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Nature Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and Group f/64

Schedule and location

Following state recommendations to help slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), this program has been cancelled. For refund and more information, visit the Coronavirus
(COVID-19) Preparedness and Prevention webpage. 

Five days: Three Thursdays, April 16 through 30, 2020, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays, April 18 and 25, 2020, 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.
Thornhill Education Center

Fees and Registration

$178.00 member
$209.00 nonmember
(Fees include admission to the Arboretum)
BY PHONE: 630-719-2468 or to be waitlisted ( Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) 

Course description

Study the portfolio of nature photographers from the renowned Group f/64. Discuss their artistic choices and techniques, and then create your own images in their style out amid the Arboretum’s collections.

About Group f/64
In 1934, eleven photographers founded a group dedicated to the “simple and direct presentation” of photography. The emphasis was on presenting technique, composition, and ideas that are not from any other art form. Group f/64 included, among others, Imogen Cunningham, John Paul Edwards, Ansel Adams, and two members of the Weston family.

In this workshop, we will explore the use of camera techniques designed to increase the depth-of-field in the final image, plus the use of composition techniques to produce artful photographs using examples from Group f/64’s collective body of work.

Course number



Will Clay and Ken Thompson, nature photographers

Former Professor of Botany, Willard Clay has been a full-time photographer since 1982.  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.  Portfolio consists of large format film and high-resolution digital files ready for publication.  Teaching credits include teaching at The Morton Arboretum since 2005 as well as The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont since 1985 and classes/seminars at many venues in the country.

Ken Thompson specializes in close-up and macro photography.  He currently teaches several subjects at the Morton Arboretum’s Photography Program and for many years was an assistant leader at the Fall Photography Workshop at the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont, TN. Ken’s work concentrates on close-ups of water drops, flowers, and plants.  He is also interested in abstracts of these subjects.
Ken is the author of two e-books, Introduction to Dragonfly and Butterfly Photography and Introduction to Focus Stacking. When asked “why macro and close-ups” Ken responds that close-ups show more compositions and stories than can ever be recorded and every day is completely different.  Plus, when all the landscape photographers have gone home, he can continue taking images of what he calls “The World Within”.


Course details

  • Notes: Held indoors and outdoors. Bring your fully charged DSLR camera and manual to class. Limit 16
  • Prerequisites: Foundational photography skills and a good understanding of manual settings is required for this class. 

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