Photography by Jim Doty

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Home > About > Workshops & Classes > Colorado 2014 Nature Photography Workshop


Photography Workshop
"Capturing Nature's Wonders"
with Jim Doty, Jr.

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn (ATRI)
Estes Park, Colorado and
Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP)

Saturday - Sep. 27, 2014
Workshop (ATRI): 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Field Trip (RMNP): 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Sunday - Sep. 28, 2014
Optional Extended Field Trip (RMNP)
8:00 am - 8:00 pm

We had a great workshop weekend in Colorado! Next year's workshop will be September 25-27, 2015 with a one day option September 26. This page will be updated later to reflect the new schedule.

The Saturday Workshop and Field Trip - Sep 27

Come spend a fun and exciting day learning how to take your outdoor photography to the next level. You'll receive "real time" instruction in the field, as well as intensive classroom explorations. In the classroom, you will learn the simple steps that make the difference between ordinary snapshots and dynamic images. Minutes later you will be practicing those steps. This is a great opportunity to learn the secrets of the pros. In the evening we will go on a field trip in RMNP to practice what we have been working on all day. You will go home knowing how to create eye-catching images!

As an added bonus, the last week of September in RMNP is usually the peak of the fall color season when the aspen in the high country are at their best. It is also prime elk viewing time as the bulls come down out of the trees and gather their harems in the grassy meadows of the park for the fall "rut". It is a splendid time of year and a great place to hone your photography skills.

You will learn:

Metering - The First Big Step Toward Great Images

Depth of Field - The Doorway to Dramatic Images

It's all about the Light - How to "read" and "work with the light" to put magic in your images

Playing with Time - Creating Images That Your Eyes Can't See 

From Grand to Intimate - Landscapes Great and Small

Wildlife Photography - How to Find, Get Close To, and Photograph Wildlife

Petals in the Wind - How to Create Beautiful Flower Images

Starry Starry Night - Night and Low Light Photography

Simplifying Tricky Situations - It's Only Hard Until You Know How

The Friday Evening Surprise - 6:00-8:00 pm - Sep 26

If you are registered for the Saturday workshop and you are staying at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, we have a surprise event for you. Once you have paid for the workshop and booked your room at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn, send me an email and I will clue you in.

What will this workshop do for you?

Read the testimonials (in blue) scattered through the rest of this page!

Jim Doty gives the most warm, intense, wonderful photographic digital workshop. He is truly a gift to those who choose to attend. - Win M


The Optional Sunday Extended Field Trip - Sep 28

This is a fun and energetic day of photography in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is your chance to spend a day shooting with a select group of photographers with the help and guidance of a professional photographer. You will learn a lot as you practice and reinforce everything you explored at the workshop on Saturday. It is limited to 7 participants to maximize your time with Jim. It officially begins at 8 am (with a 6:30 am sunrise option for all of you early birds). This is a great opportunity to expand your skills and explore new photographic possibilities. We will be at several locations in RMNP. Where we will be and when we will be there will depend on lighting conditions, the weather, and current wildlife locations. You will need your own transportation but car pooling with other participants is certainly a possibility.

I really had no idea how much you could manipulate a camera to get such great images without using Photoshop. I found it amazing! - Melissa D



The Workshop Leader

Jim Doty, Jr. has the ideal combination of practical photography experience and teaching skills to provide an inspiring workshop experience that will improve your photography.

Jim is a photography instructor with 19 years experience. He currently teaches photography at The Ohio State University. He has also taught at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan and Graceland University in Iowa. During his workshops, seminars, and field trips he has worked with hundreds of photographers at all skill levels. He also does one-on-one photo instruction.

Jim's images can be found in magazines, books, newspapers, calendars, tourist brochures, corporate reports, and on web sites for corporations and not-for-profit organizations.

Jim's nature, portrait, event, and commercial work has been published by the National Wildlife Federation, Black & White Magazine, The Ohio State University, Ohio Sea Grant, Stone Laboratory, Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, Graceland University, UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Crowne Plaza Hotels, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn Hotels, Best Western Hotels, Hunt's Guide to the Upper Peninsula, Heartland Tours and Travel, Midwest Photo Exchange, Wiley Publishing, Inc., The MichMatist, Yukon Review, Magic 106.3, The Herald, Community of Christ, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA),  Kirtland Temple Historic Site, KOA Campgrounds, Terrapin World Imports, and dozens of businesses too numerous to list here.

Jim is the author of Digital Photography Exposure for Dummiesone of the highest rated photography books at More information is here.

I was so impressed by how many "trade secrets" he freely shared. I couldn't learn as much as I did in this workshop on my own, if I worked hard for years. - Besma A

Saturday Workshop Location

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meeting Room
927 Moraine Avenue.
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(800) 233-5023

Website: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

A map and directions are at the bottom of the page. The workshop officially starts at 9:00 but it is a good idea to show up 20-30 minutes early to check in with Bob (the registrar, see below) and get acquainted with me and the other workshop participants.

We have learned so much more about photography than we ever dreamed existed. Thank you so much for teaching us so much with such enthusiasm. - Pat D




The Saturday workshop and evening field trip is $125 at the time of registration.

The optional Sunday extended field trip is an additional $125 at the time of registration.

The registration fee is for the workshop and field trip on Saturday, and the extended field trip if you are adding the Sunday option. You will need to pay for your own meals, entrance into Rocky Mountain National Park, and lodging if you are staying overnight. More about lodging below.

Registration fees are refunded in full if you cancel by August 29. After August 29 you will receive a refund only if someone else registers to take your place.

To register, send an email to Bob at:  He is the Denver based registrar for this retreat. He will give you payment options to register for the workshop.

The Saturday workshop and evening field trip is limited to 12 participants. The Sunday extended field trip is limited to 7 participants. You are registered as of the date your payment is received. If the workshop is already booked full when you want to register, you can be placed on a priority waiting list in case someone cancels.

I had NO IDEA my camera was capable of so much. - Vickie R



Saturday we will break for lunch in the middle of the workshop and again in between the workshop and the Saturday evening field trip. There are several places to eat near the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn. Meal breaks will be short Saturday (about an hour) to maximize learning and shooting time.

Sunday we will come back to Estes Park for lunch in the middle of the day. This will be a much longer break than on Saturday so we can discuss the morning's photography, answer questions, relax a bit, and plan the rest of the day. It is a long time from 6:30 am to lunch and an even longer time from lunch until 8 pm. It is a good idea to put some protein bars/energy bars/snacks in your camera bag or backpack and have some water to stay hydrated. I would suggest you get gallon of drinking water and keep it in the trunk of your car or whatever car you are riding in for the field trip. Nature photographers tend to skip meals when great things are happening, especially in the evening, so come prepared. This has nothing to do with food, but it is also a good idea to carry a small bottle of chewable aspirin in your bag/backpack.

The Sundeck Restaurant provides a 10% discount to people staying at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn (they are next door to each other). This is a nice place to eat when you have time for a leisurely meal. I especially like the trout dinners and the steaks are excellent.

Great Workshop! I can use your material to quickly become a better photographer. - Jim T


Lodging for workshop participants staying overnight in Estes Park is at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn. The Inn is providing a 10% discount off the low season rate to workshop participants, so be sure and mention you are part of the workshop when you call to book a room. Ask for a room near the workshop meeting room. The earlier you book your room, the closer you will be to the workshop meeting room. There is no restroom in the meeting room, so it is handy to have your room nearby. There is also a restroom you can use at the pool.

If you and a photographer friend want to share a room, you can certainly do that. The Inn is holding a limited number of rooms. Late September is prime time for both fall color and elk viewing in RMNP so rooms in Estes Park book up weeks in advance. Book early.

I have stayed at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn for years. They have also hosted a lot of my friends over the years (I send people there all the time). It is one of the top rated hotels on Trip Advisor (it is actually a "motor inn"), their rates are competitive, the rooms are nice, and they are ideally located on the far west side of town so you don't have to fight through hordes of tourists and downtown traffic to get to RMNP. Plus there are several eating options nearby. Jay and Fran (the owners) are super people and they take great care of guests. They are providing the meeting room for the workshop at no extra charge which means a significant reduction in the cost of the workshop. Staying at the Alpine Trail Ridge Inn also makes it possible to car pool on the field trips. If you happen to get Robert when you call the inn (he works the front desk Thursday, Friday, and Saturday every week) be sure and say hello for me. He is a fine photographer and we always talk shop when I am in town.

Website: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

Jim Doty's workshop is excellent. Very down to earth and not so technical to the point of being intimidating. - Steve S


Bring to the Workshop

A digital or film camera*(see the important note below) and the manual for your camera. You will be using your camera during the workshop.

A tripod if you have one. If you don't, see if you can borrow or rent one. If you are planning on buying a tripod, there is tripod head advice here and tripod (legs) advice here.

An 18% Gray Card that is no smaller than 4x6 inches in size. You can get them at your local camera store or
order them here.

A notebook or paper to take notes.

A small flashlight or headlamp for the field trip/s.

The companion book for the workshop, Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies (see the next section).

*Important camera note. To get the most out of this workshop you will need a camera that allows you to manually control apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO settings. You will need a lens that allows you to turn off autofocus. Any recent model DLSR (digital single lens reflex), film SLR, or ILC (digital interchangeable lens compact), will be fine. If you have a full featured point and shoot camera that has the four basic PASM modes (Program, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, and Manual) and makes them easy to use, you will do just fine.

Your workshop renewed and re-excited my interest in photography. I have some new ideas and ways to "up my game." - Don M



Recommended Companion Book for the Workshop

If you have my book Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, bring it to the workshop. If you don't, you can order it here or you can buy it at the workshop for $25. If you want to buy it at the workshop, let me know a week before the workshop so I have enough copies with me. The presentations during the workshop will be page keyed to additional information in the book. You will get more out of the workshop and you can spend less time taking notes.

If you are ordering from Amazon, it is a good idea to order 3-4 weeks in advance of the workshop. Why? Read
Order Early from Amazon: A Cautionary Tale.

The amount and quality of information was more than I had hoped for. - Alan M



This is an active, "go outside and do things" kind of workshop. You might end up sitting, kneeling, or laying down on the ground to get the best photo angle so dress accordingly. In late September high country temperatures can range from mild and pleasant to chilly and cold. Bring a sweater or light jacket for cool evenings and a coat in case it gets really cold.

Jim's workshop showed me the way to put my DSLR's features to use and the advantages of knowing why and how they function. Easy to follow and understand - Gene S


Before The Workshop

Go through your camera's manual prior to the workshop so you are well acquainted with the PASM modes (Program, Aperture priority, S hutter priority, and Manual) and learn how to use them. Before the workshop it is especially important to learn how to change apertures, shutter speeds, and ISO settings in the "Manual" exposure mode. Try out the other modes too.

If your camera has "mirror lock up", "depth of field preview", or a "live view" mode, be sure you know how to use them. If your camera has a B (for bulb) mode, learn how to access it and use it (it might be hidden in the camera's menu section).

Find and learn how to use the Exposure Compensation Scale. It will have a series of tick marks with numbers from -2 to +2 (or -3 to +3).

In some cameras, the Exposure Compensation Scale is always visible inside the viewfinder. In others it is always visible on an external LCD. With some cameras you have to find it in the menu system to access it or turn it on. The amount of exposure compensation in this illustration is set to +1 (Plus One). Learn how to set yours for anything from -2 to +2.

If you have Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, look through chapters 2, 3, and 4 before the workshop.

I will never look at a white colonial style house the same again without thinking of you. Thank you for having a workshop that was anything but boring. - Trish L


Map & Directions

Alpine Trail Ridge Inn
Meeting Room
927 Moraine Avenue.
Estes Park, Colorado 80517
(800) 233-5023

Website: Alpine Trail Ridge Inn

If you are coming from the east on U.S. 34 or U.S. 36, they will merge in downtwon Estes Park. When they split, stay on U.S. 36 (which is also CO-66). Just past the light at MAry's Lake road on the west side of town, you will see the motel on your right. From the south on CO-7, turn left on Mary's Lake Road on the south side of town. When you come to the traffic light at Moraine Road (U.S. 36) turn left. You will see the motel on your right. If you are coming from the west on U.S. 34, at Deer Ridge Junction (in RMNP) go straight on U.S. 36. You will wind down and around and out of the park. About three miles after you leave RMNP, you will see the motel on your left near the traffic light on the far west side of town.

Hi Jim - I can't wait to get to get out into the field and put what I learned into practice. As you say, Happy Shooting!  - Becky W

Shoot With A Pro!
Rocky Mountain National Park
Monday - Sep. 29, 2014 and
Tuesday - Sep. 30, 2014

Rocky Mountain National Park: Have you ever wanted to shoot one-on-one with a professional photographer? This is your chance. There is no faster way to "up your game".  You learn by watching what the pro does, and also by the suggestions the pro gives you. Spend a half day (5 hours) or a whole day (10 hours) with Jim in beautiful Rocky Mountain National Park. Dusk and dawn. Sunrise and sunset. Golden aspen leaves. Lakes and streams. Mountains and meadows. All kinds of wildlife. Stars in the night sky. This is your chance!

Half day (your choice of 6:30 am to 11:30 am or 3 pm to 8 pm) - $300.
A full day (6:30 am to 11:30 am AND 3 pm to 8 pm) - $600.

These time blocks include sunrise and sunset and can be adjusted.

Contact Jim to schedule your preferred time slot at either location. You will receive a full refund if you cancel by August 29. After August 29 you will receive a refund only if someone else registers to take your place.

Amazing Workshop - Don't miss the next one. - Bob W


This is for those of you who look to your photography future and dream big! Jeremy took my photography classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

I began to read every book about photography that I could get my hands on. I also enrolled in a nature photography class taught by Jim Doty. Jim's class proved incredibly helpful, covering many specific techniques employed by professional photographers that weren't in any of the dozens of books I owned. Jim's class helped me to develop technically, and the results were instantly apparent.  - Jeremy Bruskotter

Jeremy is now shooting professionally and specializes in large, fine art prints. He has a PhD in natural resources and he teaches in the School of Environment and Natural Resources at The Ohio State University where he combines his love of photography with the natural world. Jeremy and Jim team up each summer to do an outdoor photography weekend for OSU's prestigious Stone Lab at Gibraltar Island, Lake Erie. More information here.

More testimonials, including longer versions of the above testimonials.

July 1, 2014
Updated October 10, 2014

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