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April 28 - May 2, 2024
Pittsfield, MA

The inaugural workshop based on my incredible FORESTS project!

Explore Berkshire and eastern New York woods adorned with the glorious pastels of springtime.


Rarely have I been as enamored photographing landscapes as when shooting trees and forests.  Northern forests are renowned for being dense and chaotic.  When photographing them, we're often told to simplify the chaos.  That's true, but there's so much more to artistically portraying trees and woodlands.  Solving the visual puzzle is challenging but highly rewarding — the resulting images, incredibly fulfilling.


We'll spend several days photographing the region's blossoming springtime forests.  It's a beautiful time to be outside. Temperatures are warming, the air is fresh.  Flowers and plants are bursting forth.  Trees sprout fresh leaves in soft, pastels — the reciprocal colors of autumn.  And fortunately, here in the Berkshires, black flies and mosquitoes aren't nearly as problematic as in other northern forests.  As an added bonus, the warming temperatures generate fog many mornings.

Possible shooting locations include Pittsfield State Forest, Mt Greylock State Reservation, Balance Rock State Park, woodlands along Pontoosuc, Onota and Cheshire Lakes, the Housatonic River and Wahconah Falls, and some of my other favorite local backwoods.  I also plan to explore some little-photographed sites in eastern New York State.  We'll shoot in predawn, at sunrise, sunset and into the evening — with some relaxation time in between.


We'll examine the creative possibilities presented by individual trees and forest groves, from the understory up into the canopy.  Field lessons will include tips and techniques on:

  • artistic opportunities unique to spring

  • composing for visual separation, relief and dimensionality

  • depth of field techniques

  • working with sidelight and backlight

  • determining proper exposure in a variety of conditions

  • achieving critical focus

  • varying shutter speed for creative effect

  • working with your range of lenses, from wide angle to telephoto

  • shooting color and tonal palettes for depth and creative effect

  • using the LCD screen and histogram to refine compositions, check exposures and confirm focus

  • creating expressionistic abstracts with blurs, ICM's and multiple exposures


During indoor instructional sessions I'll cover:

  • optimizing tree & forest images in Lightroom and Photoshop

  • image softening techniques in Lightroom and Photoshop

  • blending multiple exposures as panoramas and HDR’s, and using layer masks and focus stacking

  • selective dodging and burning in Photoshop

  • creative techniques using blend modes in Photoshop


You will come away with a much deeper understanding and appreciation of trees and forests, and their creative potential.  

A meeting room has been reserved for presentations, image processing and image review sessions of participants' work.  It's a power-packed workshop, enjoyed in a relaxed atmosphere where our creativity can flourish.

Camera Skills Needed

This workshop is for photographers of all levels. Users of all types of cameras may attend. However, digital SLR and mirrorless cameras are preferred for their ability to provide immediate feedback and instant access to the images. Without one, you will not be able to take full advantage of this workshop.​

Computer Skills Needed

A basic understanding of digital workflow and some working knowledge of Lightroom, Photoshop or other image editing software will be helpful.

Other Considerations

Locations visited during the workshop are easily accessible and do not require strenuous hiking or climbing.  However, we may do short hikes involving moderate inclines and uneven terrain.  Only those in good physical shape and able to ascend and descend moderate slopes should attempt.

As with all outdoor pursuits, some risk is inherent; all participants will be required to sign a waiver prior to the workshop.

Group Size

10 participants maximum.


To register, please call me at (413) 442-9125.

Registration Fees

$895 - Due by March 15th.  Payable by check to Mark Bowie.


Dates and Times

The workshop begins Sunday, April 28th at 2pm and ends Thursday, May 2nd at noon.

Where to Meet

We will gather in the lobby of the Best Western Plus Berkshires Hills Inn & Suites, 1350 West Housatonic Street, Pittsfield, MA on Sunday, April 28th at 2pm.


The workshop will be based out of the Best Western Plus Berkshires Hills Inn & Suites in Pittsfield, MA.  The Inn has set aside a block of rooms at discounted pricing for the event: $109/night for single or double beds.  Reservations must be made by March 28th for the discounted rate.  Be sure to mention that you will be taking part in Mark Bowie's photography workshop.  Contact the Inn at (413) 442-8714 with questions.  I recommend making room reservations soon after registering for the workshop.


Meals are the responsibility of the participant and are not included in the registration fee.  I will organize and provide recommendations for nearby meal options.

Getting to the Event

The two nearest airports are Albany International (ALB) and Bradley International (BDL).  Rental cars are available at both locations.

Transportation During the Event

Participants’ vehicles will be used for transportation during field trips.  We will occasionally carpool for better access to parking and to lessen our impact on easily damaged roads.  For insurance reasons, I am not allowed to provide transportation to participants during the event.

The Program Schedule

Day 1

​Gather at the Best Western Plus Berkshires Hills Inn & Suites.  Welcome and introductory session on spring forest photography.  Dinner locally.  Weather permitting, afternoon and evening shoot.

Day 2, 3, 4

  • Morning field trip followed by breakfast.

  • Instructional sessions on:

The Art of Seeing Forests

Compositional Considerations in Forests

Tree & Forest Image Optimization in Lightroom & Photoshop

  • Group critique of participants' images.

  • Afternoon, sunset and evening shooting trips.

Day 5

  • Morning field trip followed by breakfast. 

  • Group critique of participants’ images. 

  • Workshop wrap-up and participant slideshow.


Note - The actual itinerary may vary considerably from this due to weather and other conditions that cannot be anticipated.

What To Bring

Please read the What To Bring document, which lists recommended equipment and outdoor gear.  And feel free to contact me with questions: 413-442-9125 or

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