Workshops and Tours

Gustav W. Verderber in the fieldWhether you’re a beginner, an amateur, or a pro, or perhaps you’re an environmental educator or a teacher interested in using your images as interpretive or educational tools, you're not interested in taking snapshots.  What you wish to do is to create compelling natural history images that will inspire, enlighten, sell, and reflect your passion about the intrinsic value of our natural environment. 

Sojourns In Nature tours and workshops will put you in the right place at the right time to produce professional-quality images of Earth’s natural wonders from New England to Australia.  Moreover, I'll be coaching you in every aspect of the art, from setting up your tripod in the field to calibrating your monitor and establishing a digital workflow to produce publishable and gallery quality nature photographs.  Whether in a small group setting of less than ten participants or in a private tour or workshop where it's just you and I, you will receive all the personal attention necessary to meet your particular needs, from learning the basics of digital photography to creating a custom trip itinerary to a location of your choosing.  Our personalized, custom tours have been featured several times in Nature Photographer magazine, most recently in the Spring, 2011 and the Summer, 2012 issues. 

As a naturalist with an M.S. in zoology and over three decades of teaching biology, zoology, and ecology at the post-secondary level, I can infuse all of my field programs with insights into the natural history of the environments we visit.  I have a fundamental understanding of all of Earth's major environments from alpine tundra to coral reefs.  Not only does this information make the experience more interesting and fulfilling for all involved, it makes us better nature photographers.

Our tour itineraries keep us in the field where we belong.  Box lunches are the norm and sometimes breakfast must wait until after the caribou safari and dinners are put off until well after sunset when, finally, at the end of an extraordinary day, photographing that bull caribou with his harem at dawn seems like it occurred two weeks ago.

And yet, our programs are very affordable since we avoid all frills and keep the necessary costs – including our own fees – to a minimum.  We use local guides and operators who are native to the area and clean, yet modest, accommodations (though with all the necessary creature comforts).  Moreover, I invariably choose operators who, under no circumstances, endanger, harass, or otherwise disturb or risk the well-being of the environments, animals, and plants we observe and photograph.

Immerse yourself in your passion and experience a Sojourns In Nature adventure.  We'll take you to the most spectacular natural locations on Earth, help you achieve your full potential as a nature photographer, and I personally guarantee that you will bring home some truly world-class images. 

Look over the itineraries below or contact me to discuss a personalized custom itinerary designed especially for you.

Photography Workshops & Tours

Foliage Photo Tour at Stowe Mountain Resort
Sojourns In Nature Guide Service and Custom Tours & Workshops - Guide Service and Custom Tours
Natural History Photography College Course Natural History Photography - An Accredited College-Level Course

Participant's Comments

“I just read your "Light and Color" article in the Spring 2011 issue of Nature Photographer Magazine and am writing to tell you that it is one of the most emotionally stimulating writings I have ever read.  The description of your emotions and those of your wife Cheryl while photographing a sunset at the Grand Canyon from Yavapai Point when the sun burst through a gap in the clouds brought tears to my eyes.  I felt as though I was there photographing with you!  I know what those moments feel like; my wife and I experienced it when we witnessed our first sunset looking out over Yosemite Valley from the Tunnel View location.  I was barely able to operate my camera as I photographed the scene in front of me.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entire article, and the ending with you and Eliot getting a "world-class calendar shot" of Mesa Arch at sunrise was fantastic.  Although you didn't publish your shot of Mesa Arch in the article I was pleased to see it on your website.  My wife and I have a trip to the southwest focusing on Zion, The Wave (I'm in the lottery and hope to get a permit), and Bryce in late October.  I can't wait!  Thank you so much for writing the article.”

Jeff Sagar
Dublin, OH
IT professional and avid landscape and nature photographer


“What an experience!  I thoroughly enjoyed the time my wife, Laura, and I spent with you.  I want to thank you for your patience with me and for sharing so much of your knowledge.  I am forever indebted for your help.  We’re really going to miss you.  Come back anytime!”

Everett Davis
Kalispell, MT
Nature Photographer and private workshop participant


Of all the workshop leaders we have photographed with, we connected best with you. We admired you for your integrity (as a person, a photographer and workshop leader), and your scholarly intellect.

Astrid Fernandez
Toronto, Ontario
Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour Participant


"Hi Gustav,

Delighted you’re going to go again to Arizona. It still stands as the high point of my photography career (so far, anyway!). I couldn’t recommend it more highly. While some of the new locations sound enticing (Monument Valley, Coal Mine Canyon, etc.), I’m afraid I couldn’t justify going again. Still, it’s a marvelous sojourn, and I hope you get a strong and curious crowd. They won’t be disappointed. Good wishes to you both,"

Kent D. Fairfield,
Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Management, Director for Education Initiatives
Institute for Sustainable Enterprise, Fairleigh Dickinson University
Arizona Light and Color Tour 2011 Participant


I would like to thank you for leading the great Blue Ox Moose Tour. This was my first pro photographer led tour and I thought you did an excellent job; your time and dedication to the objective was very much appreciated. I enjoyed your company, conversation, jokes, mishaps, and your insight to many things.

Bobby Ploetz
NYPD (retired)
Holbrook, NY
Blue Ox Moose Tour, 2010 Participant


"Gus,

We really wanted to thank you for such a wonderful trip! Your guidance and photographic expertise were invaluable! It was wonderful making your acquaintance, and adding a new friend to our list of special people we have had lead us on tours! Needless to say, the trip with Andy with only the three of us was an incredible afternoon, and the trip to Machias Seal Island to photograph the puffins was a "life-time" experience! Thank you again for your superb leadership and for being an incredibly great leader! Hope our paths can cross again. It would always be delightful to be "in the field" with you anytime! I'm looking forward to learning Photoshop (your guidance and tutelage should make it easier) so I can print off some of my fantastic Puffin pics.

Your truly grateful friends, John & Paula Parrish."

Dr. John W. Parrish, Jr., Emeritus Professor
Georgia Southern University
Author: Birds of Georgia
Tom Jordan Memorial Boreal Tour Participant, 2010


“The workshop was a wonderful introduction. Best of all, I never felt like a raw beginner in your class. You adapted your guidance to each person.”

Margot Hall, Spruce Peak Workshop Participant, June 2010


"I met you at Cape St. Mary's, NF in summer '07. You were waiting in the Nature Center for some light and I had just come in from having my mind blown out on the "rock". I had just started birding, and was contemplating getting into photography. You were very kind and we had a nice chat.

When I got back that night to my uncle’s house in Placentia I immediately jumped on his computer and checked out your website, and was blown away!

Just wanted to touch base and thank you for the inspiration."


Ed Schneider
Nature Photographer


"I can’t believe how much I learned during the week and how much I still remember! I’ve been using the techniques that I learned and am having much better results with my workflow and final pictures. I truly enjoyed learning about Vermont’s many plants and animals. The workshop has inspired me to learn more about the natural history of the northeast.
...
What I loved most about this program was that it took my photography to a new level in so many ways. I evidently gained more knowledge and confidence, but I also gained a lot of respect for the patience required to get absolutely superb shots. This respect is so deep in me now that I actually feel calmer when photographing this way.”

Kelly Schulze
Milk-Tester-Soon-To-Be-Photographer
Monkton, VT
Green Mountain Workshop Participant (June 2007)


"The workshop was a fabulous experience for me. The hands-on approach to each area of photography we learned helped to reinforce techniques because we were able to practice them over and over. To be able to spend as much time as we needed to get the shot just the way we wanted it, without being rushed was also great. The workshop was well organized, packed with so much information and yet was relaxed and fun at the same time. The experience fulfilled my expectations and then some.
...
You guys were the best. You were both professional, yet relaxed in your approach. You never appeared to be better than any one of us and were very generous with your time and experience. Your knowledge, work ethic and attention to detail made the workshop a pleasure to take. I learned so much from you. Your photographs weren’t bad either!!!
… this was truly the best workshop I have ever attended.”

Sue DeMaio
Photojournalist
Newington, CT
Green Mountain Workshop Participant (June 2007)


"Just thought you might like to know that I took 1st and 2nd place for Travel Photo of the Year at my camera club’s year-end competition last week. Both images were made on your photo tour – 1st place was of the icy dock with rising mist off the pond where we camped in VT while 2nd place was a picture of Bridal Veil Falls in NH. The awards luncheon is next weekend. Hope you are doing well. Take care and have a great weekend!"

Horst Staudner
Research Scientist
Weehawken, NJ
Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour Participant


"The tour was everything I had hoped for. I also hope that you and I will collaborate on trains, skis, life and such for a long time. Yer a good man, Gustav."

Eliot Scher
Retired Teacher
Carmel, NY
Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour Participant


"If a tour touches your soul as this one did, you can bet you will have the time of your life. We were sad to leave and wish we could have shared many more weeks with Gustav and the group."

Carol Seago
Job Developer
United States Forest Service
Tom Jordan Memorial Boreal Coast Tour


"Gustav was a great teacher. He was thorough, thoughtful, and fun! He knows photography!"

Robert Anyon
Attorney
San Francisco, CA
Tom Jordan Memorial Boreal Coast Tour


"The Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour was great! Gustav got us to perfect locations at the correct times. He offered suggestions on subject, framing, lens selection and then let us have all the time we needed at each location."

Scott W. Oglevee
Architect
Dover, MA
Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour Participant


"I found Gustav to be a highly principled, educated, knowledgeable, skilled, entertaining, and generous seminar leader. We now look upon Gustav as a friend, and would have no reservations in recommending him to you."

Donald Davies
Photographer
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour Participant.


"Gustav was very knowledgeable and when he didn't know something he wasn't afraid to admit it and find out the answer. (Many instructors would not admit ignorance.) He was easy to get along with and made the workshop fun."

Valerie Sparling
Wildlife Biologist
State of Florida
The Pigeon Key Subtropical Ecology Workshop Participant


"Gustav was always available and working to be sure everybody was comfortable. He is obviously concerned that participants get what they want out of the trip and he is very knowledgeable, easy-going, and enthusiastic."

Ellen P. Holtman
Associate Professor of Biology
Virginia Western Community College
Roanoke, VA
The Pigeon Key Subtropical Ecology Workshop Participant


"Gustav - thank you for an enjoyable introduction to a truly unique habitat. The range of experiences, organisms, and trips were wonderful!"

Dr. Wendy Ryan
Dept. of Biology
Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
Kutztown, PA
The Pigeon Key Subtropical Ecology Workshop Participant


"Gustav - thanks for the trip! It was an excellent way to see so much of a beautiful place."

Stacey Hoeltje
B.S., Biology
Mt. Laurel, NJ
The Pigeon Key Subtropical Ecology Workshop Participant

"Great trip! Great time! Learned a lot!"

Randall L. Detra, Ph.D.
Columbus, OH
The Pigeon Key Subtropical Ecology Workshop Participant


"I must say that you are very knowledgeable about the Florida Keys. You are good at what you do, obviously enjoy it, and it was a pleasure to work with you. You are always welcome here."

Dr. Dan Gallagher, Director
Pigeon Key Foundation
Marathon, Fl


"Greatly exceeded my expectations. I had the opportunity to shoot a wide variety of subjects from whales to wildflowers. A super learning a experience."

Sanford Morris
Curriculum Coordinator
Oakfield, NY
Boreal Coast Tour Participant


"It is amazing what you were able to teach us in such a short time. I have a totally new perspective on my photography."

Sanford Morris
District Curriculum Coordinator
Oakfield-Alabama CSD
Photo Camp-In Participant


"You are an excellent teacher, Gustav. As a professional trainer, I'm very picky about the courses I attend, and quite critical of the delivery. You made the subject challenging, interesting, and fun, and your enthusiasm made me look forward to each new day... it takes a lot to get me to awaken at 4:30!! You're very patient with my fumbling, mistakes, and repeated questions. Your knowledge of animals, insects, and flowers is a valuable aspect of this course. You know where to find interesting shots and can help students know what they're photographing. You've led me to consider photographing subjects... I never would have noticed before. So, the course was very broadening for me."

Roy Harkow
Trainer
Weston, MA
Green Mountain Nature Photography Participant


"Gustav showed me how to do things with my camera that I didn't know were possible, and he provided me with a strong foundation to build on. His talks were fact-filled, well presented, and to the point, and he checked with me to ensure that I understood the points he was covering before moving on. He was knowledgeable not only about many aspects of professional photography, but about wildlife as well. He also provided good, practical information about how to use equipment in a natural setting--which tripods work well and why, how to pack the equipment and carry it, how to get sharp shots at the limits of your telephoto lens, techniques for filming from a canoe, how to set up a blind and film effectively from it, and where to get coffee in Northeast Vermont at 4:30 am. (Yep, that last one was pretty important.) He made me aware of things I wouldn't otherwise have known, such as the need to calibrate the exposure meter in my camera (mine was off somewhat), what kinds of films work best in varying situations, and some very interesting techniques for getting natural-looking macro shots with a flash. I was always entertained, not only by his presentations, which were professional and engrossing, but also by the activities, like rowing a canoe out to the middle of a lake to film ospreys at dawn. As for being personable, Gustav and I spent most of five days together, and I've rarely enjoyed myself as much with anyone. He was friendly, open, knowledgeable, and helpful, and I came out of the class liking him a great deal."

Paul Fussell
Technical Writer, Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Richmond, CA
Field Internship Participant


"I left in awe of Gustav's talent and genuine concern for our environment. He shared his knowledge and experience with all participants and made us all feel involved in the experience regardless of our level of proficiency. The presentation of Gustav's "Sojourns in The Wild" was indeed a highlight - a very beautiful, moving hour filled with Gustav's magnificent images."

DiAnne M. Doss
Urbana, Ohio
Fall Foliage Magical Mystery Tour Participant


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