Sunday, September 13, 2009

Photography Summer Camp

After spending 3 days hiking mid-week in the Twisp area of the North Cascades, I packed up and headed over Washington Pass, stopping to take stunning photos at the lookout, of course, to the North Cascades Institute, an Environmental Learning Center on Diablo Lake within the National Park. Upon check-in, I received a name badge with a note inside to remind me of where my dorm was located: Fir 2, reminiscient of my mom pinning my gloves to my jacket when I was five. The campus has multiple buildings: the main office, classrooms, 2 dorms for weekend students and more for graduate students, a dining hall and areas for composting and maintenance.

The Outdoor Digital Photography class was housed in the Fir dorm while the Carnivores (they were studying them, not being them) were in the Cedar dorm. We had a schedule of activities like field trips and classroom editing (no Capture-the-Flag) and meals in the dining hall. Our instructor, Benj Drummond, is a photographer who specializes in Climate Change, something that has been recently adopted by the National Parks as a hot (no pun intended) issue. After introductions with my fellow classmates and an overview of the class with Benj and his assistant, Emily, we wasted no time by getting up and moving to the Dining Room. The food
at NCI ranks high in importance, unlike most summer camps that I have had experience with- No bug juice here!. The food they serve is sourced locally and organic, where possible, and included lots of vegetables and salad, pork, chicken and great desserts. I wouldn't go there just for the food, but you definitely won't go hungry.

We went out for some shooting behind the center, where there are trails through the trees, a photogenic stream and a shelter for instruction. It had beauty in its own ways, though the photo subjects weren't my regular materials, as I tend toward landscape photography in the mountains. But the importance is to find beauty everywhere and it wasn't hard to do in that setting.

That night, our instructor, Benj Drummond, showed two presentations. One
was from his personal project about Climate Change and how it affects people in different communities around the world, the other about a partnership between the North Cascades Institute, North Cascades National Park, and the National Parks Foundation that brought 19 high school students from all over the country to the North Cascades to experience climate change firsthand. Here's the link for more info: . His photos are amazing and the message is clear and informative.

We spent Saturday and Sunday hiking and walking in woods and to a lake (yes, I went swimming), finding more subjects for good photos. Here is a sampling of what I shot.

And, no, I was not homesick for even one moment.

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