Abstracts - Finding Unique Beauty in The Natural World

Together we have journeyed through small scenes, grand landscapes, found beauty in mystery, discovered new ways of seeing in black and white, and now we go a little more abstract. Literally.

The definition of Abstract is creation of images through methods and perspectives that do not have an immediate association with the physical world. The beauty of abstract photography is you as the photographer get the opportunity to interpret the landscape in ways that are personally meaningful to you. Together in this series we will learn about.

  1. Multi-Exposure Techniques
  2. Long exposure methods specific to abstract photos
  3. How design / form / structure take precedence over subject in abstracts
  4. Some of the deeper meaning and expression you can find with abstract photography.
  5. How removing context brings about mystery and provokes curiosity.

In an ultra- special fashion, each speaker will offer a special hands-on segment. See below for more details.

This promises to be incredibly actionable with 2 image reviews, a post-processing demonstration, and also a technique demonstration.

  • Charles Needle “Abstract & Expressionist Photography: Crafting Painterly Masterpieces In-Camera”
  • Sarah Marino “Abstractions: Seeking Mystery in the Natural World”
  • Sandra Bartocha “From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary”
  • Richard Martin “Towards Abstraction in the Natural World” (LIVE on 4/24). Richard will be conducting an Image Review/Critique on your submitted images.

All sessions will be held at 4:00 pm PT/ 7:00 pm ET and will be 2.5 hours in length. Sessions are $27 each or $87 for the entire series.

The speaker series from Nature Photography Classes are a unique opportunity to hear from and interact with people that rarely speak with audiences and are considered some of the best photography educators in the world.

This is also an extremely affordable speaker series at only $27 per speaker or get all four speakers at a discounted rate of only $87.

Registration for the series comes with the opportunity to ask questions live, rewatch the sessions as much as you want for as long as you want, and even download for offline viewing.

10% of all registration fees will be donated to the environmental cause or organization of the speakers choosing. Another great opportunity to give back!

The sessions will be hosted by Nic Stover, founder of Nature Photography Classes, and will be presented LIVE via Zoom at 4:00 p.m. PT / 7:00 p.m. ET. No worries if you can't make it for the LIVE session. You will have permanent access to the recordings through My Library, YouTube or Dropbox file download.

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Charles Needle - Abstract & Expressionist Photography: Crafting Painterly Masterpieces In-Camera

Charles Needle

Drawing upon inspiration from abstract expressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Georgia O’Keefe, award-winning Colorado-based fine art nature photographer, Charles Needle, will explore ways you can craft painterly/abstract images in nature using nothing more than your camera (or smartphone). In the first half of this presentation, Charles will describe the process of using multiple-exposure and long-exposure techniques to transform everyday scenes into visual masterpieces. Then, in the second half, Charles will show how you can go beyond documentation to create artistic and unusual close-up/macro images both in the field and in your own backyard. Using a fun, easy-to-understand, step-by-step approach, Charles will define and illustrate in-camera shooting techniques such as “Multiple-Exposure Monet” (a technique he invented), Multiple-Exposure Tilt, Multiple-Exposure Rotate & Zoom, Soft-Glow Montage, Composite Montage, Intentional Camera Movement and more. Charles will also explain how you can make poetic and imaginative closeups using a telephoto lens to “shoot through,” a closeup lens/diopter in conjunction with a macro lens to enter a magical abstract universe, a Lensbaby to embrace blur, or a wide-angle lens to get super close and show a subject in its environment. You’ll come away from this jam-packed session inspired to craft your own artistic, expressive imagery, equipped with new knowledge and skills, ready to unlock your creative potential and see the world around you with fresh eyes.

BONUS: Charles will be offering a special technique demonstration during his session.

Bio:

Charles Needle is an award-winning, Colorado-based fine art photographer, author, speaker and workshop leader with a unique eye for design and artistic interpretation. His popular “Art of Nature” creative macro workshops have attracted students nationwide.

In 2018 and 2021, Charles earned honorable mentions in the Macro and Visual FX categories of the prestigious Annual International Mobile Photography Awards Contest. He was also a semi- finalist in the 2014 Nature’s Best Photography Windland Smith Rice International Awards photo contest. In 2011, Charles was selected as a finalist, among 15,000 entries worldwide, in the International Garden Photographer of the Year photography contest, sponsored by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (London, England). This exhibition traveled throughout the United Kingdom.

A popular conference and camera club speaker for more than two decades, Charles has authored three cutting-edge instructional books: "Tiny Worlds: Creative Macro Photography Skills" (Amherst Media, January 2015), "Impressionistic Photography: A Field Guide to Using Your Camera as a Paintbrush" (March 2014), and "Creative Macro Photography: Professional Tips & Techniques" (2011).

An accomplished speaker, photography juror and teacher with international workshops in the United Kingdom (private gardens of Southern England), Monet's Garden (Giverny, France for 23 years in a row, with exclusive private access), Keukenhof Gardens (The Netherlands) The Butchart Gardens (Canada), and Kingsbrae Garden (Canada), Charles is a North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) Showcase Award winner for 18 years in a row, and placed in the Top Ten and Top 26 image categories two of those years.

Charles’ photographs have selected for publication in Nature’s Best, Outdoor Photographer magazine, Nature Photographer magazine, Inner Reflections Engagement Calendar, The Chicago Tribune, SELF Magazine and are in private and public collections nationwide and abroad.

 Learn more about Charles and his work on his website

Charles will be supporting the North American Nature Photography Association (NANPA) Foundation with 10% from the registration fees donated to help their mission.

Length: 2.5 hours

Cost: $27 (or as part of the entire series for only $87!)

Register for Charles' session
Sample of Charles Needle's Work
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Sarah Marino - Abstractions: Seeking Mystery in the Natural World

Sarah Marino

The abstract qualities of a nature photo fall across a wide continuum, from using subtle abstract qualities to develop a composition in which the literal subjects are still obvious, to mysterious presentations of natural subjects in which the viewer has to more deeply consider what they are seeing. With this continuum in mind, Sarah will offer both creative and practical insights into seeing and photographing a wide range of abstractions found in nature. Sarah will share essential lessons on looking for abstract ideas and subjects, composition essentials, creative uses of natural light, and building a cohesive portfolio. Sarah will also discuss the importance of conceptual ideas like provoking curiosity for the viewer, infusing mystery into a scene, and the importance of removing context.

BONUS: Sarah will be offering a post-processing demonstration and specific considerations on your submitted images.

Bio:

Sarah Marino is a nature photographer, photography educator, and writer based in southwestern Colorado. In addition to photographing grand landscapes, Sarah is best known for her photographs of smaller subjects including intimate landscapes, abstract renditions of natural subjects, and creative portraits of plants and trees. Sarah is the author or co-author of a diverse range of educational resources for nature photographers on subjects like composition, photographing nature’s small scenes, and black and white photography. Sarah, a co-founder of the Nature First Alliance for Responsible Nature Photography, also seeks to promote the responsible stewardship of natural and wild places through her photography and teaching.

You can learn more about Sarah and her work on her website.

Sarah will be supporting Amargosa Conservancy with 10% from the registration fees donated to their mission.

Length: 2.5 hours

Cost:  $27 (or as part of the entire series for only $87!)

Register for Sarah's session
Sample of Sarah Marino's Work
Register Now!

Sandra Bartocha - From the Ordinary to the Extraordinary

Sandra Bartocha

Sandra will talk about how she approaches her photography, the search for a project, the intuition and observation that determine the way she interprets and transforms a scene. It will be a deep dive into what is to find the essence of a photographic subject and how to convert your interest and curiosity into mind blowing and surprising images. Finding out why we photograph and how we can infuse meaning and relevance into our work.

BONUS: Sandra will be conducting an Image review/critique on your submitted images.

Bio:

Sandra Bartocha is a German photographer, speaker and author specialising in natural landscapes as well as abstract work, with the specific aim of creating images that evoke an emotional response.

Sandra is vice president of the GDT – German Society for Nature Photography, chief editor of the magazine GDT Forum Naturfotografie, and author of various publications, including Fotoschule in Bildern. Naturfotografie and the highly acclaimed coffee table books LYS - An Intimate Journey to the North and Rhythm Of Nature. 

Her pictures have been awarded in major international competitions, including Wildlife Photographer of the Year and the International Photography Awards, and are regularly presented in exhibitions in museums and galleries in Europe. 

Sandra was a contributor to the pan-European project, Wild Wonders of Europe.

Learn more about Sandra and her work on her website

Sandra will be supporting the Succow Stiftung with 10% from the registration fees donated to help their mission.

Length: 2.5 hours

Cost:  $27 (or as part of the entire series for only $87!)

Register for Sandra's session
Sample of Sandra's Work
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Richard Martin -Towards Abstraction in the Natural World

Richard Martin

A presentation for photographers who are technically experienced, visually aware and who are looking for a different direction in their photography. This session provides an opportunity to discover alternative ways to work creatively. Whether you are interested in landscapes, portraits, architecture and so forth, there are almost endless possibilities for expressing your feelings and vision photographically. The challenge is to communicate these feelings, without letting technique overwhelm vision. The main purpose of abstraction in art is not to tell a story, but to encourage involvement and imagination. Abstract art’s main objective is to provide viewers with an intangible and emotional experience, being completely different for everyone, depending on their personality and mood. Uncovering concepts means peering into our imagination. We must be free and relaxed to learn how to play, to take risks, to trust our instincts and impulses, our dreams, and spontaneous associations. We must learn to welcome and recognize the ambiguous, the accidental and the illogical, to allow reality to become surreal, metaphorical, and imaginary. The session is concerned primarily with an exchange of ideas and aims to challenge the celebrated and introduce new possibilities. It will provide aesthetic exploration of individual creativity. I will examine a body of work characterized by how design, form, and structure take precedence over the subject itself. This emphasis on deliberate structure and design can apply to a wide range of different images – from natural straight photography to manipulated abstractions.

Outcomes:

  • Find your voice and vision.
  • Learn to see with a camera.
  • Discover tools to create compelling imagery.
  • Develop your own creative style.

BONUS: Richard will be conducting an image review/critique on your submitted images.

Bio:

Richard Martin was a long-time contributor to Photo Life magazine (currently contributor to ELEMENTS magazine) and pursues photography as a medium of visual expression. He is best known for his unique vision with a personal style characterized by a strong sense of composition, colour, and the use of light. His work combines an architectural love of geometry, pattern, and texture with a painter's sensitivity to the creative art of implementing aesthetic. Richard inspires participants with his photography and visual design workshops, tours, and seminars around the world. "My photography is a celebration of the visual world. It originates straight from the heart, honest and direct. Inspired by colour, texture and light, I make photographs to express feelings surrounding my experiences, searching for visual equivalents to those feelings."

You can learn more about Richard and his work on his website, Instagram and Facebook.

Richard will be supporting Nature Conservancy of Canada with 10% from the registration fees donated to their mission.

LIVE Session: Wednesday, April 24 at 4:00 p.m. PT/ 7:00 p.m. ET

Length: 2.5 hours

Cost:  $27 (or as part of the entire series for only $87!)

Register for Richard's Session
Sample of Richard Martin's Work
Register Now!