Published May 10, 2024

Become a Nature Photography Pro with MetroParks Photography Programs this Summer

Five Rivers MetroParks offers programs to connect people with nature in all kinds of ways, including nature photography workshops.  

MetroParks photography workshops teach people to use their cameras better, so there is less chance of taking pictures that are blurry, dark or out of focus. Additionally, participants will learn many stylistic techniques to increase the quality of their photos. Program participants may also discover MetroParks locations they’ve never visited before, learn the names of native flowers and plants and gain a better understanding of local habitats and the wildlife they might capture on camera. 

These photography programs are open to anyone who wants to improve their photography, whether they’re beginners or experts.  

“Some attendees come to learn the basics, like what the buttons and knobs on their camera do,” said Adam Alonzo, Dayton photographer and program instructor. “Other participants with lots of experience come to polish their skills or enjoy a photography outing in a beautiful park.” 

Those wanting to participate in a MetroParks photography program should bring their camera and camera manual. Occasionally, a class description will recommend bringing a tripod or flash, so be sure to check what you need to bring upon registration. Alonzo says these workshops often discuss how to use a camera that has controls over shutter speed and aperture, but the basic principles can also be applied to smartphones such as an iPhone or Android. 

MetroParks’ photography workshops focus on taking pictures of nature but the skills learned can be applied in any setting. 

“People can prepare for special occasions by becoming more familiar with how their cameras work and these photography classes can help,” said Alonzo. “Photographing a goose flying through the evening sky isn’t much different from taking a picture of a graduate walking across a stage.” 

Both indoor and outdoor photography workshops are offered, depending on the time of year. Indoor classes usually consist of a slideshow presentation with lots of examples, along with activities for participants to do with their cameras in the room. There are no presentations for outdoor classes but there may be a brief discussion or handout. Outdoor program participants spend most of the time exploring the MetroPark with their cameras, asking questions and receiving feedback from the instructor. 

Alonzo is most excited for the Outing at the River program in May because there will be ample subjects to photograph, such as spraying fountains, families of waterfowl, kayakers or river surfers and the downtown skyline. He also is looking forward to June’s class at Possum Creek MetroPark, during which participants will spend a morning on the farm taking pictures of animals in the barnyard, birds flying around the pond and fields full of plants and insects. 

Related  Volunteer Spotlight: Kathleen Shanahan

The following photography programs will be offered this summer for adults ages 18 and older. Registration is required:  

Photography Outing at the River: May 19 – 1 p.m. at RiverScape MetroPark 

Bring your camera to this outdoor activity class and take photos of the rushing river, spraying fountains, waterfowl, and great views of downtown. Photographer Adam Alonzo will be your leader for this fun day outdoors at a wonderful venue to practice photography skills. Register here. 

Photography Outing at the Farm: June 8 – 10 a.m. at Possum Creek MetroPark 

Enjoy a visit to a farm and capture photos of animals in the barnyard and birds at the pond. Explore the grassy fields filled with blooms, bugs and birds! Photographer Adam Alonzo will be your guide for this fun day of great photos. Register here. 

Photography à la Mode: July 20 – 10 a.m. at Cox Arboretum MetroPark 

Your camera has shooting modes for different situations so you can capture photos of moving objects or stationary landscapes. Explore the park with photographer Adam Alonzo and learn to choose the right mode to match various settings. Register here. 

Photography Scavenger Hunt: August 4 – 1 p.m. at Cox Arboretum MetroPark 

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and we all see the world differently. Class participants will be given a list of things to take pictures of in the park and then we will gather together to share the images we’ve captured. Photographer Adam Alonzo will be your advisor. We’ll meet in the parking lot. Register here. 

Golden Hour Photography: September 7 – 6:30 p.m. at Carriage Hill MetroPark 

When the sun is low, nature provides warm and flattering light that makes things look their best. In this evening class, photographer Adam Alonzo will advise as you capture picturesque photos of the park during golden hour. Register here. 

MetroParks offers an Access to Nature financial assistance program for many of its paid offerings. Visit metroparks.org/access to learn more, see if you qualify and apply. 

To learn more about MetroParks’ photography programs and register, visit metroparks.org/programs. 

Share this post: