The Summer Intensive Experience: Week 1
Well, it’s been quite a week around the school. We kicked off our annual Career Training program with the 24th annual Summer Intensive course by meeting, greeting and initiating this year’s fantastic group of students (74 of them to be exact), all whom have put their so-called “real lives” on hold for the next ten to twenty weeks to immerse themselves in their common passion: Photography. They’ve been preparing for months or years – or in some cases only 2 weeks! – to make this happen for themselves, and we couldn’t be more honored that they did.
With their presence here, the whole energy of our staff and the local Missoula atmosphere makes an uplifting shift. What could be more inspiring
than to host people from all over the world in our hometown every summer and fall?! And RMSP’s creator and co-owner (along with his wife, Jeanne), Neil Chaput de Saintonge, is the most excited person on the planet to be around these incredible people. He and all of our staff give their heart & soul to help provide a fulfilling educational experience for them.
Throughout the program, we’ll be giving you glimpses into their experience with weekly posts describing what they’ve accomplished that week. And this is the first one! So far, here’s what they’ve been through:
Monday was orientation day. The students met us at a local hotel conference room where they were welcomed and then gracefully bombarded with information, introductions and a bit of inspiration thrown in. We put them all through the paces of what to expect for the summer in terms of the curriculum, schedule, local resources, life in Missoula and where to find assistance for just about anything they might need. Also, they were given given bus tours provided by the local transit company, tours of our facilities, and asked to share with us, and each other, a bit about themselves. Heck, we even took mugshots of them for their student ID’s. If that wasn’t enough, they were then given a talk by Neil about where to shoot and travel to in Montana during their stay. And since we’re notoriously located in grizzly bear country, they were educated in the ways of bears and how to react if the rare chance of an encounter in the wilderness presents itself. We definitely take seriously the need to help our students become “bear aware” while photographing in Montana. Phew. A lot for them to take in…and this was just the beginning!
The following four days involved their very first Photo Studies courses, learning the basics about their cameras, photography concepts and techniques. Being gear-driven, photography requires a great deal of education about equipment options. To help introduce students to this subject, a couple of our favorite Educational Partners & friends came to visit with the students. Joe Massa with Manfrotto and Gabriel Biderman & Jason Geller with B&H Photo/Video/Audio did a great job of helping to welcome the students and address their needs. They visit each year to educate the students on the tools they will need to make their dreams come true and also provide them a wealth of gear information and invite them to enroll in the EDU program.
Also, since digital photography is a technology-laden endeavor, they entered into their first image-editing courses by setting up their laptop computers, loading software, and preparing for their instruction in Adobe Lightroom 4 which began this week as well. Their experience also included their first hands-on field help sessions with our instructors present in several locations in and around Missoula. With all of this, our illustrious and excited students are now up & running with their photography education!