SAIT PHOT 225 Scenic & Wildlife Photography Course

Summer Instructor Robert Berdan
July 24, 25, 26 - 2013

To register please click here to contact SAIT or for more information about their Summer Photography Certificate
Register through SAIT by phone at 403 284-7248

Baby foxes by Robert Berdan ©

Course Description: Emphasis will be on using specialized photography equipment, composition, close-up photography, ethics and safety in nature and wildlife photography.


Course Evaluation Pass\Fail based on slide show assignment.


Field Trips

  1. Burns Memorial Garden - for close-up photography
  2. Calgary Zoo - field trip to photograph animals and plants (Thursday all day, meet at the North entrance to Zoo)

Instructor Lesson Plan - PDF

Suggested Equipment:
35 mm Camera, digital or film, compact camera can be used but has limitations. A tripod is recommended. Emphasis will be on using digital photo-equipment.

Assignment: Show Portfolio of 12 images Friday for critique - Portfolio of images to include at least one of:

  1. mammal - hippo, tiger, lion, wolf, bear, moose, caribou, mink, otter, beaver, bighorn sheep etc
  2. plant, flower or tree - presented in an artistic manner
  3. bird - try to get as close as possible, if it is in an enclosure try not to show the enclosure
  4. arthropod (insect, crabyfish, crab or spider) - get as close as you can
  5. zoo animal and show the cage or enclosure
  6. landscape (prairie, mountains, lake, country, can include a road, fence, barn, river, trees etc
  7. fungus, fern or other primitive plant
  8. wild animal in its natural environment - bird, deer, elk, moose, squirrel, bird
  9. Any baby animal - species of your choice
  10. 3 other wildllife or landscape photos of your choice.

Most of these pictures can be taken at the zoo, wild animal shots can include a bird in your neighbourhood or a spider on a flower. If you already have some of these photos you can use some of your exisiting images.


Course Plan – Dates: July 25, 26, 27, 2012

Day 1: Lessons in class, afternoon short session on Macrophotography in Burns Memorial Garden in front of SAIT – students to bring macro lenses and tripods.


On becoming a professional Nature\Wildlife photographer - slide show PD about 90 minutes - slide show PDF




Guide to macrophotography tools and techniques - Slide Show PDF

Macrophotography E-book by Robert Berdan - Download PDF




Photographing Wildife at the Zoo - Slide Show PDF


Download and print the assignment - Check list PDF




Head down to Burns Memorial Garden to take photographs of flowers and insects

Day 2: Field Trip to Calgary Zoo meet at the north Gate LRT – 9:00 am outside the box office. Zoo passes are paid for by SAIT . Normal adult fee is $21. You are welcome to bring your friends or children with you but you will need to pay their fare.



Meet at the north entrance close to the LRT stop at 8:45 am - we will enter the zoo at 9:00 am

Robert will be at the following locations to assist you through out the day.


9:00 - 10:00 am Penquin exhibit - new

10:00 - 11:00 am Africa exhibit

11:00 - 12:00 South America and Eurasia Exhibit




1:00-2:00 pm - Enmax Conservatory plants and butterflies

2:00-3:00 pm - Austrailia exhibit

3:00-4:00 pm - Canada Wildlands


Dress for appropriately for hot weather, bring a bottle of water, tripods or monopods are optional. A zoom telephoto lens and macro lens are ideal. If you plan to shoot macro a tripod will be helpful.

Day 3: Lessons in class in the morning, Student presentations and critique in the afternoon. See check list of required images, students to show in class: 12-15 images.


Photographing Captive animals - Wolf Center in Golden

Ethics of wildlife photography - Slide Show PDF



Using Blinds

Photographing in our Parks

Photographing Wildlife in your own backyard - see article
Discussion about photographing in the Zoo - Pros and Cons

Panoramic Photography - have students photograph panorama of SAIT during lunch time





Students present their portfolios for critique and discussion




Where to learn more and improve - workshops, trips, camera store, importance of being exposed to different approaches and different instructors. The value of the web and books on photography.


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Short Movie of Baby Foxes Photographed near Airdrie, AB

Barren land caribou by Robert Berdan

Barren land Caribou in the North West Territories

Great Gray Owl in Flight by Robert Berdan

Great Gray Owl in Flight, 300 mm F2.8 lens + 1.4 X teleconverter.

Links to additional articles on Scenic and Wildlife Photography by R. Berdan


Kayaks on Maligne Lake next to Spirit Island at sunset


Slide Shows and Articles on Wildlife and Scenic Photography:

1) Camera Basics by Robert Berdan PDF
2) On Becoming a Nature Photographer by Robert Berdan PDF
3) Flower Photography by Robert Berdan PDF
4) Macrophotography by Robert Berdan PDF
5) Composition and the Elements of Design by Robert Berdan PDF
6) See additional notes on composition by Robert Berdan

Web articles on Wildlife Photography by Robert Berdan

7) Photographing Birds in Flight
8) Photographing Wolves by Robert Berdan
9) Photographing Grizzly Bears by Robert Berdan
10) Photographing Shore birds in Alberta by Robert Berdan

Locations to Photograph Animals in and around Calgary:


Instructional Videos and Interviews on Wildlife and Scenic Photography




Class Photo at the Zoo on July 26, 2012 - Download High Res picture here (7 MB).


Penguins Calgary Zoo by Robert Berdan  ©


Penguins at the Calgary Zoo


Tiger Cub

Tiger Cub Calgary Zoo




Buttefly on orchid at Calgary Zoo


Butterfly by Robert Berdan


Butterfly at Calgary Zoo


Butterfly by Robert Berdan ©


Butterfly at Calgary Zoo



Mountain Goat Calgary Zoo by Robert Berdan ©


Mountain Goat Calgary Zoo


2011 Class Photo at the Zoo

Download High res 10 x 6 inches, 300 dpi Photo Here. (Save target as to save to your Desktop).

Animal eyes by Robert Berdan ©

Hippo eye, Monitor lizard eye, Monkey eye, peacock eye

Lioness by Robert Berdan ©

Lioness through plexiglass window

Snow leopard by Robert Berdan ©

Snow Leopard - through the cage

Tiger by Robert Berdan ©

Tiger - extracted and a black background added

Zebra by Robert Berdan ©

Zebra hide out

Hippo - removing the ropes by Robert  Berdan ©
Ropes removed using Photoshop clone tool and content aware fill tool

Flamingo by Robert Berdan ©


Rock Hyak by Robert Berdan ©

Rock Hyaks from Africa

Flower from Africa exhibit by Robert Berdan ©

Flower from the Africa exhibit - shrouded in mist

Orchids by Robert Berdan ©

Orchids in Conservatory


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