Coke & Som Smith Photography & Travelogue

Nature Photography



Peninsula College

C-D 002  N190

Spring Quarter, 2009

Meeting Tuesdays 3:30-5:30 PM

From April 7 through April 28, 2009


Instructor’s name: Alexander Coke Smith

Phone number: 360-565-1571



Instructor Qualifications: MS degrees with concentrations in Conservation Biology, Evolutionary Biology and Entomology as well as being an avid traveler and professional naturalist. 


Course Catalog DescriptionNature photography is an art form that more and more people every year are discovering.  The Olympic Peninsula is perhaps one of the photogenic and photographed regions of North America.  Using the region as our natural laboratory, we will improve our photography skills.  Washington State clock hours offered.


Courses offered through Continuing Education are interest courses without academic credit.  Students wishing to earn clock hours are required to make this known at the first class, attend all classes and complete all work.


Course ObjectiveThe objectives of this course will center on image composition, effective use of equipment in a variety of conditions encountered in nature, and special techniques for photographing plants and animals.  Through photographic studies and field trips, it is my sincere hope to provide students with opportunities to learn the intricacies of photographing wildlife and scenery while at the same time instilling an appreciation for nature as the ideal photo topic!


Course Outline:

April 07:  Introduction of course, and each other. 

                        We will discuss and introduce various photographic equipment.

We will discuss some of the “dos” and “don’ts” of nature photography.

Then it’s time for some nature images!


April 14: This afternoon we will view images and discuss topics such as lighting conditions and how they impact your photo topic.  We will also deal with topics such as shutter speed and how to focus your equipment correctly to increase image clarity.  Other topics will include F/stops, aperture, bracketing, depth of field, filters, etc.  Be sure to bring your own images for critique!


April 18:  Field Trip #1 (Saturday)

                        Nothing is more important in photography than getting out in the field and taking pictures!  With this in mind, we will have two field trips for this course.  Considering the fact that we are living in a region where the conditions will change at the drop of a dime, our destinations for any given field trip will not be determined until the morning of the field trip and we can meet and discuss what the conditions are in the various parts of the peninsula.  Potential destinations will include Hurricane Ridge, the Dungeness Spit area, the Elwha valley rainforest and any topic we pass by!  I am very open to suggestion here!


                        Meet at PAHS (behind the science classrooms) at 10:0AM.  There we will decide on a destination and then meet there.



April 25:  Field Trip #2 (Saturday)

                        Meet at PAHS (behind the classroom) at 10:00 AM.  There we will decide on a destination and meet there.


April 28: FINAL! Well, it’s our final meeting anyway!  I purposely scheduled this evening’s class approximately one + week after our last field trip in order to give you enough time to develop or organize your best images.  Please bring a few of your best images to share with the class.  I look forward to seeing your art!  Feel free to bring prints, slides or digital media.




Every photographer tends to be most comfortable with their own equipment.  With this in mind, I have a request –please bring your owner’s manuals if you need any assistance with the operations of your camera or other equipment. 



Recommended Text:


Fitzharris, Tim (1996)  Nature Photography. National Audubon Society Guide.  Firefly Press, Inc.  167pp.




The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.   Peninsula College is committed to providing accessibility to all students.  Any student with special needs must complete a self-identification form available in the counseling office.  This information will remain strictly confidential.