andscapes, cityscapes, architectural shots, nature shots, action shots, night photos and candid photos help tell one part of the story of an educational experience embarked upon by Canterbury students this summer. The students were enrolled in the school’s first travel-based photography class. Terms referring to photographic techniques, such as shutter speed, depth of field, aperture setting, cropping and uncluttering, represent a second dimension of the experience that used English landmarks and landscapes as the raw material for this picturesque summer class.
Over the summer, a group of 19 students and adults flew to England, to begin an 11-day tour that took students to castles and cathedrals, small rural villages and large cosmopolitan cities, lakes and mountains. Of course, the people, landscapes, architecture and busy streets provided countless photo opportunities.
The instructors for the summer course were Maria Kirkland, Canterbury art teacher, and Ramsey Railsback, a Canterbury parent and professional photographer. “Students have always had an inherent interest in photography. They know strong photos when they see them and want to know how to produce their own. This is a skill that can be taught, which is why all of our students see a great deal of success,” said Mrs. Kirkland.
“There is a human need not just to record surroundings but to interpret them. When we express ourselves through the camera lens, we are saying to the viewer, ‘I want you to see the world the way I see it.’”
Mrs. Kirkland, Photography and Art Teacher
Mr. Railsback and Mrs. Kirkland met with students before the trip abroad to orient them on the capabilities of the 35 mm digital camera, and to talk about how to take interesting and artistic travel shots using a variety of techniques. During their explorations, Mrs. Kirkland and Mr. Railsback guided students on framing photos, creative composition, contrast control and using light and shadow. They worked one-on-one with students in the various settings, and in the evenings focused on the editing and post production process.
After returning from England, each student worked through hundreds of images to produce travel photo essays that communicate a story about a place or subject. “The students’ photo essays show aspects of natural scenery and people that I did not see on the trip. They were enthusiastic and always thinking creatively,” said Mrs. Kirkland. “I am grateful to High School director Bob Schantz for his expertise on England and leading us to places with so much photographic potential, and to Ramsey Railsback for so willingly sharing with us his immense talent and know-how.”