October 16, 2022
Above some of my workshop participants and students. I offer gift certificates which never expire and I provide transportation for 1-3 persons from my location in Calgary to various locations in Alberta. If you prefer not to read about my workshops - please email or phone me (403 247-2457) with your questions.
I operate photography training all year long on weekdays, weekends and during holidays (except Christmas). Training can occur in my studio or in the field. I am available privately by the hour or workshop for: wildlife, landscape, macrophotography, photomicrography, spherical panoramic photography, aurora and Photoshop training.
A Case for Learning for learning Photography
Photography doesn't require special abilities and can be enjoyed by persons of almost any age. Many of us have a desire to do something creative in our lives, be it music, writing, painting, photography or other activity. Photography provides the benefit that it preserves your history, family, friends, places we visited and special moments in our lives. As an amateur the only person you need to satisfy is yourself. Photography can also be an important tool in some jobs and careers and can generate extra income. Cell phone cameras have the ability to share images instantly and their image quality continues to improve, though most professionals still prefer dedicated cameras.
Peyto Lake Jasper National Park, AB - snowfall occurred in July
Photography is relatively easy to learn (compared to music, mathematics and brain surgery) and modern cameras allow us to simply point and shoot most of the time. The most important thing in photography is "seeing" and timing. It takes time to notice things that have visual impact.
"For most of us, knowledge of our world comes largely through sight, yet we look about with such unseeing eyes that we are partially blind."
Rachel Carson (1907-1964) biologist, writer, conservationist, author of Silent Spring
Cone Mountain Kananaskis in autumn - notice how the road leads you into the photo and makes a two dimensional image appear three dimensional.
Morant's curve Banff National Park - the S shaped tracks appear relaxing. This train comes about once per hour in Banff National Park along highway 1A.
Warm light at sunrise at Vermilion lake Banff National Park, AB.
In my workshops I offer:1) technical aspects of photography for those interested e.g. F stops, exposure compensation, ISO speed, light metering, use of a tripod, filters, histogram, and using different lenses or filters 2) guidelines for composition and what is involved in making an effective picture - good light is often the most important component of a photograph and where you place your main subject and 3) I take folks to places in Alberta where they will have opportunities to experience and photograph spectacular landscapes and wildlife. I take out beginners and professionals looking for photo opportunities in Alberta. No one can guarantee wildlife, but due to my experience and through scouting trips I can ensure a high probability of seeing certain animals (snowy owls, moose, deer, coyotes etc). I am also able to show you advanced techniques such as high dynamic range (HDR), panoramic and spherical VR photography, focus stacking, use of fill flash, macro-photography and time-lapse if interested.
Red Rock Coulée in SE Alberta showing large concretions that formed under an ancient ocean. Sunset image taken with a 2-F stop neutral density graduated filter and a tripod.
My photography Experience
I have 50+ years experience shooting with film and purchased Nikon's D1 professional digital camera in 2000. I have worked with 35 mm, medium format and 4 x 5 inch large format cameras. I have developed film and printed BW and colour in my own darkroom for more than 20 years. I have taught Photoshop since the first version appeared in 1990. I own and use several Nikon and Canon digital cameras. My photographs have won international awards from Banff Art Center, Nikon, National Geographic, Zeiss, Canadian Geographic etc and I have published numerous magazine articles and covers - see samples. I have had 3 photo exhibits of my work. Photography is a an essential element of my life and I am constantly striving to improve learn new techniques. I have been practicing macro and photomicrography and own specialized equipment and software to accomplish this. I also taught photography, Photoshop add web development and design at SAIT and Red Deer College's for over 20 years. In addition I am a cell- biologist and have 20 years experience at various universities.
Spirit Island Jasper National Park - I kayaked to the location with friend Peter Dettling and took this image around 5 am. The only way to be here at this time is to camp nearby and have a kayak or canoe.
Black and white photo - Long beach Vancouver Island, BC
Bull moose after snowfall north of Calgary next to Lochend road.
Example of focus stacking to increase depth of field - Painted lady butterfly.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTOSHOP TRAINING COSTS
1) $65\hr training in Calgary outdoors or indoor training with Adobe Photoshop in my studio in Calgary, NW. Sorry I don't make house calls.
2) $379 + GST\ person package for indoor workshops in my studio in Calgary Northwest e.g. Photoshop, macro-photography or photomicrography.
3) $499 + GST total for 1- 2 photographers - 2nd photographer no charge if the two photographers are book at the same time. Includes transportation in the field for 8-9 hours. The second person could also be a spouse, significant other or a minor with or without a camera). A third person not photographing e.g. spouse or minor is an extra $75 if there are already 2 photographers. A third photographer booking at the same time total is $749 - GST. (Note persons using cell phones for photography are considered as photographers).
I provide transportation from my studio in Silversprings, Calgary, NW - see map on the contact page. I can pick you up if you are staying or located in Calgary, NW, at a hotel near the University of Calgary or at an AirBNB in Silver springs. I can also pick you up at the Train station in Calgary NW - e.g. Dalhousie station. I don't provide pickup downtown or elsewhere in Calgary.
Pick up in Canmore or Banff during Winter for excursions into Kananaskis or Banff National Park is an additional $99. December has some of the shortest days of the year. You can expect the sun to rise just before 9am and set around 4:30 pm for most of the month.
Snowy owls can be found east of Calgary from November to the end of February and require a camera with a telephoto lens. Jan and Feb are the best times. I do not bait owls with live mice, but I try to offer opportunities to photograph the owls as close as possible.
On a good day it is possible to see a dozen snowy owls , on a normal day we can see about 4-6 owls. I scout areas before hand - see articles - Lucky Swedes and Photographing Snowy Owls near Calgary. I recommend booking after Christmas when I have had a chance to scout for the owls. Many of the owls will stay in the same area for a while.
We sometimes encounter great horned owls in the field or barn windows. Great Gray owls are found mostly in the foothills which is not close to where the snowy owls are found. Some other photographers on the prairies offer snowy owl tours charging $1000 or more per day and may use live mice to bait the owls. No one can guarantee wildlife, best I can do is offer another day in the field for free if we don't find at least 2 owls. This can be the next day or the following week. If coming from out of town to photograph snowy owls I recommend a minimum booking at least 2 days to ensure the the best chance to photograph a snowy owl. On average we see about one snowy owl per 50 km of driving the back-roads. The snowy owls vary in number from year to year.
Great Gray owls can be found in the foothills. I offer tours all year, but the owl sightings can not be guaranteed. Some years are better than others.
Swift fox - 1st Place Winner Wildlife in the Banff International Photo contest.
If you currently have a gift certificate please contact me to arrange a date and time you would like to go out please give me 1-2 weeks notice. Gift certificates do not expire and can be transferred to someone else if the person they were purchased for can not come (no refunds).
For gift certificates - I need to know the name of the person purchasing the certificate and who the person the certificate is for - purchaser and photographers names will be on the certificate. I will send a PDF along with instructions on how to contact me and how to choose a workshop or a private training session. Previous certificates purchased are accepted for current workshops without any additional fee.
All participants in field trips are required to sign a waiver indicating they realize there are some risks in outdoor activities that can not be avoided (e.g. ticks, mosquitoes, wildlife, trees falling, ice patches and passing cars) - the waiver is similar to one used by the University of Calgary on their field trips: Download Waiver waiver PDF. Participants aged 13-17 can come if there is another adult on the workshop, their parent, or my wife.
Note it is recommended that you book at least one week in advance, confirmation will be acknowledged after payment is received. Last minute booking is sometimes available, but all payments are due in advance of the trip.
Upcoming Photography Workshops for 2022/2023
Gift certificates for Workshops can be purchased below - the certificates never expire and they are good towards any workshop and previous certificates can be used for a private session including those for two people for $499.
Photoshop I or II - $379 Private sessions - max 3 - available all year
Photoshop I course covers basics including colour calibration,work flow, working with RAW files, layers, converting to black and white, sepia and colouring and more. Participants should bring 5-10 images they want to work on in the class. You can use one of my computers or bring your own laptop PC or Mac. Workshop goes from 9-5 pm with an hour for lunch. The Advanced Photoshop II course includes masking, channels, hand colouring, HDR, stacking, Hockney, Oil painting, Orton imagery, sky replacement etc. Both courses include a printed manual or PDF e-book about 100 pages or "recipes". You will have time to work on our own images with my help. I have several current versions of Photoshop.
Snowy Owls - workshop Max of 3. $499 for 1-2 photographers. Jan and Feb by appointment
A telephoto lens is essential for this workshop. We will stop for lunch during the day while we explore country roads outside of Calgary. I scout the roads ahead of time so I have a good idea where owls are likely to be. I can be booked for most days in January and February - I take between 1-3 people in my Jeep. I don't bait the owls we photograph them where we find them. I do try to get you as close as possible. If we do not see snowy owls, I offer to take you out on another date at my cost. See article from 2018 "Lucky Swedes" and my article on "Winter Owls".
Photomicrography & Focus Stacking - $379\day max 2 people
I am offering a workshop for anyone interested in photomicrography, macrophotography and focus stacking. These workshops can include a pond collecting session outdoors or searching for Tardigrades. Participants can use my cameras and microscopes or they can bring their own microscope and laptop. I can provide free software to capture images on a PC. Participants should bring a USB stick or small hard drive to take the pictures they take home with them. Biologists and geologists can bring their own samples to photograph with my equipment.
Topics covered: how to connect a camera to a microscope to take pictures. Different types of microscopes bright field, dark-field, phase contrast, polarization, differential interference and fluorescence. Student scientists between 13-17 yrs old require an adult to accompany them (no additional charge for the adult). Teachers are also welcome.
Training can be customized to your needs and you can bring your own samples to photograph. I can also include a short trip to collect pond samples in Bears paw area.
Photomicrography of Crystals - all year $379\person max of 2 people
Learn how to use a microscope and polarizing accessories to photograph micro-crystals. I will also show you how to add the ability to use polarized light on any light microscope. You don't need a microscope or camera but if you have one you welcome to bring it. You are welcome to bring a Nikon or Canon DSLR camera to attach to my microscopes. If you don't own one, you can use my cameras and take your images home on a USB stick, DVD or sent them home by Wetransfer.com. You will learn basics of polarization microscopy, you will make slides of a variety of crystals including Vitamin C, Citric acid, Amino acids, Epsom salts, Callus remover, compound W etc. I will also introduce you to retardation wave plates which add colour to some to some crystals. Sometimes I have refurbished microscopes for sale - check Kijjii or call me if you might be interested.
Red Rock Coulée & Dinosaur Provincial Park. Max of 3 - $599 for 2
This trip is offered in May to September. In this 2 day workshop we will first stop in Brooks and visit a birding pond, then make our way to Dinosaur provincial park to photograph landscape and wildlife. We will then proceed to Medicine Hat for overnight accommodation (not included). After booking our rooms and dinner we will head to Red rock coulée for a few hours before returning to our Hotel. Early next morning after breakfast we will had back to Red Rock coulée to photograph for a few hours. Then we will return to Calgary via some back-roads. Suitable for all level of photographers, and anyone interested in geology. There is some walking involved 2-3 km. We will be photographing landscapes, barns, wildlife (e.g. pronghorn sheep and night hawks) that we encounter in Southern Alberta. This is a 2 day trip leaving early Saturday morning and arriving back in Calgary later the next day. Food and accommodation are not included.
Photography in the Badlands, 2023 - for 1-2 persons$499 total
This will be a day long trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park and the prairies. Mule Deer are common in the park. We will leave early morning and arrive back in Calgary in the evening. I will provide transportation in my Jeep. Our focus will be landscape and wildlife photography. You can book this trip with me anytime of year including winter. We will visit Dinosaur Park. You should be e able to walk short distances 2-3 km, temperatures can be quite warm in the badlands in summer. There is an optional hike with Dinosaur park staff (additional cost) during their normal season - Dinosaur Park near Brooks Alberta.
Spring Wildflowers in the Park - end of May early June - $499 for 2 Max of 3 people.
Early June is the best time to photography wildflowers at lower altitudes in the Canadian Rockies. We will photograph calypso orchids, lady's slippers and other flowers. On this workshop we will travel to Rocky Mountains to places where I know there is an abundance of wildflowers. We may also visit Emerald lake. There may also be opportunities to photograph wildlife we encounter. See article on photographing wild flowers in the Rockies. I can lend out some macro lenses for Nikon and canon shooters and can bring extra tripods to lean out.
Waterfalls Rain forest Summer 2023- Max 2 person, 2 days $749
In this workshop we will explore the Arrow lakes, Begbie creek falls, Sutherland creek falls, and Mulvehill creek falls then head to Nakusp to photograph Ione falls and Gardner Greek falls, BC. There is the option to hike Hemlock Grove Boardwalk in Glacier National Park BC. The tour will involve short hikes so participants should be able to walk and carry their gear on these walks. I will provide transportation in my Jeep from Calgary. If you prefer to tent in Blanket creek park - additional $25 park fee. I leave early Saturday morning (6:00 am) and drive to Revelstoke through the National Parks. We will be back in Calgary in the evening the next day trip. A tripod is required for the waterfalls, telephoto and macro lens also recommended. Note that your food and one night accommodation are not included in the price.
Fall Landscape & wildlife in Kananaskis - 3, 4th and 5th weekends in September $499 for 1-2 persons
In this workshop we will visit Kananaskis around sunrise for some landscape and wildlife photos. We will bring our lunch and spend the day visiting various locations in the park to take pictures of landscape and wildlife. A wide angle lens and a telephoto lens is recommended. I will cover composition, use of grad and polarizing filters. Any hikes will be short 1 km max. Bring hiking boots, camera bag, tripod and lunch and dress in layers. See my article on Kananaskis from 2018 to see what we might see and photograph. Fall colours are usually the best the 3 or 4th weekend in Kananaskis.
Private training - Alberta all year $499 for 1-2 persons\day
I would be happy to arrange a day trip with you and provide transportation or show you how to get the most out of your camera for an hourly rate. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro I would be happy to offer you my instructional or guiding services in Alberta or parts of BC. If you just purchased a new camera I can provide instruction hourly for $65\hr on most cameras within the Calgary area.
Restoring Old photographs - $379\day or $65\hr - by appointment
Learn how to restore old images using Photoshop. I can show you how to scan images, photograph and enlarge old photos, fix them up, hand colour them or remove the backgrounds. I have been restoring old photographs using Adobe Photoshop for 25 years. You can bring your own old photographs and I will assist you in repairing them if you would like to see some samples of my work visit: scienceandart.org Photorestoration is done using Adobe Photoshop, if you have a laptop with Photoshop you are welcome to bring it.
Snow Flake Photography - Winter $299\person Max of 3 - when snowing
You will learn how to use several macro lenses to take closeups of snowflakes, focus stacking and other techniques. I can loan you a 100 mm macro lens for Nikon or Canon. If you have another camera brand - bring a macro or close up lens. Check with me the day before to see if there is good chance of snow the next day. The workshop will take place in Calgary NW Silver springs in my backyard on a weekend if it is snowing. The workshop starts at 10 am to about 3 pm with a short break for lunch. Participants should bring a macro lens and DSLR. See my snowflake gallery and see the article by Don Komarechka. Note if it does not snow on the day we can take a short trip and you will be offered a "rain check" for another snow day at no charge. If that is not possible I will offer the opportunity to put the money towards another one of my workshops or offer a refund.
Spherical photography $499 for 1or 2 photographers 8 hours.
Spherical photography to create virtual movies suitable for print or the web. 360 panoramas requires a fish-eye lens 8 mm or 10.5 mm. For the best images a mono pod or special tripod is often used. I can loan you my 8 mm Nikon fish-eye lens and tripods. The workshop consists of taking photos in the morning and processing the images in the afternoon using software. To view sample movies see Virtual tours on this web site. Bring a USB or portable hard drive to take you movies home with you. Software can be downloaded for a free trial. If you have a 8 mm, 10.5 mm or 8-15mm fish-eye lens and a camera, or mono pod bring it along. We will use PTGui software ($149), there is also a free trial software available on: PTGUI web site.
Horseshoe Canyon, Royal Tyrrell Museum, Hoodoos $499 for 2 -3 persons.
In this photography trip we will stop at Horseshoe canyon and we will walk down into the canyon in the morning and spend about an hour. There is a gift a shop and washroom at the top and during the summer there is a helicopter service which offers short 5-6 minute flights over the area for $55\person (not included in price) that are ideal for photography (see my article). We will stop in Drumheller for lunch, then head to the Royal Tyrrell museum and spend about 2 hours where you will see amazing dinosaur skeletons (fee is $21\person charge not included tyrrellmuseum.com). You can bring your camera inside, but not a tripod. From here we travel to through downtown and then to the Hoodoos trail about 20 minutes from Drumheller. See photos of Hoodoos by Ken Bell. On the way back we will stop in Bieseker for snacks and washrooms before heading back to Calgary returning around dinner time. The $499 cost is for 1- persons with or without cameras.
Photography Basics for Beginners - 3 hrs $149 in Calgary, NW.
This workshop is aimed at those that might have just purchased a new camera and would like to know where to start and how to control their camera. I will cover the different shooting modes, shutter speed, ISO speed, exposure compensation, colour modes (sRGB vs Adobe RGB), how to use the histogram and more. Participants are asked to bring their camera, camera manual, lenses and filters they own and any other accessories. The session can include a short trip to Big Hill Springs Park (small waterfall) or Bowmount valley provincial park. Notes included.
Winter Photography Workshop - $499 + GST for one or two photographers, third Photographer $249 + GST, extra person not taking pictures is $75.
I provide winter excursions for photography to Kananaskis, Banff National Park or into the foothills in search for owls, wildlife or landscapes. Deer are common around Calgary and some locations in the foothills offer moose - though wildlife cannot be guaranteed.
It is essential to be dressed appropriately for cold weather. I will have warm drinks, hand warmers in my vehicle. Lake Louise offers a winter festival Jan 18-22.
See winter photography articles:
Science & Art Multimedia Studio
My digital studio is nick-named "Geeks paradise" Rand is ideal for training a small group (3-4) and includes both PC and Mac computers, an LCD projector with a big screen, private washroom, and fridge. I also have a microscopy lab - see photo below. The lab portion of the studio features several microscopes with cameras. I also rent microscope, camera and laptop in my studio for $30\hr or I can provide photomicrography services at $65\hr.
Some of my microscopes set up for photomicrography
My 4 door all-wheel drive jeep I use to take up to 3 folks into the field in all kinds of weather.
You can purchase a gift certificate for $499 + GST - good for one or two people. The gift certificate can be used toward any of my workshops or a private training session for 8 hours at a time that is convenient for the individual. These gift certificates do not expire. I can email the gift certificate to you as a PDF or the person you specify. I will follow up on your order shortly after you purchase a certificate to ensure you received it. To register for a workshop or private session the individual need only contact me 1-2 weeks before to set up a suitable time or register for a particular workshop. or private session. The gift certificate is good for 2 persons whether or not they are photographers - a third person can be added for an additional $75 (non photographer).
A Gift Certificate will be sent or emailed to you or the individual it is for - it can be applied to any workshop or private training session and does not expire. Pay using the Buy Now Button at the bottom of this pages and provide me with the persons name it is for and the person purchasing the certificate. Gift certificates include workshop for 1or 2 people in the field $499 total + GST.
Participants photographing "Old mans whiskers" in a Wildflower photography workshop in Bow Valley provincial park.
1. Individuals 13 -17 years of age require parents consent - a parent should sign the release. A a parent can join the outing for no additional fee. An parent is not required if I have are other adults on the same workshop (e.g. e my wife or another photographer).
2. All participants are required to sign a waiver understanding there are risks of being outdoors and it includes release of liability - View or download my waiver as a PDF
3. Refunds: if you can not make a workshop and you live nearby, I will work with you to offer an alternative date or arrange for a private session. If a workshop is cancelled due to severe weather I will be happy to arrange an alternate date to accommodate you. Cancellations for emergencies, sickness or death in the family will be refunded for photographers from outside Alberta. Photographers from Alberta will be offered an alternative date.
4. Participants can bring any kind of camera, though it is recommended that participants have a digital SLR or mirror-less camera. I can provide a tripod free for the workshop.
I can guarantee wildflowers at specific times of the year and I can guarantee beautiful scenery all year long. Participants should dress in layers and be prepared for all types of weather as it can snow even in July in Alberta. Comfortable shoes for walking are recommended. If you have any mobility concerns I will try my best to accommodate you so you can photograph from or near my vehicle - feel free to call me to discuss any concerns you might have. I bring bear spray for short hikes in the mountains. The safest way to photograph grizzlies is from the car window.
If you have other locations you would like to visit e.g. Waterton National Park, Writing-on-Stone, Emerald Lake in BC, Jasper National Park or else where in Alberta contact me. Accommodation fees for over night trips are not included.
Accommodations where I will pick you up or you can walk to my place.
For accommodations I recommend the hotels near the University of Calgary or Canada Olympic park which are a 10-15 minute drive from my place. There are a number of Air BNB locations in in Silver springs that are a short walking distance. One AirBNB I recommend is Horseman house in Silver springs which cost about $100\night and is first class and accommodates several folks. We have several restaurants all within a short walking distance.
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Dr. Robert Berdan is a biologist and professional nature photographer living in Calgary, AB specializing in nature, wildlife and science photography. Robert offers photo guiding and private instruction in all aspects of nature photography and Adobe Photoshop training with decades of photography and teaching experience.