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Connecticut DSLR photography workshops/Entry level and Intermediate/Learn manual controls and advanced techniques from a professional



West Cornwall Connecticut Covered bridge and reflections


Customized To Your Level of Experience ~ D-SLR & Mirrorless Beginners and Intermediate Photography Workshops in Western Connecticut  

Litchfield Hills and Southern Berkshires ~ Basic Photography Classes to Guided Nature Shoots 


I lead a unique series of D-SLR and Mirrorless (interchangeable lens) camera photography workshops designed for Beginner and Intermediate users alike.  My classes are fun, informative, creative and designed to inspire. Realizing the tight daily schedule requirements most folks have, my entry level instructional workshops won't take up your entire day. Whether you're a newbie, upgraded to a sophisticated camera system or want to brush up on your skills I can guide you along with workshops that take barely 3 hours.

I have just moved all of my Entry level workshops to the Makery Coworking located at 20 Bank St. in New Milford. Conveniently located just 30 minutes or less from towns like Danbury, Torrington, Southbury, Pawling NY, and Bristol.  I'm happy to do one-on-one, small groups and can accommodate as many as 10 in the conference room. Workshops must be scheduled with ME in advance.

If you would love to GIFT a workshop, WE DO GIFT CARDS! Simply use the Contact form in the menu above. 

This is a basic exposure chart above depicting the relationships between ISO/Shutter Speed and F-stops


New to Photography?  Tell That Camera who's the Boss!

My initial beginner's workshop (Pt. 1) takes about 3 hours and I'll go over the Exposure Triangle with participants and teach you how these functions relate to each other. (ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture) I find the majority of nubie SLR/Mirrorless camera owners with manual controls are intimidated by their gear, especially after not seeing the results they expected. My approach to showing you the basic technical skills and navigating the controls and menu's is quite practical. It's my goal to take you beyond the uncertainty and confusion with manual controls and feeling comfortable making manual settings adjustments.  Knowledge = power. It's time to tell the camera who's the boss!  Discover the pure joy of using the camera's manual settings and gain confidence each and every time you use it.  Please note, my SLR and Mirrorless camera workshops cover the photography essence of these cameras and not the video capabilities.  

Metering Modes   

Entry Level Workshops Pricing 

The entry-level (beginners) classes are $150.00 and last about 3 hours. Morning workshops begin at 9:00. I conduct these workshops at the Makery Coworking in New Milford, Ct.  You may invite a non-photographer guest to accompany you for a $40.00 fee. A non-photographer guest could be a spouse, a friend or relative, personal aid etc.. 

Part l - Entry level Workshop

I concentrate on the Exposure Triangle, the most important manual controls of your camera body. Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO. There is a complicated relationship between all 3, and I'll explain it in terms you'll understand and have participants take sample images to show you how it changes the image results.  I'll also explain different Metering Modes which are equally important for determining proper exposure and making the best images. Every modern D-SLR and Mirrorless camera has an integrated light meter that measures reflected light and helps determine the optimum exposure settings. Most digital cameras have 4 metering modes, each one works differently at attaining the desired image. During the first entry-level workshop, I'll also be showing you the camera's Histogram which is a really informative graph that shows you the pixel distribution of your exposure. Image size and quality settings are also covered, and you'll be amazed at how important this is. Terms such as RAW, JPEG FINE and JPEG BASIC are explained so you know what the best choice is before you begin shooting. Finally, I'll show you what the exposure compensation +/- buttons are all about and how to use them.

Part ll - Entry Level Workshop Follow-Up 

I suggest scheduling the follow-up Entry level photo workshop a few weeks AFTER the basic Controls (Part l) workshop described above. This gives you ample time to use your new knowledge at your own pace. In this follow-up class, I'll be explaining how lenses with different focal lengths work differently to attain unique perspectives  (Wide Angle vs. Normal mid-range vs Long telephoto) so you select the right lens and focal length for the image you want to make. The term "Maximum Depth of Field" by way of hyperfocal distance focus is also a popular subject in my Part ll workshops. I will provide you with (2) hyperfocal charts, one for full-frame 35mm sensors and the other for APS-C "1.5x crop sensors"

I also show you how and when to use Polarizer Filters and Neutral Density Filters for making more creative images and also for some really cool creative techniques you'll enjoy trying. In addition, I want to show you hands on the benefits of using a tripod for making great landscape photographs and for taking ultra sharp portraits of people and pets. 

If you don't have a collection of lenses, filters, and a tripod DON'T rush out to purchase them just yet!  Bring what you already own, and I'll be happy to demonstrate using my own Nikon full-frame SLR and Fujifilm mirrorless systems. The Beginners follow up is priced the same at $150.00 and it usually takes 3 hours to cover and demonstrate each of the above details.       


My workshops are NOT intended for iPhones or consumer grade Point and Shoot all in one cameras with built-in lenses. It's intended strictly for SLR/Mirrorless cameras with full manual exposure controls and interchangeable lenses.

The term SLR means "single lens reflex", and all SLR cameras have an internal mirror that moves out of the way when you activate the shutter to allow light to reach the sensor. Mirrorless cameras are very similar to SLR's in appearance and function without the internal mirror and they tend to be lighter and more compact.   

You should bring a digital SLR or Mirrorless camera along with a lens, a fully charged battery, memory cards and a healthy dose of enthusiasm!  Asking questions is encouraged, I LOVE what I do and I am thrilled to be able to assist you. Lastly, my workshops are orientated more towards adults and not youngsters. This is purely based on the fact adults are discretionary users. I recommend workshop attendees to be aged 18 years or over. 


Learn to SEEVisual DesignEffective compositionsBe Expressive, Define With Light  


Intermediate Photo Enthusiast Workshops

If you have completed both Pt.1 and 2 of the Entry level Workshops, the Intermediate workshop is the next phase.  Since you may already be well past basic skills, completing my entry level workshops are not a requirement.  If you're comfortable making manual adjustments to the camera's controls, you can swap out lenses with ease, are using polarizer filters & neutral density filters, and you use a tripod this is the workshop for you.

Geared Towards Nature and Landscape Photography

This is a hands-on workshop and a wonderful follow-up to my beginner's workshops. This workshop will likely require a field trip to one of my favorite scenic nature destinations in Connecticut's Litchfield County. I'll be teaching you how to get an amazing depth of field (focus front to back) in your images, selective focus with purposely out of focus backgrounds and how to artistically compose an image that captures your viewer's attention. I'll also show you how to correctly capture that silky ethereal flow of water in a stream or waterfall and how to determine the most favorable natural lighting for your subject. My experiences with Intermediate skill workshop attendees is they are thrilled to be able to see the results of their newly learned techniques and are very eager to schedule additional classes to build upon their new skills. You'll see improvements and acquire additional skills each time out.  

I recommend starting with either a Morning (sunrise) Workshop or Late Afternoon (sunset) session. Although I cannot guarantee amazing sunrise or sunsets, working those hours of the day usually provides optimal lighting for outdoor nature scenes and we can avoid harsh sunny mid-day lighting. If we get misty or foggy days or light rain that is great! I've spent 30+ years chasing bad weather to capture beautiful atmospheric conditions.  

When Are these Workshops Available?

Weekends, and during spring and summer months only. If you desire the Intermediate Photo Enthusiast workshop, this will require an early start to get you out when the lighting is appropriate for shooting nature scenes. Morning classes may require an early start if it may include a good sunrise opportunity. Plan on at least 5 hours. Late Afternoon classes I like to get started around 3:30 pm and last until sunset.

Intermediate Skill Enhancement Workshop Pricing

Since this requires a road trip and working in the field for several hours, they are priced at $250.00. 

Requirements for Intermediate Workshop

  • a D-SLR camera body OR Mirrorless camera and lens
  • a Tripod (this is important for long exposures and composing)
  • Ability to manually change exposure settings
  • comfortable hiking shoes
  • screw on circular polarizer filter that fits your lens
  • bottled water and a snack for some nature hikes
  • 2 or 3 stop circular Neutral density filter for waterfall/stream photography helps if you have one!
  • Charged batteries and storage media!! CF or SD cards
  • Cleaning kit/Soft lens cloth and appropriate cleaning solution (just in case)
  • Bear spray is optional for nature hikes. I always carry my own.
  • Lastly, you must be at least 18 years of age.





Front view of the full pro-Nikon D810. This is a D-SLR camera with a lens attached.


Nikon professional D-SLR 750 body top view

This is a top view of a Nikon D750 body. The control to the left is a multi-function dial. There is a LOT to learn to become a photographer


Spring and Summer Workshop Excursions 

I have included a few highly suggested regional scenics for the intermediate & advanced enthusiast to browse below. I've been so blessed, as several of my nature and landscape images within my portfolio have gone on to become iconic western Connecticut scenes after 12 plus years of being published in calendars, magazines, and various news media articles. Since I'm intimately familiar with them, I'm happy to show you how and where to get the best images from these locations.  


Laurel Ridge Foundation Litchfield CT Daffodil Festival

Beginning in April at Laurel Ridge Foundation - 18 acres of Daffodils!

Each year, this is the very first outdoor workshop destination I lead.  The Laurel Ridge daffodil festival is unique because the daffodil blooms last for just a few weeks. The blooms normally begin to pop by late April, and they may last through mid-May if we are lucky. Weather conditions play a significant role. I begin posting for these workshops on my FaceBook and Instagram pages sometime in March with the intent of keeping you informed of the conditions. 

Laurel Ridge daffodil workshops are strictly limited to 4 participants, and I can do them any weeknight. Guest may not follow the group closely, however, they are free to enjoy all 18 + acres as you participate in the workshop. I am respectful of the Ridge foundation's owners and grateful for allowing public access here, so I keep this low key. The goal is to be respectful of other visitors while providing my workshop clients with the best possible photo opportunities.

Laurel Ridge Workshop Fees

This is a hands-on workshop and we'll be quite busy photographing different scenes and moving from spot to spot. This workshop cost $185.00 per person.

Meet Up Times

This is a very easy location for me to meet up with you. It's on Wigwam Road about 1 mile after turning off off Rte 209 in Litchfield Ct. Please note: you are required to contact me and BOOK a workshop date.  Meetups are on location about 5:15 pm. In the past, I've had a few people just show up here without booking a workshop and wonder where I am. I want to be quite clear, DO NOT assume I'm waiting there for random people to show up.


Ridge Pond at sunset from the Laurel Ridge Foundation - Litchfield CT

Sunsets and reflections like this are common around 8:05 pm during the Daffodil Festival at Laurel Ridge ~ Litchfield CT.


Browse below for my other favorite Connecticut Scenic Location destinations

Traditionally by mid-May, after the Laurel Ridge Daffodil blooms dry up, the forest are just beginning to sprout colorful foliage. Thus, I begin guiding intermediate workshops to the wonderful waterfalls, forest, and streams in western Connecticut and the southern Berkshires. Some of my suggested destinations include Enders Falls near Granby, Falls Brook Natural area in Hartland, Campbell Falls in Norfolk and up into the southern Berkshires to Bash Bish Falls and Race Brook. These are all scenic regional locations to photograph and relatively easy to access. 

Sturdy hiking shoes are encouraged for all workshops and feel free to bring bottled water and a snack. I always carry bear spray into Race Brook and Falls Brook natural areas just in case we encounter a bruin that gets nosey. Black bears are common in Connecticut's northwest corner, however, most are shy and cautious of people. Feel free to browse the following locations I've listed below, and do not be bashful about requesting an excursion to any of these locations for your intermediate photography workshop! I'd love to help you capture amazing images that you will treasure and maybe even consider hanging on your walls!  

1) Enders Falls  A stunning series of unique waterfalls, 4 in all, located near Granby Connecticut. A river crossing is required, and no I'm not comparing this to the Yellowstone River so don't hyperventilate!  If you don't have waterproof hiking boots you may just get soggy feet. Once I get you to THIS scene, however, you'll forget your toes got damp in a hurry!

Enders Falls State Park image by Thomas Schoeller Photography

2) Race Brook Falls  Located in the Berkshires, this is a great year-round destination. There are two attractive cascades to photograph here, accessible by separate trails. The lower falls is a 1.25 mile in & out hike. The upper falls trail is steeper and approximately 0.5 miles longer each way. If we get soft muted lighting, we'll have time to shoot both falls!

3)  Falls Brook Natural area  This verdant oasis may contain the most luminous emerald green moss and picturesque small cascades in all of southern New England. It's just us and a few bears, and it's about a 2-mile round trip hike with plenty of subjects to photograph including a stunning waterfall at the end.

Cascades at Falls Brook natural area, image by Thom Schoeller photography

4) Campbell Falls  This spectacular waterfall is made of 2 significant cascades that straddle the border of Connecticut and the Berkshires of southern Massachusetts. Composing pretty landscapes here can be tricky, I'll get you into the right position for the best results. The image below is a magazine cover image I shot for Season's magazine of the Upper Falls at Campbells Falls State Park 

Magazine cover photo by Thomas Schoeller-Campbell Falls

5)  Bash Bish Falls  Photographic all year. The main attraction is a pair of cascades split by a giant hanging boulder. Steep granite cliffs surround a pool of turquoise water beneath the falls. This is a well-maintained hiking trail just a mile long. Numerous compositions exist here. This is a popular destination with hikers, and I find visitors here to be courteous of photographers. 

Bash Bish Falls during peak fall foliage by Thomas Schoeller

6)  The Bull Run Covered Bridge spans the Housatonic River rapids. It's located in South Kent Ct and is bordering NY state. During the warmer months, I prefer an early start here to avoid harsh lighting if it's calling for sunny skies. This is a pretty little bridge with several spots on the water to make interesting images from. 

Bulls Bridge is one of 3 CT covered bridges. Image by Thomas Schoeller

7)  West Cornwall Covered Bridge  Further north from the Bull Run bridge along scenic Route 7 is this brilliant red covered bridge. At the top of the page is a photograph I made from one of my personal favorite locations. There are a few interesting places to compose from. I tend to prefer smaller groups here or one-on-one classes.

West Cornwall covered bridge-fine art photographs by Thomas Schoeller

8)  Lake Waramaug Sunset from the Dock  If it looks like we will experience a colorful sunset with some clouds I have a wonderful location in mind!

Dusk from the dock along Lake Waramaug's shoreline. Image by Thomas Schoeller



Are you ready to reserve your Photography Workshop and make some great photos?

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