: dress in layers. You’ll probably want long pants and long sleeves due to brush, bugs, and burrs part of the day.  Comfortable shoes, hiking boots, or rubber hunting boots (we will be off-trail much/most of the time, and the prairie floor can be very wet). Bug spray. A hat. Sunblock. Rain gear – just in case. Plenty of water.

Please note that the locations we will work may be drenched with summer dew in the morning, and will almost certainly contain a few hazards like burrs and mosquitos – come prepared!

Snacks and bottled water will be provided, but you should also bring water, as well. An option will be available to pre-order a fantastic boxed lunch at nominal cost.


Feel free to download our full 2012 workshop info here.

Workshop cost is $99 per person and covers a complete day of field instruction, and snacks and drinks.

Please use our contact form to receive complete information and registration materials!

In past years this workshop has filled quickly, and the date is fast approaching – register now to reserve your spot!


Please don’t hesitate to contact us with your questions about this fun field event!

Thanks for reading, and thanks for your interest in the Midwest Nature Photography Field Workshop Series!


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Image © Mark S. Peterson Photography