April 2015 Newsletter is Posted

Posted April 23rd, 2015 by   |  Photography, Software, Workshops  |  Permalink

Our April 2015 Newsletter is posted here: http://visadventures.com/newsletters/2015-04-newsletter/

In this month’s newsletter:

– Greetings
– New Books
– Stuff I Like This Month
– Studio Tips: Seven Things I Learned by Photographing 500 People
– Digital Tidbits: Don’t Forget These 3 Things in the Lightroom Develop Module
– Digital Tidbits: New Software Options in 2015
– Workshop and Business Updates


Check out our April 2015 newsletter for three big articles, new business updates, and tips related to new products in the photo market. One of the articles covers tools you should be using in Lightroom 5, 6 and CC. We also have an article comparing of all the new photo processing software available in 2015 including Apple Photos, Nikon Capture NXD, Nikon View NX-i, Affinity Photo, Lightroom CC. Our third article is dedicated to what I learned when photographing 500 people for a church directory. I give some great tips for setting up a studio on location, posing, and working with the public.

Read it here: April 2015 Newsletter

May 2014 Newsletter is Posted

Posted May 23rd, 2014 by   |  Computers, Flash Photography, Photography, Software, Travel, Workshops  |  Permalink


Check out our May 2014 Visual Adventures Newsletter for great articles on photo technique as well as updates on our trips.

In this Newsletter:
– Greetings
– Stuff I Like This Month
– May GOAL Assignment: Shoot at High ISO
– Photo Techniques: Three Steps to a Beautiful White Background
– Digital Tidbits: Analog Efex Pro 2
– Photo Techniques: Telling a Simple Story Through Photos
– Workshop and Business Updates

Link: May 2014 Visual Adventures Newsletter

Join Us On A Photo Adventure Trip

Posted May 12th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel, Wildlife, Workshops  |  Permalink

world travel with Mike

We have a full schedule of adventure photo trips planned for 2014/2015 and would love to have you along. Photography adventure trips with Mike Hagen and Visual Adventures are great fun and very educational. We’ve taken care of all the trip details so you can focus solely on getting the best shot in the best light.

Our Iceland and Galapagos trips for August/September 2014 are already sold out, but we have space available for Cuba in October, Tanzania in November, Iceland in February and India next April. Stay tuned for more 2015 trips to be announced soon!

Tanzania photo safari

Photographing birds on safari with Mike Hagen in Tanzania.

All of our workshops can be found at this link:

Here are our upcoming international trips for the remainder of 2014 and early 2015:

Aug. 12-20, 2014
Iceland Photo and Bird Adventure (SOLD OUT)

Sep. 5-14, 2014
Galapagos Photo Adventure (SOLD OUT)

Oct. 4-12, 2014
Cuba Photography and Cultural Tour

Nov. 4-15, 2014
Tanzania Photo Safari

Feb. 9-15, 2015
Iceland Winter Photo Adventure

Apr. 29 – May 11, 2015
Northern India Tea, Landscape and Wildlife Photo Adventure

Iceland group

Iceland Photo and Bird Adventure.

Galapagos travel group

Galapagos Islands Photo adventure group.

galapagos sea lion

Up close and personal with wildlife in the Galapagos

long lenses

Long lenses and sun hats in Galapagos.




About a Baobab

Posted May 9th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Software, Wildlife, Workshops  |  Permalink

The giant baobab tree in Tanzania is a sight to behold. This elephant is stripping the bark to get at the trunk’s huge reserve of water. Nikon D800, Nikon 200-400mm f/4. Processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

The baobab tree is an amazing sight to behold. In Tanzania, these massive trees grow primarily in Tarangire National Park and are known for their funny upside-down shape. According to the legend of Bushmen, the baobab tree offended God, so he plucked it out of the ground and planted it back upside down, leaving the roots exposed to the sky.

Baobabs are succulents and store massive amounts of water in the trunk (sometimes up to 26,000 US gallons) in order to endure harsh drought conditions. Their massive swollen trunks consist of soft spongy wood, saturated with water. They hold so much water in fact, that they’ve been known to survive for ten years with no rain. Interestingly, the diameter of their trunks changes throughout the year in relation to how much rain falls or how long the dry season lasts.

Elephants love the bark of the trees and you’ll often see them tearing off long strips of bark to chew on. This behavior is especially evident during the dry season as elephants work to obtain moisture from the trunk’s water reserves. Most baobab trees in Tarangire National Park bear deep gouge marks and even giant holes through the trunk from the abuse they take from elephants.

One thing you can’t miss is how large these trees are. The photograph here shows a young elephant using its tusks to tear away some bark. This elephant is probably seven or eight feet high, so you can see that the tree trunk is close to 30 feet in diameter.

Baobabs take hundreds of years to reach their large dimensions and some are known to be many thousands of years old. In fact, one of the largest baobabs in Africa has been dated to be more than 6,000 years old. Most baobabs don’t look fully “baobab-ish” until they are at least 600 years old. When they become a thousand years old, many trees begin to hollow inside, providing refuge for animals and people as they travel the African wilds.

Tarangire National Park hosts one of the world’s greatest populations of African elephants, with more than 5,000 roaming the park. It is said to have more elephants per square mile than anywhere else in the world. This park is the perfect place to photograph the world’s largest land animal next to one of the largest tree species on earth.

For this image, I used the Nikon D800 coupled with the Nikkor 200-400mm f/4. For support, I rested the camera on a Gura Gear Anansi bean bag. As always, I used the Peak Design leash system to keep from dropping the rig from the Landcruiser.

Icelandic Mist

Posted January 18th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Travel, Workshops  |  Permalink
Jökulsárlón at sunset

The Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon in southern Iceland at sunset.

Early this morning, my teenage son and I went on a chilly winter run.  During the run, I was reminded of a recent scene I photographed in Iceland a few months ago. The image here was created in a glacial lagoon called Jökulsárlón (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jökulsárlón) one evening on my Iceland photo adventure trip. Our intrepid team of photographers walked out to this lagoon at sunset with our tripods and cameras. Just as the sun was about to drop below the horizon, its golden rays lit up these clouds and created a stunning backdrop of red against the beautiful blue ice floating on the water. This particular moment in time was stunning and I knew I had to do my best to capture the incredible colors.

For this image, I took five frames in an exposure-bracketed sequence to make sure I captured the full dynamic range of the light. Back at my computer, I processed the images using a combination of Lightroom 5 and Photomatix Pro. This image was captured with a Nikon D800, Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 and a Gitzo GT3541L Carbon Fiber tripod.

Inspired by Ray

Posted January 17th, 2014 by   |  Photography, Workshops  |  Permalink
Private workshop

Ray never stops learning. Here we are working in Photoshop on one of Ray’s personally-built computers.

One of the neat aspects of my job is that I get to travel around the world meeting lots of interesting people. Earlier this week I was down in Tampa, Florida doing a two-day private workshop with a gentleman named Ray. His goals were to learn a number of specific Photoshop techniques that he could use for his digital photography. Ray is 80 years old and has been shooting photos for the bulk of his life. During my time with him, he showed me images he created in the 1930’s, 1940’s and 1950’s that blew my socks off. His creativity, his ability to pose subjects and create mood really impressed me.

Ray’s working career ran the gamut from owning a family business, to owning a flight charter service in Puerto Rico, to flying Boeing 727s as a commercial airline pilot for over 20 years. He’s ridden his Harley Davidson around North America multiple times, has traveled the world, builds his own computers, started a commercial testing laboratory, and the list goes on and on and on. The man is a living, breathing, walking fireball of constant energy.

More than all of his accomplishments though, I was most impressed with his tenacity towards learning. He never stops learning or pushing himself. Using his Nikon D800, Ray photographs his grandchildren’s basketball games, his neighbor’s birthday parties, his community center and anything else that strikes his fancy.

Ray stuck with me each day as we went through incredible detail in Photoshop. When we finished our first day of Photoshop work, I told Ray that it was time to quit, but he looked at me and said, “I’d keep working with you until midnight if you’d like.” On our second day, Ray actually said that we had to stop, but only because he was going on a date in a few hours to see Gershwin’s play, Porgy and Bess.

Ray never stops and I draw immense inspiration from his example. My hope for you is that you’ll never stop learning either.

Images From Tanzania – 2013

Posted December 2nd, 2013 by   |  Travel, Wildlife, Workshops  |  Permalink

Our November 2013 photo safari to Tanzania was an incredible success. The wildlife was stunning and the landscapes were equally compelling. I can’t wait to go back again next year. Here are a bunch of images from this year’s adventure. More stories to come!

hagen_131104_0013 hagen_131104_0147 hagen_131104_0327 hagen_131104_0633 hagen_131104_0675 hagen_131104_0835 hagen_131104_0973 hagen_131104_1218-Edit hagen_131105_0031 hagen_131105_0060 hagen_131105_0203 hagen_131105_0294 hagen_131105_0393 hagen_131105_0478 hagen_131105_0540-Edit hagen_131105_0730-Edit hagen_131106_1168 hagen_131106_1274 hagen_131106_1324 hagen_131106_1411 hagen_131106_1507 hagen_131107_0024 hagen_131107_0048 hagen_131107_0073 hagen_131107_0999 hagen_131107_1196 hagen_131107_1407 hagen_131108_0193 hagen_131108_0433 hagen_131108_0498 hagen_131108_0573 hagen_131108_0783 hagen_131110_0072 hagen_131110_0074 hagen_131110_0472 hagen_131110_0600-Edit hagen_131110_0634-Edit hagen_131110_0886 hagen_131111_0049 hagen_131111_0603-Edit-Edit hagen_131111_0706 hagen_131111_0738 hagen_131112_0043 hagen_131112_0183-Edit hagen_131112_0262 hagen_131114_002 hagen_131114_017 hagen_131114_029 hagen_131114_068 hagen_131114_345re


Photographs from Northern Arizona During Government Shutdown

Posted October 19th, 2013 by   |  Photography, Travel, Workshops  |  Permalink
Cathedral Rock

Cathedral Rock and Oak Creek at sunset. Sedona, Arizona.

Last week I ran a photography trip through Northern Arizona for the Nikonians Academy called ANPAT 13. The ANPAT is the Annual Nikonians Photographic Adventure Trip and is designed to be a fun gathering of Nikon shooters sharing in the joy of photography.  This year, we had a total of 25 people come in from all around the world including Europe, Canada, Mexico and the USA.

The photography plan I initially put together was to spend a few days shooting in the Sedona, Arizona region, then the remainder of the trip in the Grand Canyon, Arizona region. Throughout the week-long photo tour I had also scheduled us to photograph numerous regional National Parks, National Monuments and Forest Service areas. About a week before our departure, it looked like the USA federal government was going to shut down, so I began scrambling to find other locations to photograph outside of government parks. This proved to be a ton of work and I was getting nervous because I had 25 photographers who were counting on me for a great photo tour. All of my hard work in setting up permits for the National Parks was soon going to go to waste.


Classic Ford pickup truck at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

After pulling out most of my hair and turning my remaining hair gray, I was able to put together a new itinerary that included private lands, indian lands and a healthy dose of Route 66. We traveled to many places I otherwise would have never considered such as Seligman, Oatman, Chloride, Page, Winslow, Prescott, and Flagstaff.

The good news is that nature and travel photographers are a resilient bunch and everyone was willing to go with the flow. Although we traveled to different areas than we expected, we still created wonderful images. I’m proud of our group for continuously striving to create great photographs, even in the face of a government shutdown.

Here are a bunch of images from last week’s ANPAT 13 to Northern Arizona. All were taken with a Nikon D800 and lenses varying from the 14-24mm, 24-70mm and 70-200mm.


Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona.


Watson Lake, Prescott, Arizona.

Watson Lake at sunrise. Prescott, Arizona.

Meteor Crater

Meteor Crater and passing storm near Winslow, Arizona.

Shell tanker truck

Shell tanker truck at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

Semi truck

International semi truck at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

1937 Ford

1937 Ford pickup truck at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona


V8 hood ornament at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

Tow truck

Old tow truck at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

Rusty vehicles

Rusty junk yard vehicles at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

Eat dust

Race car at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

Rusty cable

Rusty cable at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona


Twenty Two at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona


Old Harley Davidson motorcycle at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona


Dentist office at the Gold King Mine in Jerome, Arizona

Sedona sunrise

Sedona at sunrise from Airport Mesa

USA flag

USA flag at sunrise, Sedona, Arizona at Airport Mesa

Blue hour

Blue hour in Williams, Arizona.

Route 66

Classic Route 66 scene in Seligman, Arizona.

Police Seligman

Classic Route 66 scene in Seligman, Arizona.


Ronnie and the Seligman actors. Route 66.

Burro in Oatman

Burro in Oatman, Arizona.

Burro desert

Wild burro in the desert, Old Route 66, Arizona.

Old shack

Old shack at the train depot in Chloride, Arizona.

Love birds.

Love birds (Bob and Pat) and Coca Cola at the Route 66 Cafe in Williams, Arizona.

Bell rock sunrise

Bell Rock and meadow at sunrise. Sedona, Arizona.

Bell Rock

Photographer Don Patterson creating an image at Bell Rock. Sedona, Arizona.

Bell Rock landscape

Bell Rock and juniper root. Sedona, Arizona.


























New Orlando and San Diego Nikonians Academy Workshops

Posted October 3rd, 2013 by   |  Photography, Workshops  |  Permalink

Nikonians Academy Logo

Check out our new Nikonians Academy workshops in Orlando/Kissimmee, Florida, scheduled for January 9th – 12th, 2014. Also, I have upcoming workshops in San Diego, California this December 12 – 15, 2013 that still have seats available. Our workshops are some of the best in the business and I guarantee that you’ll learn more than you expected to. These classes are known for their hands-on learning style and small class size. Check them out. Hope to see you there.

Orlando/Kissimme Schedule:

Jan 9 – Master the D800/D4 In Depth 1
Jan 10 – Master the D600/D7000/D7100 In Depth 1
Jan 11 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 1
Jan 12 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 2

San Diego Schedule:

Dec 12 – Master the Nikon D600, D7000 & D7100 In Depth 1
Dec 13 – Master Nikon iTTL Wireless Flash, CLS
Dec 14 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 1
Dec 15 – Master Adobe Lightroom In Depth 2

Sign Up Now Here:


September 2013 Newsletter Posted

Posted September 18th, 2013 by   |  Photography, Software, Workshops  |  Permalink

Our September 2013 newsletter is posted with lots of tips, new workshops, and one or two new photos. In this month’s newsletter:

– Stuff I Like This Month
– August GOAL Assignment: In-Camera Processing
– Digital Tidbits: Four Things (Almost) Every Photo Needs in Lightroom 5
– Photo Techniques: Autofocus Tracking with a Cluttered Background
– Photo Techniques: Vertical Panoramas
– Digital Tidbits: Quick Tip On File Renaming
– Workshop and Business Updates


Summer 2013 photos

Photos from summer 2013

© 2018 Visual Adventures | Site Policies | Web by Works Development