Lost in concentration, people study the carefully arranged
compositions they have divined in their view finders. Tripods are
adjusted, meters checked. An instructor watches a student, offers quiet
advice. Shutters click. The shooting continues until daylight fades.
At night, talk around a campfire considers light, film, subject,
exposure. Some people plan the next day’s shoot; others photograph
the starry skies. These are scenes from a visual vacation: a
The workshops are a good opportunity to spend two or more days
taking pictures with other photographers of varied skill levels while
getting expert instruction. They’re a great way to improve your
photographic eye while focusing your lens on old Victorian, craggy
coastal cliffs, stark desert plains, or undulating sand dunes.
Most participants work with 35mm SLR (single-lens reflex) cameras
and color slide or black-and-white film, but larger-format cameras are
usually welcome. Instructors stress fundamentals and may demonstrate
advanced and experimental techniques with a variety of film formats and
materials. Usually a critique session is scheduled during or after the
Some of the best and most relaxed outdoor workshops are offered
through extension programs at several public universities in the West,
as listed here. These classes tend to be relatively inexpensive and
well organized, and there’s always time to take a breather and
simply enjoy the outdoors.
Some involve overnight camping or lodging; others are day classes.
Except where noted, fees do not include travel costs, accommodations,
food, or other expenses. Some programs offer college credit.
UC Berkeley Extension, 2223 Fulton St., Berkeley 94720; (415)
642-4111. Travel Photography with Robert Holmes, five sessions
emphasizing 35mm color; April 27 and 28 (Bay Area field trips) and April
18, 25, and May 2 (evenings); $110.
Photography in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest; July 11 through
UC Davis Extension, Davis 95616; (916) 752-0880. Delta California:
documentary, landscape, and architectural photography; meet in Walnut
Grove; April 26 through 28; $215, includes hotel lodging, four meals.
Architectural Photography, a master seminar with UC Santa Cruz,
meets in Monterey, Pacific Grove, and San Juan Bautista; May 17 through
UC Irvine Extension, Box AZ, Irvine 92716; (714) 856-5414. Nature
Photography for Beginners; Orange County locations include beaches,
canyons, marshes; April 13 and 14 (9 to 4 daily); $85.
UCLA Extension, Department of The Arts-Photography, Box 24901, Los
Angeles 90024; (213) 206-8503. Nature Photography for Beginners; May 18
and 19 (9 to 5); $135. Photographing the National Georgraphic Way;
April 27 and May 4; $135. Working Vacations: Taking Travel Photos for
Publication; May 2, 4, and 11; $140. The Desert Landscape of Joshua
Tree; April 27 and 28; $135.
UC Santa Barbara Extension, Santa Barbara 93106; (805) 961-4200.
Hidden Valleys and Lost Ranges, held in Saline Valley near Yosemite;
March 6 through 10; $165. Nature Photography for Beginners, in Los
Osos, near San Luis Obispo; March 23 and 24; $105, lodging included.
Waterfowl Photography, in San Diego Wild Animal Park; March 30 and
Death Valley; April 11 through 14; $115.
Coastal and Wildflower Photography; April 19 and 20; $95.
Photographing Mono Lake; June 21 through 23; $125.
UC Santa Cruz Extension, Santa Cruz 95064; (408) 429-2971. The
Lonesome triangle; April 1 through 5; $125.
Photographing in Other Cultures; April 20 and 21; $95. Water and
Power in the Owens Valley; April 26 through 28; $95.
Indian Rock Art; May 3 through 5; $95.
Architectural Photography; May 17 through 19; $100. Urban
Landscape; May 10 through 12; $90. Women and the Landscape; May 17
through 19; $120, includes model. Yosemite; June 1 and 2; $85. NEVADA
University of Nevada, Division of Continuing Education, Reno 89557;
(702) 784-4046. Workshops at Lake Tahoe and Death Valley are planned;
write for details.
University of Nevada, Division of Continuing Education, Las Vegas
89154; (702) 739-3394. San Diego Zoo, San Diego waterfront, Owens
Valley, Grand Canyon, and Zion National Park are usual overnight
workshop sites. Write for
University of Oregon, Continuation Center, Room 333, Oregon Hall,
Eugene 97403; (503) 686-4231. Oregon Photography Workshop; Devils Elbow
State Park, Columbia River Gorge, and high desert of central Oregon near
Bend; July 28 through August 16; about $1,000, including lodging.
University of Washington, University Extension, GH-21, 5001 25th
Ave. N.E., Seattle 98195; (206) 543-2310. Nature Photography: San Juan
Island; March 15 through 17; $115, includes double-occupancy housing and