A Landscape’s Best Life

Photos of waterbirds and flowers are given a painterly treatment.

Almost all of Donna Eaton’s images come from nature, but she’s not stuck in the land of hyperrealism. The landscape and wildlife photographer, renowned for her artistic technique and a recipient of Nature’s Best Photography magazine’s coveted Windland Smith Rice International Award, will host a workshop this month at Mountain Lens in Hendersonville. The 20-acre residential facility, operated by April and Jeff Miller, offers a premier place for upscale photography workshops of all kinds, combining a rural-retreat atmosphere with high-end technology and equipment.

Eaton, newly moved back to her native North Carolina, spent many years in South Carolina, and her portfolio shows unforgettable images of that state’s Lowcountry region, plus mountainscapes in the Asheville area, the lavender fields of France, and numerous florals. Her botanical works are shot close up in meticulous detail and given a painterly treatment that edges on fantasy.

Landscape and wildlife photographer Donna Eaton leads a workshop, “Textures & More,” this month at Mountain Lens in Hendersonville.

In her curriculum “Textures & More,” Eaton will teach students how to heighten texture in their own photos with digital cameras. Participants are expected to learn how to shoot the textures found in nature and in manmade materials — for example leaves, flowers, bark, clouds, grasses, textured cement walls, and patterned floors — then gain a better understanding of how to enhance layers of texture via Photoshop. (Students must have previous knowledge of the basics of Photoshop, including how to operate layers within the program.)

“I would like students to leave the workshop feeling like they are able to use textures and post-processing to create art with their photography,” says Eaton. By adding different blending modes in Photoshop and layering different pieces of macro and landscape images together, it changes the perspective of photography for each person, as they can begin to explore their artistic abilities beyond what they previously understood photography to be. For photographers, it allows them to step away from producing a single digital image as they dive into the world of painting and collaging to ultimately create a wmuch more complex piece of work.

Having a better handle on these techniques “will enhance their photographic vision — [they should] feel comfortable using Photoshop to achieve outstanding results,” says Eaton.

Former student Frank Herzog praises Eaton’s teaching skills. “A day doesn’t go by that I don’t use something I learned at her photography workshop — not a day,” he says. “My willingness to try new techniques has increased, as well. Nice work, Donna — teaching an old dog some new tricks.”

Blue Poppy

Mountain Lens, 6356 Willow Road, Hendersonville, 828-691-5367. Donna Eaton’s workshop, Textures & More, begins Thursday, Oct. 11 with a dinner, followed by two full days of class Friday and Saturday, ending with a half day of class on Sunday, Oct. 14. The cost is $699 per student, with optional lodging available on-site. For more information or to register, see mountainlens.com. For more about the photographer, check out donnaeatonphoto.com. 

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