Monthly Programs from 2016

November 14, 2016

Michael Jeffords and Susan Post, – The Spirit of Exploration. Michael and Susan took people on a journey into Nature that largely focused on Illinois, but also presented a window into unique places around the world.
Dr. Michael Jeffords is a retired entomologist from the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute, Illinois Natural History Survey, where he served as a research scientist and the education/outreach coordinator. Jeffords is a freelance writer and photographer, and has authored or edited four books, including Exploring Nature in Illinois and A Field Guide to Illinois Butterflies (both with Susan Post). Susan Post is a retired research scientist from the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute, Illinois Natural History Survey and a freelance writer and photographer. Susan was the staff writer for the Illinois Steward magazine and has authored six books, including two editions of Hiking Illinois.

Their presentation used an HD projector that better showed their incredible photographs. It was beautiful to watch… thank you Michael & Susan! Mike Lake (a MAPS member) was our tech assistant and audio expert who helped to facilitate this showing. Click on photo to expand:

      Michael and Susan’s website:

October 10, 2016

James Iska “Photography Black and White”

James Iska, Chicago Architectural, Landscape and Documentary Photographer, is a specialist in the Department of Photography at the Art Institute of Chicago. Jim has concentrated primarily on architectural and landscape photography, and he has produced photographs for books focusing on the cities of New York, Philadelphia and on Chicago’s parks. His talk is titled “Photography Black and White” and explores the extremes in which the medium of photography is placed. For example a question that continuously comes up is this: is a photograph simply a record of something or is it a means of personal expression? Inevitably the answer always lies somewhere between the two extremes, but where to place a particular piece is always difficult if not impossible. That’s what makes photography such as fascinating and frustrating medium. All this points to the ultimate question, is photography an art and if it is, where does it fit into art history. Obviously having worked in the Department of Photography at the Art Institute for over thirty years, Jim have a strong opinion on this! Click here for more information on Jim Iska. Thanks Jim for a beautiful presentation as well as a run-through of the convergence of photography with modern art! Please click on an image below to expand,

September 12, 2016

Chris Aquino “Zen and the Quality of Pictures” Chris’ presentation focused on the definition of quality by Robert Pirsig in his book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”.  He broke down the creative photographic process into elements (5 of 12 points) that people recognize and nurture in order to help generate special moments that lead to special images. Chris was amazing. His presentation spoke of the author’s desire to have quality especially in our experiences and of course Chris brought everything back into photography. Thanks to Tim Rex for kindly supplying this month’s photos. Click on a photo to expand.

August 8, 2016

Presentation by Harry Hitzeman Harry Hitzeman is a professional fine art landscape photographer and instructor.  His most exciting photographs are of the landscapes of the American West, Southwest, Northwest, Northeast, the Canadian Rockies as well as rural and urban locales in the Chicago Area.  Harry’s presentation was titled “How to Use Your Intuition and Imagination to Create Impactful Photographs. He reviewed step by step with examples how to see a photograph beyond its initial appearance including the mood it creates. His images were quite stunning. Click below to enlarge photos:

July 11, 2016

One of our own, Cora Jacobs, presented Photography and the Art of Seeing. Her overview took a look at some of the masters that helped shape and define modern day photography, including Cora’s work and the work of some of her peers.  Cora is a fine art photographer whose work has been exhibited and juried both locally and nationally. Her photographs expresses her interest in feminine flowing lines and demonstrates simplicity over complexity in all of her compositions.  She is also a Photography Instructor at the Morton Arboretum. Some truly etherial images, including selections from MAPS’ own Christine Foley and Diana Chrisman, further enhanced Cora’s excellent program. Thanks Cora! Click on images below:

June 13, 2016

Program: Don Carter  –  Process and Techniques for Photographing Wildlife: The Decisions

Don is a nature photographer whose passion is photographing wildlife.  He has led photo tours to places such as Yellowstone, the Badlands, and Bosque del Apache.  He is a past president of NANPA, the North American Nature Photography Association.   His work has been published in Springer’s in the Field magazine, the AKC magazine and Midwest Outdoors. His program included the need for patience, sometimes waiting in blinds, for the right moment to come along. His stunning images of birds in flight proved it a worthy idea! Thanks Don For your great presentation! Click on an image below to expand:

May 9, 2016

Bob and Cindy Maynard’s program for the May 9th meeting was a custom combination of the multi-media program they have been presenting for their current book, A Photographer’s Guide to Colorado’s National Parks and Monuments, and the story of the making of their upcoming book, Ancient Skies Through Ancient Eyes, a coffee table style book on night photography and archaeoastronomy in America’s desert southwest.  Bob’s unique approach to lighting night scenes created stunning images, many of which are now on display at the Edge of Cedars Museum in Blanding, Utah and will be there for a year. 

Since starting Colorado Plateau Photo Tours in 2009, when he worked only in Rocky Mountain National Park, he’s expanded that business to include Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons, the Grand Canyon, the Everglades, Mesa Verde, Hovenweep,  Sand Dunes, Canyonlands and Arches National Parks and works extensively throughout the desert southwest in Utah and Arizona.  His 31 piece exhibit The Magic of the Desert Southwest, hung in the Edge of Cedars Museum in Utah throughout 2014.  He has accumulated over 1500 photo credits and his images have appeared in Audubon, Rocky Mountain Raptor Center publications Southwest Archaeology and Boulder County Open Space publications.  He was Chairman of the Louisville National Juried Photography Show from 2010 – 2014.

Cindy Maynard has been a volunteer naturalist for Boulder County Open Space since 2002 and has taught classes on dozens of natural history topics. She is a regular contributor to Images Magazine, published by Boulder County. She serves on the Board of Directors for Boulder County Nature Association and Boulder County Audubon Society. She has extensive experience teaching and writing about the natural world.

Thank you Bob & Cindy for a great presentation! Everyone should see the Milky Way that way at least once in his/her lifetime. Click on images below:

April 11, 2016

The Galapagos by Georgia Velisaris

Chicago artist Georgia Velisaris presented a multimedia presentation on the Galapagos including her observations and photography on its landscapes, climate, and animals.  She focused on the islands of San Cristobal, Floreana, Bartolome, Isabela, and Santa Cruz. The Galapagos is on the equator and is known for its wide diversity of fauna, differentiating between those native to the Islands and those introduced over many years. Thanks to Georgia for her demonstration. Click on images:

March 14, 2016

MAPS Critique Session

At its March 14, 2016 meeting, MAPS offered a critique session.  MAPS members had an opportunity to submit images for discussion.   Will Clay and Chris Aquino, both with extensive photographic experience, evaluated members’ images as they do in a classroom setting.  If you have attended a previous critique session by Will and Chris you know that their emphasis is not on criticism, but on providing constructive suggestions for improving your images.

A former Professor of Botany, Willard Clay has been a full-time photographer since 1982. Specializing in large format photography, Willard Clay has been the primary photographer for nine coffee table books and has been published in a myriad of calendars, magazines, books, and advertising agencies. His portfolio consists of large format film and high-resolution digital files ready for publication.  He currently teaches classes at The Morton Arboretum, DuPage County Forest Preserves District, Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont, Dillman’s Resort (Wisconsin), and workshops in the Naperville studio.

Chris Aquino is an instructor in the Morton Arboretum nature photography program. He has taught classes on photography fundamentals, composition, style, photographic inspiration, and seasonal themes.  He has given presentations to local camera clubs, and has led workshops together with Will Clay.  He also co-wrote a chapter in Will Clay’s e-book, Opus One, focusing on the compositional element of repetition and rhythm in an image.

Chris’s “day job” is teaching English at Wheaton Warrenville South High School.  There he also teaches a class on cinema studies.  Many of the concepts from that class have transferred to his photography, including the different interpretations of light, color, and the use of space.

As usual, they did a great job covering about 24 images. As the reviews are not competitive, the membership enjoyed the session and learned much. Thanks, Will & Chris!

February 8th, 2016

“THE LANGUAGE OF FLOWERS: An Introduction to Flower Structure and Terminology

Closeup photography not only reveals the beauty of flowers, it allows us to see similarities and differences which allow us to place flowers in different groups such as families, genera and species. Although there are more than 250,000 kinds of flowers in the world, their incredible variety is mostly due to variations in a few common features: sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils. Images of wildflowers as well as garden flowers were used to explore flower structure and terminology. Our goal was to learn how to look at a flower, which helps us appreciate flowers and identify unknown wildflowers. Best for garden clubs, naturalists, photographers, and others with a special interest in flowers.”

Jack Shouba is a teacher, photographer, and botanist. A retired biology and chemistry teacher, he has taught Local Flora, Tree Identification, and other natural history and photography classes at the Morton Arboretum for over twenty years. Long active in conservation, he has received a number of honors, most recently the Dick Young Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kane-DuPage Soil and Water Conservation District and the Lucinda Muirhead Corron Award from the Corron Farm Preservation Society.  His photographs have been published in Chicago Wilderness magazine, Outdoor Illinois magazine, and elsewhere, and are used by conservation organizations such as Save the Prairie Society, the Conservation Foundation, the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, and Campton Township (

A great program – thanks Jack! Please click on photos below:

January 11th, 2016

Flights of Fancy – Bird Photography on the Wing

Walt Anderson presented an overview of the techniques, skills and equipment needed to photograph our feathered friends in flight. He explained how recent advances in cameras and lenses have allowed more people to successfully capture great images of birds in flight.  He also addressed the best locations to photograph wild birds on the wing. A few things learned… Shoot manual, don’t be afraid of hand-held (quicker response times), set your shutter speed to over 1000 for freeze frames or about 100 for “action” photography. See Walt’s Flights of Fancy Class notes. The photos were beautiful… thanks Walt! Click on photos below: