Mike Matthews, Keynote Speaker

Mike began his passion for photography over forty years ago and has been shooting professionally for the last 16 years. Being an avid outdoorsman, Mike utilizes his outdoor skills to get close to wildlife and captures it with stunning photographs that brings his audience along as if they were there. Mike enjoys all forms of nature photography, but macro photography is his passion and he speaks on the topic thoughout the U.S. His macro workshops with frogs, reptiles and other small critters have been extremely popular in both Florida and in his hometown of Louisville Kentucky. One of Mike’s greatest joys is teaching others how they can capture similar images. So whether it is a macro lens, or a telephoto, Mike’s hope is that you will enjoy his passion for photography, capturing nature in its truest form and giving God all the credit for the opportunity to fulfill his dream. Mike also offers small group photography tours in both Florida and Kentucky, along with his most popular Frog and Reptile macro workshops.

Lisa Langell, Keynote Speaker, Sponsored by Tamron

Lisa Langell is a full-time, award-winning professional photographer from Scottsdale, Arizona.  She leads tours and workshops internationally and is genuinely passionate about three things: Creating emotionally evocative images of nature; providing exciting, fun and high quality learning experiences for her workshop participants; and being a good steward of our natural resources.

Lisa is a member of the Board of Directors for the North American Nature Photography Association, has been published in numerous top tier magazines and publications, featured in a variety of art galleries, and more. She is also the founder of PictureItClean.org — a nonprofit environmental restoration organization that combines photography with cleanup. Lisa is fondly revered by many for both her artful imagery and her upbeat, relaxed and nurturing teaching style.

David Akoubian, Sponsored by Tamron

Bear Woods Photography is the photography of David Akoubian. David resides in the mountains of North Georgia with his wife Evelyn.

David has been a photographer since 1972 but his career in photography started in 1992. David learned his craft originally as a painter and from his father. Early in his career traveled with, learned from and taught beside some of the masters of nature photography including John Shaw, Art Wolfe, Galen Rowell, Bryan Peterson, Pat O’Hara, and Rod Planck. David has been teaching photography since 1994 in the classroom and leading workshops around the United States. His focus remains on the Southeastern United States, where he calls home, but does workshops and lectures all around the United States.

David’s clients have included, but are not limited to Coca Cola, PNC Bank, Tamron, Sirui, the Mountain Conservation Trust of Georgia, Lensbaby, The Nature Conservancy, and Gibbs Gardens. His photographs and articles have appeared in publications such as Nature Photographer, Audubon Magazine, Blue Ridge Country, Birder’s World, Outdoor Photographer, Backpacker Magazine, and many local publications. His work his appeared in several feature books in addition to instructional guides on scenic locations. David is a Tamron Image Master as well as being designated as a Sirui Professional.

Geffrard Bourke

Photography has been a passion of Geff’s for nearly 3+ decades. Like most people, Geff started taking pictures of his vacations and of his family, with his very first camera, a Fuji XT605.

Geff definitely caught the photography bug and his interests branched out from family vacations to nature photography, such as landscapes, birds, and flowers; travel photography with the goal of capturing the culture of his destinations; and urban landscapes… street, people, and decay.

Since Geff started with film, he was compelled to learn every aspect of development and at one point had built his own darkroom so that he could process his images. Geff has, like many, converted to the digital format. For his nature photography, he is a purist… and uses post-processing software at a minimum. For all other subject matters, digital photography allows such a limitless freedom of expression. Each image can be manipulated in multiple ways to express a desired mood or state of mind. Although he doesn’t have his original camera, he does have a collection of antique cameras and often shoots film which he processes at home and then transfers to a digital image.

In college, he studied and obtained a degree in graphic arts. These studies aided him in developing perspective and have definitely impacted how he composes and processes his images. His work is a true expression of how he sees the world.

Vinny Colucci, sponsored by Hunt’s Photo & Video

Presenter and award winning photographer, Vinny Colucci has been an active photographer since 1979 and shooting professionally since 1995. He has photographed the continental United States from coast to coast and up into the Canadian Rockies. Vinny’s is a member of Nikon Professional Services, Wimberley Professional Service and is a Singh-Ray Filter Technical Advisor. Vinny images have appeared in multiple publications such as Nature Photographer, New Bern Travel Magazine, Smoky Mountain Journal, and multiple books. Vinny conducts workshops throughout the United States as well as speaking engagements, including Popular Photography Magazine, Recreational Equipment Co (REI), Grandfather Mountain, City of Orlando, St Augustine Birding Festival and various Universities around the country.

Joe Edelman

Joe Edelman is an award-winning photographer and educator and that crazy PHOTO Joe Edelman on YouTube!  His work is featured frequently on well-known photography blogs including Fstoppers, DIYPhotography, PetaPixel, Lifehacker, ISO1200, Shutterbug and LensVid among others.  His primary subject – beautiful people!

Joe’s career has spanned four decades, from his start as a newspaper photojournalist to his work today photographing all types of people and serving as a photo educator who motivates and educates new and experienced photographers all over the world.

His photographs have been published internationally in magazines like Maxim, Cosmopolitan, Get Fit, Shape and Good Light Magazine to name a few. He has completed assignments for both the New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and has serviced commercial advertising clients from all over the United States.

Joe has earned a reputation as a lively and popular instructor and lecturer at camera clubs, photography conferences and photography workshops across the United States, speaking at events like ImagingUSA, WPPI, PhotoPlus, Out of Chicago, Carolina Photo Expo, NECCC and numerous others.

He has also served as an adjunct professor teaching about Creativity and Photography at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA and Northampton County Community College in Monroe, PA.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick is an experienced and well respected professional photographer who has consistently created award winning images. He is one of that rare breed of photographers who possesses both a vast array of technical knowledge and the ability to communicate it in clear, simple terms. Starting in high school as a photojournalist for his school’s newspaper, Joe’s photography career has encompassed freelancing at SCCA and FIA auto races, a decade as a wedding photographer, creating training videos for a major oil company, newspaper photojournalism, and, currently, as lead instructor at Understand Photography.  Joe is a member of the Photographic Society of America and the Professional Photographers of America, President of the Florida Camera Club Council, a PSA Judge, Technical Director of The Understand Photography Show, and co-author of the Florida Photo Spots series of photo books.

Since relocating to Florida in 2006, Joe has focused on sharing his passion for photography and decades of experience with others.  Joe exemplifies the Understand Photography objective of “Simplifying the Technical”.  Well versed in all aspects of photography, Joe holds seminars, hands on workshops, small group classes, one on one mentoring, and presentations at photography conferences and clubs on a variety of subjects.  Joe leads or co-leads many of the Understand Photography workshops to a variety of interesting locales including the Everglades and Cuba.  His easy to understand teaching style and abundance of patience have placed him in high demand as a private mentor for those who desire a personally customized learning experience.  His photowalks have opened the eyes of many aspiring photographers and re-energized photographers who have become jaded. Starting in 2011 Joe has co-led the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalks in both Fort Myers and Naples.

Mollie Isaacs

Mollie Isaacs is a professional photographer specializing in nature and wildlife, abstracts, and flowers. She runs Awake The Light Photo Workshops and Tours, and leads educational and inspirational photo workshops across the country and beyond. She loves sharing her passion for photography with others, and teaching her techniques and simple tricks of the trade. In addition to photographing nature and wildlife, Mollie is an experienced portrait photographer and has photographed many famous faces including actress Meryl Streep, jazz musician Wynton Marsalis, and the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Early in her career she studied with Ansel Adams and Joyce Tenneson. Her work is in the Permanent Collection of the International Photography Hall of Fame, and has been exhibited at Epcot Center in Disney World, and Grand Central Station in New York City. She has authored books and e-books. She lives at the Outer Banks of North Carolina and enjoys all things beachy.

Denise Silva

Denise was the featured photographer in the Photoshop User Magazine Who’s Who in the KelbyOne Community Article. Additionally, Denise was recognized as one of the Top 200 Women Photographers Who Inspire by Nature Photo Guides, has had multiple articles published in Extraordinary Vision (EV) Magazine, and is a featured artist in Breakthrough Photography’s Guide to Night Sky Photography.

Denise finds every aspect of photography rewarding. From in-camera composition to post-processing, photography is meditative, creative, and challenging. Her passion is to capture images, from landscapes to urban decay and to share her experiences and knowledge with fellow photographers. To this end, she and Don Rosenberger started Road Runner Photography Tours.

Denise looks forward to sharing her passion for photography with you and know that RRPT tours will not only take you to great places, but also give you an opportunity to build your network of photography friends while enhancing your photography skills through experience and knowledge sharing in a supportive environment. There is no better place to learn and develop your skills than in the field!

Peggy Farren

Peggy Farren is an award winning, professional photographer, author, instructor and speaker. She is the host of the weekly show; The Understand Photography Show. The show focuses on travel, nature and fine art photography. Watch it on the Understand Photography Facebook page, on Youtube or listen as a podcast. Peggy has been interviewed and featured on TV and in many national and local publications. She is one of the photography experts on the popular website, eHow.com, with over 60 training videos on their site. Ms. Farren has been a full-time professional photographer since 1998. You will see her pictures gracing the covers of many local magazines, as well as national publications. Her studio has flourished while most other full-time photography studios have shut their doors in recent years. Peggy began offering photography training and tours in 2009 through her training center “Understand Photography”. The school offers training for beginning to advanced photographers, portrait to nature photographers. Peggy has a way of simplifying the technical side of photography so that her classes are in high demand. The motto at Understand Photography is “We Simplify the Technical”.

Shiv Verma, sponsored by Panasonic

Shiv Verma, APSA, MNEC is a published author, photographer, educator and technologist. He is a Panasonic Lumix Global Ambassador, an X-Rite Coloratti and a Master at the Arcanum. He has been photographing for over 50 years and has evolved his photography to express his intense devotion to wildlife and nature. Over the years has earned numerous awards and recognition both nationally and internationally. Shiv devotes a great deal of his time formally reviewing photography related products, to education in digital photography and is a speaker and competition judge.  He conducts photo tours and workshops worldwide and typically has one tour a month.

Shiv’s book Time-Lapse Imagery was published in February 2014.

He belongs to multiple photographic clubs and associations and serves as Vice President of the Digital Circuit NECCC (New England Camera Club Council), a member of the Professional Photographers Association of America, immediate past General Chairman of the PSA International (Photographic Society of America), past Chairman of Nature Division, PSA.  He is a member of the Professional Photographers Association of America, North American Nature Photographers Association, Greater Lynn Photographic Association and the Massachusetts Camera Naturalists.

Shiv was elected as an Associate of the Photographic Society of America in 2013 and was elected a Master Member of the New England Camera Club Council in 2008.

Kelly Walkotten

Kelly combines her passions of photography, travel, and writing to bring the wonders of nature to others.  Through her travels, she captures images for publication.  Then, through research, writing, and presentation, she brings nature to an audience and teaches them about the habitat and behavior of unique creatures from around the world.

She is an avid scuba diver, whose images, articles, and blogs have brought the undersea world to readers of the PSA Journal and Fem Worldview.com . These publications have featured articles by Kelly that include photos from diving the Caribbean, the Pacific, and Indo-Pacific. Her favorite destination is Indonesia, where she has spent sixteen weeks above and below the sea.  She has been published in many other print and web publications.

Kelly lives in the greater Grand Rapids area and winters in Islamorada Florida. Her images have been exhibited in many venues throughout Michigan and the Florida Keys. Kelly has presented to numerous camera clubs and civic organizations, along with teaching Photography, Photoshop, and Lightroom. She also presenter and leads workshops.