Rocky Mountain School of Photography » Bob McGowan Fri, 22 May 2015 15:03:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 From Birds to Bugs – Guest Article by Steve Russell Tue, 19 May 2015 19:01:44 +0000 8H7A1794Spring has sprung and as the weather transitions to warmer and sunnier, I am transitioning from photographing birds to shooting mostly bugs. It’s not all or nothing – there are still birds to shoot, mostly babies – but there are way, WAY more bugs than birds out there now that the sun has come out.

In the past month the baby great blue herons, Canada geese and mallard ducks showed themselves in local parks. But the bugs are slowly taking center stage for me: the butterfly that landed peacefully on the top of my knob-less hiking pole/monopod after I’d unsuccessfully chased it for 15 minutes; the alien-looking, five-eyed, orange, wasp-like bug; the brown-eyed, bug-eyed damselfly watching me from behind a blade of grass; a feather-headed mosquito; a foraging ant; a tiny inchworm on the fence I’m building; a jumping spider in my garden; a pile of dozens of baby spiders; my first dragonfly and mating damselflies of the year, and more. Subjects galore. New, interesting and unique every single year.

R22A3901Equipment-wise my primary macro setup includes the Canon 5D III, Tamron 90mm VC lens, Canon twin flash, and my handy hiking pole/monopod that I use more as a stick to brace the camera better. For birds and larger bugs I’m using the 7D II, 100-400mm II, and a tripod or the hiking pole sometimes. I can pack one setup or the other on my bike ride to the park but I can shoot either dragonflies or birds with the 100-400 setup when I get there.

Another year of transition and new life and the opportunities once again seem endless. It’s a great time of year to be nature photographer.

Steve Russell
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10 Places to Photograph in Seattle This Weekend Mon, 16 Feb 2015 15:00:37 +0000 FrazierEd_Seattle-2

RMSP will be in Seattle, Washington on February 21 and 22 for the third of our 2015 Photo Weekend Events.

After a day or two spent learning how to improve your photography skills, there’s nothing more exciting than heading out to put those skills to the test.

We thought it would be a fun idea to do a little e-scouting in Seattle from Montana and give a few suggestions of places to photograph once classes are over. We’ve tried to keep the locations near the Radisson Hotel Seattle Airport, where the event will be taking place. However, there were a couple of places that looked great and would require a bit of a drive. To scout from Missoula, we used Google Maps and Panoramio to see what other people had photographed in the area. And don’t forget that you can make any location feel completely new by going at night!

Do you know of great places to photograph in Seattle that we didn’t mention? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.


Map of Locations


      1. Pike Place Market – Several city blocks of local artisans, fish markets, restaurants and street performers in Downtown Seattle.
      2. Gas Works Park – Large open space with gorgeous views of Seattle, interesting factory buildings.
      3. Seattle Central Library – Fascinating architecture, interior and exterior spaces.
      4. Pioneer Square – Historic plaza located downtown with old architecture, Waterfall Park, bookstores, boutiques, coffee shops and restaurants.
      5. Woodland Park Zoo – Seattle’s largest zoo.
      6. Seattle Center – Located in the heart of Downtown, includes famous landmarks such as Space Needle, Seattle Monorail, EMP Theater, Fountain of Creation, and many museums, theaters, restaurants and live events.
      7. Chihuly Garden and Glass – Located in Seattle Center, many glassworks by artist Dale Chihuly.
      8. Olympic Sculpture Park – Multi-acre outdoor park containing amazing sculptures and works of art on the Seattle waterfront.
      9. Kerry Park – Located in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, beautiful views of Downtown Seattle particularly at night.
      10. Seahurst Park – Located near SeaTac in the town of Burien, is consider the “jewel of the Burien park system” situated on Puget Sound and overlooks the the Olympic Mountains.


If you photograph in Seattle this weekend,
show us your favorites by posting them on our Facebook page!

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B and H Photo – Video – Pro Audio and Canon U.S.A. – Explore Creatively: A Photo Contest for Students & Emerging Photographers Fri, 12 Dec 2014 19:29:19 +0000 slide_laforetOur friends at B&H and Canon U.S.A. are holding a fantastic photo contest for photography students and emerging photographers (less than 5 years in the industry.) They are calling it the Explore Creatively: A Photo Contest for Students & Emerging Photographers.  What makes it so fantastic? Well, take a look at the judges, for example: Peter Read Miller, Drew Gurian, Elinor Carruci and Vincent Laforet. WOW!




There are four categories for this:

Still Life

Truly something for everybody. And take a look at these prizes!

If you’re so inclined to be creative with a camera and fit the criteria, and it will cost you NOTHING to enter, why wouldn’t you submit?!  The deadline is January 23, 2015, so better to do so soon. We wholly encourage you to go for it!

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In Living Color: My Summer of Dragonflies – Guest Article by Steve Russell Mon, 06 Oct 2014 16:08:05 +0000 R22A2854-2My summer began with a chance photographic encounter with the “birth” of a dragonfly (the topic of my last blog) and is winding down with a concerted effort to capture dragonflies in flight. In between I’ve taken thousands of shots of dragonflies doing what they do: hunting bugs, eating, mating, perching, laying eggs and when I’m lucky hovering long enough to focus my camera.

I now have three dependable, accessible wetland areas between Tacoma and Seattle to shoot. The summer has been warm here and the light plentiful, which brought the dragonflies out and created the conditions necessary to shoot them at fast speeds, enliven the colors, and illuminate the intricate detail of their lacy wings and compound eyes.

R22A3623-2I’ve used about every combination of equipment to shoot them, including real close-ups with a 90mm macro lens, fill-the-frame shots from a little further away with a 70-200 lens(both f/2.8 and the lighter f/4), the use of a 36mm extension tube and/or a 1.4 or 2.0 teleconverter on a 70-200 lens, and both a Canon 7D (speed for flight shots) and a 5D Mark III (for superior processing). Most shooting was handheld, but I used a tripod with a gimble head when I was in a corridor of bushes on one side and tall grasses on the other that semi-contained a few dragonflies and made their flight plans more predictable.

R22A8574-2There were plenty of surprises again this summer. I witnessed (and shot) one dragonfly (the lime green one below) snatch its cousin the damselfly while the damselfly was mating and eat it for lunch (nature is cruel!). Anytime a male clamped onto the neck of a female and flew by repeatedly dipping down to the pond or grasses for her to drop some eggs, it was a surprise. Getting a flying dragonfly in focus was always a pleasant post-processing surprise given that they flap their wings at about 40 times per second. (That usually took perfect conditions and a 1/8,000th shutter speed.) And finding the blurred image of my tripod and the white cloud-like reflections from my camera lens framing a tack-sharp dragonfly in the foreground was a great post-processing surprise.

Dragonflies are the crown jewels of live macro photography (for me) but they can be some of the hardest subjects to shoot. A combination like that makes for a worthy challenge and a jolt of satisfaction when things come together for a great shot.

Steve Russell
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Summer Intensive 2014 Graduation Day Tue, 05 Aug 2014 14:48:33 +0000 photo(25)On the final day of our annual Summer Intensive (SI) course on Friday, August 15th, we will be celebrating our students’ achievements with Graduation Day activities…and you’re invited! This is always a special day for us here as well as a bittersweet culmination of 75 professionally and intensively trained photographers being launched on their individual creative paths. For those of you who have been through this experience, you know what this meant to you personally, and is why we celebrate the day and results of each students’ efforts.


SI Graduation will be held on the afternoon of the 15th from 2:00pm – 4:00pm at the Music Recital Hall on University of Montana’s campus (click here for map). From RMSP, take Higgins Ave. going south and turn left on S. 6th St. East. Take 6th into the parking lot on campus and turn right on to Maurice Ave. The building is located on Maurice, between Connell and Eddy.

The graduation ceremonies will consist of student and faculty speakers as well as a slide show of student images.  We’re excited to show off their work and happily invite you to attend these special events!

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Summer Intensive 2014 – Week 5 Thu, 03 Jul 2014 20:13:33 +0000 SharpBarry_-8883The shortest week during the whole of SI began with an optional excursion for many of the students. Montana’s largest such event, the annual Augusta Rodeo took place on Sunday. As usual, card-carrying and highly trained (at this point) RMSP student photographers were there in abundance lining the rodeo ring fences, roaming the behind-the-scenes environs, and capturing everything that makes the experience such an interesting subject.

Since starting out in the curriculum at the most basic level just over a month ago, the students have since been subjected to intensive – as advertised – training for forty hours plus per week with the additional activity of shooting constantly both during and after school. Montana is blessed with incredible light this time of year and they’ve been taking full advantage of the amazing sunsets and late evening light. This week is when the curriculum gets dialed down a notch to help them catch their breath a bit.

Andy Kemmis-2Their short week involved the second class of Photoshop CC instruction in basic image repair & re-touching in the Edit portion with instructor Tim Cooper. And in Photo Studies, they began the first of landscape photography classes with Doug Johnson. The week included a field help experience to practice foreground-to-infinity shooting technique with Doug in the historic Missoula Cemetery.

And with that, the students and staff are off for a much needed four-day long break during the Fourth of July holiday weekend. No doubt they’ll be getting caught up on the various tasks of laundry, grocery shopping, reviewing weeks of notes & images, not to mention sleep and R&R! And furiously contemplating, conceptualizing and shooting for their upcoming mid-term slideshow project due in a couple of weeks. We hope you enjoy your holiday…and stayed tuned!

SharpBarry_-8883 Andy Kemmis-3 Andy Kemmis-2 Andy Kemmis-1 ]]> 0
So You Want To Be A Photographer? Then Be An Assistant First. Fri, 16 May 2014 17:23:37 +0000 albertaspruce-6I think the best way to learn what you need to know to be an editorial or commercial photographer is by assisting for one. Or better yet, 50. There are so many moving parts and details to a photo shoot it is hard to imagine running one until you have worked on one. Or 50. Or better yet, 500.

Here’s what you might do on a shoot:

-consult on gear

-rig lights

-shoot tests

-be a second set of eyes for the photographer

-fly to great locations

-meet interesting people

Here’s what you will do on a shoot:

-steam clothes

-order lunch

-make a coffee run

-sweep the floor

-take out the trash

The point is that these are all things that go into a successful photo shoot, and if you think that any of these tasks are below you, then you will not be a good assistant. If you do the little things no one notices without asking or complaining, the photographer will notice.

So how do you start? It’s really quite simple.ItalianShore-3

Make a list of photographers whose work you like. Look in local magazines, check out the website for your local ASMP chapter, use Photoserv, Google local photographers. It doesn’t really matter if they are in the niche you want to work in, what matters is that you like their work. If you think they make great pictures, you can learn something from them.

Once you have your list , send them a concise email introducing yourself, a bit about your background, and why you want to work with them. Let the photographer know that you know their work. Compliment a specific shot or project. Flaterry can definitely get you in the door. Lastly, mention you would like to give them a call, or meet up for a cup of coffee to introduce yourself.

One of the most difficult things to do if you have never assisted is to get that first job. It can be intimidating to call photographers asking them to hire you even though you have no experience, but you have to do it. Think of it as practice for working as a photographer and trying to get new clients. You will never get work if you don’t make the first move. Photographers are surprisingly nice folks in general and they know what you are going through, they have probably done it themselves.

Once you have talked to them, ask them if it is okay to call again in about a month. Almost everyone will say yes. Then, and this is the most important thing, call them again in a month. And then every month after that. I kept a spreadsheet with photographers name, phone number, email address, website, and the last time I spoke to them.

So you got a job? Now the learning really begins.

Good for you. All that calling and emailing paid off. Now here comes the most important part.

Be attentive. Be efficient. Pay attention.

Your job is to make sure this all works out. Listen closely. Watch what everyone else is doing. If you don’t know how something works, ask. Better to look green than to break something. If you have finished your task, ask what else needs to be done (remember the thing about taking out the trash?). If you have questions about why something was done, wait until there is down time. Be indespensible, but not intrusive. Don’t give your opinion until it is asked for.

You will make mistakes. Take responsibility for them, apologize for them, and learn from it.

WallaWallaFair-4So now what? Keep learning.

The more you know the more you will work. Learn to use as many types of lighting as possible (strobe and continuous). Learn to use as many types of cameras as possible (still and video). Learn as much about video as possible (almost everyone is doing it these days). Learn as many software programs as possible (digital techs make more money than assistants). Keep making phone calls. Every one of these things will be important skills for you as a photographer as well as an assistant.

And here is the most important thing: Keep taking pictures. Once you start making a living as an assistant it is very easy to forget that your goal is to make a living as a photographer. A lot of photographers assist for a lot longer than they planned (myself included).

Do personal projects. Do fine art projects. Meet up with stylist assistants and models and do test shoots. A lot of time photographers will let you use their studio and lighting for tests after you have worked for them a few times. Carry a camera around with you and take pictures of things that interest you. Keep reading PDN (that’s where I found my first job). Keep learning new skills. Go to ASMP meetings. Go to ASMP assistant meet-ups. Keep trying.

Assisting is really like an apprenticeship. You get a chance to learn on the job. You get to see what works for a photographer, or just as important, what doesn’t work. And best of all you get paid to learn.


William Rugen is a graduate of 2005 Summer Intensive. He currently works as a photographer, producer and assistant for Motofish Images ( in Seattle, WA. He also works as a fine art photographer and has sold and exhibited his work nationally and internationally (

Additional work by William Rugen:

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September’s Assignment Gallery – Landscape Your Life Fri, 11 Oct 2013 22:20:24 +0000 Bob Scott tile waves-2Last month, we encouraged photographers to capture landscapes in their world using any subject matter available to provide a reasonable facsimile. Enjoy the work of this month’s creative group!

“The actual landscapes in Texas looking pretty barren by the end of summer, I started with an obvious and favorite landscape, the one I see every day out in my backyard.  I also like the idea of solid objects looking fluid, so went with a gravel stream, and tiles looking like rolling hills or waves.  Finally, a macro surrealistic plantscape; I hope the ant-traveler shows well enough at this size.”
-Bob Scott

“Overwhelmingly, my landscapes are “intimate”, especially,having no horizon line; but, there are exceptions.” – Barry Grivett


For October, hopefully we’ll have you consider counting your lucky starts for all that you have!

_SeguinLisalandscape-7-7-2 SeguinLisa_1-1-1 _SeguinLisalandscape-10-10-3 _SeguinLisalandscape-12-12-4 Poppy-1 Storm-2 Moon-lit-3 California Creek in Winter Crowned Pixie Cup Lichen in Spring Moss (Calodnia carneola) 20111004-0710/12-183 Lichen Mosaic GenevieveFix_Landscape your life_01-1 GenevieveFix_Landscape your life_02-2 GenevieveFix_Landscape your life_03-3 Bob Scott surrealistic journey-1 Bob Scott backyard landscape-1 Bob Scott tile waves-2 Bob Scott gravel stream-3 ]]> 0
October’s Assignment – Make It Count Fri, 11 Oct 2013 22:18:53 +0000 Soto-Fournier ManoloIMG_5242-1If there is such thing as “obvious” in an image, this is your month to portray it. It’s going to be a numbers game with this month of October’s assignment  – Make It Count. This challenge asks the photographer to capture in very literal fashion any number from one t0 ten.  A single baby lying in on the grass, eight rungs of a ladder, seven fingers being held up by your sister, four koi fish swimming in a pond, the number nine typed on a book page, the three wood resting in your golf bag; anyway you’d like to convey a number is the way to do it.

Woodward_Forest_23-1This goal is to also create images with strong composition using numbers as well. How does the use of numbers influence your conscious ability to compose your image (Rule of Thirds anybody)? Take your time and let yourself count the ways to produce numerically pertinent images.

All images should be:

• jpeg format
• 72 ppi
• 600 pixels on the longest side
• If possible, we’d love it if the images you submit have your name in the file name and include a watermark (that’s the “© John Doe” at the bottom of the pic). Please submit three to five images.


October 29, 2013

Email all images to Bob McGowan at Submitted images will appear in an online gallery on Paper Airplanes, RMSP’s blog on or about November 1, 2013. All images will be used in the online gallery for this specific assignment only and will be copyrighted to the photographer. An email confirmation will be sent once your submission is received.  If you do not receive the email confirmation, please contact

Gleisnerdonna_addingmachine-1 Amy McRae_Number 1-1 Soto-Fournier ManoloIMG_5242-1 RocaRich_4-1 JohnsonMarkS_postcardrow02-1 GauntSusanna_LadderPlants-1 Woodward_Forest_23-1 ]]> 0
Mark S. Johnson on Scott Kelby’s Blog Fri, 11 Oct 2013 20:49:44 +0000 The photography industry giant and NAPP founder, Scott Kelby, knows a thing or two about inspiration. In fact, he’s made a cottage industry of inspiring photographers and artists worldwide to reach new heights, use new technology and become the artist one was born to be. So you have to believe that he knows a kindred soul when he sees one.

Every Wednesday, Scott invites fellow guest creative professionals to write for his very own Photoshop Insider blog which reaches a considerable online audience. This past week, he invited one of RMSP’s long-time instructors, Photoshop guru and incredible artist, Mark S. Johnson, to contribute his voice to this influential resource.

The word “inspirational” is one of the main iconic descriptors that could be used to describe Mark as both an instructor and creative in equal measure. His style is one of unbridled imagination and emotion in each image he creates. In his guest post, this imaginative and inspirational spirit shines through to encourage all of us to pursue art with abandon and with heart soul. We are more than delighted to share this here with you. Enjoy!

“It’s Guest Blog Wednesday with Mark S. Johnson!”


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August’s Assignment Gallery – Fire in the Belly Fri, 30 Aug 2013 22:50:30 +0000 Bob-Scott-fire-dancer-1In August we asked our readers/photographer friends to dig deep into their viscera and explore that eternal flame of theirs that keeps the creative self cookin’ with the Fire in the Belly assignment. As expected, they’ve taken the theme and expressed it in unique fashion individually and collectively. Below are some of their words that may help explain their thoughts about the assignment and their submissions. Thanks to those who participated and shared their belly fires with us!
“What lights my photographic fire [after ~8 years as a serious amateur (photographing for enjoyment–just for the love of it)]:

  • My maxims are: make no more boring art, impact/startling, different & better
  • Favorite style: macro
  • Favorite subject/theme: nature/animal behavior
  • Passionate about: (1) plants [e.g. conifers & oaks (the only ones I’ve paid serious attention to so far; but, I’m fascinated by plants in general)], (2) food (nothing startling so far), (3) mushrooms/fungi/lichens (modest success; long way to go) & (4) abstracts (again, nothing to brag about).
  • Storytelling
  • Evidently, I do enjoy a challenge; but, I’m not competitive in the usual sense: I much prefer ‘Win-Win’ to “Win-Lose’.

Furthermore, I love irony; but, found it doesn’t do any better in photography than sarcasm in polite company. Oh, one more thing: I’m looking forward to doing some triptychs; and–as I mentioned last month, Travel Photography.” –  Barry Grivett

GenevieveFix_Fire in the belly_01-1

“This assignment made me do a lot of thinking and realize that taking pictures is what is driving me and putting the fire in my belly.” – Genevieve Fix

“Well, you asked for Fire in the Belly, and this one is about as close as you come to being literally that, without a trip to the E.R. The second is probably more the kind of interpretive image you had in mind, in this case, of illumination awakening in the mind.”  – Bob Scott


If keeping belly your warm isn’t your thing, how about showing us the world you live in instead? Consider participating in next month’s assignment!

SeguinLisa_1-14-3 SeguinLisa_1-2-2 SeguinLisa_1-1-1 Face to Face with a Prairie Falcon Bob-Scott-illumination-2 Bob-Scott-fire-dancer-1 Beach Pig Roast, Hawaii Western Boxelder Bug Prosthetic Beak Saves Eagle GenevieveFix_Fire in the belly_01-1

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September’s Assignment – Landscape Your Life Fri, 30 Aug 2013 22:48:00 +0000 PignatoRita_Ninepipe-1Many a photographer has been hooked by the shutterbug by way of nature. On a family camping trip with a classic Kodak Brownie film camera in hand, maybe you yourself were captured by capturing a placid lake reflecting mountainous terrain and fir-tree-filled scene as a child. So common is the affliction, that really most photographers we see at the school can be sorted into of two categories; those who can’t imagine creating an image with a human it and those who can’t imagine creating one without a human figure.


So for those of you attracted to the grandiose splendor of nature and for those of you more inclined to create a simulated facsimile, we offer you the opportunity to Landscape Your Life with this month’s challenge. A landscape is whatever your mind and eye can conjure. In the traditional sense, it might be a scene of tranquil beauty in the great outdoors whether in mountainous scenery, grass or farm lands, or city-scapes. In the non-traditional sense, a landscape can be “created” by way of abstract macro photography like capturing the inside of a blooming rose, for instance. Or by exploring the contours of the human/animal body, bed sheets, wrinkled clothes, shiny metallic surfaces, the intricate designs of upholstery all in up close fashion. A landscape can be found anywhere, really, if you get your lens in close enough.

Let your imagination wander to any environment you choose. You’re surrounded by landscapes at every turn – we’re simply asking you to take notice and share them with us. Just make sure there are no smiling faces in your photograph – unless, of course, a close-up of human teeth are your chosen landscape!

All images should be:

• jpeg format
• 72 ppi
• 600 pixels on the longest side
• If possible, we’d love it if the images you submit have your name in the file name and include a watermark (that’s the “© John Doe” at the bottom of the pic). Please submit three to five images.


September 24, 2013

Email all images to Bob McGowan at Submitted images will appear in an online gallery on Paper Airplanes, RMSP’s blog on or about September 27, 2013. All images will be used in the online gallery for this specific assignment only and will be copyrighted to the photographer. An email confirmation will be sent once your submission is received.  If you do not receive the email confirmation, please contact



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ASMP Best of 2013 Choices – Something to Brag About, Jeremy Lurgio and Inti St. Clair! Thu, 29 Aug 2013 23:00:49 +0000 When it comes to recognition, there is no better trade organization in the realm of professionals than the American Society of Media Photographers  to receive it from. ASMP is the gold standard of professional organizations that help support members of an ever-evolving, highly competitive industry. Needless to say, when ASMP leadership honors their own members, it’s a pretty big deal.

01JeremyLurgio_LostFoundWell, guess what? A couple of this years’ honorees are associated with our very own school. And you’re darn wrong if you thought we aren’t gonna brag about it for their sake. Firstly, freelance photojournalist and documentary photographer, associate professor of photojournalism and multi-media at the University of Montana, and long-time RMSP instructor Jeremy Lurgio was honored for his ambitious and historic project aptly named Lost & Found Montana. An initial showing of this fascinating work made an appearance in the Rocky Mountain School of Photography Gallery last year and received rave reviews and much interest. Not only did his printed images grace our gallery space, the experience of viewing them involved an interactive component with visitors invited to don headphones connected to mp3 players and listen to recorded interviews of current and former residents of the small Montana towns represented in the work. It’s really no surprise to us that Jeremy was acknowledged as a Best of 2013 by ASMP.

is201207273175-inti-stclairSecondly, another honoree is an RMSP Career Training alum. A highly accomplished professional photographer in her own right, Seattle-based Inti St. Clair launched herself into her career like few have. Her unrelenting passion, drive, energy and curiosity have propelled her and her camera all over the globe to photograph lifestyle, portraiture, editorial and travel. After graduating in 2000, there has been no stopping her and she keeps getting better. Her photos documenting a day-in-the-life of sisters Naiya and Anandi in their home and at play received the rightful honor of ASMP’s Best of 2013.

To say we’re proud of these two and their accomplishments would be an understatement. And we aim to tell anyone who will listen. Congratulations, Inti & Jeremy! Now get out there and brag.



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Summer Intensive 2013 – Week 11 Fri, 16 Aug 2013 19:00:01 +0000 This is it. The last week of Summer Intensive and as expected, the students put their hearts, souls and cameras into their final projects and presentations.

The week began on Sunday evening with a comprehensive review of all the Photoshop techniques they’ve been taught in Edit classes with open lab time thrown in later in the week. In Photo Studies there were assignment reviews and critiquing of their final assignments for landscape photography. The Lighting classes involved critique of their location lighting assignments and comprehensive review of all they’ve learned about studio lighting throughout the course along with plenty of open studio time for the students to create images one last time. Output was strictly all about open lab time and the final push to produce images for their final assignments as well as personal work.

VanNortwick_MG_3882In Visual Studies a major highlight of the week, and for the course, occurred as each and every student was required to produce and present with an artist statement their final project in front of their instructors and peers. This is always an inspiring and interactive process as feedback is given by all in the room to allow the student to witness the impact of their work on others. They have worked hard to make their presentations meaningful expressions of their own unique vision and voice. The presentations are often a celebration of everything they’ve learned and experienced during the summer. The staff and students alike were moved to tears, laughed in belly-aching fashion, and taken to places never seen before through the eyes of each individual. All are to congratulated for their amazing accomplishments!

Yet, the week wasn’t over yet. With all the curriculum completed, the students attended one last lecture and presentation – this time by Canon Explorer of Light and incredible landscape/stock photographer, Darrel Gulin. His thirty-year body of work is mind-blowing and his presentation will no doubt leave the students inspired throughout their life-long photographic endeavors.

And the culmination of their experience, graduation ceremonies will happen on the University of Montana campus in the spacious Music Recital Hall. Open to everyone,  the ceremony includes inspirational final comments from various instructors, chosen representatives of each student group – A, B, C & D –  along with slideshow presentations of student images from each graduate. Always an emotional and celebratory time for all involved as this is the final experience of Summer Intensive.

And in conclusion, we honor and thank each member of this years’ fantastic group for trusting us with their photography education and professional goals. Some will continue on in the following two sessions of the Career Training program – Professional Studies and then Advanced Intensive. Others will leave Montana entirely and head back home, and the local graduates will return to their pre-SI lives here. None will be the same, however. All will carry with them life-changing memories, images and skills that are an inevitable result of their commitment to attend this experience, and of their passion that unites us all – photography.

We salute you, Summer Intensive Class of 2013. Once again, from all of us at RMSP, thank you and a heartfelt congratulations to you all!

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Summer Intensive 2013 – Week 10 Fri, 09 Aug 2013 22:11:26 +0000 EhlenSarah-6732 What a full and colorful week! This week began with an optional flash location shoot in downtown Missoula in the morning and a sunset landscape field shoot at the National Bison Range north of Missoula in the beautiful Mission Valley on Sunday evening. A truly unique landscape with plenty of flora, fauna and majestic mountains for backdrop.

From Monday on, their Visual Studies  explored advanced themes & ideas in artistic expression, time to work on their final projects in class, and one-on-one mentoring sessions with their instructor. Photo Studies involved macro studio labs using light tables, critiquing of assignments, and an exposure review with a lecture on the technique of Sunny 16 with Neil.

Lighting classes involved a fun experience with the students shooting on location at the local Missoula Children’s Theater of the EhlenSarah-6972Performing Arts. They were able to take professional lighting equipment to this building which includes many old school house classrooms, corridors and behind-the-scene spaces. This helps them apply ambient and artificial lighting techniques they’ve been learning in the studio.

Then they were introduced to the whole new topic of low-light and night photography by the dynamic team of instructors Tim Cooper and Gabriel Biderman with B&H Photo/Video/Pro Audio. After this lecture, they had the opportunity to apply their newly acquired knowledge with these two present in an optional field shoot at the annual Western Montana Fair which opened on Thursday.  Always a fun event for everyone involved to capture the lights and people in this unique environment! Thrown in for good measure were mentoring sessions as well.

AllisonRobert_11-17Output provided plenty of opportunity for students to perfect their printing technique, utilize outsourcing options, and prepare their final class assignment work for critique. And also their all-important final projects. Edit classes concerned more intricacies of the Photoshop software and tons of assisted lab time for the students to apply them to their own work.

One more week left to go for this fantastic group – the Class of 2013. Final project presentations will be the order of the week. These produce some of the most poignant, meaningful and creative moments of the entire experience. Stay tuned!



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