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Smithsonian Associates - Entertaining, Informative, Eclectic, Insightful

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Spring Landscape Photography on the Potomac

8-Session Daytime Course

Friday, April 5 to June 7, 2019 – 10:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. (no class April 19 and May 24)
Code: 1K00MA
By Paul Matthai

Described as a national treasure, the 15-mile Potomac gorge from River Bend Park to Roosevelt Island is the primary focus of shooting assignments exploring evocative spring landscapes of this beautiful and ecologically significant area. Attention to photographic seeing and refinement of style and vision is emphasized on walks of up to three miles in Maryland, Virginia, and the District. Students are encouraged to consider the Potomac images they produce as a body of work or portfolio.

During the initial classroom orientation, photographers discuss locations and plan 3-hour field trips to take advantage of early and (possibly) late light. (Trips typically start at sunrise or may end at sunset.) Participants should bring their calendars and three jpg images on a thumb drive to the first session. Schedule details and directions are provided in a follow-up email. Students also examine factors affecting image sharpness.

After two field trips, a class critique to review photographic craft and personal vision, including elements of design, is held. Additional field excursions are followed by a final portfolio review.

If weather prevents a field session, that week's meeting is held in the classroom, or at an informal gallery visit to a relevant exhibition.

Discussion online, on location, and in class may include camera work, current issues, suggested reading, and recommended resources, including Smithsonian offerings. A class blog is available to post images. 

Students should have basic photography skills. Any manually adjustable digital or film-based format with camera-appropriate tripod and cable release or remote may be used. Students process film, if used, outside of class time.

Instructor: Paul Matthai

8 sessions, 3 hours each (no class April 19 and May 24)

S. Dillon Ripley Center
Photolab 3036
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)