SF & Yosemite with National Geographic Student Expeditions
I've returned from my second photo workshop with National Geographic Student Expeditions and am working to get caught up on all my images. For me, the second half of July was spent navigating the streets of San Francisco and pondering Yosemite's grandeur. The workshop was filled with interesting people, beautiful light and scenery that made you stop and stare. I've narrowed down my images in a quick edit to showcase my experience in San Francisco and Yosemite.
San Francisco is full of tourist spots. From Pier 39 to Chinatown, these locations do not disappoint for visuals and you can see tourists making snapshot images all around you. To create more interesting and storytelling imagery from these locations, a photographer must push themselves to maneuver their view to layer the scenes and frame the subject matter or to find an interesting perspective or person.
Interacting with the people of San Francisco was a very positive experience for the students and myself. Many of the locals opened up and were very willing to be photographed by these budding photographers. Navigating interactions with people is often one of the trickiest things to do with photography students, because some have never photographed a stranger before and nerves can often get in the way of the picture making. However, throughout our time in San Francisco and Yosemite, the students did a great job of approaching people and making strong images that capture the personality of the subject!
As the workshop moved from San Francisco to Yosemite, the subject of the photography changed rather drastically. In San Francisco, we were working to capture the essence of the city through the inhabitants and their interaction with the place. In Yosemite, photographing for the feeling of the place often means early mornings and late nights to make images with fantastic light and less human presence. Our group was able to navigate the greater Yosemite area and the majority of the park during our time at June Lake, a town just outside the eastern edge of the park.
Since my photography often focuses more on the people than a place, I turned my camera onto the students and made a handful of portraits of the students when the time and light were right. I always find that making a portrait encourages me to create a dialogue through the interaction. This dialogue allows for connection and also an exchange to happen between us both. This exchange is one of the pieces of portraiture that I truly appreciate.
July has come and gone and both workshops for National Geographic Student Expeditions have wrapped up, but I know the lessons that I learned and taught will continue to energize me as I work on my photography. There is something about teaching that really makes you push yourself to meet the standards that you are giving your students. In addition, the energy that the students bring to their photography is also a great reminder of the passion that I often feel when working and encourages me to continue to tap into that feeling. This July has been a whirlwind and I am looking forward to a few weeks in Salt Lake City before I head back to Cambodia for the beginning of my next large project.