Canon's Photography in the Parks workshops returned for the third year in a row to Yosemite, Yellowstone, and Grand Canyon National Parks. These are ideal locations for a workshop on photography, as they're some of the most photogenic locations in the country.
The workshops are open to the park's visitors, and give them the opportunity to shoot with a Canon digital SLR camera, and get some basic photography instruction too. Canon arranged for some of the world's renowned nature photographers to lead select workshops, along with folks from the American Park Network (www.americanparknetwork.com).
Earlier this summer, I had the opportunity to tag along with photographer and Canon Explorer of Light, Art Wolfe; Jeremy Sullivan from the American Park Network; and folks from Canon's Digital Learning Center. Before the educational aspect of the workshop began, attendees were outfitted--courtesy of Canon--with a Digital Rebel (DSLR) and lens. The lenses, available for park visitors to use, ranged from wide-angle to long telephoto. For most of the attendees, this was the first time they had the opportunity to shoot with lenses (if they were DLSR owners, they probably had only the kit lens; if they were point and shoot digital camera owners, this was the first time they used/held and shot with a DSLR). So, not only did they get to try out these new products, they were getting valuable photography tips as well.
The photography inspiration continued in the evening with a slideshow of pro work. Art Wolfe showed many of his iconic images, under the stars in the park. Wolfe provided commentary about the locations and subjects of these photos, and graciously answered questions from those in the audience afterwards, whether they were about his images, his travels, or photography in general.
Explains Wolfe: "I try to marry painting and photography and when that happens right, magic happens." Pro photographer Art Wolfe is gifted not only with a photographic eye and love of nature and the creatures who flourish in it, but with the wit and desire to share his images with others, educating them in both photography and the environment he's had the opportunity to capture with his camera. Whether it's listening to Wolfe talk about past treks into the wild from a seat in an auditorium, in the pages of any of his many books, viewing an exhibit, or watching his TV show, his passion for his craft is evident.
Wolfe has a natural curiosity, a warm and inviting personality, and is open to sharing his experiences and his expertise. After spending a few hours with Wolfe, you find yourself educated, inspired, and challenged.
Jeremy Sullivan, director, Technology Development for the American Park Network enjoys being a part of these Photography in the Park workshops. He explained that it's a great feeling to be able to help people learn something new. "Their faces just light up when they get it and it makes you feel good to have been able to help," he says.
On another note, the second season of Wolfe's TV show: Travels to the Edge, with Art Wolfe, will begin airing this fall on PBS. In the show, Wolfe is followed by a camera crew as he makes photographs in various locations around the world.
For more information on Art Wolfe, his photographs, or the PBS series, check out the website www.artwolfe.com. For more information on Canonís Photography in the Parks workshops, go to www.usa.canon.com.