Learn photography skills with MNA and Great Lakes Photo Tours

By Annie Perry, MNA Intern

In March and September, MNA members and guests will learn to shoot—photos, that is. MNA is partnering with Great Lakes Photo Tours for the second One-Day Eco-Photo Excursions at Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary on May 13 and Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary on September 20. Participants will learn more about their cameras and sharpen their photography skills at the two all-day events, which begin at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.

The tours are led by naturalist photographer Mark S. Carlson and digital photography instructor Bob Grzesiak, who have a combined 50 years of professional expertise in photography. Mark has had photographs published in magazines, books, calendars and other various publications and offers a wealth of photography and naturalist knowledge, while Bob is an expert in digital camera systems and technology and can help participants understand the nitty-gritty controls and settings on their cameras.

The first tour is on May 13 at the Dowagiac Woods Nature Sanctuary in Cass County. Dowagiac Woods stretches for 364 acres and is the largest sanctuary in the Lower Peninsula. This sanctuary gives photographers a living example of what forests were like when settlers first came to Michigan, as the majority of the property has never been plowed or clear-cut, which allows for great species diversity. More than 50 wildflower species grow in Dowagiac Woods and will be blooming—and ready to photograph—during the tour.

Goose Creek Grasslands Nature Sanctuary in Lenawee County, the site for the second tour, is smaller than Dowagiac Woods, but offers its own sights and beauty for tour attendees. Goose Creek is a unique prairie fen found only in the glacial Midwest. The sanctuary is nestled in a valley and boasts a variety of habitats, including saturated soil, wet prairie, marsh and fen. It’s also home to roughly 221 plant species and comes to its full glory in September and October. Photographers on this tour will be able to spot turkeyfoot grass, the most important Michigan tall grass, which flowers profusely in September and October.

To register, visit the Great Lakes Photo Tours website and select one or both of the MNA tours. The program is $65 for MNA members and $99 for non-members. The $99 fee includes a one-year MNA membership. For more information, call the MNA office at 866-223-2231.