Saturday February 25, 2017 at 3:00 PM EST
Sunday February 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM EST

Add to Calendar 


Best Western Intown and Luray Caverns
410 W Main St.
Luray, VA 22835

Driving Directions 


Mary Louise Ravese
Bella Vista Photography
(571) 594-2390

About the Instructor

MLRMary Louise Ravese specializes in fine art nature and travel photography from locations across the world. Her photographs are in private, university & corporate collections in over 40 states and are exhibited nationally. She has published images in calendars, magazines, books and websites. Mary Louise is a regular speaker and competition judge for photography clubs. She also enjoys teaching on a wide range of topics related to nature, travel and creative photography. Based in Virginia, Mary Louise leads classes and workshops at a variety of locations across the US and abroad.

Cavern conditions &
Weather considerations

The caverns are "indoors" and their consistent temperature in the 50s Faihrenheit are a nice change from cold temperatures outdoors.  The cavern pathways can be damp and therefore a little slippery, appropriate shoes with grip should be worn.

Since this is a winter workshop, in the event that winter weather causes dangerous driving conditions to get to Luray, VA we will try to reschedule the workshop. At which point participants can either agree to the new workshop date or receive a refund. In the case of rescheduling, participants will be notified at least 48 hours in advance of the workshop.


High Dynamic Range (HDR) Photography at Luray Caverns 


Reflecting Pool (c) Mary Louise Ravese

Luray caverns is one of the largest and most popular caverns on the East Coast of the US. There are lighted, paved walkways that enable visitors to walk through cathedral-sized rooms some 10-stories high featuring other-worldly stalactite and stalagmite stone formations. One of my favorite parts is a reflecting pool mirroring these magnificent formations. 

The rock formations are lit by artificial light creating a spectacular site, but one that can be difficult to capture photographically with full detail because the contrast range of the light is so broad -- from the lightest tones in the scene to the darkest shadows. Not to fear, this is the perfect scenario to use the High Dynamic Range (HDR) technique.


HDR is a fundamental technique that all intermediate photographers should know to be able to achieve better photographs in situations where there is a broad scene brightness range eg. interior spaces with windows, mid-day photographs outdoors, canyons, night scenes with artificial lights, etc. In this workshop we'll cover how to shoot for HDR and how to process the images on the computer to enable you to have pictures that more accurately show the detail in highlights and shadows that we see with our eyes, but can't capture with a single image due to the technical limitations of digital camera sensors. If your camera offers HDR capabilities in-camera, Mary Louise can help you to understand how to use that feature as well.Multiple Tower Formations (c) Mary Louise Ravese

This workshop offers you a great opportunity to practice photography in a relatively small group setting. Bring your own laptop to learn how to adjust your images using Photomatix software (a plug-in compatible with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop).

Peeking through (c) Mary Louise Ravese Workshop participants will meet from 3 pm to 6 pm on Saturday at the Best Western Intown Hotel in Luray, VA for an orientation session and lecture on how to shoot for HDR.  Afterwards participants can choose to go together for dinner at a local eatery. The next morning we'll meet at 8:30 sharp at Luray Caverns for a special 2 hour photography shoot in the Caverns with an escort. Then we'll return to the hotel to learn how to process our images using Photomatix software ( a free trial version is available).  This special arrangement with the caverns enables our group to enter the caverns before tourist groups arrive.  Our 2 hour session is also an hour longer than a regular cavern tour.

The workshop is suitable for intermediate photographers, who understand when and how to change aperture, shutter speed and ISO settings, and are comfortable shooting in Aperture Priority mode.  To get the most from the class, Digital SLR cameras are recommended, and tripods are required.

Participants meet on site. Directions and suggested equipment list will be furnished after registration. 


Don't let the lack of equipment stand in your way.
Want a wide angle lens or a tripod for the workshop?
Take advantage of this special offer:
Use Coupon Code BellaVista at checkout and save 10% on your equipment rental of 4 days or more from


$249 early bird registration by midnight February 19, 2017
$279 regular tuition after February 19, 2017

Tuition includes the Caverns entrance fees for a special photography tour on Sunday, but does not include meals and lodging.  We recommend you stay at the Best Western Intown hotel in Luray, VA. The hotel will be the workshop's home base where orientation and classroom sessions will be held. On the registration page you can indicate if you'd like to purchase a room at the hotel for Saturday night. The workshop has a special room rate arranged, but you must purchase the room through our workshop registration page (not directly with the hotel) to take advantage of this offer. Room keys will be distributed at the 3 pm session on Saturday.