Michael Milicia Testimonials
Interview with Michael Milicia: An Inspiring Bird Photographer
“As a workshop leader, Michael Milicia is a skilled and knowledgeable teacher, generous with both his time and his expertise, whether in the field or en route. The STL Iceland: Puffins and More Workshop 2018 was incredibly well organized, everything ran smoothly and Mike made sure our every need was met. Add to that the fact that the venue, Iceland’s beautiful Grimsey Island, must be the best place on earth to photograph Atlantic Puffins. Mike knows all the best spots and will help you get great images! All in all, the perfect bird photography trip!”
Iceland : July 2018, Marie Read, Freeville, NY
Hi Chas, I just completed the STL Bosque del Apache workshop led by Mike Milicia. The prime reason I enrolled in this workshop is that I respect your photography ability so much that I figured you would only have someone with excellent skills and whom you can trust associated with STL. I can understand why you have Mike as a leader of bird photography. He did not disappoint and exceeded my expectations. He is excellent!!! He has many wonderful qualities. In addition to his knowledge of cameras and the science behind photography -- as demonstrated in his daily 2-hour class discussions -- he is very attentive to each individual. He thoroughly answered all of my many questions and patiently explained details to me. Every day of the 4-day workshop he provided me with new information or confirmed what I was doing correctly, therefore giving me more confidence, i.e. explaining the focus/metering function on the Nikon cameras. Another example was his explaining the correlation (none) between the LCD screen and in-camera RAW file. And he emphasized to all of us different ways to obtain the correct exposures as well as many other pointers. I truly appreciated his working with me hands-on in the field with the operation of my video camera. He also was able to remove the lens hood from a lens that for the first time I wasn't able to. Overall, he was able to keep track of all of us and know when to take us to different shooting sites for variety and the best possible light. He made himself available to each of us for one-on-one time and answered further questions when we gathered together for dinner. Instead of barking out instructions, he has an easy-going demeanor that enhanced my learning experience. This workshop was fun, educational and a good value to me. I told Mike I wish I could shrink him, put him in my pocket and take him with me when I go on photo adventures to ask for advice. I will look forward to future workshops with him.
“My friend and I were searching for a fun photography trip for July of 2016. After some research and thought, we decided to join Mike Milicia on his Icelandic Puffin workshop. I had met Mike before on a Shoot the Light instructional workshop where he was absolutely an excellent teacher so I had a hint that this would be a great trip. It turned out to be first class from the start and my hopes and expectations were far exceeded. Mike and Anne have been to Iceland many times and know the area well. This enabled them to predict and plan for every eventuality which translated to a comfortable, relaxed experience for the participants. Details were attended to in advance and dealt with professionally along the way. For the entire week, Mike made himself available to answer questions, to help in every way he could, and it was clear that his focus was 100% on his participants and their experience, even at the expense of his own sleep. He will shoot along side his group only after everyone is settled and happily shooting their own photographs. He has technical mastery of photography down pat, knows how to communicate it well, and creates artistic, beautiful images. I ended up feeling very inspired by his knowledge and imagery and am trying to use what I learned to ratchet my own skills up a few notches. One other comment, which is perhaps the most important. Mike's field etiquette is refreshing. He is extremely respectful of the birds, and chooses to photograph them doing what they are doing with minimal disturbance. A few times when it looked like we were possibly keeping the puffins from their burrows, we moved on. Many thanks to both Mike and Anne, perfect hosts, and a great trip.”
Iceland : July 2016 Grace Scalzo Long Island, NY
“My thanks to Mike and Anne of Michael Milicia Photography and new friends made along the way for a trip I will always treasure and remember in one of the most beautiful locations I have ever seen. Mike's goal was to teach and make sure each participant's needs were met. He achieved that goal with not only group, but also one-on-one individual instruction in the field. He put the needs of the participant first. Many times he could be found teaching without a camera in hand so he could give full attention to whoever he was helping. After shooting he would meet indoors reviewing images and teaching post-processing staying up to answer every last question until the very last straggler went off to bed usually around midnight and then he was up to greet the group again at 3-4 AM each day for an Icelandic sunrise. Mike and Anne were the most gracious of hosts attending to every detail and need from the moment we arrived till seeing all of us off at the airport at the end of the trip. If you want to learn photography in a pristine location where puffins and seabirds abound under the direction of a very skilled professional photographer who loves to teach and where all trip details are carefully planned and your needs are fully met then this workshop is for you.”
Iceland : July 2015 Kim Davidson Gainesville, FL
“I first met Mike during Chas Glatzer’s Tech Series class in Florida in May, 2015. I soon discovered that Mike is an excellent teacher! He is able to describe skills in small, logical, understandable steps. In a very kind way, he doesn’t give up on you if he can sense you are not ‘with’ him. I am not a novice photographer, but quickly discovered that I had plenty to learn. During the three days I spent with Mike in FL, I learned that he was offering a class in Iceland, geared especially to photographing Atlantic Puffins in their natural habitat, and it would be a concentrated week, staying in one place and doing lots of shooting (translate…lots of practicing). Fast forward to July 2015, Iceland. Six nature photographers joined Mike, and his wife Anne, for a wonderful 10 days together. They had all the details arranged and took great care of us. Mike was enthusiastic, helpful and very approachable and made suggestions in the field helping us get into the best position for good images. He constantly checked with each person to verify how they were doing and offered suggestions as needed. Mike was more concerned about having us get great images than doing any shooting of his own. During some inclement weather, Mike spent extensive one-on-one time with me going over several skill areas that I was unsure about, specifically all of the AF modes. This was huge in helping me get a handle on these. He also helped me ‘fine tune’ my camera settings, with his usual explanation of ‘why’ to do certain things. I highly recommend Mike Milicia for your future photography workshop needs. You won’t be disappointed. I will certainly be traveling with him again in the future.” Iceland : July 2015 Cris Hamilton Houston, PA
“I headed up to Massachusetts to join Michael Milicia’s Piping Plover and Least Tern Workshop. Under Mike's careful guidance this was a superb workshop, full of great field opportunities, a wealth of shared knowledge and down-to-earth fun in the company of someone who is a real bird photography artist. Without reservation I can recommend spending time photographing with Mike. His technical knowledge is wonderfully paired with his enthusiasm to see participants learn throughout the workshop, helping them develop their skills and get the best shot. He patiently and diligently guides everyone during their time in the field, offering advice on technical and artistic aspects of photography, always presented with a clear rationale so you can understand the benefits and then apply these meaningfully to your own shots and field craft. This could be pointing out the best angle of approach to line up the shot, being mindful of distracting elements in the background to ensure a ‘clean' shot, ensuring optimal subject-to-light angle (catch-lights, position of shadows), as well as quietly announcing when action is about to happen (very useful when your face is pressed against the viewfinder). Mike also has a keen eye for light quality, so as well as guiding participants to the best exposure, he also ensures every one is aware of changes in light quality and intensity, ensuring that exposure is always dialed-in correctly. All very welcome touches that take the shooting experience to the very highest level. Mike is there for you at all times in the field, and this extends to the classroom sessions, where shooting, post-production and artistic topics are covered with excellent clarity. Every field outing and classroom session was a delight. Thank you, Mike, for a great workshop.”
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2015 Martin Sneary Washington, DC
“I recently had the pleasure to join Mike Milicia and his wife, Anne, for a most enjoyable workshop centering on Atlantic puffins in Iceland. It was evident immediately that Mike had carefully scouted the territory in advance and was supremely prepared to lead our workshop regardless of weather conditions, varied accommodations, meals, etc. He and Anne were most conscientious in providing for our needs and willingly gave of their time to put us where we needed to be to get the best shots. Both of them were quite willing to drive any individual who might have wanted to go to a site apart from the others. Mike did his photography only after he was certain that everyone in the workshop was set first and interrupted his activity any time one of us needed his assistance. Both Mike and Anne were generous to a fault with their time, knowledge, and at times their own funds in making certain that no one was disappointed in the experience. No one was. Thank you, Mike and Anne.”
Iceland : July 2015 Joseph D. Motto Eau Claire, WI
“My wife and I took Mike Milicia's Piping Plover workshop in June 2015. It was a great experience, and we learned an enormous amount. Mike has a lot to offer. He's studied the behavior (and locations) of the plovers and terns. He's got in-depth knowledge about the technical side of digital photography and also aesthetic sense about what makes a good photo. On top of all this, he's a good teacher and problem-solver. We were the least experienced photographers in the group. This was never a problem for us during the workshop. Mike probably spent more time on us than he did with the more advanced photographers. He encouraged us to step up to shooting in RAW, and provided the tech support we needed to make the change successfully.” Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2015 Bruce Perry Brookline, MA
“I can heartily recommend Mike Milicia’s Piping Plovers and Least Terns photo workshop. Mike’s a great teacher, and attendees get his full attention in the field. Your bird photography will improve and you’ll come away with some great shots. Even before venturing into the field, Mike primed the group for what to expect, with invaluable information about when and how to approach the birds. He demonstrated using a ground pod for low angle shooting, and gave useful tips about pitfalls to avoid when using this technique. That meant we were well prepared and not scrambling to learn on the fly the next morning. In the field Mike was there 100% for the group, showing us how to position ourselves for optimal light angle, background and bird posture, calling out exposure settings as the light changed, offering equipment help, and picking up his own gear only when all attendees were taken care of. Finally in the laid-back but information-packed classroom sessions, post-lunch, Mike gave some of the clearest explanations of exposure theory and image optimization that I have ever heard.”
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2015 Marie Read Freeville, NY
"Mike, I am an enthusiastic beginner and until your class I found a lot of the photography jargon confusing. It would have been unlikely that I ever would have ventured into Manual Mode, but after your class I can’t wait to get out this afternoon and put the new information to work. You have a very good way of explaining the material. I am looking forward to attending more of your classes. HUGE help!! Many thanks!"
Manual Exposure : It’s Easier Than You Think : February 2015 Tom Bishop Beverly, MA
“I recently returned from Michael Milicia’s Morro Bay Workshop and want to pass on my experience to those who are looking to improve their photographic skills and enjoy four fabulous days at Morro Bay and nearby areas with a superb photographer and instructor. Whether photographing shorebirds, elephant seals, or monarch butterflies, every situation with Michael added to my knowledge of photography. Michael is dedicated only to teaching the members of the group and not to increase his personal portfolio. At times he does take his camera but only shoots when all participants are occupied shooting. While I was shooting plovers, he crawled next to me and helped me find both a better position and to discuss settings that would improve the image. His understanding of exposure is excellent but more than that he has the unique ability to explain how to use it on a practical basis. Even though we had some down time due to rain, he used this interlude to have formal presentations about exposure and composition. The next day I applied these principals and finally “got it”. Even if you aren’t a bird photographer, the experience will help you improve your general photographic skills and is well worth the time spent. I highly recommend Michael’s workshop!”
Morro Bay Shorebirds and More : February 2015 David Arkin San Diego, CA
“Mike Milicia's Morro Bay Shorebirds workshop was both instructive and great fun. Mike is an excellent teacher, both in the classroom and in the field. He is able to make his presentations useful to photographers with a range of experience. His well-developed presentation on manual exposure had something useful for everyone and I can now say that I really understand when and how to use manual exposure mode. He provided an excellent introduction to the Morro Bay area and opportunities to photograph several species of shorebirds. His tips on bird photography were especially useful and I feel that he has inspired me to bring my bird photography to a new level. Thanks, Mike, I look forward to another workshop with you.”
Morro Bay Shorebirds and More : February 2015 Justine Carson Half Moon Bay, CA
The workshop was everything I was hoping for and more. Mike is a very talented instructor both in the field and in the classroom and meets each participant at the level where he or she may be whether novice or expert. His teaching style is organized, succinct and clear whether it be on the science and technicalities of digital photography that underly principles used in the field or on image critique during afternoon breaks. He will match even the most technical inquisitive thinkers out there, and field every question thrown at him. And he will make himself available from before sunrise to late in the day including on one occasion deep into the darkness of night for a field lesson on flash photography for a few very eager participants long past the time when most people would have turned in for the night. I think the best way to review my experience is to say that I have signed up for another workshop with him in 2015 and cannot highly recommend him enough.
Bosque del Apache : December 2014 Kim Davidson Gainesville, FL
Are you looking for a unique enjoyable and productive workshop while taking your wildlife photography skills to a new level? Please consider Michael Milicia’s Piping Plovers and Least Terns Workshop. Having considerable experience as a instructional photo tour participant, I can make this recommendation without reservation. Michael skillfully guided and taught four participants of various skill levels through three days of privileged access to a piping plover and least tern nesting area. Being able to photograph these tiny shorebirds during a critical phase of reproduction was a rare opportunity. Having Michael teach us photographic technique and enhance our knowledge about the piping plover brood cycle was special. Being able to photograph an adult plover brooding three one-day old chicks under her feathers and repeating this process over a three day period was just magical. Do sign up early for this workshop. Timing and access are critical for this once a year workshop limited to 4 participants.
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2014 CJ Hockett Burlington, VT
"Just completed Mike Milicia's Plovers and Terns workshop for Shoot the Light. It was my first experience with ground level photography but it proved quite worthwhile - the perspective in shooting the shorebirds was much more intimate than the more traditional tripod mounted height. Mike was enthusiastic, approachable and very knowledgeable, both about techniques, exposure and about the nesting location and habits of the birds. He knows the beach intimately and in the field did everything he could to maximize our imaging. I've been on too many shoots where the leader was more interested in expanding his or her own portfolio, to the detriment of the participants. Mike did bring along his camera, but rarely if ever used it. He was fairly consumed with scoping out the best locations and offering whatever technical advice we needed and wanted. He was literally available to us from before sunrise to after sunset, in the field and in informal technical briefings. Got some great images too!"
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2014 Charlie Silver New Hope, PA
"Thank you for your superb help at the Morro Bay workshop. You were diligent in your efforts to help me improve my photography techniques and knowledge, and your technical skills were much appreciated. I think I learned a lot, more than just coming back with some pretty bird images. So thank you for being persistent in your teaching. I'd love to do another workshop with you and will look forward to that. Thanks to Anne for finding the Great Horned Owl for us. I'll send you an image or two when I get them edited. You are a gifted photography teacher, Michael."
Morro Bay Shorebirds and More : January 2014 William Wingfield Charleston, SC
"Michael, thank you for the excellent workshop at Bosque del Apache. The personal attention and detailed practical instruction in the field was outstanding. I learned so much about incident light vs reflected light exposure, manual modes, and many many details of shooting good pictures in the field. The classroom instruction blended well with the field experience and your knowledge was impressive as well as very useful. I appreciated our time reviewing the numerous features of the camera also. I recommend your seminars without any reservation and look forward to another session with you. Thanks again for your time, patience, and willingness to answer questions."
Bosque del Apache : December 2013 Pat O'Grady Santa Cruz, CA
“Mike thanks for the fun and productive workshop last week. You certainly put the time in studying the area and subjects habits. You were well prepared for the workshop. The biggest thing I wanted to get out of the workshop was a better understanding of manual exposure. You explained it well, and kept a good watch on me throughout the days we shot. I shot in manual mode the whole workshop and I have to say, my exposures look a lot more consistent than they ever have. I did enjoy lying in the mud shooting with you, but what impressed me was you only had your camera out when you knew we were in good position and were all set with our camera settings. If you are looking for an opportunity for some great instruction, and shoot plovers and terns on nice clean beaches Mike’s your guy!”
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2013 Neil Nourse Great Barrington, MA
“Many thanks for the terrific teaching, both in the classroom and in the field at the Shoot The Light Tech Series this past weekend in St. Augustine. Mike taught the science behind the art of photography in a way that all can understand. The best way to sum it all up: just spectacular! Thank you for sharing your incredible talent with all of us.”
Shoot The Light Technical Series : April 2013 Kim Davidson Gainesville, FL
"I want to thank you for your class on post-production on Sunday. It was by far the most easily understood class I've ever attended and I learned so much - not only what to do but WHY to do it. You are a great teacher! I had never been able to wrap my head around the fine points of sizing and color management and now I see the light! I'm a moderator in Out of the Box on BPN so if you ever have any blurs, etc. that you'd like to share I'd love the see them in OOTB :) I'll definitely keep track of your workshop schedule and hopefully we'll meet again soon."
Florida's Birding & Photo Fest : April 2013 Cheryl Slechta Micanopy, FL
"You led an amazing workshop! Thank you for being a patient teacher. Your attention to detail and building our learning from the ground up was what assured that we "got it." The hands-on with our flash units was the most helpful to me. Thanks for turning that 430 EX from a brick to a tool for me. ;-) " Fundamentals of Exposure and Flash : February 2013 Jane Rose Syracuse, NY
"Thank you for a great seminar this weekend. I enjoyed the review of the previous seminar I attended and learned a lot of new concepts on exposure. Your instructions have been well-planned out and I have found you to be very patient with the various levels that students bring with them to your classes. I look forward to any upcoming workshops." Fundamentals of Exposure and Flash : February 2013 Michael Ryvicker Providence, RI
"I wanted to thank you for leading the great course in "Digital Fundamentals" this weekend. As a self-taught beginner it was a perfect foundation to continue my new-found hobby of bird photography. You filled in many of the huge gaps in my knowledge base and made clear so many of the basic concepts. The section on exposure and metering was just what I was looking for. I was having a hard time with those concepts but now I feel confident shooting in manual mode and being sure that I have the correct exposure every time. I am including a shot of a Greater Shearwater taken off a bouncing whale watching boat yesterday. Exposure set at the dock and it worked perfectly all day long."
Fundamentals of Digital Nature Photography : September 2012 Ken Janes Kennebunk, ME
"I learned more about photography in one weekend with Mike Milicia on the Piping Plovers and Least Terns Workshop than I've learned in the last year on my own. Not only did we get extensive time in the field photographing at an exclusive, pristine location, we also spent considerable time going over the details of flash photography, exposure, and shooting in manual mode. I emerged with a depth of understanding that I have been unable to attain from any prior reading I have done. And the classroom instruction was followed up by continued instruction and practical use in the field each day. I know that these are skills that will inform and improve every facet of my own work. Mike also made it very clear he would welcome any follow up questions and contact down the line as I continue to practice what I learned in this wonderful workshop. Highly recommended!!"
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2012 Melissa Groo Ithaca, NY
"I'd like to think I have a pretty good foundation in photography, but I learned a LOT! Mike is a great teacher - able to keep things informative and interesting for photogs of ALL levels, and best of all, he takes some of the more complicated concepts and is able to explain them clearly. I had a lot of "AHA" moments!One thing I'd really like to stress is that this seminar really is aimed at all levels and experience. Yeah, there were some things he talked about that I knew, but it was never dull or boring. People new to using their cameras get an abundance of useful info to improve their photography and understanding of what they are doing and CAN do. And those that have been shooting for a while, learn the background of what they know, and the WHY some things are the way they are. (There were quite a few things that I knew or did "just because it is what it is" - having the background of 'why' I think will help me to be more ready to make changes on the fly, and in the end, have a lot more "keepers")"
Fundamentals of Digital Nature Photography : October 2011 Christopher Ciconne Woburn, MA
I want to thank you for the wonderful workshop on digital fundamentals this weekend. This is exactly the type of information I have been seeking. The format and notes were spot on and I was able to review the entire class on the plane home today. You have also given me the confidence and guidance to begin using manual mode."
Fundamentals of Digital Nature Photography : March 2012 Jerry Aguiar Orland, CA
"I had a wonderful time with you on the 2012 Piping Plover and Least Terns workshop. I really enjoyed your calm, friendly and gentle style. I have been on 5 other workshops and no one did as much teaching as you did - both in the field and in the afternoon classroom sessions. I really learned a lot. The 3 hour flash class was a real hands on learning experience. The location was awesome (as was the weather but you can't take credit for that!!) and you obviously did your scouting and research thoroughly. It was also obvious that your number one priority was helping us to get good images. This is the only workshop that I have been on where the leader did not take as many images as the participants. In fact, on one morning you didn't even take a shot until about 2 hours after we arrived - you found the plovers and chicks, got us all settled and discussed exposure while we lay in the sand and you didn't even have your camera in hand! I was also impressed with your patience when teaching us and when a member of the group was 1 1/2 hours late joining the group in the morning. You had to go back for the individual while the rest of us photographed during that magic first light. I really hope that I get to do another workshop with you. You get a 5 star rating from me!"
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2012 Gail Bisson Sydney, Nova Scotia
"I joined Mike Milicia on his Plovers and Terns workshop last weekend. He has figured out a great location on the North Shore of Massachusetts that is ideal for photographing shorebirds. Mike is a great photographer as well as a great teacher who is willing to share his secrets and a really nice person to shoot with. Apart from shooting at the beach, I thoroughly enjoyed his afternoon presentations. If you are confused about proper use of flash, Mike can sort it out for you. His presentation on Flash was a real eye opener for me and I enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed the time spent on the beach with the birds. "
Piping Plovers and Least Terns : Massachusetts Coast : June 2012 Rajan Desai Westford, MA