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NatureScapes - Workshop Testimonials
Testimonials
Greg is a great photographer and more importantly he is a fantastic person. He attends to everyone's needs and had a good rapport with each of the folks at the lodges. He knows how to bring people together and have them function as a cohesive unit under challenging circumstances. I will never forget the day at Sea Lion Island when the wind gusts were 85 knots (97 mph). We were both out there loving it, even though we had a hard time seeing each other from 20 feet away with the blowing sand and rocks. For craziness, I knew I had met my match with Greg. When we filled out the form for what we expected from the trip, I had asked for a tutorial on flash photography. Sure enough he not only had read what I had wrote but gave us an excellent tutorial on use of flash. This to me is the mark of a person who listens and who wants to please his clients. I highly recommend Greg, without reservation, for anyone interested in his workshops. I now consider him a true friend. Thanks!
John G.
Ultimate Falklands - Falkland Islands
The reality of our experience with Greg Downing during the Ultimate Africa Experience workshop FAR EXCEEDED our expectations. We chose NatureScapes because of Greg. Based on our past interactions with him at conferences as well as a previous trip, we knew this trip would be well organized and that we would enjoy spending time with and learning from Greg. The itinerary that Greg designed certainly was “the ultimate African safari”. His photographic support was invaluable in making MANY high quality images. Both our driver/guide, Ellson, and the other driver-guide, Thomson, were also primary reasons why the trip was so enjoyable and successful; they were extremely knowledgeable and genuinely cared about providing us with the best safari possible. We were surprised at the opportunities to closely view and photograph an enormous number and wide variety of wild animals in their natural environment—many times with no one else around us for long periods of time. Ellson was especially patient and accommodating with our interest in seeing a variety of birds as well as the spectacular mammals. We thought of this as a “once in a lifetime trip”. Now, we are saving up for another African safari, hopefully with NatureScapes—it was THAT AMAZING!
Debora and Paul Novak
Ultimate Africa Experience
The experience was extremely fulfilling. Photographers are keen to share their tricks and techniques with each other and it was great to be included in the camaraderie. All 3 of the guides were knowledgeable and their expertise complemented each other well. I especially enjoyed Jóhann's insight into Iceland, its birds and history. The enthusiasm of the guides was infectious and even in adverse weather conditions the holiday was fantastic and exceeded my expectations.
Megan A.
Ultimate Iceland Adventure
The locations like Látrabjarg, Flatey and Floi were beyond my expectations as a birder, as was the simply stunning scenery at every turn. But apart from the natural wonders, it was also fantastic to meet such a great group of like minded people.
Whayne P.
Ultimate Iceland Adventure
I was very satisfied—it was amazing how much my photography improved from the beginning to the end of the trip! Piper and our guides really helped with knowing the proper positioning for morning light to golden light.
Roger L.
Best of Kenya - Kenya, Africa
Piper was instrumental in making this workshop a success. She was timely, organized, and helpful with photography questions. She worked well with the guides to get them in the best positions. She was mindful of each client's needs; those needing a little guidance and those needing more. She worked hard to see that she rode with everyone equally in the vehicles to share her expertise and to see how they were doing.
Sandy S.
Best of Kenya - Kenya, Africa
The best workshop I have been on in many ways; hands-on approach, terrific leaders, knowledge, and the ability to instruct and willingness to help were extraordinary. We had a wonderful time and are very happy with the images we have. We are looking forward to the next adventure with NatureScapes.
John & Lorraine W.
Hummingbirds and Toucans - Costa Rica
I especially enjoyed the shoots, of course the loons, but also the opportunity to see and photograph birds I don't normally see: Ruddy Duck, Red-Naped Sapsucker, Mountain Bluebird, Stellar Jay, and Evening Grosbeak. Greg and Alan, you do a superb job of teaching—not just getting us to a shooting position, but teaching as we go. Thank you.
Julie J.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
The photo opportunities regarding the loons greatly exceeded my expectations. I live on a lake myself and because I'm pretty well the only person here, there is no way you can approach loons that closely as they are very wary of people. The leaders were outstanding in their patience and guidance. They really know their stuff and how to get it across. The workshop was well organized in spite of the weather and the meals were super!
Larry C.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
This was my first workshop with Greg and I really enjoyed my time with him. He is thorough and yet easy going. I have done a number of workshops with Alan and he never fails to provide the best opportunities for beautiful images, no matter the effort involved.
Barye H.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
More than ample opportunities to photograph loons and great attention to lighting and backgrounds by Greg and Alan when maneuvering the boats into position. I didn't expect the opportunities to photograph the snipe, Virginia Rail, or sora—3 notoriously difficult birds to see. Amazing! The flicker was also a treat. Surprisingly, I enjoyed shooting in waders most of all! Plus, it's something I may be able to put into practice at home. And Ruddy Ducks, wow!
Valerie K.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
Greg and Alan did a great job. Greg is the best loon boat driver ever. Alan can find birds and deliver them to you on a perfect perch. Both are lots of fun, good and patient teachers, superb photographers and just overall nice people. I am feeling encouraged and challenged to raise the standards on my own image making.
Roberta O.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
NatureScapes leaders are accomplished photographers who are willing to share their knowledge and help each participant improve in their photography knowledge and skills.
Sheila R.
Chincoteague Weekend Event - Virginia
It was my first experience at an event like this. As a true beginner I learned a lot about my camera. I thought the instructors were excellent; patient and willing to do anything to help me in the field. I am definitely looking forward to attending another event.
Ross C.
Chincoteague Weekend Event - Virginia
After many years spent mostly as a “grip-and-grin” photographer for an organization, this workshop helped fulfill my wish to become more proficient at photographing nature and wildlife for a change, while having a good time doing it.
Ruth S.
Chincoteague Weekend Event - Virginia
I had a great, relaxing time with Greg and the other students. It was a fun and stress-free time and I left the class shooting at a higher level than when I went in, especially for using longer lenses.
Alex C.
West Coast Rookeries by Boat - Sarasota, Florida
The photography opportunities were excellent. I loved the trip and will be back for more.
Lee S.
Hummingbirds and Toucans - Costa Rica
Greg was the best workshop leader I have had the pleasure to have worked with. Unlike other experiences, his focus was on the participants and helping them improve their photography.
Michael C.
Rainforest Macro Photography - Costa Rica
I love the beauty of nature and people. This workshop combined both of these loves. Costa Rica is a beautiful country; pair that with a group of supportive, friendly people and you come up with a winner of a trip.
Nancy A.
Rainforest Macro Photography - Costa Rica
Great photographers are not always great instructors; E.J. Peiker is both. He offered suggestions and made himself available immediately to help with any questions or problems in the field. We felt he was there primarily to help the participants and provide a great experience.
Patrick P. & Carol G.
Arizona DuckShop™ - Phoenix
I have been a photographer for over 50 years. I never want to stop learning, and this workshop was a great learning opportunity. Multi-flash technique is an amazing way to freeze even the fastest hummingbird motion. Greg is a great instructor who made this technique come alive. I highly recommend this workshop.
Marc B.
Hummingbirds and More - Ecuador
Gloria and I really enjoyed the experience. Although she is a non photographer, the leaders and guides went our of their way to make her feel like a part of the group.
John J.
Hummingbirds and More - Ecuador
I really appreciated Greg's supportive approach and his willingness to respond to our questions. His knowledge and experience did not come across in an arrogant way, but rather gave us access to the kind of gains that we could hope to make in improving our approach.
Daniel G.
West Coast Bird Rookeries by Boat - Sarasota, Florida
As a biologist, this trip was a thrilling and long awaited exposure to the tropics. I took my share of photos, too, but also enjoyed taking in the culture and scenery of Costa Rica. It was a very mellow, compatible group of people. The lodges chosen were perfect for our purposes and I'd like to visit them again. Thanks for organizing such a wonderful trip!
Stephen and George-Ann M.
Hummingbirds and More - Costa Rica
Along with their expertise in photography, Greg Downing and Greg Basco have very good senses of humor, which can be particularly important when dealing with a variety of personalities among the workshop attendees. They worked very hard to answer all questions and to anticipate logistical problems and deal with them promptly. Jóse, too, contributed mightily to the quality of the overall experience, with his quiet competence and knowledge of the birds and other ecological elements.
Eric W.
Hummingbirds and More - Costa Rica
Greg B. and E.J. were wonderful. The trip met all my expectations and I obtained most of the photos that I wanted. Greg is outstanding with his knowledge of Costa Rica and his friendship with many people that allowed us much better opportunities for outstanding photography. Also, we also could not have done this trip without Jóse, who is more than the bus driver. He is an integral part of the team and he has great photography skills also. This was my second trip to Costa Rica with Naturescapes/Foto Verde and this year outdid last year. I really did not want to leave!
Myer B.
Hummingbirds and More - Costa Rica
I have attended MANY workshops over the years, but no experience even begins to compare with the incredible Tanzania trip that we just experienced. In addition to learning more about life and more about photography, Dik and I had the time of our lives! We are huge Greg Downing fans! This was my fourth Greg workshop, but definitely not my last!
Patricia H.
Ultimate Africa Experience - Tanzania
My first trip to Africa, and I am so glad we were able to experience it with Greg at the helm. The itinerary was good. We were able to see diverse habitat and animals, of which there were plenty! Greg is very good at showing me what to take photos of, especially guiding me to try more artistic shots as well. I found that exciting! Also, getting the habitat in the photo, not just concentrating on the animals filling the frame. I was so happy when Greg helped me! It got me excited about trying new ways to see and photograph my surroundings, because there were many times I experienced "sensory overload" with animals everywhere! What to photograph? Vast landscapes as far as the eye can see... how to capture that? Greg helped me. And he has a very calm and easy manner. In a nutshell, he's a very good instructor. And he was very knowledgeable of the area. He knew where to go and we kept going. At a good pace, I think. So overall, I can say it was fantastic! Thanks Greg!
Lorelei M.
Ultimate Africa Experience - Tanzania
Greg was an excellent leader, working hard to get everyone the best possible photographic opportunities. He made himself always available for questions, instruction and constructive criticism. He ROCKS!
Lori R.
Coastal Brown Bears Adventure - Lake Clark, Alaska
All in all the workshop was well organized and we were able to photograph bears at close range with the best light possible. I am very happy with my images from the trip. Greg did a good job instructing us, and made sure we where in the right spot to get the shot.
Bill R.
Coastal Brown Bears Adventure - Lake Clark, Alaska
I have traveled all over the world doing photo workshops and I have been with some of the very best and well known professional photographers. I have to say Piper provided an outstanding trip. Her attention to detail was I believe noticed and appreciated by everyone. I would love to travel with her again and hopefully soon.
Vaughn Hart
The Best of Kenya, Africa
Being in Amboseli National Park, Kenya with Piper Mackay was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. She knows the area, the behavior of the animals and is a pro at directing the driver to get in position for that perfect head-on shot. I came home with priceless images and memories!
Laurie Rubin, Nik Software
The Best of Kenya, Africa
This is the 2nd NatureScapes workshop that I have attended. Greg Downing is a great teacher and photographer. His trips are very informative and fun. The afternoon lectures are exceptionally good—you definitely get your money's worth. I look forward to attending more of Greg's workshops in the future.
Helen Jo P.
Florida
I did not know what to expect going into these workshops as I have not taken a workshop in over 20 years, but was pleasantly surprised at Greg's easy going, helpful yet unobtrusive and friendly manner. As a nature photography instructor, I would recommend his workshops to my students without reservation and hope to participate in future workshops myself.
Richard G.
Florida
I had a fabulous time... both Florida workshops exceeded all my expectations I had imagined. I photographed more bird varieties in the one week with you than I have in my entire lifetime! Thanks for a great time and awesome learning experience!
Jim S.
Florida
This was a wonderful workshop not only were the leaders excellent but we could not have done without Jóse. Everyone got along simply great and that helped make this a great trip.
Myer B.
Costa Rica
I truly enjoyed the whole experience from start to finish. If all your workshops are as good as this one, you will definitely see me as a repeat customer.
Richard H.
Costa Rica
For me the workshop was simply outstanding. I thought it was extremely well organized and the pace/schedule was just right. The photo opportunities were even better than I had expected and the informal and friendly atmosphere created by the two instructors was very conducive to learning as well as exceedingly enjoyable.
Keith K.
Costa Rica
Even though I'm a birdwatcher and not a photographer, this was a great trip for me. I got to see a lot of beautiful birds (a total of 114 species, of which 85 were life birds), and most of them I got to see really well. I appreciated that all the workshop leaders—Greg Downing, Greg Basco, and our guide Jóse Lopez—knew so much about birds and were always trying to help me find and identify them. It was a fantastic trip, and I'd go back to Costa Rica with you guys any time.
Sharon K.
Costa Rica
The hummingbird workshop was a tremendous adventure with many wonderful opportunities for learning and photographing a multitude of beautiful birds of Costa Rica. Everything about the trip was of the highest quality. Thanks for this great opportunity. The leaders work well together, Greg and Greg and Jóse were all WONDERFUL!
Elaine M.
Costa Rica
Greg works harder than anyone to make sure everything within his control at a workshop comes together for you to have a successful trip! Plus he's a great guy to be around and a patient teacher.
Catherine D.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
It was great to have Greg as a mentor. He is very forthcoming and does not mind sharing inside info on how to, camera settings, use of equipment and in general to get the most out of what is important at that moment. I will for sure take many more workshops with him.
Carlotta G.
Loons and More - Kamloops BC
Greg is a great guy. Well organized, good instructor. My overall experience was good.
Adrienne S.
Loons and More - Kamloops, BC
I really enjoyed the workshop and the locations and I definitely want to return on Greg's loon workshop in the future!
Ellen G.
Loons and More - Kamloops, BC
I want to thank you for being very helpful to me. I appreciated the lesson on flash, and went right away and practiced. My loon babies came out very well, and culminates six years of trying. I just couldn't get close enough from shore. I would recommend you to anyone who wants to travel and get chances for good shots. Thank you more than you know for arranging for our group have the boats to film the loons on the little lake after you left. As you well know word of the hatching got around fast, and without your help I'm quite certain that we would have lost access!
Caryl U.
Loons and more - Kamloops, BC
Just wanted to let you know I thought the trip was fantastic!!!!!! We had a great boat driver that missed out on some shot so others could get them. That is what separates a good tour leader from others.
Alan Nelson
Loons and More - Kamloops, BC
From very close encounters with Loons to nesting woodpeckers. Throw in a few hummingbirds, too. This workshop should not be missed! I had a wonderful experience!
Neil Solomon
Loons and More - Kamloops, BC
I really like the way you teach, both in-the-field and in the classroom. I greatly appreciated these sessions and feel I benefited significantly from them.
Lue Newman
Loons and More - Kamloops, BC
I cannot begin to explain what a wonderful field experience you (Greg and Alan) provided on St. Paul Island. You compliment each other very well and made the trip not just a good trip but a great trip. I know from experience each group/class takes on its own personality. You adjusted to our collective and unique needs very well. I really appreciate all of your help both in the field and with post processing. I learned a lot from you and from others in the group. I hold you both in high regards for you knowledge, willingness to share and your thoughtfulness. Thank you for great experience!
Ken Blye
Puffins and More Adventure - St. Paul Island, Alaska
Greg... you put a great trip together and what an amazing adventure for us! Thanks for making my dream come to reality!! Life is great, but I really miss Africa and everything about our adventure!
Bonnie Newman
Ultimate Africa Experience - Tanzania
I recently attended a Greg Downing workshop to St. Paul Island Alaska. The workshop was very well organized. Prior to the workshop Greg sent out a detailed confirmation letter which included suggested equipment to bring, clothing needs, and important travel information. Greg also had requested that each participent express there personal goals and expectations of the trip.

Once the group met in Anchorage we then traveled to St.Paul Island together. With in one hour of meeting with Greg he had checked all the settings on my camera body to ensure proper settings from the start.

In the field, we photographed Horned Puffins, Tufted Puffins, Crested Auklet, Least Auklet, Thick billed Murre, Northern Fur Seal with babies, Artic Blue Fox with Kits, and more. Greg was able to balance the needs of each person to ensure their expectations would be met. He spent valuable time with each person in the field and set aside time to spend with me one-on-one to go over "exposure" in simple terms. Greg is a knowledgable, talented photographer and a very good instructor too.

This was an incredible experience and overall an awesome trip. I learned alot, had an outstanding time, and made some great friends. This workshop definitely exceeded my goals and expectations.

I would not hesitate to take another workshop with Greg in the future.
Karen Schindeldecker
Puffins and More Adventure - St. Paul Island, Alaska
I attended the St Paul Alaska avian photo workshop with Greg Downing in 2003. A year in advance Greg was able to provide me with trip dates and likely species to be photographed. Greg had previously scouted this remote island on a separate trip and his familiarity with St Paul insured our success on his workshop. Several months before the workshop Greg sent email notification of recommended gear, clothing, travel arrangements and other pertinent details for the trip. We met Greg at the Anchorage airport and off we went on our remote island adventure.

For the next eight days, Greg worked with members of the group nonstop. Because of the prolonged hours of light, it was common for the group to be together sixteen or more hours each day. The workshop of course featured key species like puffin and auklets but was also tailored to the concerns of the participants. Caribou are rarely seen on the island, even by natives. Two of the group participants were interested in spending some time trying to find them. Greg and the guides were able to locate the elusive herd on the first evening. Greg was very willing to provide time on the workshop for other non-avian species as well, including Artic Fox and Northern Fur Seal.

Some of the group members had considerable experience with their gear and seemed very content learning by observing Greg's techniques as he made images. Others came on the trip with a list of specific concerns. Greg spent a great deal of time on a one on one basis with one of the participants working out exposures and the reciprocal relationship of F- stop and shutter speed. Taking something that seems complicated and making it seem simple is summarizes Greg's teaching style. I was particularly impressed that Greg went through the participants gear and camera settings at the very beginning to make sure all custom functions were optimized for the expected photographic conditions.

In closing, it was a trip of a lifetime and anyone considering a workshop with Greg Downing should have no reservations about coming away with successful images, learning new techniques and having a great time to boot.
Dennis Olivero, Minneapolis
Puffins and More Adventure - St. Paul Island, Alaska
I recently attended a Greg Downing photographic workshop at the St. Augustine Alligator Farm in Florida. St. Augustine is a very popular place to photograph nesting birds during April and May. The place is filled with tri-colored herons, great and snowy egrets, and endangered wood storks all building nests, sitting on eggs, and feeding chicks. A photographers' paradise, except for the fact that most of the day, the lighting is harsh and great images are hard to come by. I signed up for this workshop because I previously took a photography workshop with Greg before and was amazed at the quality of his images and depth of his photographic knowledge. A lot of photographic workshops can be very pricy because you are paying to be out photographing with a famous professional and the extent of what you learn may be questionable. I was looking for a workshop where I was assured I would learn several new photographic techniques to improve my photography and I thought that Greg could help me out. Greg did not disappoint! His photographic skills are excellent and his outgoing personality make him a great teacher. Greg was extremely helpful and answered all of my questions. Even under the harsh lighting conditions Greg showed us how to get the most out of it, how to isolate subjects, wait for the right moment to capture the "decisive moment," and most importantly when not to take the shot! This photography workshop was well worth the price and I would highly recommend taking any photographic workshop with Greg. His easy-going nature made the trip a complete success. Many of the techniques Greg teaches are very hard to find in books, if they can be found at all. He is patient and takes the time to work with you so you will learn. Everyone who attended had a great time. It is a wonderful atmosphere to improve your photography as well as meet people with similar interests, and make life-long friends. Thanks Greg for a great time!
James Stachecki
Greg was always professional; he was well prepared and well organized, a difficult task given the vagaries of finding and photographing birds. At the same time he was flexible and prepared to take advantage of any unforeseen opportunities that arose. He adjusted his approach to the abilities of those in attendance and was able to do a nice job teaching and working with a wide variety of individuals from near-novices to experts. If my hard drive crashed and I didn't get a single shot from his workshop—and I certainly have many with which I'm quite pleased—I still more than got my money's worth. In sum, I would highly recommend a workshop with Greg Downing.
Richard Sheehan
I think your workshop was run in a very professional manner and I thoroughly enjoyed myself while with you and the group. Cape May is a place I visit often and you opened my eyes to the photographic possibilities there. I was especially appreciative of how you were able to work with me and provide assistance and pointers even though my lens length was marginal at best.
Bill Ruppel
My expectations were definitely exceeded. I feel my eyes were opened to far more possibilities in composition, natural and flash lighting, flash fill and bird behavior. Because of your stress on composition, I see a definite improvement in my images.
Donald Mann
The workshop was wonderful and so was the weather, I came back with lots of nice images and couldn't have been happier with the results. I met interesting people and had a good time.
Richard Hogg