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Upcoming Educational Events 

In Person: Seminars & Photo Walk
Southeastern AZ Birding Festival

Hosted by: Tucson Audubon
Sponsored by: Tamron Americas

I'm honored to have been asked to once again speak at the Southeastern Arizona Birding Festival! The presentation I will be giving is a brand new seminar I am creating for this event and in this presentation I will be shining a light on bird photography! I will cover the types of lighting frequently found in nature and how to use them to create different types of images that showcase your avian subjects. Topics such as how to handle low light at dawn and dusk or in environments like the rainforest and discussion around the use of artificial lighting such as high-speed flash will be included. So if you enjoy bird photography but are frequently tripped up by “bad” light, this is the presentation for you! The photo walk will take place the following morning and will cover hands-on demonstrations and teachings on how to handle various lighting conditions in the desert.

August 9-10th, 2024
More details here.


Looking for a guest speaker or workshop instructor?

I love sharing my experience and knowledge with groups across the country!

Course Experience

I like keeping things down to Earth. Never should students feel intimidated, unwelcome, or ignored.  My objective is to keep the atmosphere light and engaging so the students can relax, have fun, and learn. Discussion and questions are always encouraged! Classroom sessions are a mix of discussion, stories, and demonstrations. Workshops are completely focused on the students' learning field skills through direct hands-on application. I will carry a camera for specific demonstration purposes only and do not personally shoot during workshops. My focus is 100% on the students.  


Below are my current offerings in alphabetical order. However, if you or your group is looking for something specific, in the realm of nature photography or locations I have traveled to, please let me know and I can create a custom program specifically for your group!

10 Key Principles to Nature Photography

Ten Basic Principles for Better Nature Images

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There are certain principles that, when implemented, elevate an image regardless of the specific genre within nature photography. In this session we will look at these ten key aspects of nature photography, defining them and discussing how to achieve them. By understanding these principles and how they relate to each other, you can further your photography skills in the field and create portfolio-worthy images.

Length: 60-75 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: Beginner to Intermediate Photographers

The Diverse Landscape

Capturing Landscapes and All They Have to Offer

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Grand landscapes have long drawn the photographer’s focus. From the mountains to the oceans, landscapes are all around. But how can we diversify our landscapes beyond just changing the environment? In this session, we will explore various landscape photography genres spanning from the traditional to intimate small scene and creative landscapes. Participants will learn about gear selection, maximizing traditional landscapes, how to see beyond the “Epic” view, and making the most of your time in the field.

Length: 60-90 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All Levels

DIY: Plan Your Own Photo Adventure

How to Have a Blast, Save Some Money, and Come Home with Images You Love

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Have you ever wanted to go on your own photo adventure but workshops and photo tours don't line up with your schedule? Maybe you want to try something new and travel solo for a change. Whatever the reason, planning your own photography adventure can be a thrill of its own before you ever even slide behind the wheel or step on a plane. In this course we will walk through the the steps you should work through in order to plan the best photography adventure trip for yourself. We will also go over some subjects to keep in mind while on the road, such as safety and traveling with camera gear.

Length: 60-90 minutes or half day classroom workshop

Type: Feature Presentation, Class/Workshop

Audience: Beginner to Intermediate Photographers

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Spending 20+ weeks a year on the road in recent years, Bender will share stories and insights on how nature photography has led her on an ever-growing adventure while providing a deeper connection to the environment and those around her. Along the way, she will provide helpful tips on how to grow your own photography skills in subjects like wildlife, landscape, macro, and creative photography.

Length: 60-120 minutes

TypeKeynote, Inspirational, or Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

Exploring Nature Through the Lens

A Photographic Journey of Self-Discovery and Connection Through the Lens

A Glimpse of ... Series: California

Exploring the Natural Beauty of California Through the Lens

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Focusing primarily on the opportunities in North and Central California, we will cover a wide variety of natural subjects from traditional landscapes to wildlife and macro subjects. Sharing some of my favorite locations, we will cover topics such as what locations are best for what type of photography, the best times to go, and how to get the most from these locations while exploring your own vision. We will also talk a bit about gear selection and what you might consider doing with your images after returning home. By the end, you will be inspired to get out and explore your home state with a focus on Nature!

Length: 75-120 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

A Glimpse of ... Series: Japan

A Visual Journey Through the Land of the Rising Sun

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Japan! A far off land filled steeped in traditions and brimming with beauty. In this presentation, part of a growing travel photography based series, we explore Japan through the seasons and areas off the traditional tourist path. Focusing on the nature Japan has to offer, topics such as cherry blossom viewing, winter wildlife adventures, and secret fall foliage locations are discussed. Having lived there for over two years and an annual visitor, I bring first hand knowledge of this often overlooked photography destination.

Length: 90-120 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

A Glimpse of ... Series: Texas

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Texas Through the Lens

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Texas is home to as much natural beauty as the state is wide. Everything from traditional landscapes to wildlife, macro subjects and moody environments. Through this presentation, I will be sharing some of my favorite locations while covering topics such as the best times to visit, suggested gear, and how to get the most from these locations while exploring your own vision. My hope is that by the end you will be inspired to get out and explore the vast state of Texas and all the nature it has to offer!

Length: 60-90 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

Impressionistic Photography

Using Creative In-Camera Techniques to Create Artistic Images

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In this session, we will explore the world of Impressionistic Photography. Topics covered will include pre-visualizing scenes, selecting camera settings, in-field techniques, and a few tips on post processing these special images.

This will give participants the basic tools to start experimenting on their own in the field to create unique images even in popular shooting locations or with common backyard subjects.

Length: 60-90 minutes or half day workshop with hands-on work

Type: Feature Presentation, Class/Workshop

Audience: All Levels

The Magic of Macro

Focusing on the Small Things in Life

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Its not always about the grand landscape or the largest bull moose. Sometimes, we need to slow down and take a look at the beauty all around us in the details. With this class, we will explore the world at our feet, focusing on macro photography. Participants will learn about finding scenes, gear selection, special lighting considerations, choosing an appropriate depth of field, and basic Lightroom post processing techniques for macro images.  

Length: 60-120 minutes or half day workshop with hands-on work

Type: Feature Presentation, Class/Workshop

Audience: All Levels

Putting Nature First

An Introduction to the Seven Principles

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There are seven general principles that, when implemented, can help ensure we as nature photographers are putting nature first. In this session, I, a Nature First Ambassador for the Texas Region, will introduce viewers to the Nature First Principles and how they apply to both landscape and wildlife photography. I will also discuss why these principles are important to nature photographers and the positive impacts that following these principles can have for both photographers and nature.

Length: 60-75 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

Small Scale Wildlife Photography 

Creating Unique Wildlife Images with a Macro Lens

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Not all wildlife is covered in fur, stands eight feet all, or has three-inch claws. With over 900 thousand species of insects on this planet, one of the most accessible wildlife photography opportunities a photographer has is that of the insects around them. In this class, we will explore the world at our feet, in our gardens, and out in the field by focusing on macro wildlife and insect photography. Participants will learn how to find subjects, composition and lighting considerations, and how to choose correct settings for their subject. Post-processing images will be touched on as well.

Length: 45-60 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

Summer Getaway Photography

Balancing Photography and Recreation

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Summer is the classic time of year for families to get out and explore the world together through road trips, beach stays, and camping adventures. So how does a photographer balance quality time with family and quality time in the field while still creating quality images? In this webinar, Bender will have you considering potential photographic subjects based on various traditional vacation locations as well as logistical solutions to working around other recreational activities with family.

Length: 45-60 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: Beginner to Intermediate Photographers

Wildflower Photography

Capturing Seasonal Beauty

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Wildflowers are by definition a seasonal treat that blooms and fades, often quickly. So how do you make the most of your time with them? Whether you are looking for flowers in the desert or the high mountains, there are certain techniques you will want to employ. In this program we will explore how to find wildflowers, gear selection, composition choice, choosing settings, and field ethics.

Length: 45-60 minutes 

Type: Feature Presentation

Audience: All levels

Wildlife Photography

Tips and Tricks for Capturing Portfolio Worthy Wildlife Images

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In this class, we will delve into wildlife photography. Topics covered will include finding wildlife, dressing for the occasion, in-field techniques, thoughts on composition, suggested gear, and maintaining ethical wildlife photography practices. This will give participants a broad base of understanding for wildlife photography, enabling them to go out into the field and capture images of animals everyone is sure to love!

Length: 60-120 minutes or full day workshop with hands-on work

Type: Feature Presentation, Class/Workshop

Audience: Beginner to Intermediate Photographers

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