Training with Rocky Mountain School of Photography

After learning about composition, lighting, and how to capture images for story telling with National Geographic and two of their great photographers Jay Dickman and Jeff Vanuga, (see previous blog posts) I started looking at my photos with a much more critical eye. There were things that I found frustrating because I wasn’t familiar with the artistic elements that my camera was capable of.  I was annoyed with the quality of my images and I wanted to be able to use my camera in strictly “manual” mode but I found it had more functions than I knew what to do with. I decided that I needed some technical training on my Canon 60D.

In July of 2014 I was able to attend the Rocky Mountain School of Photography in Missoula Montana. It was a week long class where I was to be immersed in RMSP-style education. Here’s what I read about it that made me decide that this was what I needed:

“During this week of learning the basics, you explore the craft of photography with an instructor who makes the process fun. Split between classroom lectures, hands-on field shoots, and lively critique sessions, you listen as topics are thoroughly explained indoors—and then actively explore them through trial and error outdoors. Your instructor teaches you the building blocks of photography: Shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and how they all work together to determine exposure. You learn how to interpret your camera’s histogram, adjust the white balance, and use various metering modes. An A–to–Z equipment lecture covers cameras, lenses, tripods, and more. Learn how to use depth of field to stunning creative effect, and how techniques for composition can make your images sing. Group critiques help you identify areas you can improve while letting you see the work of your classmates.” (Click here:

I learned a great deal from them. By the time I was done with the class, I not only understand aperture, shutter speed and ISO more fully, but I had been given hands-on experiences to see and fully grasp how each one affected my images. I also learned spot metering which made it much easier to get the white balance right.  I was excited to get out and use my new knowledge. Below are some photos that I took during some of our photo shoots and some that I took on my drive home from Missoula to Grants Pass. (To see more photos of my trip, click here: My Gallery)