Gerlach Nature Photo Workshop, Recommended?

Discussion in 'Nature' started by stemked, Feb 2, 2002.

  1. stemked

    stemked Moderator

    I see that John and Barbara Gerlach are running a Nature Photo
    workshop this Spring in Indianapolis. I was wondering at what level
    this course was offered at and if it is worth the $75 price. Rod
    Planck also is running one in town too, I've been to this one however
    about 4 years ago (very well run and full of excellent insight I
    really got a lot out of it, it was a little bit of a Canon-lovefest
    for my Pentax blood). The reason I ask is that I will be teaching a
    Nature Photography course in Southern Indiana and am always looking
    for other outlets for the students.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. I have been to John and Barb's workshop and a couple week long seminars. I did write about that HERE scroll down to the Gerlach section, a couple other reviews are there too. I would say the level is very diverse, something for everyone. Some good basics, good for both newer photographers and review for more the experienced. As well as great advanced tips and tricks to help you progress. I don't know to much about Rod other than he and John worked together some years ago. Last I knew John used Canon while Barb used Nikon so you have a wider array of opinion plus they offer equipment suggestions by third parties. In my opinion if you come out of the day with one or two things to help you or your students it is worth the $75 and travel costs. Also very inspiring to see so many wonderful photographs in a short period of time.
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I have never been to John and Barbara Gerlach's one-day workshops, but my wife and I went on a photo safari to Kenya with them back in 1997. That trip was very well run, and some of the other participants had been to their one-day workshop before joining their photo safari. Therefore apparently they were very happy with the one-day workshop. Keep in mind that was almost 5 years ago now.

    Both of them are excellent nature photographers. Barbara Gerlach is one of the nicest people we have ever met; that is more important for a trip than in a workshop. And John Gerlach used to post to this forum occasionally.

    By the way, back in 1997 John was indeed using Canon and Barbara Nikon. I asked them why they used incompatible equipment, especially in a remote area. (If Barb's camera broke down, she could not put her Nikon lenses on John's Canon body.) They said that they would like to keep current on both brands so that it was easier to discuss equipment details in their workshops, as they had students using different brands.
  4. We had them as guest speakersat our 1999 APAC seminar ( They also did a one day seminar on the day folowing. They put on a very good presentation. I would say that you would get good value for your money. John also has a good handle on colour exposure as well that is very useful. As far as a Canon love fest is concerned, at the time of our seminar Barbara was using Nikon and John was using Canon so the discussions were not equipment oriented.
  5. Doug,

    I had gone to the one day Gerlach seminar in Minneapolis about
    3 or 4 years ago. The seminar will hit many levels of nature
    photography, but what I found particularly useful was John's
    method for spot metering subjects. His technique for metering
    nature has now become the one that I exclusively use... You will
    get a very useful hand out, and a nice education on determining
    zones relative to neutral.

    Enjoy the Seminar and regards,

  6. I attended a meeting with John and Barbara Gerlach several
    years ago and enjoyed it very much and learned some important
    concepts of exposure. The pictures are unusually good, and
    unusually many, and they are lovely people. I highly recommed
    them to anybody. Go.
    Dancing Trail Gallery and Studios
  7. Hi Doug,

    I haven't been to the Gerlachs' one-day workshop, but I attended their Upper Peninsula (MI) fall color workshop (1 week) in October 2001, and was both pleased and impressed. John and Barb know their stuff, and as everyone has indicated, they're both extremely nice and go out of their way to accomodate everyone's needs. The workshop included discussions which, as far as I know, duplicate the contents of their 1-day seminar; I would recommend any of their programs without hesitation.
  8. You Bet !
    I went to a workshop with John back in College (1985-Santa Barbara) and it was outstanding. He had a great deal of influence on my work. I just had a gallery showing of my Flowers/Butterflies (Macro work) that his workshop "opened up" for my interest and abilities.
    I would say that there is definately something for everyone. Good grounding in the basics, and then more advanced techniques depending on where the students are. Also - great tips and tricks for long term learning. He helped me get beyond being an "Equipment freak" and focus (no pun intended) on the image itself. In my opinion if you come out of the day with one or two things to help you it is well worth the $75. Good luck and good shooting.
  9. One of the great things about John and Barbara's clinics is that they give you printed copies of the notes at the beginning so you can just listen and watch the images without having to try to take notes. They do a great job. Wish they'd come back to our area. But Rod Planck does a great job too. Rod was a Nikon shooter when he came through here a couple of years ago; has he changed to Canon?

    Also recommended is the weekend event run by the Rocky Mountain School of Photography. They bring in several speakers and cover nature photography but also lots of other kinds of photography as well. They have 3-4 sessions running simultaneously; fortunately, they repeat most of them at least once during the weekend. A TRULY great weekend of classes.
  10. I attended their workshop 4 years ago. It was a bargain. Several things I really appreciated were that they take their craft seriously but don't take themselves seriously. They were very respectful if not reverent toward the other masters of photography and they left me with the belief that I could do it to. Since then I think I have bought every book from every well known author in the field of nature photography but still go back to the advice in the monographs they provide with the course and update regularly. I would recommended them to anyone and plan to interact with them again. They are great teachers as well as great photographers. Aloha, Andy
  11. Just got the Gerlach brochure and realized it is basically the same type of wonderful seminar I attended a few years ago with great pictures demonstrating their points. It is well worth the $75. If it were closer, I would attend again, as there is too much to absorb at once, even with the brochures they hand out.
  12. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for all the nice comments regarding our programs. We are most gratified to see that we have been able to help others become skilled nature photographers. Both Barbara and I are actually more excited to see our students do well and get published than our own stuff. By the way, I still shoot Canon and Barbara shoots Nikon F-5's using manual exposure. We just spent a week photographing in Yellowstone. It's an excellent year in the park. Plenty of snow and animals to photograph. Also, all the details regarding our teaching programs are now available on our web site at

    Keep up the great info that is being shared here and I will continue to promote


    John Gerlach
  13. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Fortunately, I knew that John Gerlach reads this forum once in a while. That was why I only had good things to say about them here. If you want to know how I really feel about their program, please send me private e-mail .... :) :) No, no, just kidding. They are very nice folks, highly recommended.
  14. Highly recommended! I just attended their seminar yesterday (Sat., 3/16/02) in Seattle. Great program! Not only is the content super, the couple puts on a good show. As a professional instructor myself, it's always nice to see presenters who know their stuff and do an excellent job of presenting and interacting not only with the students, but with each other, too. This is a dynamic duo!

    There are two problems: First, they don't take breaks. They give regular breaks to the students but John and Barbara are so dedicated they spend the break time fielding questions. The other problem is there's just too much material--once people start asking questions--for a single day's seminar. I'd like to see them stretch it into a two day seminar to cover some of the business aspects of nature photography, get more into gear and specialized techniques (particularly close-ups), have more time for Q & A, and discuss topics of local interest.

    For the time and money it's a real bargain. I look forward to doing a workshop with them sometime in the future.
  15. I've attended both the Rod Planck and the Gerlach seminars. While both offer incredible slide shows and great handouts, I found the Gerlach seminar to be more at a beginning - intermediate level, although I'm certain that advanced amateurs can also learn new techniques and approaches. Because of the level of the approach and the Gerlachs' style (very down-to-earth), I signed up for their Summer Workshop in the Michigan U.P. and was so pleased that I have signed up for next year's Fall Foliage week. Despite VERY unusual and unexpectedly bad weather (three days of intense heat and humidity, followed by an entire day of severe thunderstorms), the Gerlachs took it all in stride and displayed great expertise in turning lemons into lemonade by having a variety of backup plans for other photo opportunities. Even though I have a long way to go in mastering professional techniques, I learned so much during that week and look forward to next year's session. John continues to be an avid "Canonist" while Barb is a "Nikonite" but both are very helpful in their one-on-one instructions regardless of which brand you use. Because of John's emphasis on spot metering, I would recommend that you bring a camera with this feature if at all possible.

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