Monthly Programs from 2015


November 9, 2015

Photographing Winter in Black and White – Looking for the Expressive Image

MAPS was pleased to welcome back one of its own members and Arboretum instructor, Ken Thompson, who presented a program titled Photographing Winter in Black and White – Looking for the Expressive Image.” Winter tends to be a monochromatic world, especially on cloudy or grey winter days. Whether you are photographing landscapes or ice formations in close-up, the color palette can be quite limited.  Seeing winter compositions requires looking at details and subtle differences in texture and form.  Finding winter images and turning them into an expressive Black and White image was the subject of this presentation.

Ken’s presentation was extremely well-received. We learned that it is very important to shoot in RAW…that “RAW is your friend when converting your image to Black & White.” There are hundreds of ways to convert your color image to B&W including using filters like the ones in NIK or Topaz. You have to choose the conversion method that is best for each individual image. Tonality is important – be sure to have a complete range from black to white. Texture, shapes and lines will be important factors in your B&W image. When you change your image from color to B&W, you will also be changing the mood of your image.

Special Tribute to Suzanne Wegener

At the November meeting, MAPS was called upon to express our appreciation for our former Morton Arboretum liaison, Suzanne Wegener, who provided not only the inspiration for our organization but the availability our great venue, The Thornhill Education Center, for our meetings and other club related operations. Suzanne is moving on but her impact on MAPS is indelible. She was honored by several select members who presented short recollections of their experiences with Suzanne as well as a lifetime membership to MAPS and a beautiful gift basket. The tribute was rounded out by cupcakes for all! thanks, Suzanne…. a job well done.


October 12, 2015

MAPS was pleased to welcome Alison Newberry and Matt Sparapani who presented a program on Iceland.  They are known for combining travel and photography in adventures around the world.  In the summer of 2012, Matt and Alison spent six weeks touring Iceland and documenting its natural wonders through photo and video. Shaped by fire and ice, this tiny country (the size of the state of Kentucky) has icebergs, volcanoes, waterfalls and puffins all within a days drive of the capital of Reykjavik. This multi-media program highlighted a few of the many photographic subjects available to the nature enthusiast and also presented useful tips for traveling and photographing this spectacular destination. You can see more of Matt and Alisons photography and follow their adventures on their blog, Take a Hike Photography: www.takeahikephotography.wordpress.com. The multimedia presentation was enthusiastically received and very professionally given. Thanks Alison and Matt! Please click on a photo below to enlarge.


September 28, 2015

Special Encore Program

Today we were treated to an encore presentation of David Schooley’s special program on drones. This demonstration was originally given on June 8 as a result of a high club-wide interest in this topic, especially as it relates so strongly to photography. Although many attended, the attendance was compromised by a close, powerful storm to the north on the one hand and the Blackhawks’ playoff game on the other.

David was kind enough to repeat his program which consisted of a formal, prepared slide/video presentation discussing how to get involved, rules and regulations, etc. followed by a live demonstration behind the Thornhill Education Center. It also afforded the opportunity for Arb employees to view the show.

Thanks, David for re-giving your excellent presentation. Photos below – please click to enlarge.


September 2015

Designing Your Photographs: using the building blocks of visual design”, presented by Lou Nettelhorst. Want to make more interesting photographs? We learned about designing or making images, not just taking them. This presentation enhanced our awareness of subjects, taught us about seeing differently and helped us compose photographs using the building blocks of visual design.

These building blocks included Light, as the raw material, plus Line, Shape, Texture and Perspective. They were put together using Four Principles of Picture Organization: Dominance, Balance, Proportion and Pattern. All of them were illustrated with Lou’s images.

The concepts presented were not necessarily new to most, but the presentation reacquainted us with them in a slightly different way and hopefully increased our awareness, resulting in some different images than you were used to shooting. Have some FUN and let’s see what results!

Thanks, Lou for a great presentation! Click on images below to enlarge.

Additionally, we were pleased to be introduced to our new Morton Arboretum liaison, Megan Dunning. Her photo is below:


August 10, 2015

Hart Kannegiesser presented “Destination Arizona – 13 Years of Photography in the Grand Canyon State”. Hart became interested in serious photography when digital cameras arrived on the scene in the early 2000s.  He learned the basics of photography and photo processing by using digital cameras and early versions of Photoshop, at a time when film cameras and the chemical darkroom were still considered standard in the industry.

Hart has earned honorable mention at several local photographic exhibits. His images have been published by Arizona Highways.

Hart loves the great outdoors, especially the landscapes of the American Southwest.  Tonight he showed a selection of images from his large collection of Arizona photographs.  He shared stories associated with many of these images, commented on challenges he encountered in creating them, and talked about lessons he learned along the way.  His photos were stunning and it was great to see one of MAP’s own give such a great presentation. Click on an image below to enlarge.

August 2015 Part 2

In addition to tonight’s program by Hart, a few minutes were taken to honor Greg Blue, one of the “founding fathers” and first president of MAPS. Greg has decided to step aside to allow others to participate. As a president emeritus, Greg will still attend board meetings when possible to offer his guidance and share his thoughts.

To honor Greg, a comedy routine was centered around a problem-fraught visit to the Mississippi River in search of elusive eagles (of which Greg saw none). To this date, it had been a running source of humor. He was therefore presented with a stuffed eagle gag toy and in addition, two sheet cakes were brought forth to be shared with every attending member. Thanks Greg for your leadership to help bring MAPS to its current envied status. Click on photos below.


July 13, 2015

Last night we were treated to a presentation on bird photography from MAPS member Arlene Koziol titled “How to Get That Shot, and What to Do with all Those Pictures!”. Arlene covered how to set up your camera for bird photography, talked about handheld and tripod techniques,  the importance of knowing your subject and habitat, anticipating behavior, field techniques and being ready. She also shared field experiences, both the good and the frustrating.  In conservation photography, what one does with the photo is as important as well as the beauty of the image. When people think of a conservation photographer, they often think of world class photographers making iconic images that grace the pages of National Geographic. Arlene shared the experiences of being a regular photographer making a difference in local conservation. Very impressive work!

The entire program was both compelling and professional, combining audio (bird calls) with slides. Arlene even included a restroom break which was much appreciated! Needless to say, it was extremely well received by the attending members. Click on images below to expand.


June 8, 2015

This month we had a very different and exciting program! MAPS member David Schooley navigated us through a presentation on Aerial Photography and Videography Using Drones (Applications, Technology, and Flying Responsibly). Unmanned aerial vehicles, more often known as drones, are becoming more and more popular as they become readily available. Even small drones can carry cameras, so drone manufacturers are starting to advertise in photography magazines, and drones are available for sale at photography retailers. While most users are simply hobbyists, applications range from real-estate photography to wildlife conservation to monitoring pipelines. Part of David’s presentation discussed the technologies that have enabled drones to go from being almost unheard-of only a few years ago to the near mass-market status they have today. The ability to put cameras in the air is what makes drones interesting, and David spoke to what is needed to get good photographs and video. Safety is always a concern when objects with spinning propellers are flying through the air, and the FAA is currently developing regulations that will impact both hobby and commercial use of drones. Responsible flying requires flying safely while complying with local and federal laws and David discussed what you should and should not do.

Thanks to a break in the weather, David concluded his presentation with an outdoor demonstration that included transmitting live video to our 50″ monitor, also out on the patio. To say the least, everyone enjoyed this as viewed in the 12 photos below. Click on any photo to enlarge. Thanks David for a great MAPS meeting!

Just sent in from David Schooley: Photos taken directly from the drone!


May 2015

Award-winning fine art photographer Angie McMonigal presented Creative Habits in Developing Your Photographic Vision. Angie discussed 7 habits that helped her discover themes in her own photography and allowed her to discover her own style. We were able to see her style through her beautiful architectural photographs of Chicago buildings and of others around the globe. Angie spoke about the importance of making time every day or every week to shoot, photographing what is close to where you live and what you know, self-imposed restrictions with equipment and assignments, creating series of photographs, reviewing your body of work to discover themes and creating projects to keep you motivated. One of Angie’s latest projects, shooting from the “L” train car windows, left us all feeling inspired!


April 13, 2015

We joined pro-photographer John Batdorff and his assistant Staci Prince for his in-depth exploration of travel and street photography. John delved into the history and definitions of street and travel photography, planning for your photographic excursion, choosing when to observe or engage with your subject, legal considerations, how to make the most of the opportunities in the field, techniques for getting the shot and tips for the nature photographer in the street photographer’s role. This was a fun, dynamic presentation where you walked away with new-found knowledge, skills, and a renewed passion for the craft of street and travel photography. The “house” was packed and everyone enjoyed John’s open and humored style. Please click in images below to expand.


March 9, 2015

Walt Anderson presented: Sunshine in Your Pocket ~ An Introduction to TTL Flash. The program covered various forms of light including “available”. The emphasis of the presentation was the importance of fill flash for outdoor photos where the bright back lighting of natural daylight often causes partial to complete silhouetting of the nearer subject. By reducing EV (exposure value) of the camera while increasing the separate EV of the flash unit, a balance of a reduced background with a better lit subject could be obtained. The degree of success is somewhat dependent upon the distance of the subject. Best way to test is trial and error… easy with digital! In this regard, Walt’s invention, the Better Beamer, concentrates the flash for more distant objects, i.e., birds in trees. There were many questions… thanks Walt!


February 2015

The February MAPS program featured a Chris Aquino and Will Clay image critique session, always one of the highlights of our club activities.  Twenty five images were examined. Following the positive feedback we received from our last critique, we continued with incorporating a statement along with each image.  That statement can be an artist’s statement describing the submitter’s overall body of work or a more specific intent of the particular image.

In fact, during the meeting, each submitter was invited to stand and present his/her explanation while the appropriate image was being displayed. Chris and Will provided feedback on the image itself and also on how well the image fitted its accompanying statement. As always, Chris & Will provided constructive ideas with humor and thoughtfulness. Critique Night continues to be a club favorite. Thanks Will & Chris!

Also thanks to Suzanne and her staff for providing our alternate venue in the Ginkgo Room. Please click to enlarge photos.


January 12, 2015

MAPS was pleased to kick off 2015 on January 12 with a special presentation by John Bates of the Field Museum in Chicago.  Additional programs in the coming year will include a diverse set of topics from the Arboretum Instructors, our members, and professionals.  In February, we will hold another of our popular critique sessions conducted by Chris Aquino and Will Clay followed by an evening with Walt Anderson in March.  April and May will feature two well-known Chicago based photographers, John Batdorff and Angie McMonigal.  In June, Dave Schooley will give a demo and presentation on drones.  The second half of the year will include presentations by Arlene Koziol, Hart Kannegiesser, and Ken Thompson plus others.  As the schedule is finalized, we will publish it on our website calendar.

The wonders and tribulations of the Albertine Rift: Biodiversity and people in a war zone. While Africa is most famous for its lions and herds of zebras and antelope, it has many places that are different and far off the paths most visited by tourists.  As Associate Curator of Birds at the Field Museum, John Bates has worked in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo for the last 10 years.  He shared photos from the Albertine Rift and talked about Gorillas, Guerrillas, and doing fieldwork in this incredible but troubled landscape in the heart of Africa. John’s presentation was very well received as evidenced by the many questions that followed – Thanks John! As always, CLICK to enlarge.

Bio: John Bates has been an Associate Curator of Birds at the Field Museum for 18 years.  He grew up in Tucson, Arizona where he fell in love with birds at an early age.  After getting Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Arizona, he conducted field work in Bolivia for his PhD at Louisiana State University.  He and his students study genetic structure in tropical organisms to better understand evolution and conserve biodiversity.