Photography by Jim Doty

    Home     About     Photos     Learn     Blog     Contact

Home > About > Park of the Pines 2023 Nature Photography Workshop


Total Immersion Nature Photography Weekend
with Jim Doty, Jr.

October 13-15, 2023
This is a change in dates at the request
of the campground managers.
Park of the Pines on
Lake Charlevoix near
Boyne City, Michigan

Capture nature's wonders in stunning photographs!

Come spend a fun-filled, high energy, action-packed  weekend!

Learn how to take your photography to the next level! 

Discover the photo secrets of the professionals!



Friday - October 13, 2023
Check In At the Lodge: 5:00 pm - 5:45 pm
Introduction and Get Acquainted (Rec Room): 6:00 - 6:15 pm.
Exploration Sessions: 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
Field Trip: 8:15 - 10:00 pm or later

Saturday - October 14, 2023
Explorations Sessions: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Field Trip: 6:00 - 10:00 pm

Sunday - October 15, 2023
Field Trips, Exploration Sessions, and Review: 9:00 am - 8:30 pm
Final Field Trip for those staying overnight: 8:30 - 10:00 pm or later

Meal Times Saturday and Sunday: 8:00 am, 12:30 pm, 5:00 pm

*This is a flex schedule. Other than the check in time and first session at 6:00 pm Friday, everything on this schedule is subject to change depending on the weather and shooting conditions. We could start at 6 am instead of 9, or end at midnight instead of 10 pm.

One year we were getting ready to head back to the campground at 10 pm when the Northern Lights started. We shot until midnight, got back to the campground at 12:30 am and had snacks and visited in the dining hall until 1 am. We started a little later the next morning.

If you don't have to leave for home Sunday evening, you can stay overnight at Park of the Pines Sunday night.

This is an action-packed, fun-filled, fast-paced weekend. It is the ideal combination of intensive exploration sessions, photo activities right outside the classroom door, and lively field trips where you receive "real time" help and guidance. In the exploration sessions, you will learn the skills and techniques that make the difference between ordinary snapshots and dynamic images. Minutes later you will be outside practicing those steps in a variety of photo activities. On the field trips you will apply everything you are learning in the beauty of Northern Michigan.

Best of all, you will go home knowing how to create beautiful, memorable images!

To see what this workshop has done for other photographers, read the testimonials (in blue) scattered through the rest of this page!

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



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

He is a photography instructor with 25 years experience on the adult and University level. He taught at The Ohio State University for seven years and at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan for seven years. He taught special winter term classes at Graceland University in Iowa and does workshops, seminars, and field trips for a variety of organizations. He has worked with hundreds of photographers at all skill levels. He also does one-on-one, "shoot with a pro" sessions for people who want the ultimate in personal guidance.

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.

His nature, portrait, event, and commercial work has been published by the National Wildlife Federation, Black & White Magazine, Nebraska Magazine,, The Akron Beacon Journal, The Ohio State University, Ohio Sea Grant, Stone Laboratory, Ohio Woodland Stewards Program, San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, The Internet Movie Database (IMDb), UNCF (United Negro College Fund), Hunt's Guide to the Upper Peninsula, Heartland Tours and Travel, Graceland University, Midwest Photo Exchange, Wiley Publishing, Inc., The MichMatist, The Yukon Review, The Lamoni Chronicle, Magic 106.3 , The Herald, Community of Christ, Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), Kirtland Temple Historic Site, Restoration Voice, Terrapin World Imports, Crowne Plaza Hotels, Staybridge Suites, Holiday Inn Hotels, Best Western Hotels, Park of the Pines, KOA Campgrounds, Camp Bountiful, Camp Manitou, and dozens of other businesses and organizations 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.

Capturing the Sunset and Clouds Etched with Light,
Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve

Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve


The exploration sessions will give you the skills you need to create exciting images. You will learn what turns average snapshots into beautiful images. Bring your camera gear to the exploration sessions because you will be using it.

During a break between exploration sessions.

You will explore:

Professional Secrets to Great Color

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

Grand to Intimate - Dynamic 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

Closeup Photography - Making Little Things Big

Starry Starry Night - Night and Low Light Photography

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

The total immersion nature photography workshop was amazing. Jim is passionate about photography and sharing his knowledge. He is a wonderful, charismatic teacher and I am blown away at how much I learned in a single weekend. I prepared for the workshop by reading books, watching YouTube tutorials, and reading blog posts but I learned more on the first evening with Jim than all of my preparation combined! He does a great job of balancing lecture style learning with hands-on exploration sessions. The field trips gave us incredible opportunities to practice our new skills in the gorgeous northern Michigan area. Not only did he teach us about camera settings and shooting different subjects, he also shared a great deal of information about great places to photograph, equipment, and editing. I can't wait to come back next year for another awesome weekend! Thank you, Jim! - Brittany K


Jim leading an exploration session

Photo activity, Park of the Pines


The photo activities reinforce the exploration sessions. One minute you are inside learning new techniques. The next minute you are right outside the classroom door practicing those techniques. Practicing with camera in hand develops the "muscle memory" that leads to quick responses for those no second chance, "shoot it or lose it" photo opportunities.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls, one of the destinations
for Monday's field trip to Michigan's U.P.


On the field trips you put it all together. It is a fun and energetic time to expand your photography skills and explore new photographic possibilities. The field trips are your golden opportunity to shooting with a select group of photographers with the help and guidance of an accomplished professional. Field trips will be at Park of the Pines/Lake Charlevoix, Lake Michigan, and other locations in Northern Michigan.

There is also a wonderful camaraderie that develops as a group of photographers spend a weekend learning, eating, and shooting together.

The timing and location of field trips will depend on lighting conditions and the weather.

Michigan photo workshop

Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve


This is an active workshop. To participate in the field trips you will need to be able to walk around in a typical campground setting and walk up and downhill over uneven ground. The main area of the campground is fairly level but you will need to be able to navigate stairs down to the beach. For field trips away from the campground the terrain will be rougher and you will need to be able to walk up to 1/2 mile from your vehicle on uneven terrain.


Sunset, Workshop Field Trip, Lake Michigan

I can't believe how much I learned the second time around! - Winnie J

Snowy Owl, Northern Michigan

Snowy Owl, Northern Michigan. Snowy Owl photography
is covered in one of the sessions.


Depending on the weather and other circumstances we might have one or two movie nights. We spend movie nights with world class National Geographic photographers.

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


Blue headed green frog

The genetically rare (one birth in every one million frogs) blue-headed green frog,
Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve


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

Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve


Park of the Pines
4094 Springwater Beach Rd.
Boyne City, Michigan 49712
(231) 582-7661

Website: Park of the Pines

More about lodging below. A map and directions are at the bottom of the page. Check in Friday with Winnie, the registrar, and move in. We start our first session in the lodge at 6 pm Friday. Bring your camera gear and a red headlamp. Check the details farther down the page on the right kind of headlamp to get.

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


Sunset, Workshop Field Trip, Lake Michigan




The workshop registration (which includes campground usage fees, lodging, and meals) is $450.


More Information

The weekend is limited to 10 people to maximize your time with Jim. You are tentatively registered when you give us your name. You are officially registered when your payment in full is received. It is not unusual for this workshop to book full and paid registrations get priority over tentative registrations.

Registration covers all exploration and field trip sessions, campground usage fees, and meals at the campground. On the all day field trip we usually eat one meal at a restaurant and everyone pays for their own meal.


Your registration is refunded, minus a $25 handling fee, if you cancel by October 1. After October 1 you will receive a refund (minus the $25 handling fee) only if someone else registers to take your place.

Waiting List

If the workshop is already booked full when you want to register, you can be placed on a priority waiting list in case someone else cancels.

Payment Details

To register, send an email to Jim at He is the registrar and he will give you payment options for the weekend. You should also send an email to Winnie at:  She is in charge of lodging options (lodge, cabin, trailer space) at Park of the Pines and she can answer your lodging questions.


In search of the perfect close up
during one of the photo activities.



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


Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve

Breakfast at Park of the Pines



All meals are in the dining hall next to the lodge. Saturday and Sunday breakfast lunch and dinner will be provided at the campground as part of your registration. For the optional Monday field trip breakfast will be at the campground and a sack lunch and dinner will provided on the road. Our campground chef can allow for special dietary needs (vegetarian, gluten free) if you make those know when you contact the registrar.

When great things are happening an evening field trip can run 3 or 5 hours and we will be gone all day Monday. Depending on your particular needs, when we are away from Park of the Pines 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.

The Dining Hall at "The Park"

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

Seney National Wildlife Refuge, one of the destinations
for Monday's field trip to Michigan's U.P.


Lodging for workshop participants is in the lodge at Park of the Pines.

This is a typical lodge room at Park of the Pines. You will have your own room (unless you request a roommate). Beds are camp bunkbeds but there is plenty of room for a bring-it-yourself inflatable air mattress. Each room has a sink. Bathrooms are down the hall. If a campground setting is not suitable for your personal situation you can make arrangements for your own lodging in nearby Boyne City. If you have questions about lodging, ask Winnie.


Website: Park of the Pines

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


Forget-Me-Nots, Workshop Field Trip, Thorne-Swift Nature Preserve


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

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. There are collapsible fabric gray cards for about $10 that I really like. If you want to buy one at the workshop, let me know 2 or 3 weeks ahead of time so I can get an order in.

A notebook or paper to take notes.

A red headlamp for night shoots. Get the right kind: read this article. A bright flashlight is fine for walking to night time locations but please use a red headlamp at all times when we are shooting at night.

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

This is a campground with indoor lodging, bathrooms, and showers in the lodge. Bring bedding, a towel, and other personal items. There is also trailer and RV space also. Contact Winnie for details.

*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 anf focus manually. 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


Point Iroquois Lighthouse, one of the optional destinations
for Monday's field trip to Michigan's U.P.


If you have my book Digital Photography Exposure for Dummies, bring it to the workshop. If you don't, you can order it here. Some of 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


Photo Activity, Park of the Pines.


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. Bring a light jacket or coat for cool evenings.

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


Picking favorite weekend photos for a group sharing session.


Learn how your camera works.

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.

If your camera has "mirror lock up" or "depth of field preview", 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).

Learn how to use the Exposure Compensation Scale in manual exposure mode.
This article will help.

If your camera gives you a choice between seeing the Exposure Compensation Scale inside the viewfinder or on the LCD on back of the camera, it is faster, better, and more accurate to use the one inside your viewfinder. With some cameras you have to find it in the menu system to access it or turn it on. Check your manual. 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 while you are in manual exposure mode.

Learn how to turn on "Live View" mode (if you have it) and learn how to manually focus the lens using a magnified image. Read this article.

If your camera allows you to set a "custom white balance", check your camera manual and learn how to do that too.

A Cautionary Tale

On a typical night photography field trip I am calling out camera modes and ever changing camera settings to help everyone capture the stars, planets, meteorites, ISS, satellites, the Milky Way, and (if we are lucky) the Northern Lights. When I am busy calling out camera settings to everyone, I can't have my face at the back of one person's camera, helping them look through the menu system to find a feature they can't find and access. At almost every workshop someone misses out on some precious picture taking time because they don't know how to change the camera's modes and settings and how to access their camera's features. They end up back at the campground later on, reading the camera manual to figure everything out. (At the last workshop one person was up half the night reading their camera's manual, trying to find a couple of features that were buried deep in the camera's menu system ). Every camera model has a different menu system, even cameras made by the same manufacturer, so no one knows all the features for every camera model. It is important to figure out how to use all of the above listed camera features before the workshop. I will try and help you when we aren't in the middle of an exploration session, photo activity, or field trip, but it is best if you learn your camera before the workshop.

Read the book.

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


Workshop Field Trip, Lake Michigan.
Note all the red headlamps.


Park of the Pines
4094 Springwater Beach Rd.
Boyne City, Michigan 49712
(231) 582-7661

Some maps show "Park Street" instead of "Springwater Beach Rd", but the street sign says Springwater Beach Road. Use the Springwater Beach Rd address for your GPS.

Website: Park of the Pines

Alternate Website:

Park of the Pines is about 4 1/2 miles from downtown Boyne City. Drive north on Boyne City - Charlevois Rd (C-56). Go 2.2 miles past the entrance to Young State Park and turn left (west) at Springwater Beach Road. Drive west on Springwater Beach Road until you see the entrance on your right.

Note: Springwater Beach Rd connects twice with Boyne City - Charlevois Rd (C-56). If you are coming from Boyne City, you want to turn left the second time you see Springwater Beach Rd.




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

Milky Way, Workshop Field Trip, Lake Charlevoix

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

Workshop Field Trip, Lake Michigan

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 took Jim's photography classes at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts back in the 1990s. He 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 photography skills with his profession. Jeremy and Jim teamed up for a series of outdoor photography weekends for OSU's prestigious Stone Lab at Gibraltar Island, Lake Erie.

More testimonials, including longer versions of the above testimonials.

Northern Lights, Workshop Field Trip, Lake Michigan

Page Created September 13, 2022
Updated July 31, 2023.

[Home]  [About]  [Photos]  [Learn]  [Blog]  []  [Contact]

Copyright © Jim Doty, Jr. All rights reserved.

Shop at Adorama - one of the best, largest, and most reliable camera dealers on the internet.