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Spring flower, petroglyph photo classes offered at arboretum

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Maggie Leef Photography

Wildlife photographer Maggie Leef will give a series of classes in basic and advanced photography at the Boyce Thompson Arboretum.

You’ll find a camera in most every household — there’s usually also at least one photographer who wishes those pictures came out better.

This month, wildlife photographer Maggie Leef kicks off a series of informal classes exploring basic and advanced photo techniques at Boyce Thompson Arboretum. The workshops blend classroom time with “in the field” chances to explore the gardens and learn your camera settings alongside a pro — so make sure to bring your camera to class (the owner’s manual and a tripod, too, if you have them).

Spring wildflowers are already beginning to appear, and floral photography is the topic explored during a Friday morning workshop Feb. 20. Other sessions include “Nature & Wildlife Photography for Beginners,”  and in March there are separate sessions on “Basic Photography: Camera Settings and Applications”  and also a special two-part Archaeology Month workshop dedicated to petroglyphs, including Saturday class time and a Sunday hike up the hieroglyphic canyon trail with Site Steward and ethnobotanist David Morris leading the walk as a special guest.

• Nature & Wildlife Photography for Beginners with separate sessions on Feb. 18 and again March 25 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Leef describes this Wednesday morning workshop as “a practical session for beginners who want to learn basic photography skills — appropriate for those who shoot with disposable cameras and compacts, as well as those with more advanced cameras. Topics include detailed composition guidelines and simple aids and props that may be used, as well as appropriate preparation, dressing and behavior for shooting in the field or near water. Some popular misconceptions will be addressed, so prepare to be surprised.

• Photographing Spring & Summer Color will be Feb. 20 and March 27 from 1-4 p.m. For beginners and intermediates who want to improve their flower and garden photography. Some topics in this workshop will overlap Leef’s basic photography class, but this Friday morning session will be a more intensive workshop focused specifically on spring and summer wildflowers, flower and garden photography. Topics covered include composition, exposure and metering, light, using color to create mood, and “problem” colors and color casts. Aids, props and some optional equipment will also be addressed.

• Basic Photography: Camera Settings and Applications March 26 from 8:30-11:30 a.m. Intimidated by the symbols, buttons and dials on your camera? You’re not alone. This fun, hands-on Thursday morning workshop for beginners and intermediate photographers is designed to introduce a variety of camera features and offer practical ideas on using them in the field. Topics covered include Your Camera (Quality Settings, Menus, Shooting Modes, The Photographic Triangle, Bracketing, Metering, White Balance, Exposure Compensation and Filters), Care and Housing Your Camera, and Field Notes and More (Composition, Wet Weather Shooting, Props and Techniques).

• Petroglyphs: A Path To Deeper Appreciation is March 28 from 8:30-11:30 a.m., with an optional field trip

Sunday morning to photograph the ancient symbols carved into rocks along the Hieroglypic trail north of Gold Canyon. Sunday’s walk from 8-11 a.m. will feature a guest tour guide — Ethnobotanist David Morris will help lead the walk March 29 as part of this workshop which celebrates Archaeology Month. According to Leef, “petroglyphs are an irreplaceable part of our national heritage. This workshop is for participants who want to learn more about petroglyph appreciation and petroglyph photography. Topics covered include petroglyph respect and preservation, historical perspectives and context, terminology and usage concerns, federal and state laws and the Arizona Site Steward Program. A discussion of petroglyph photography includes sections on composition, light, filters and reflector usage, as well as using specific camera settings such as metering, bracketing, white balance and exposure compensation.”

Call Boyce Thompson Arboretum gift shop staff at (520) 689-2723 during daytime business hours to enroll; the cost for each class is $32.50 for nonmembers, $25 for BTA annual members. You’ve never been to the Arboretum? Enrollment includes your day’s admission to this beautiful, photogenic Arizona State Park located about 45 minutes drive west of Globe-Miami  (or a half-hour east of Apache Junction) on Highway 60, right near milepost #223 as you approach the historic copper-mining town of Superior. Want a preview of the scenery? Browse visitor photo galleries or watch BTA video clips online at  the award-winning Web site ag.arizona.edu/bta.

The Arboretum has a variety of guided tours and special events throughout February and March, including bird walks every Tuesday morning and on select weekend dates at 8:30 a.m., a “Trees” tour with Horticulturist Kim Stone Feb. 15 at 1:30 p.m.,  the “Plants of the Bible” walk Feb. 21, “Edible/Medicinal Plants” tour with Apache Junction authors Jean Groen and Don Wells on Feb. 22, and a  new geology walk guided by Ben Henderson on Feb. 28. Check the Web site  ag.arizona.edu/ bta  for complete details.

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