Monthly Programs

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About Monthly Programs

MAPS meetings are held on the second Monday of each month from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. We are currently taking a hybrid approach to our monthly programs. This means you can attend in-person or by using Zoom.

All MAPS members are invited to attend the monthly meetings and will receive a Zoom invite. Check out our Zoom web page to prepare for the monthly program meetings and for tips & tricks we might have. Non-members are welcome to view the recording of the monthly program once it is posted.

The highlight of each monthly meeting is a presentation about a photography topic.  Presentations are typically oriented toward nature photography (animals, birds, insects) or landscape photography.  Past topics have also included photographic techniques, e.g. macro photography and flash photography.

Our program committee carefully selects the speakers.  All presenters are accomplished photographers, and many are involved in photography professionally and/or as teachers.  At one or two meetings a year, instead of a presentation, we offer non-competitive evaluation and critique of member-submitted images by a professional photographer.

Current Year’s Programs

November 14, 2022

Joe & Marie Rakoczy – Photographic Postcards

November’s program was about the history of photographic postcards in the Chicago area and their design and creation with the help of today’s technology. Our speakers are long-time members of Chicago-area camera clubs and are the recipients of numerous photography awards.

This two-part program began with a presentation of the backstory of postcards and postcard photography, which has a very rich history in Chicago dating back to the advent of the first U.S. souvenir postcards, developed for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The second part of the program was a demonstration of the creation of eye-catching postcards, including how to select and edit postcard image candidates; apply appropriate text, font style and color; and produce single and montage image postcards folks will love to view, receive, or send.

Joe and Marie Rakoczy have run CACCA’s popular annual Postcard Competition for eight years, the 2023 edition of which begins next March. Both are long-time local camera club, CACCA and PSA members, officers, and photo competition judges. Recipients of numerous photography awards including multiple TOPS in CACCA medals and the Wanda Crystal Award for artistic achievement and photographic excellence, they give presentations on a wide variety of topics.

Thanks for a very enjoyable program! Below are a few images from Joe and Marie’s presentation. Joe covered the history of postcards while Marie reviewed the various techniques and software for creating your own on your computer. Please click on an image to enlarge:


UPCOMING: December 12, 2022 – Dave Kingham Learning to See Deeply Through Contemplative Photograpy

If you’re struggling to find your ‘style’ or ‘vision,’ it may be time to look inward. David will show you techniques to stop looking for photographs and, instead, start seeing photographs. We’re all creative inside, but some of us have filters to block up our creativity. You can also start seeing differently with some simple methods and exercises.

David Kingham is a Colorado native and a professional nature photographer who travels full-time with his partner Jennifer Renwick and their two cats in an RV. David believes images should becreated with emotion and, in turn, leave an impact on the viewer. He loves to share his knowledge with others through workshops and instructional videos. He also revived and runs the Nature Photographers Network because he believes a strong community within the nature photography community is important. Check out some of his work at www.davidkingham.com.


October 2022

David Akoubian – Alaskan Brown Bears

Join Professional Nature and Wildlife Photographer David Akoubian, as he shared tips for photographing wildlife, primarily bears in Alaska. David leads tours and photographs Alaskan Brown Bears during the spring, summer and fall, and shared some of his favorite locations as well as equipment and tips to increase your success when visiting. David also discussed wildlife photography in general demonstrating tips on how he attracts wildlife, primarily migratory songbirds, to his yard, which is a Certified Audubon Wildlife Sanctuary. David hopes to not only educate, but inspire as well with his images. Check out some of David’s work in the gallery on his website: www.bearwoodsphotography.com.

David’s images were stunning, especially when taken under Alaska’s Golden Light that emphasized the feeling of being there. Really great images, a few sampled below. Click on any image to enlarge:

David Akoubian – Alaskan Brown Bears


September 2022

Mike Lake – The Changing World of Flower Photography and Micrography

This presentation featured an exploration of the changing world of flower photography and micrography using software-based processing. With several species of flowers as examples, Mike Lake demonstrated step-by-step the evolution from lighting and shooting through processing. He also covered the limits of new possibilities using Topaz, Photoshop and miniature strobe lighting.

Mr. Lake’s 50 year journey in photography began at the Chicago Tribune, where he worked for over 13 years before launching his own business, Mike Lake Production Services. He has worked with over 300 companies during the past 37 years and also has extensive experience in videography and sound engineering. For more examples of his work see mikelake.zenfolio.com.

Very informative, Mike, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Here are some samples from his presentation. Click on an image to expand:

Mike Lake – The Changing World of Flower Photography and Micrography

Mike also shared a pair of documents with us:


August 2022

Roger Mattingly – Learn to Love Your Flash

Most every photographer carries a flash in the bag but seldom uses it because they don’t understand how to make it work or don’t like the quality of the light. This program is designed to explain how to make it work and what you can do with it. We talked about fill flash, bounce flash, getting the flash off the camera and using gels and diffusers. Simple talk with relevant examples. Learning to use your flash will make you a better photographer and expand your capabilities especially for macro and people photography. 

Roger Mattingly has been a free lance photographer for more than 50 years, shooting for corporate and commercial clients including Kraft, Abbot Laboratories, AT&T, Northwestern University, Brunswick, Ameritech, Chemical Waste Management; he was the principal  photographer for the Chicago Botanic Garden 1989-1995. He started a digital photography business  Star Digital Imaging 1995. Roger is past president of the Chicago Midwest chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) 97-99. He also worked as a war correspondent in Viet Nam.

Thanks, Roger, for a great program! A sampling of his slides are presented below – please click on any image to enlarge:


July 2022

Heidi Egerman – Fine Art Garden Photographer

Heidi Egerman is a fine art garden photographer with a passion for still life light painting. She uses a simple flashlight to light her subjects, bringing out the textures and colors in a style reminiscent of the Old Master painters. Her presentation introduced us to the basics of the light painting where she covered camera settings, advantages of light painting, tools and equipment and an overview of her post processing steps. Although Heidi considers herself a fine art garden photographer, she showed us more than fruit and flowers. For those interested in trying light painting, this presentation should help reduce the frustration that many had experienced when starting out. Visit her website at www.heidiegerman.com to see the drama, versatility and magic of this technique.

Heidi’s images were stunning… see examples from her presentation below. Thanks Heidi! Click on any image to enlarge:


June 2022

Willard Clay – What is a Great Photograph?

Good photographs are characterized by good composition, good lighting, and good timing. Great photographs tell a story about the subject and make the viewer feel something. Former Professor of Botany, Willard Clay has been a full-time photographer since 1982 and has taught photography at The Morton Arboretum since 2005. Specializing in large format photography, he has been the primary photographer for nine coffee table books and has been published in a myriad of calendars, magazines, books, and advertising agencies. Take a moment to check out the beautiful images in the galleries on his website, www.willardclayphotography.com.

Will’s presentation was enhanced by including examples from other great photographers. Here is a sampling below from Will’s presentation. Thanks Will! Click on any image to enlarge:

What is a Great Photograph? (324 MB)


May 2022

Michael Kobe – Flower Photography

Observing nature through a lens has been a lifelong passion for Michael Kobe – initially in a full career as a biology educator, then, in retirement, as a nature photographer. While his subject matter includes insects, flowers and birds, he is most noted for his flower photography, a passion that he loves to share with others in workshops, presentations, seminars, and newsletters. He has been widely recognized for his artistic work as well as teaching and writing. No matter what your photography skill level may be, you will certainly have left his flower presentation with new knowledge that will make your flower photographs noteworthy.

Michael’s presentation both through Zoom and Live at the Arb, covered every possible consideration from lighting, depth of field, backgrounds, other settings, UV light, etc. Although speaking to an experienced audience, there is always something new to learn. Beautiful images… See for yourself below. Click in an image below to enlarge. Thanks Michael!

Flower Photography (620 MB)


April 2022

Judy Hancock Holland – Minimalism

Judy Hancock Holland is an award-winning photographic artist and lifelong educator. Her professional focus is revealing the essence of what we too often see as “the simple things in life.” Judy’s stated mission is to create luscious, soulful photographic art that invites the viewer to rest in a moment of awe at the beauty of creation. Her work has been exhibited in North America and Europe, and her YouTube tutorials have garnered over 200,000 views. She is one of our finest minimalist photographers. Visit her website at jhhphoto.com to see the range that her art encompasses.

We really enjoyed Judy’s presentation remotely from Vancouver Island to our Zoom and live MAPS members. The best way to appreciate Judy’s minimalist art is to look at some of the examples presented below from her presentation. Again, please visit her website from the link above to see her work in high resolution images. Thanks Ms. Holland for sharing your ideas with our MAPS audiences! Please click on an image below to expand:


March 2022

Al Alvis – Photographing Birds

Nature photographer and MAPS member Al Alvis presented some ideas and suggestions for capturing interesting, eye-catching and artful photographs of birds. His body of work of bird images is extensive, ranging from sparrows and cardinals to owls and eagles – and many more. Whether you are a seasoned birder or are just getting started, a quick peek at his Flickr website (click here) will convince you that this is a meeting you are glad you didn’t miss.

Al’s images were fantastic and he presented his program in a very enjoyable manner… considering this was MAPS’ first dual format program using a live audience at the Arbor Room along with remote ZOOM viewers. Congrats to the “IT” members who made it go without a hitch. Below, please find a sampling of Al’s images. Click on any one to enlarge:

Photographing Birds (800 MB)


February 2022

Tony Sweet – Finding Inspiration at Home

Many people casually photograph in their neck of the woods, which certainly can be fun and rewarding. Not as many select a small set of local spots and make it a project to photograph them over an extended period of time, in all four seasons. This is what Tony does. He showed a selection of images that he has taken over a decade at locations within 30 minutes of his home, and discussed them in terms of their composition and visual impact. He also covered shooting strategies and local photographic opportunities that we may be taking for granted. We came away convinced that great light and interesting subject material can be found almost anywhere.

Of course, many MAPS members are fortunate enough to be within thirty minutes of the Morton Arboretum itself so we have many opportunities nearby! Tony’s beautiful images and engaging personality made for a great presentation. Thanks Tony! Sample screen shots from Tony’s presentation are below. Click on any photo to enlarge:


January 2022

Rad Drew – What Makes a Great Landscape Photograph

Being out and photographing expansive landscapes is for many of us one of the great joys of photography. But, regardless of the camera you’re using, how do we bring home images that convey the grandeur, the mood, and the feeling of our outdoor experience? We joined photographer, Rad Drew, for a look at what makes a great landscape photograph. Rad shared his images created in locations around the world to illustrate many of the techniques that help us create impactful landscape photographs.

From Rule of Thirds to Infra Red to post processing sky effects to panoramas to black & white to S-curves to portrait mode to many other techniques, Rad presented so many exceptional images and how to obtain them. Great show… thanks Rad! Some examples of Rad’s work are presented below. Please click on an image to expand:

What Makes a Great Landscape Photograph (400 MB)

After the presentation, Rad created a webpage (click here) in response to some of the questions that were asked and topics that came up during the presentation, as well as some resources that he felt that we would enjoy.


Past Years’ Program Summaries