The Universe At Our Feet (macro photography)
Nature and macro photographer, Don (Don Komarechka Photography) is based in Canada with a joy for seeing and sharing the unseen world. Don’s photography encompasses infrared to snowflakes, and fluorescing flowers to stars moving across the night sky. His images and video have been featured in documentary films from BBC, Discovery and National Geographic and even on Canadian currency.
Finding Your Own Light: Photography as a Powerful Storytelling Tool
David (David Thoreson) has been a professional photographer for over three decades beginning as a contract photographer for the National Park Service. In 1991, David began sailing the world’s oceans and photographically documenting the extremes of the world, publishing his stories of sailing to Antarctica and the Arctic’s Northwest Passage.
SESSION SPEAKERS & FIELD TRIP LEADERS
Street Photography, Field Study
In the late 1980s, Alan purchased a Minolta x-700 and after a few years decided to take it off program mode to see what he could do with it. One of his first images won an honorable mention at the Iowa State Fair and went on to be published in a photo book produced by the ICP. Around 10 years or more ago, he started experimenting with Light Painting and Street Photography and has won numerous awards for landscape photography. Last year he received over 100 international, regional, and local honors or awards and was published in a number of online magazines. Having multiple International award winning images published in magazines and shown in galleries, he also has photos hanging on the walls in homes in many countries around the world and displayed in a number of galleries over the years. For the last several years Alan has been photographing local events for the Des Moines Arts Festival, Art Week, and Joppa Events.
Best known for landscape and street photography, Alan photographs about 60% digital and about 40% film and enjoys using old or antique cameras. Alan’s Website is www.cameraexpressions.com , he can also be found on Instagram or Facebook.
Eric Williamson – Reflections of Wildlife
Starting out early with his parents Canon 35mm film equipment, Eric soon progressed into digital photography and videography developing a specialty in wildlife and nature photography. Throughout my travels, in the United States and Canada, he has experienced many wildlife adventures through his lens. By teaching classes and workshops Eric is able to share his passion for wildlife and photography with others.
Some of Eric’s best wildlife photos appear in magazines and newspaper publications such as; Iowa Out-doors, Our Iowa, and the Iowa Natural Heritage magazine. Several of his photos have been on display and have received awards at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon. You can also find his work on social media. Topics covered in the session include equipment used in the field, shooting techniques, finding wildlife and wildlife behaviors.
Willard Sharp – Catching the Storm: Extreme Weather Photography & Storm Chasing
Best known for extreme weather and night skies photography, Willard is a certified storm chaser and also a landscape photographer. Weather has been a lifelong passion starting out by chasing storms in the mid 1990’s and taking photos of extreme weather. His storm chasing adventures have taken him throughout the Midwest and Great Plains with travel from Canada to south Texas in pursuit of tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms.
Willard’s extreme weather photos have been featured in storm spotter training materials from the National Weather Service as well as publications for the National Weather Association. An awarded photographer he has also won contests at the Boone County Fair and Boone Pufferbilly Days and exhibited at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon, Silos & Smokestacks, Science Center of Iowa, and the Keep Iowa Beautiful photography contest as well as featured in various gallery displays in the Des Moines area.
Doug Wells – Sports Photography,
It Has to be Fun
Most recently an assistant professor in the Art and Design department at Grand View University, Doug has many years’ experience photographing sports. He has been a staff photographer for the Des Moines Register covering Olympic Games, Super Bowls, College Bowl games, NCAA Championships, Pan American Games, Goodwill Games, and a hell of a lot of high school sporting events. In addition he was a freelance photographer for The Associated Press and ran a custom B&W photo processing lab.
While working for the Des Moines Register, Doug earned several awards including Gannett Photographer of the Year, National Press Photographers Association award winner, SPJ/SDX award winner, Iowa Press Photographers Association award winner, and Iowa Newspaper Association award winner.
Shari Miller – Embracing the Process, Practicing Gratitude: Learning to See Beauty in the Small Things
Using stories and lessons from her own healing journey, Shari will share how embracing the creative process allowed her inner artist, abandoned for decades, to emerge again and how a gratitude challenge led her to find – and photograph – beauty in the small things.
Shari’s genre of choice is macro photography – small bits of nature, specifically. Through her work, she invites people to see more of the abundant beauty that exists in the world, in others, and within themselves. Shari considers photography a contemplative practice and believes the process of seeking beauty and meaning through photographic imagery can lead us on a path to greater self-discovery.
Shari has been a presenter for the Out of Chicago Winter Conference, the Out of Chicago Flower and Garden Conference, the Morton Arboretum Photographic Society, and other local and regional photography clubs. In 2017 and 2018, she received Art Project Grant funding from the Iowa Arts Council to provide cameras, gear, and photographic instruction to middle and high school youth from the Des Moines and North Polk School Districts.
Larry Mendenhall – Playing the Score: An Expressive Workflow for B&W Photography
A former newspaper photographer and editor, Larry Mendenhall began concentrating on landscape photography in the late ‘90’s and began Quiet Places Photography in 2003. Since then, his work has appeared in numerous juried art shows and exhibitions.
In 2009 Larry began a different project, a portfolio of rural Iowa churches called "Places of Spirit and Light." The collection has had two solo shows and was published in Issue #109 of LensWork magazine. One photo from that project was included in the LensWork 25th anniversary edition.
Other honors include a second place award in the New York Center for Photographic Arts “Wandering Curves” contest, serving as Artist in Residence at the Urbandale Public Library and Ashford College in Clinton, IA, selection of two photos for the Vet's Auditorium renovation, and receiving Best of Show at the Octagon Arts Festival in Ames.
Jerry Ranch – Show Your Work!
Best known as a fine art photographer, Jerry Ranch is a retired scientist and has used photography since 1967 in both artistic and scientific pursuits. Jerry is an internationally curated artist who uses storytelling to communicate his perception of the world.
FIELD TRIP LEADERS
(If not listed above)
Ryan Mott – Downtown Des Moines Riverwalk
Between running a full-time daycare and their three teenagers Ryan, and Stephanie, keep very busy! In their free time they enjoy photographing cityscapes of Des Moines although gravel travel offers a lot of intrigue as well. Ryan is best known for his long exposure images of Des Moines during blue hour and civil twilight – the perfect leader for this field trip.
Kristie Burns – Sunrise at Neal Smith National Wildlife Refuge
Best known for her documentary style photography of people and wildlife, Kristie has an extensive career in photo journalism. She was a photo-journalist in Chicago for three years covering presidential elections and protests. Later she was a photo-journalist in The Middle East for 16-years using ethnographic methods to capture photos of Middle Eastern culture. Since moving back to the United States she has continued to use the same ethnographic methods but has switched her focus to wildlife and environmental photography.
Kristie has exhibited photos on the “Women of Egypt” at the Sony Gallery in Cairo as well as covering treks through the desert with nomads, street life in Cairo, and tourism in Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Her work has been published internationally including Lonely Planet Guides (Egypt 1986-1996 editions) and a Hollywood movie (the original Stargate). In Iowa her work has been exhibited at the Des Moines Botanical Center, Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge Gallery, Barnes & Noble Gallery, Grandview Gallery, Polk County Heritage Gallery, and more. She is currently the president of The BEarth Institute, as well as Cameras for Conservancy, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping conservation efforts through photography.
Paul Grillo – Bridges of Madison County
Paul has enjoyed the art of photography for the past 10 years and actively participates in local calls for entry and DMCC activities. He has been awarded in several photography competitions as well as published in magazines and brochures. Paul’s approach to photography is to seek an artist’s perspective by thinking of emotion in visual appeal and impact.
Penny Adam – Des Moines Art Center
An architectural construction industry professional, Penny enjoys photographing macro, landscape, street, and old things and buildings. She first picked up a digital camera about ten years ago and has been exploring ever since. Penny has been juried into many calls for entry across Iowa and has earned awards and has had several solo exhibits for her photography.