Monthly Programs

In this page…

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.

Upcoming Programs

April 10, 2023 – Jack Carlson – Photographing Signs of Spring at the Chicago Botanic Garden

In April, signs of spring are everywhere at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Where, though, in those 385 acres should a photographer begin when trying to capture images of the seasonal change that is occurring? What camera gear will be most appropriate?

Get answers to these and more photographic questions on April 10 when Jack Carlson presents “Photographing Signs of Spring at the Garden.” He is a Certified Professional Photographer who has been teaching instructive, experiential, and individualized classes at the Garden since 2009. He is there every week for classes so his recommendations to us will be timely. Learn the best places to find new spring growth and color and the camera settings and lenses he recommends for each area.

A classically trained musician, Jack did not actually enter the visual arts until adulthood, and his beliefs about the visual arts inform his philosophy. As a nature photographer, he believes it is important to fully capture a photographic image rather than take numerous pictures that are later manipulated technologically. Jack believes that nature speaks for itself. A nature photographer’s obligation is to listen,respect, and respond to that voice. Take a peek at his work at his website,

No matter what is in your camera bag, you are certain to get wall-worthy images after this presentation. Join us either live in-person at The Morton Arboretum or remote via Zoom.

Past Programs This Year

March 2023

Jane Fulton Alt – Finding the Muse: A Creative Journey

What started out for Jane Fulton Alt as a community photography class to learn how to take travel photographs ultimately turned into a lifelong pursuit of understanding universal truths. She uses the camera as a tool to try to understand her life and the world around her. Please join us as she shares her ongoing journey into the world of wonder and awe.

Jane Fulton Alt began exploring the visual arts while pursuing a career as a clinical social worker. She has authored two books and is the recipient of many awards and artist residencies. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and can be found in many permanent collections. She currently splits her time living and working in Chicago and New Orleans. Her photography explores universal issues of the human condition and the non-material world. Check out her website at for more information about her books and some powerful examples of her photography.

Nice change of pace to have a more “spiritual” presentation! Thank you for sharing your journey with MAPS, Ms Alt! Click on any image below to enlarge.

Recording: Jane Fulton Alt – Finding the Muse: A Creative Journey

February 2023

Jessica Cepele – Stacking Images for Landscape Photography

Learn the powerful technique of stacking images to make tack sharp landscape photos. Create more dynamic scenes that are only possible using stacking to extend your camera’s capabilities. Capture the full essence of the night sky using image stacking to create star trails and compelling Milky Way images. We covered this advanced technique step-by-step so anyone can use this image capturing process in the field. The opportunities for this technique are endless, and you will be excited to try this on your next landscape photography shoot.

Jessica Cepele is an award-winning landscape photographer with 15 years of experience in the field. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with a BFA in photography, she has traveled extensively, seeking out the most beautiful and unique locations around the world. From the rugged red rocks of the southwest to the sweeping vistas of the Icelandic coast, she has captured the majesty of the natural world in all its forms.

Jessica’s work has been recognized and awarded by the One of a Kind Show 2022 Chicago, and she has been featured in galleries and art festivals across the country. She is known for her ability to capture the nuances and subtleties of the landscape, creating images that are both striking and thought-provoking.

When she’s not behind the camera, Jessica can be found sharing her passion for photography through teaching and mentoring aspiring photographers. She is dedicated to sharing her knowledge and expertise, and to helping others discover the beauty and wonder of the world through the art of photography. Check out her work at

Recording: Jessica Cepele – Stacking Images for Landscape Photography

January 2023

David Schooley – Noise Reduction & Sharpening – Getting it Right in Camera First

The topic for our first meeting of 2023 was about noise reduction and sharpening including getting images as sharp as possible in camera by avoiding motion blur and camera movement. Once we’ve done the best we can do in camera, additional work may be necessary for sharpening and/or noise reduction using software tools. Examples and demonstrations was covered using Adobe software along with a few experiments using Topaz AI tools.

While not a full-time professional photographer, David Schooley occasionally does work for hire and also supports one of the local animal rescue organizations. He travels when he can and has done nature and landscape photography on six continents, including three trips to Africa and one trip to Antarctica. He is a graduate of the photography and natural history certificate programs at The Morton Arboretum and continues to assist with photography classes.

David has participated with previous MAPS programs including his images from Antartica and Africa but who can forget his demonstration of drone photography where we all went outside and watched on live TV his drone flying over Thornhill and the surrounding area! Those images can be found on this website with a search for those who are interested.

Because modern cameras have come a long way with lowering noise, David suggests that it may be best to shoot at higher ISOs leaving the camera with more options to capture sharp images with a deeper depth of field. A few cropped screenshots below help to explain the best way to process high ISO photographs. Click to expand photos:

Recording: David Schooley – Noise Reduction & Sharpening

Notes: David Schooley – Noise Reduction & Sharpening

Past Years’ Program Summaries

  1. 2022
  2. 2021
  3. 2020
  4. 2019
  5. 2018
  6. 2017
  7. 2016
  8. 2015
  9. 2014
  10. 2013
  11. 2012
  12. 2011 – The year it all started!