© Julio Aguilar

A Wild World: 2017 Nature Photography Workshop Recap

The 2017 Summit Sports Photography Workshop was held in Denver, CO on July 12-17, 2017 and included an incredible faculty of instructors and an eager group of students.

A Wild World: The 2017 Nature Photography Workshop in Pictures

   September 24 -29, 2017 | Jackson Hole, WY      

Nature & Wildlife photography creates a special bond between the photographer and the natural world around them. It illuminates the fact that we are simply one of many different types of species to be on this planet, and that there are bigger things at work than our human societies. The more that we can photograph, document and learn about the world around us, the better we will understand our ever-changing and ever-growing role on this planet. In many ways, nature photography is the most important type of photography, in addition to being many people’s chief interest.

For a week in beautiful Jackson Hole, WY, workshop attendees met with an astounding group of instructors and models at the 2017 Summit Nature Photography Workshop to photograph the incredible wildlife and landscapes of the Grand Teton National Park area, learn new nature photography techniques, meet the best wildlife photographers and editors in the industry, and develop new lifelong connections and friendships. With the help of our sponsors Nikon and Manfrotto, attendees were able to rent out the latest and greatest Nikon camera bodies and lenses as well as the cutting-edge tripods from Manfrotto to use during the workshop.

 2017 Nature Photography Workshop attendees came from all over the world to better their nature and wildlife photography techniques, make new connections and reach a new Summit in their photography. Those attendees got to photograph an incredibly diverse selection of wildlife like bison, grizzly bears, pronghorn, moose, and more, while they got to photograph some of the most incredible landscapes like String Lake, Oxbow Bend the Snake River and more!

Attendees were taught by some of the most talented photographers in the industry who are absolute nature and wildlife photography experts, including Nikon Ambassador Dave Black, National Geographic photographers William Albert Allard, Jodi Cobb, and Jim Richardson, and expert nature photographers, conservationists and editors Michael Forsberg, Melissa Groo, Wes Pitts, Dave Showalter, Allen Murabayashi, Bob Smith, Stan Honda, Tom Bol and Morgan Heim.

2017 Nature Workshop Faculty

Dave Black - Summit Lighting Workshop

Dave Black

Nikon Ambassador

A Nikon Ambassador and one of the pioneers in the conversion to all-digital photography, Dave Black is best known for his sports photography including covering Olympic games for more than 20 years for Newsweek. Constantly reinventing himself, he’s currently pushing new frontiers in combining lightpainting and western imagery, photography well suited for a gallery wall.

William Albert Allard - Photography at the Summit

William Albert Allard

National Geographic

One of the National Geographic’s most prolific and talented photographers, Bill Allard’s artistry has resulted in some of the Geographic’s most memorable stories and individual pictures from the American West to the streets of Paris, France. Full of vigor, Allard’s critiques are classics and his no-mince-words approach embraces insightful and useful advice.

Jodi Cobb - Summit Photography Workshop

Jodi Cobb

National Geographic, iLCP

Some of the National Geographic’s most unusual stories have been done by this photographer who brings a unique and artistic approach to her work over many years on the magazine staff. Her book, “Geisha,” written and photographed in Japan was widely acclaimed for its beauty and insight. Most recently, she photographed a very different and tough story about human bondage in its many forms from slavery to trade in children. Jodi has also recently become an Associate Fellow of the iLCP.

Jim Richardson - Summit Photography Workshops

Jim Richardson

National Geographic

Jim has work appearing regularly in National Geographic magazine and National Geographic Traveler in addition to Geographic books. Jim is on assignment for Nat Geo projects almost full time and for good reason. Richardson, a onetime newspaper photographer in Kansas and Colorado, brings amazing story-telling techniques along with detailed research to his pictures. Thirty years ago, he began photographing the area around his hometown in north central Kansas.

Melissa Groo

Melissa Groo

iLCP Associate Fellow

Melissa is the wildlife photography columnist for Outdoor Photographer magazine and a contributing editor to Audubon magazine. She chairs NANPA’s Ethics Committee, and writes and speaks frequently on issues of ethics and conservation in wildlife photography. Melissa’s photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines, including Smithsonian, Audubon, Birdwatching, National Wildlife, Living Bird, Nature’s Best, Montana Outdoors, and New York State Conservationist Magazine. Melissa has also recently become an Associate Fellow of the iLCP.

Michael Forsberg

iLCP Senior Fellow

Mike is a senior fellow with the iLCP who has focused his career on North America's Great Plains, its prairie wildlife, and watersheds. His work has appeared in National Geographic and Outdoor Photographer, and his books On Ancient Wings and Great Plains - America's Lingering Wild have been turned into documentary films for PBS. Mike is co-founder of the Platte Basin Timelapse Project, and currently serves as faculty with the University of Nebraska.

Wes Pitts

Wes Pitts

Outdoor Photographer Magazine

Wes Pitts is the editor of Outdoor Photographer magazine and the editorial director for Madavor Media’s Creative Division, which also publishes Digital Photo and Digital Photo Pro magazines. Wes has been with OP and its sister publications since 1998, working in a variety of editorial roles. He has a passion for collaborating with photographers and writers to share compelling stories about the art of photography and employing the medium to create awareness and inspire conservation of wild places.

Dave Showalter

iLCP Senior Fellow

Dave Showalter is based in Colorado and focused on the American West. Dave has published two books – Sage Spirit, The American West at A Crossroads by Braided River (2015); and the award-winning Prairie Thunder by Skyline Press (2007). Dave's photographs and articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Audubon, Conservation Biology, Outside, Outdoor Photographer, National Parks Magazine, High Country News, Wilderness, Colorado Life and elsewhere.

Bob Smith - Summit Photography Workshops

Bob Smith

Elk Meadow Images

Bob Smith creates fine wildlife portraits, environmental, and landscape images. He travels extensively throughout the year, conducting both wildlife field photo workshops and classroom sessions on digital workflow. His work covers locations in Antarctica, Africa, Alaska, Canada and the western United States. His images have appeared in publications including those from National Geographic, Nikon, Nature Photographer and Conservation Society. Smith was formerly the Director of Mangelsen Stock Images and has published two books, “Alaska to the Arctic” and “Antarctica – Land of Ice”.

Allen Murabayashi - Summit Photography Workshops

Allen Murabayashi

Chairman & Co-founder, PhotoShelter

Allen Murabayashi is the Chairman and Co-founder of PhotoShelter, the worldwide leader in photography portfolio websites, photo sales, marketing and archiving tools for photographers. Allen previously served as a founding employee and Senior Vice President of Engineering at HotJobs.com.


Morgan Heim

iLCP Senior Fellow

Morgan (Mo) Heim raises a camera for one purpose – to capture moments in an animal’s life that will make us consider what that life means. Inevitably, those stories involve people as much as wildlife. How we treat them. Why we need them. What we love, or hate about them. Mo, used to work as a wildlife ecologist for NOAA on things like killer whale surveys and the Elwha Dam Removal project. She later earned a Master’s in environmental journalism and is a senior fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). She has covered endangered fishing cats and shrimp farm development, and the environmental impacts of marijuana grows in our nation’s forests.


Tom Bol

Sandisk Extreme Team

Tom Bol is an editorial and commercial photographer based in Colorado. National Geographic Adventure listed Tom as one of “50 of America’s Top Visionaries” for his photography, and he has been featured in numerous photography magazines about his creative lighting techniques. Tom is a member of the Sandisk Extreme Team recognizing his continual drive to create unique images in challenging environments. He is an instructor at KelbyOne, and Photo District News labeled him as one of the best photo workshop instructors in the country.


Stan Honda


Stan Honda is a photojournalist with 34 years of experience in New York City and southern California. Over the past few years he has been working on night sky landscapes and other astronomical images taken in locations around the world and even in New York City. He has been a National Park Service artist-in- residence in five national parks.

Ron Taniwaki - Summit Photography Workshops

Ron Taniwaki

Nikon Professional Services

With over 30 years in professional photography, Ron Taniwaki currently serves as a Nikon Professional Markets Technical Representative, providing training to News, Magazine, Sports, Adventure, and Wildlife photographers on how to utilize the features of their equipment. Ron teaches forensic photography and photographs aerospace photography, like shuttle and rocket launches.

2017 Nature Workshop Recap Video

Student Photos

Classroom Events & Behind-the-Scenes

Classes, Presentations and Portfolio Reviews

A great deal of photography is not spent out in the field photographing subjects but rather at home or on the computer maintaining equipment, editing photos, and building connections in the industry. In addition to being able to shoot out in the field alongside elite photographers, attendees to the Nature Photography Workshop also got the chance to learn some of the non-shooting aspects of photography, like post-processing and camera maintenance. With instructional classes, portfolio reviews, roundtable discussions and evening presentations, attendees are given a wide array of options to learn about the business of photography as well as what makes a desirable photograph.


I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity to be surrounded with such a successful group of photographers. These instructors were incredibly helpful and engaging. This workshop is a steal for what we were provided with. Happy to be part of the Summit Family and can't wait for my next workshop.

-Amy Ames, Holly Springs, NC

Highly recommended - quality and friendliness of staff are what make the event exceptional. Walked away with tremendous growth, new friends, and future opportunities.

-Eric James Stavale, Frederick, MD

The workshop was exceptional in every way and was one of the most memorable experiences of my nearly 75 years on the planet! The venue was spectacular and the instructors could not have been more helpful and friendly. The staff was unbelievably helpful and all were exceedingly pleasant. In short, this was a top flight experience from beginning to end.

-Bill Kraft, Englewood, FL

Chris, Steven and Melyssa did a fantastic job to make sure all the scheduled events went smoothly. As for the instructors, very friendly, approachable, funny and willing to answer any questions that I had. Their evening presentations were very inspirational and the quality of their work is superb. Highly recommend this workshop!

-Dan Ion, Rockville Center, NY

The Summit Landscape Workshop was such an amazing experience - it far exceeded my expectations. All of the instructors were extremely talented, passionate photographers that were more than willing to not only share their expertise but also genuinely were there to help the students throughout the week. I will definitely be returning for another workshop in the near future.

-Stacy White, Bradenton, FL

The Summit Nature Workshop is the best workshop of its kind. With a conservation minded focus you get the opportunity to learn from the best nature photographers in the business. The faculty and staff have created a world class learning environment that strives to inspire the next wave of nature photographers.

-Jennifer Leigh Warner, San Jose, CA


The 2017 Nature Photography Workshop was certainly one to remember. With an exceptional cast of instructors and a dedicated group of attendees, the amount of photographic learning during the workshop was stunning. Not only did the students create amazing images that they can be proud of, they also created friendships that will help them expand their network in the photography industry.

We’d like to give a special thanks to Julio Aguilar, Melyssa St. Michael and Matt Stirn for assisting during the workshop and capturing behind-the-scenes footage. We’d also like to thank the staff at the National Museum of Wildlife Art and everyone else who helped us create great images during the workshop, we could not have done it without you!

© Julio Aguilar

© 2017 Julio Aguilar

To Learn More About the Nature Photography Workshop
And To Sign Up For the 2018 Nature Photography Workshop:


Visit our Nature Photography Workshop Page.

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