We were deeply saddened to learn about the recent passing of photographer Mark Carlson. A very talented photographer, Carlson devoted his skills to teaching aspiring photographers to capture images such as his. But his greatest satisfaction came from the inspiration he instilled in others to enjoy and appreciate nature.
Carlson began offering natural history eco-field trips several years ago. Knowing that he was a naturalist/photographer, people began bringing their cameras on the trips and asking how to capture the nature subjects they encountered. The field trips quickly evolved into ecological photo tours.
Carlson and his partner Bob Grzesiak would conduct photo tours and workshops in various locations throughout the Great Lakes region including the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Teaching photography in the field - within beautiful locations and habitats - is what set the tours apart from their competitors who offered class room based “workshops” with less time in the field . He called these trips “photography vacations.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing Mark for a blog article written last year featuring his work. He shared that his favorite birds native to the Sleeping Bear Dunes area included the Piping Plover, Common Loon, and winter's visitor, the Snowy Owl. His favorite dune flowers were the Death Camas, Wood Lily, Pitchers Thistle in addition to the various native orchids and spring ephemerals.
Mark Carlson made a great impact on many aspiring photographers. His unique take on teaching, along with his incredible images will not be forgotten.
When I asked Mark what his most memorable photo opportunity that he ever encountered, he replied, “Capturing a rainbow from end to end over a meadow of gray-headed cone flowers.”
Following are a collection of Mark's beautiful images of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area.