Spring In The Driftless - ColdSnap Photography

Spring In The Driftless

Wabasha Minnesota, The Driftless Region of SE MN

May 4-7, 2023

 The Driftless Region is an area  untouched by the last glacial age. This hilly area with rich forests and lots of spring fed streams is sometimes referred to as Bluff Country for the exposed sandstone bluffs on the steep hillsides. The spring of the year in this area is astounding for its spring ephemeral bloom. Before the forests can leaf out and block something like 95% of the light that reaches the forest floor a rich array of wildflowers sprout and bloom, Dutchman’s breeches, Bluebells, Wood Anemone, Phlox, Trilliums, Jeweled Shooting Stars, and countless other species bloom in a very short season. Songbird migration transforms the woods into a chorus of sounds that delight the eyes and ears.

For many years during my career a trip to the Driftless Region of Southeast Minnesota was a must on my list. It is literally like coming home for me as I was born in Rochester Minnesota. My ancestors farmed in the heart of the Driftless for several generations.  My travels lately have meant that I’ve been in other places, and honestly, I miss springtime in this magical place, it has a way of rejuvenating the soul.


We are based in Wabasha along the Mississippi River. From there we will make forays into the surrounding hills. 12 years of photographing for the Minnesota DNR and the Nature Conservancy have revealed to me many of the nooks and crannies that can be found in the back country.


Instruction will include landscape photography techniques, including the use of filters, macro and close-up photography, and bird photography technique. This will be an excellent spring primer to get you up to speed for the coming summer season.


Day One

Our First day includes a trip to Carley State Park for the wildflower walk, few places can compare when it comes to carpets of wildflowers. Carley is renowned for its bluebells and wild leeks, it also has a rich array of other wildflowers. Our afternoon will be spent at the nearby Whitewater State Park, known for its sandstone bluffs, wildflowers, rushing streams and songbirds.

The morning will include field demonstration and instruction on macro and close up photography. The afternoon will include field demonstration on landscape photography and use of filters for effects.

 Day Two

Early on our second day we will travel to the Whitewater Wildlife Refuge where there are an abundance of waterfowl and songbirds. Mid-day we will photograph the Jeweled Shooting Stars along the Zumbro River. I know a beautiful spot where these finely detailed flowers grow among the mosses and early budding ferns nested among the limestone bluffs overlooking the river a couple hundred feet below.

In the afternoon we will swing through Rice County for the trout lily bloom. There are numerous parks for us to choose from.

Instruction in the morning will include field demonstrations and instruction on bird photography, including autofocus settings to optimize in flight photography, and setting up your camera for birds and wildlife.

Day Three

On the third day we will go to Winnebago Springs a beautiful natural spring flowing from the side of a hill surrounded by wildflowers. Early in the morning we will explore the hill country and backroads that make this area so magical. With a little luck we will have a foggy morning to add some atmosphere. In the afternoon we will  review of our work and learn proper workflow techniques for post processing your images.

Instruction in the morning will include a review of landscape and filtering techniques. Our afternoon will be computer workflow, so bring your laptop.

Day Four

The fourth day is our “clean-up” day. I like to keep this day open so we can revisit those areas that we didn’t have enough time at or perhaps find a new location that includes subject matter that everyone can enjoy.

Southeast Minnesota in the spring is a magical place, carpets of wildflowers grace the rich forest floors in the flood basins of fresh spring fed rivers. Bird migration is still in full swing with warblers and songbirds adding a wonderful song to the hillside forests. The sights, sounds, and smells of the Driftless region are nothing short of world-class. I hope you join me on this uplifting experience.



Cost: $995

The workshop fee is for tuition and instruction only,  not included are accommodations, transportation, or food. If you would like transportation from the Twin Cities and return contact me for arrangements and cost.

A non-refundable deposit of $200 will hold your spot until 60 days prior to the workshop.

Maximum of 6 participants.

Hotel arrangements are provided upon registration. 

Please read our Cancellation Policy.


This is a past workshop

To see our current list, see our workshops page