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Wildflower Photography Workshop

  • Apr 13, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • Unicoi State Park Visitor Center


Wildflowers in Bloom

Spring in all its glory will be a site worth capturing in Mid-April at this beautiful and beloved state park nestled in the North Georgia Mountains.

Capturing their Essence

We all love beautiful flowers and want to capture their essence to share that beauty with others. But anyone who has ever tried to photograph wildflowers knows it is not as easy as you might think. In this workshop, we will go over the best way to capture those vibrant colors and how to do so in sunlight and shade and in the more likely combination of the two.

We will talk about working with large scenes of bloom filled trails and fields as well as close-up/macro imagery and how to make the flowers really POP off the page or screen.

The Presentation

We will begin this workshop at 9am in the classroom behind the Unicoi State Park Visitor Center. We will start with an informal meet and greet followed by a power point presentation going over everything you will need to know in order to capture those amazing wildflower images we all love so much.

We will discuss the use of light, shadows, colors, composition, angle, shooting outside the box, best time of day to shoot and how to get this information for any of your favorite scenic locations. We will also go over the basic manual controls and why they are needed to capture everything, except maybe the smell of the flowers, in any given situation. There might not be a scent control button on your camera (yet), however, you might not need one if you capture your image in a way that the viewer is suddenly transported visually through your photo.

We will talk about how to use your settings to get those close up images to be really clear and how to bring a single flower or even a single petal into focus while throwing the rest of the scene out of focus. We will also talk about how to use those same settings to get an entire field of flowers in focus.

We will go over how to capture an image of a bee as it works away at continuing the life cycle and doing so in a way that it is clear and in focus, even if it is moving around as you take the shot. We will learn how to capture the dew drops on a flower petal with the sun at just the right angle so the sun glistens and reflects rather than just being blown out and white.

We will also delve into how to capture the correct color of a flower. Often with brightly colored flowers, it is hard to get all the colors to pop on the screen without some of them being too harsh or too soft or without the nearby greenery causing a weird color cast throughout the image. There are a few simple tricks to keep all the colors sharp and clear and we will go over those one by one.

We will also cover some post processing options to consider when shooting and why to avoid any post processing if possible. This presentation will also include sample images demonstrating these different concepts and will be followed by a question and answer open forum.

Each participant will receive a welcome package which will also include a handout containing all the information from the presentation.

Hands-On Practice

After the presentation, we will begin our hands on portion of the workshop by heading down to the Bottoms Loop Trail. This is the prime location for viewing wild azaleas and may apples in bloom. We will begin this portion of the hands on with a guided tour by Unicoi State Park’s own Jessica James, as she leads us down the trail and identifies some of the flowers for us. Then we will take our time and shoot all we want in this beautiful location.
I will be there to help with one on one attention to each participant and to answer any questions that you might have as we practice everything that we went over in the presentation, helping you to capture some amazing images that will keep spring alive in your photos for years to come.


We will break for lunch about 1pm and go over to the nearby Lodge at Unicoi State Park. This is a great time to share, ask questions and get to know each other better.

Hands-On Practice Part II

After lunch, we will head back down the nature trail to a different section and continue our hands-on practice and one on one instruction for a couple more hours. We want to make sure that everyone is happy with their newfound skills and has images in camera that they will be happy to share with their family and friends.

After the Workshop

All participants in the workshops are invited to join our Meetup group and share images, ask questions and take part in our discussion board where we regularly post photography tips, etc. We want to provide a safe and fun place to continue the learning process so we can all move forward together on the journey of being the best photographer we can possibly be.

What you will need:

A digital camera, preferably an SLR, which allows for some manual settings and focus.
A Tripod.
Optional Filters: Circular Polarizer.
Optional Lenses: Macro or Macro Extenders.
A desire for amazing Wild Flower images of your own that you will be proud to share.
If you are unfamiliar with your camera's manual functions, please bring your manual with you if you have it. If you do not, I recommend ordering a guide for your specific camera. seems to have them available for most camera models.

All of this equipment is also available for rent with advanced notice through or other photography rental companies.

These workshops are set up with novice and intermediate photographers in mind. An absolute beginner photographer will walk away with intermediate skills and an intermediate photographer will walk away with more defined skills. Everyone will walk away with what may very well be their best ever wildflower images.

Additional fees for this workshop include the following:

Park entrance fees to the Unicoi State Park $5 per vehicle (Required)
Food is available at the nearby Unicoi State Park Lodge and Restaurant
Lodging accommodations are available through the following link:

If you wish to practice your newly acquired skills at nearby Anna Ruby Falls, there is an additional fee of $3.00 per person to access that park.

If you would like to have breakfast prior to the workshop it is available at Unicoi Lodge Restaurant for $8.95 plus $1.50 for beverage.


About the Facilitator

Rena Johnson is a full time photographer, working primarily in nature, wildlife and landscape photography. She has been published in many magazines, on many websites and has shown work in many art shows/galleries, businesses and vineyards as well as several online galleries.

She also served as the president of the Digital Imaging Photography Guild for 2012. She has many certifications in photography as well as Adobe Photoshop. She has a diploma from The Photography Institute and will soon have a degree from the New York Institute of Photography as well. She continues to display her work and further her education so this list is constantly expanding.

She also conducts regular workshops on a variety of topics relating to photography including basic to advanced classes on nature, wildlife, macro, flowers, waterfalls, sunsets and sunrises, astrophotography, landscape and many others as well as some equipment classes and specialized lighting seminars. She loves helping people learn and grow and loves sharing her passion for photography.

Some of her other recent accomplishments include, publication in Blue Ridge Country Magazine (beginning with August 2011 Issue) as well as in the 2012 Blowing Rock Community Calendar, the Blowing Rock[masked] Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Guide & Members Directory and the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation 2011 Annual Report.

For more info on Rena Johnson visit her website:


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  • Emory M.

    Rena, Sorry but I could not get out of my conflict. I am disappointed.

    April 12, 2013

    • Rena J.

      Ooh no ... me too! You know where we will be if you get a chance to get on up there. Hopefully we will see you soon. Have a great weekend.

      April 12, 2013

    • Rena J.

      I am so glad you were able to make it in the end :)

      April 15, 2013

  • Jenny B.

    Beautiful day! Not many wildflowers in bloom yet, but still plenty of opportunities to practice new skills!

    1 · April 14, 2013

    • Rena J.

      I am glad you came to this one. :) You really got some great shots :) I love to see a photographer as passionate as I am about getting "The shot" and you certainly are! :)

      April 15, 2013

  • Rena J.

    Awesome. I loved the group we had. It was perfect. Even though there were not as many wildflowers as we would have hoped, I think everyone still had a good time and took some incredible shots.

    April 14, 2013

  • Rena J.

    Hey Donna. :) I am so glad you are coming to this workshop. It is going to be so awesome and the perfect timing to capture some great wildflower images. I just love Unicoi State Park and all they have to offer and am so glad we are having this spring workshop there! We will all have a great time like we do every time there. :)

    March 2, 2013

    • Donna A.

      My new lens takes beautiful shots although some have told me it's not a macro. It allows me to get a close shot without getting very close to my subject and so far I love it .

      1 · April 12, 2013

    • Rena J.

      Lucky YOU. I wish we could stay over but not this time. We have to get back. But you and your mom will have an awesome time there. Maybe we can grab dinner or something before we head back. :) Hopefully. I cannot wait to see your new lens. Hey .. as long as it does what you want it to do and you get some great shots with it ... that is ALL that matters :) See you in the morning :)

      1 · April 12, 2013

  • Emory M.

    I have a potential conflict for Sat morning. :( I hope I can get out of the conflict. We will see.

    April 10, 2013

    • Rena J.

      Ooh no. I hope you don't miss this one. It is going to be really good. Its going to be a nice small group and we are going to see some beautiful flowers and go over some neat tricks :) Looks like it is going to be a beautiful day as well. :)

      April 10, 2013

    • Rena J.

      How is it going? I really hope we see you tomorrow. :)

      April 12, 2013

  • Rena J.

    It looks like it going to be a gorgeous day at Unicoi this Saturday. I am looking forward to an awesome workshop and many awesome images! :)

    April 11, 2013

  • Rena J.

    Hey Dan. :) I am glad you are coming to the Wildflower Workshop. It is going to be awesome. I look forward to meeting you as well. :) If you have any questions or anything in the meantime, just let me know. Have an awesome day.

    March 5, 2013

    • Dan

      Do you think I should bother bringing anything other than a prime (100mm) macro or might something like a 24-70mm zoom be useful for the day (35mm equiv on those)? Always a tradeoff between bringing what I end up wanting and having so much stuff in a backpack that it is a pain to get down to flower level!

      April 10, 2013

    • Rena J.

      Hey Dan. If you could bring those two lenses, I think you would be fine. I always carry way more stuff than I need as well. But we will be focusing on the flowers this time so those two would be plenty. If you have a circular polarizing filter to fit those, that will help as well, especially since it looks like it is going to be quite sunny :) See you are Unicoi :)

      April 11, 2013

  • Rena J.

    Hey Jenny. I am so glad you are coming to this workshop. You took some great flower shots at Oke and I am sure you will get even better ones at this workshop. :) Look forward to seeing you there :)

    April 5, 2013

  • Rena J.

    The online registration address for lodging is www. Be sure to put in the discount code " photo ". See you all there :)

    March 13, 2013

  • Rena J.

    There is also camping available at Unicoi State Park. I think it requires a two night minimum as well. Again, its a beautiful park and the weather should be ideal ... not to cold and not yet to hot in North GA. :)

    March 13, 2013

  • Rena J.

    For anyone interested in staying over at the Unicoi State Park Lodge, they have once again offered us a discount. Thursday night and Sunday nights are $90 each night for double occupancy room. One breakfast is included. Friday and Saturday night rates are $100 each for same and includes one breakfast. A wo night reservation is required.
    The code to use for the discount is PHOTO.
    If you haven't stayed there before, it is a very nice lodge, We always really enjoy it. :)

    March 13, 2013

  • Rena J.

    Hey Emory. So glad you are coming to this workshop. Its going to be so beautiful up there for this. :) It will be great to see you again as well :)

    March 9, 2013

6 went

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Refunds offered if:

  • the Meetup is cancelled
  • the Meetup is rescheduled
  • you can cancel at least 14 day(s) before the Meetup

Payments you make go to the organizer, not to Meetup. You must make refund requests to the organizer.

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