I just finished Day 1 at NatureVisions, a nature photography expo in Manassas, Va., and the photo-nerd in me is very happy. I spent the entire day in an auditorium listening to Matt Kloskowski giving a master class in landscape photography—and between looking at his stunning images and taking notes on all the advice he offered, my head is very full.

We learned about how he approaches any given scene, i.e., the steps he takes when he arrives, from sizing up where the light is coming from to deciding what he’s going to place in the foreground to choosing where he’s going to position the sun to deciding how to deal with the water (ocean, waterfall, whatever) in the photo—does he want to freeze it with a fast shutter speed, or blur it with a longer exposure?

We heard about the different kinds of light—side light, back light, diffused light, etc.—and though I’ve heard about this in photography seminars before, his comments served as a good reminder to stop and take a look at the kind of light you’re working with when you’re photographing a scene. He also introduced me to the idea that you can shoot right at the sun—you just need to position it on the edge of something, like some branches or a mountain or a building. You’ll diffuse the sun that way and get a nice starburst effect.

In the afternoon he showed some Lightroom/Photoshop tricks for improving your photos—he’s unabashed in his enthusiasm for editing photos, saying that he edits “110 percent” of his images. I learned some techniques I want to check into when I get home: some lens corrections, some sort of “guided” correction for making trees and buildings straighter, and an amazing color-correcting tool called Color Lookup Tables, among many others.

Matt is a very funny, engaging teacher, and apparently he’s got a lot of online instructional videos. Check them out sometime, and if you get an opportunity to hear him speak, don’t miss the chance.


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