Updated October 10, 2019
Participants in my photo classes and workshops. Call me at 403 247-2457 if you would like training and\or a Photography outing. I also offer gift certificates below.
My Approach to Photography Training
The best way to learn anything is to have someone show you and then for you to practise. Seek feedback on your work from those you trust and whose work you admire. Not everything a particular photographer does or tells you will work for you. You have to explore and experiment with what you learn to find out what works best for you and photograph those subjects that have meaning to you. A camera is only part of the process it is important that you learn to see and imagine what you want to capture.
Photography has several components 1) technical - understanding exposure, F-stops, ISO speed etc. 2) Aesthetics concerned with the nature and appreciation of beauty and understanding visual elements of design (see my article). 3) Post processing your image 4) knowing your subject whether it be animals,plants, people or capturing a specific activity e.g. mountain biking, sailing etc. 5) finally how do you wish to share your images - on a cell phone, web site, social media, making prints or creating photo books or making prints.
Photography is not brain surgery and anyone can improve and take good photos in a relatively short time. Modern cameras make learning photography easier and cheaper then ever before. There are lots of features on digital cameras, some are essentail and others are nice to know e.g. time lapse, image editing in camera etc. Once you understand the basics you can experiment with the many other controls and techniques like HDR etc.
Instant preview and automatic through the lens exposure make it possible for anyone to achieve professional quality images after a relatively short period of practice. Having a camera with you will also encourage you to look more closely at the world around you and you may come to discover things around you that go unnoticed by most people. Regarding cell phones they are capable of taking excellent photos and videos, but the quality of the images and the control they offer does not match that of good digital camera with interchangeable lenses.
In my workshops & private training sessions I try to focus on two things 1) answer any of the questions you might have and show you how to use your camera to its maximum potential 2) I take you to locations where you will have opportunities to photograph beautiful landscapes, wildlife and other flora and I will make suggestions on how you might improve your photos so they are more effective and creative. Pro-photographers may just want me to show them the best locations or help them find wildlife opportunities and I do my best to accommodate this.
I generally limit my outdoor workshops now to 1-3 people who I take out in my vehicle - for larger groups please contact me. This provides more time for one-on-one instruction. I offer discounts if 2 photographers sign up at the same time i.e. save $100 - total is $500, if three book at the same time save $225 - cost $675.00 total + GST.
I provide transportation from my place in Calgary, NW, I will pickup folks from a Train station (Dalhousie) if you are staying elsewhere in the city and I will pickup participants in Calgary, NW near Univ. Calgary. Those staying downtown Calgary can take a train to Dalhousie station.
Friends or spouses who are not photographers may join you for an additional $75 each. I provide a National park permit so there is no additional fee for participants wishing to visit a National park. You can hire me by the hour $65 or purchase packages of 8 hours $299, 15 hours ($499) and you can even break these periods up into 2-3 hour sessions. I am happy to combine out door shooting with image processing instruction on the computer. If you wish to hire me for several days please contact me to inquire about my availability. I will take you where you want to go to take pictures.
If you have a gift certificate please contact me to arrange a date you would like to go out - please provide me with at least 1-2 weeks notice. I have extra tripods if needed.
I use both Nikon and Canon gear including lenses from 8 mm to 500 mm. My photography interests are nature, wildlife, landscape, Aurora Borealis, sports, macrophotography and photomicrography. I have photographed for a newspaper, weddings, commercial portraits, hotels, museums and even family pictures. You can see samples of my commercial and magazine photography on my web site www.scienceandart.org. My teaching evaluations at SAIT average 90-95% overall satisfaction and I will do my very best to guide you in your pursuit of photography.
All participants in field trips are required to sign a waiver indicating they realize there are some risks in outdoor activities that can not be avoided (ticks, mosquitoes, wildlife, trees falling and other cars) - these waivers are standard and are also used by the University of Calgary on their field trips: Download Waiver waiver PDF. Participants must be at least 16 years of age or older unless accompanied by an adult.
Upcoming Workshops for 2019 and 2020 - Consider a Gift Certificate for your Favourite Photographer
Gift certificates for Workshops can be purchased below - the certificates never expire and they are good towards any workshop and can be used for a private session or outing.
Photoshop Training Level I or II - $299.00 Private sessions - group discounts max 4 - available all year by appointment
Photoshop I course covers basics including colour calibration, basic work flow, working with RAW files, layers, converting to Black and white, Sepia and colouring. The workshop includes a 90 page booklet on various techniques, participants should bring 5-10 images they want to work on in the class. Also if there is some technique or procedure you want to learn there will be time in class for me to show you - let me know before hand what technique it is you want to learn. You can bring a laptop or use one of my computers. Class goes from 9-4 pm with an hour for lunch. The Advanced Photoshop II course includes masking, channels, hand colouring, HDR, stacking, Hockney, Oil painting, Orton imagery, sky replacement etc. Both courses include printed manuals or PDF e books with step by step instructions approx 100 pages each.
Snowy Owls - workshop Max of 3. $299. Dates are by appointment December 2019, January and February 2020
A telephoto lens is essential for this workshop. We will stop for lunch during the day while we explore country roads outside of Calgary. I scout the roads ahead of time so have a good idea where we are likely to encounter snowy owls. I can be booked most days in January and February - I will take between 1-3 people in my Jeep. Note I can't guarantee owls, but in the past few years I have always been able to find a few. I don't bait the owls we photograph them where we find them though I do try to get you as close as possible. If we do not see any snowy owls, I will offer to take folks out on another date at my cost. See article from 2018 "Lucky Swedes" and my article on "Winter Owls"
High Magnification Macro and Photomicrography including Focus Stacking - contact me $299 max 3
High magnification macrophotography and photomicrography will cover macro lenses, using microscope objectives attached to extension tubes, Canon MP65-E lens, focus stacking, using drift method for focus stacking and high speed flash. I will also demonstrate various software programs Photoshop, Helicon Focus and Digicam control for capturing images and focus stacking. This workshop is for all level of photographers interested in macro and photomicrography. Workshops are held in my studio in Silverspings and go from 9 am to 4 pm.
Red Rock Coulée and Southern Alberta prairies. Max of 3 - $599.
In this workshop we will be staying overnight in Medicine Hat, hiking Red Rock Coulée then travelling through southern Alberta to photograph the prairies, old towns, barns etc. Suitable for all level of photographers. We will be photographing landscapes, barns, wildlife that we encounter in Southern Alberta. One night hotel and food costs are extra - about $150. Participants should be able to hike at least a1-2 kilometre. This is a 2 day field trip leaving early morning and arriving back in Calgary in the evening the next day - I do all the driving.
Winter Photography in the Badlands March , 2020 - max 3. $299
This will be a day long trip to Dinosaur Provincial Park in order to photograph the badlands in winter. Mule Deer are common in the park and we are unlikely to encounter any other people. We will leave early morning and arrive back in Calgary after dinner time. I will provide transportation in my Jeep. Our focus will be landscape and wildlife photography. If there is time we may search further south for some Pronghorn antelope. You can book this trip with me anytime of year.
Spring Wildflowers - Saturday First or Second weekend in June - Max of 3
Early June is the best time for wildflowers in Rockies. We will photograph calypso orchids, lady's slippers and other flowers. On this workshop we will travel to Rocky Mountain Parks to places where I know there is an abundance of wildflowers. There will also be opportunities to photograph landscapes and wildlife we encounter. I can provide transportation for three. See article on photographing wild flowers in the Rockies. All participants will be provided with an e-book on macrophotography. Participants will also receive an book on Macrophotography . I can provide some equipment for Nikon and canon users e.g. macro lens, tripod, closeup filters, bean bags etc.
Waterfalls & Rainforest's 2020 Workshop, weekends in June or July 2020 - Max 3 - $599 \person
In this workshop we will explore the Arrow lakes, Begbie creek falls, Sutherland Creek Falls and other waterfalls around Revelstoke, BC. We will also explore Mount Revelstoke National park. In addition to waterfalls and rainforest we will stop at Hemlock Grove Boardwalk in Glacier National Park BC. The tour will involve short hikes of 1 to 3 km so participants should be able to walk and carry their gear on these walks. I will provide transportation in my Jeep. The additional cost to participants will be for one night accommodation in Revelstoke or Nakusp which will be about $150. I plan to leave early Saturday morning (6:00 am) and drive about 4 hours to Revelstoke through the National Parks. We will be back in Calgary Sunday evebubg. A tripod is required for the waterfalls, telephoto and macro lens also recommended. Note food and one night accommodation are not included in price.
Autumn Landscape and wildlife Workshop - 3rd weekend in September when autumn colours peak - 2020 Max 3 - $299
In this workshop we will visit Kananaskis in the early morning for some landscape and wildlife photos. We will bring our lunch and spend the day visiting various locations in the park to take pictures of landscape and wildlife. A tripod is recommended, a wide angle lens and a telephoto lens. I will cover composition, use of grad and polarizing filters. We might do a short hike to photograph some waterfalls. Any hikes will be short. Bring hiking boots, camera bag, tripod and lunch. See my article on Kananaskis from 2018 to see what we might see and photograph.
Private training in photography - Alberta tours - all year $299/ day or $65\hr
I would be happy to arrange a day trip with you and provide transportation or show you how to get the most out of your camera for an hourly rate. Whether you are a beginner or seasoned pro I would be happy to offer you my instructional or guiding services in Alberta or parts of BC. If you just purchased a new camera I can provide instruction hourly for $65\hr on most cameras. Note while I have been able to always find snowy owls, I can not guarantee other types of owls or specific widlife (nor can anyone else unless they visit a rehabilitation center).
Learn to Restore Old photographs - $299\day or $60\hr - by appointment
I can show you how to scan images, photograph and enlarge old photos, fix them up, hand colour them or remove the backgrounds. I have been restoring old photographs using Adobe Photoshop for 20 years. You can bring several of your own old photographs and I will assist you in repairing them if you would like to see some samples of my work visit: scienceandart.org
Snow Flake Photography - Winter 2020 $299 Max of 4
We have winter for several months in Calgary and photographing snowflakes can be fun. You will learn how to use several macro lenses to take closeups of snowflakes, focus stacking and other techniques. The workshop will take place in Calgary NW Silversprings - in my backyard on weeekend. Since I can't predict when it will snow, if you are interested contact me and we can set something up for a weekend when it is predicted to snow. If for some reason it doesn't snow we will try another weekend. The workshop will start at 9 am to about 4 pm. Participants should bring a macro lens and DSLR.
Photography Basics for Beginners - 3 hours $150 6 hours $249 - Dates Anytime of the year - call me to book a session.
This workshop is aimed at those that might have just purchased a new camera and would like to know where to start and how to control their camera. I will cover the different shooting modes, shutter speed, ISO speed, exposure compensation, colour modes (sRGB vs Adobe RGB), how to use the histogram and more. Participants are asked to bring their camera, camera manual, lenses and filters they own and any other accessories. Also they should bring a list of questions they would like answered. I will also cover composition basics and participants will receive 2 books on DSLR basics and Composition suitable for reading on cell phone or table. The sessions will be held in my studio and in local parks e.g. Bowmount park. Text book recommended - The Beginners Photography Guide - $22 on Amazon.ca.
Photomicrography of Crystals - by Appointment full day $299
Learn how to use a microscope and polarizing accessories to photograph microcrystals. You don't need a microscope or even a camera - but you are welcome to bring a Nikon or Canon DSLR to attach to my microscopes. If you don't own one, you can use my cameras and take your images home on a USB stick or DVD. You will learn basics of polarization microscopy, you will make slides of a variety of crystals including Vitamin C, Citric acid, Epsom salts etc. An adult may bring along one child 10-16 years of age to watch and learn for free.
PHOTOGRAPHY AND PHOTOSHOP TRAINING COSTS - by the hour, 8 hr package or 15 hour package
1)$65\hr to cover any aspect of outdoor photography or Adobe Photoshop in my studio.
2) $299 + GST\ person package includes transportation from my studio in Calgary Northwest to any where within about 2 hours drive of Calgary for total of 8 hours (if you want to bring friends I offer a discounts for up to 2 additional people with camera gear ($150 extra per person). Note that driving time e.g. 1 hour to drive to and from mountain parks is included as part of the 8 hours if you need to be picked up in Banff for instance - leaving about 6 hours to photograph in the field. When there are extra photographers I add an additional hour per person for free. Additional time can also be alloted at no additional charge if you book several days at one time. Beyond this additional hours in the field can be purchased for $60\hr.
3) $499 + GST includes up to 15 hours of training. In the summer this might include from sunrise ~5 am) to sunset (~9 pm) or you could purchase 5 - 3 hour sessions and space them out over several weeks.
Have a group of 4 or more? Contact me to discuss group pricing etc. For seminars, workshops and photography services. I will gladly travel to anywhere in Canada if my travel and accommodation costs are reimbursed.
Photoshop I - enquire about private training when convenient to you.
This is suitable for anyone that has never used Photoshop, it includes introduction to the interface, calibrating your monitor, Basic work flow for .jpg and RAW files, colour correction, burning, dodging, Photoshop fixes, red-eye, clone tool, converting to Black and White, Sepia, repairing images, adding neutral density grad filters, extracting images, content aware fill, creating panoramas and more. Knowledge of how to use a computer is required.
Cost is $299 + GST\person. Limited to max of 4 per class.
Photoshop II - enquire about private training when convenient to you.
This workshop covers how to use curves, adjustment layers, blending modes, edge effects, masks and alpha channels to replace skies, how to create photo-montages, hand coloring, painting, actions, batch processing, creating a slide shows, contact sheets and more. Before taking this workshop it is recommended that students have had several year previous experience or have taken the Photoshop I workshop or similar training.
Cost is $299 + GST\person. Limited to max of 5 per class.
"Geeks paradise" Robert's digital studio is ideal for training small groups and includes both PC and Mac computers, LCD projector with big screen, color printers, private bathroom, fridge, darkroom, and digital music recording studio (note all computers now have LCD monitors, are calibrated, and 12-32 MB of RAM). Photo above is several years old I now have even better equipment including one Mac.
You can purchase a gift certificate for $299 + GST. The gift certificate can be used toward any of my workshops or a private training session for 7-8 hours a time that is convenient for the individual. The gift certificate ides not pertain to the Arctic Adventure workshop. These gift certificates do not expire. I can email the gift certificate to you or the person you specify - I will follow up on your order shortly after you purchase a certificate. To register for a workshop or private session the individual need only contact me to set up a suitable time or register for a particular workshop.
A Gift Certificate will be sent or emailed to you or the individual - it can be applied to any workshop or private training session and does not expire.
Purchase a Gift Certificate - be sure to specify the name of the person you would like this to be for.
If a specific workshop is not currently being offered you can still hire Robert privately or use a gift certificate towards any of these training sessions. If your gift certificate indicates $249 - you can still use it to take any of workshop for $299 with no additional fee. If you have a large group and would like to hire me for a day trip please contact me with your request and dates you have in mind to discuss pricing.
Participants get down to photograph "Old mans whiskers" in this Wildflower Photography workshop.
1. Individuals 16 -17 years of age require parents consent - a parent may come along during a private training session of a minor for $75 if they are not taking photographs.
2. All participants are required to sign a waiver understanding risks of being outdoors and it includes release of liability - View or download my waiver as a PDF
3. Refunds: Due to the limited number of positions available in my workshops I do not offer refunds. If you can not make a workshop, you can transfer to another workshop, or arrange for a private session, or offer your position to someone else. If a workshop is cancelled due to severe weather (i.e. roads are closed) or other unforeseen factor I will arrange an alternate date to accomodate you. If participants can not make the alternate date I will offer a private training session (note that in the past 30 years I have never cancelled a workshop). If you are visiting Calgary I require payment at two weeks in advance to reserve a specific date.
4. Participants can bring any kind of camera, though it is recommended that participants have a digital SLR, a tripod is recommended. I can loan out a few tripods or provide a basic DSLR with lens.
I can guarantee wildflowers at specific times of the year and I can guarantee beautiful scenery all year long. Weather is not usually a factor unless it results in road closures or it becomes dangerous to drive. Participants should dress in layers and be prepared for all types of weather as it can snow in July in Alberta. If you have any mobility concerns I will try my best to accomodate you so you can photograph from near my vehicle - feel free to call me to discuss any special issues.
If you have other photo ideas or would like to visit Waterton National Park, Writing-on-Stone provincial park, Emerald Lake in BC or anywhere else to take photographs contact me and I will see what I can do for you.
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Dr. Robert Berdan is a biologist and professional nature photographer living in Calgary, AB specializing in nature, wildlife and science photography. Robert offers photo guiding and private instruction in all aspects of nature photography and Adobe Photoshop training. Robert has a Ph.D. in biology.