Learning about National Park Photographic Expeditions and Landscape Master Classes
Wow! The Capitol Reef Landscape Master Class is just weeks away and there are only a few seats open.
I, as well as Dave LaNeve, my instructor partner from the California Center for the Digital Arts, have been getting many calls and emails about the Capitol Reef class and the National Park Photography Expedition (NPPE) program in general. So, I thought a series of blogs would be a great way to provide more information about Capitol Reef and the NPPE program.
NPPE is new, and we designed the Landscape Master Classes to help photographers access intuitive, reflective ways of working that will lead you to make landscape images that only you can make. Our program does not promote a single philosophy or aesthetic; rather, we want to help you crystallize a point of view, an original perspective, and to create landscape work that presents a unique visual voice. Each of our National Parks present different learning and creative opportunities and thus each Landscape Master Class is a separate, matchless, and detailed visual study.
Each Landscape Master Class is a separate, matchless, and detailed visual study.
Working with the National Park Service
We develop Landscape Master Classes with input from a given park’s Outreach Rangers and Interpretive Officers. This collaboration results in a training program designed to develop our participants’ landscape skills, post-production workflow, and creative seeing. The parks grant us special operating permits for these classes and we meet strict insurance and safety standards. Once you arrive at your base camp (hotel and conference center), you leave the driving to our high clearance vehicles and us.
Your first class is an evening session, which covers safety, the local environment, the post-production schedule, and a discussion of this landscape’s unique opportunities. If you are already registered, you will begin to receive Focus Points within the next week, which are pre-class study guides.
Every park is different, and while some techniques such as focus stacking, digital blending, luminosity masks, and night captures are common to all Landscape Master Classes we also teach that understanding what’s right in front of your eyes is the best way to expand your horizon.
Expect sensory overload on your first day!
Capitol Reef is special, a 100-mile long cut in the earth’s crust, brimming with geological, cultural, and historical image opportunities. Expect sensory overload on your first day as you encounter the Waterpocket Fold, a jagged monocline seam left over when shifting plates lifted one side of a fault 7,000 feet. Rethink color for there are red and white strata formed from layers of white Navajo Sandstone, red Wingate, shale and pinkish Entrada Sandstone. Depending on where you stand, the stripes are half an inch or half a mile wide. Depending upon the time of day (or night) the hues and saturation levels will penetrate everything you know about the color wheel.
There are ruined civilizations, narrow rivers that cut gaping Goosenecks in deep canyons and we will drive, hike, and consider it all, including the bighorn sheep.
The Class Assignment
Your assignment is to capture images with creative seeing techniques, apply post-production workflow, and pre-visualization processes that will allow you to makes sense of it all. Together we will help you acquire story, a unique visual voice, and a workflow that frees your creative perspective.
How do we do this and more? We’ll discuss that in the next blog: Landscape Photography Master Class – Part Two