Workshop “Cypress Swamps Magic”
November 10 — 14, 2023.
Start Location — Central Georgia. The exact location will be revealed to all participants after their final payment for the workshop.
Dates: November 10 — 14, 2023
Tuition: $ 2250 per participant (limit: 7 participants).
Instructor: Alex Mironyuk
Deposit: $ 500 (payments accepted for the remainder of the balance)
Come explore one of the most unusual, picturesque ecosystems in southern USA — cypress swamps and lakes, where old trees are growing in the middle of the water. Those places are very seldom visited by tourists due to their remoteness, lodging problems, luck with restaurants, and so on. In addition, most of the time the weather is hot and humid.
But we’re going there during the most comfortable season when the temperature usually won’t go higher than 75°F and won’t go lower than 50°F. But most importantly November is usually the peak of fall colors, when the cypresses get some dark red tones along with other yellow and red trees and bushes.
However, these swamps and lakes are home to Florida’s infamous gators. With that in mind the safest place to take pictures of the cypresses is a kayak, boat, or a lake shore. If you feel comfortable and safe in that environment you may carefully set up your tripod in shallow water. In that case some waders would be very helpful.
Believe it or not, there are hardly any mosquitoes at these swamps and lakes. However, I would still recommend for you to have bug repellent with you.
Don’t forget your telephoto lens at home — aside from alligators these swamps are home to many bird species, deer, rabbits, raccoons and other beautiful animals.
You will get a chance to photograph the area like you have never seen it before. I will lead you to photograph my favorite places all around the cypress swamps and lakes.
This workshop is designed to master your photography skills and to also boost your creative process. This entire workshop is hands on and I will be with you every step of the way covering composition, camera settings, chasing the light, and much more.
No level of experience is necessary for participants of this workshop. Whether you are just beginning or are a seasoned pro, I am happy to help you move forward with your photography.
Physical Difficulty: Easy to Moderate. This Workshop Involves some kayaking at the cypress lakes and easy walks on the shore lines.
Fitness Level: Like any outdoor nature photography workshop, a reasonable degree of fitness is ideal. We will not be engaging in any strenuous physical activity.
Lodging: Cabins lodging is included in the workshop’s tuition (2 people per bedroom).
Transportation: Participants need to have their own (rental) car to get to and from workshop location
Airport: The closest major airport is Savannah, GA with a little bit more than an hour drive to the workshop location. Also you can consider fly to Jacksonville, FL or Atlanta, GA with a little bit less than 3 hours drive to the workshop location.
Meals: We will live close to the lake in comfortable forest cabins. We can cook for ourselves (there are several different options such as: grilling, stove-top cooking, and of course the age old microwavable food) or within a 15 mile range from the cabin you can find a couple of restaurants and some grocery stores.
Day 0. November 5, Sunday
On that day, we will have a ZOOM meeting where we can discuss all details of our workshop.
Also, during this meeting, we will have an informal class where we will teach a variety of photo techniques that will help you improve your skills and your artistic vision, focusing on several professional tricks for shooting powerful nature images, such as:
- Working with dramatic light;
- Using regular midday light to your advantage;
- The fundamentals of powerful composition;
- Specific tricks of taking handheld pictures from the boat.
Day 1. November 10, Friday
Our group will meet at our comfortable forest cabins around 3 PM, where you can meet everyone and get to know each other.
After a short introducing meeting, we will go to our canoe and spend about 20-30 minutes getting familiar with boarding techniques and how to paddle the canoe. After that, rest of the day, we will be on the lake taking pictures of the cypresses in the water.
We will return to our cabins after sunset and have our first dinner together.
Days 2 — 4. November 11 — 13, Saturday — Monday
Every day we will have morning and evening sessions at the swamp; during the daytime, we can rest and improve our skills in picture editing in Lightroom and Photoshop. We will have at least one informal class, where we also teach professional “Digital Darkroom” secrets and the fundamentals of image processing, including but not limited to:
- Raw converting in Lightroom
- Using some Lightroom filters
- Working with adjustment layers;
- Layer masking and image blending techniques;
- Color management and special effects for artistic expression;
- Preparing images for optimum web presentation.
Day 5. November 14, Tuesday
After our morning photo session by 11 AM, we will check out from our cabins, and our workshop will be officially over.
Payment schedule and cancellation policy:
The full tuition for the workshop is $ 2250
A deposit of $ 500 is required to reserve a space in this workshop.
Cancellation Policy — Your deposit is fully refundable for up to 60 days before the trip starts (September 10, 2023). If you decide to cancel your trip after that date, your deposit becomes non-refundable.
The final balance of $ 1750 is due by September 10, 2023. Full tuition is due at this time, and there will be no refunds on the full amount owed if you cancel after the final payment. However, if we find another client to fill your space, you will receive a full refund minus your non-refundable deposit.
If we cancel this workshop — you will get a full refund.
What is included:
- Double occupancy room* in a lodge (4 nights).
- Rent of a canoe and some help in their using (2 persons per canoe).
- Expert instructions and guidance to a wonderful variety of locations, In-field instruction on capture technique (composition, compensating for high dynamic range, focus stacking, creating effective sun-stars, night photography, light painting and much more)
- In-field recommendation on your photo gear
- An incredible, unforgettable experience, full of adventure with amazing people and loads of great photos!!!
* You can upgrade your lodging to a single occupancy — just send this inquiry before you will book the workshop. Keep in mind that the lodging at the lake is very limited, so it is hard to book an extra cabin for November even in April.
What is NOT included:
- Meals and snacks;
- Medical Insurance & Incidental Costs;
- Air fare to and from Savannah, GA;
- Travel passports, visas, and other travel documents;
- Alcoholic beverages
* In order to reduce transportation and fuel expenses I recommend all participants get in touch with each other to carpool.
Recommended Photo Equipment:
- Camera (DSLR or Mirrorless) W/Extra Batteries And Memory Cards
- Tripod with a ball head (leveling base is optional but very helpful to take a panoramic shots)
- Shutter release
- Wide to standard zoom lens, with their lens hoods (I carry 12-24mm and 24-70mm lenses)
- Telephoto zoom lens for extraction and abstract scenes (I use a 70-200mm)
- Telephoto zoom lens for wildlife shots (I use 150-600mm lenses)
- Circular polarizer filter to remove glare from the water (it’s OK if you do not have one)
- Graduated neutral density filters (if you use them)
- Rocket blower and microfiber cloths for keeping glass surfaces dry and clean
- Most importantly — a great attitude!
Recommended Camping Equipment:
- Rubber boots or waders
- Dry bag to care your photo gear in the boat
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Rain jacket and pants
- Fleece jacket
- Waterproof hiking boots
- Extra warm clothing for possible cold weather condition including long underwear, hats and gloves
- Backpack (bag) to carry photo gear.
Questions? Please feel free to call me at +1 (386) 627−1449 if you have any questions, or send me a message.
A follow-up email with schedule details, recommended gear, and a liability release will be sent to registered photographers.