116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Editor's note: Rick Hollis, 64, of rural North Liberty, is past president and newsletter editor for the Iowa City Bird Club.
By Rick Hollis. community contributor
Keeping my mouth shut has always been a problem for me. Ask any of my teachers.
Brad Freidhoff, the Johnson County Naturalist, and I were talking about various ways I could help my friends with the educational aspects of the Johnson County Conservation Board's work.
In an obvious fit of mental weakness, I volunteered, “Why don't we do a workshop on nature photography for young people?”
Brad said, “Great!”
Now I had to figure out how to do it. Going into my “Way Back Machine,” I thought about a nature photography course I took at Lakeside Lab 20 years ago from Tom Rosburg. We had indoor sessions at which Rosburg talked and we spent lots of time in the field with our cameras.
I recently talked with Bob and Linda Scarth, local nature photographers, and got their suggestions for beginners.
So we launched it June 30. with four grade school youngsters, each accompanied by an assistant (a parent). We started indoors with a talk on “Nature Photography, Hints and Ideas.” Then we went outside the Conservation Education Center, taking pictures for two hours of the prairie plants that were blooming.
This is a great time to be on a prairie. There were birds going to the feeders and chipmunks going out to snatch seeds from under the feeders. We followed this with a walk to the wetland, taking some landscape pictures and doing our best to capture the bullfrogs, painted turtles and dragonflies around the pond.
After a snack in the air-conditioned CEC to get properly rehydrated, I spoke about “Photography, on Your Computer.” We looked at the young peoples' pictures, demonstrated photo-editing software and commented on their work. The students went home with a print of one of their images.
Their talent blew me away. I hope to see more photos from them over the years.
After the students left, Freidhoff turned to me and said, “That went well, we will have to do it again next year.”