Advanced Digital Photography: Fieldwork


SIGN WAIVERS for the semester
Deborah Small
Office Hours WEDS 3:30-5:30
Deborah’s Ethnobotany blog

Samples from 2017 Fieldwork class

Ashley Han

Michael Casatico

Luke Sabin

Jeri’s Blog
Jeri’s Website at 22slides

Victoria Grau

Students with disabilities who require reasonable accommodations must be approved for services by providing appropriate and recent documentation to the Office of Disabled Student Services (DSS). This office is located in Craven Hall 5205, and can be contacted by phone at (760) 750-4905, or TTY (760) 750-4909. Students authorized by DSS to receive reasonable accommodations should meet with me during my office hours in order to ensure confidentiality.

Students will be expected to adhere to standards of academic honesty and integrity, as outlined in the Student Academic Honesty Policy.  All assignments must be original work, clear and error-free. All ideas/material that are borrowed from other sources must have appropriate references to the original sources.  Any quoted material should give credit to the source and be punctuated accordingly.

Information on what constitutes plagiarism can be found at:

Writing Center Infographic
The Writing Center’s mission is to be a welcoming learning environment where certified student consultants offer constructive guidance to all writers at any stage of the writing process – idea generation, argument development, polishing of sentences and more. FREE tutoring is available at the Writing Center by certified student consultants. The WC helps you review the prompt and ask guiding questions, as students work to develop compelling texts. The WC is committed to providing non-judgmental feedback. Additional services include assistance with Academic English.

Disruptions are not tolerated. Read for complete information.

Our four hour class meetings require your complete attention. If you engage with the class by: doing work from other classes, surfing the web, facebook, youtube, gaming, texting, taking calls, hiding behind a personal computer or tablet, listening to music, chatting online, or otherwise avoiding participation—you will be marked absent for the class meeting. I encourage a strong sense of commitment to the class, which will be apparent in your work and reflected in your grade. (This is now pretty much boiler-plate language for all classes).

“Students may not record (audio or video) in this class except in accordance with ADA accommodations. Any recordings made in connection with a disability accommodation are for the student’s personal academic use only and may not be distributed in any manner to any other individual.”

EQUIPMENT CHECK-OUT: Chad Huggins and Albert Rascon
You may only check out equipment during the posted hours. Checkout hours are posted on the door to Arts 239. Use your own hi-end digital cameras and tripods or check out our Canon cameras from ARTS 239. You can reserve the equipment online.
Chad Huggins: Instructional Support Technician III
PH: (760) 750-8052   Fax: (760) 750-3090

Julianne Kost: Getting Started with Lightroom
Julianne Kost: Recent Lightroom Tutorials
Julianne Kost: What’s New in Lightroom CC

ALWAYS back-up your work. Buy an external hard drive immediately, or check out an external hard drive for the semester from check-out.

Arts 239 is open so you can do your homework assignments. Hours are posted on the door. Labs are open 24/7, except when a class is in session. Please never let anyone in if you don’t recognize them. All software is also available on computers in the library on the 2nd floor.

Advanced Digital Photography: Fieldwork class will explore our San Diego ecosystems, environment, and landscapes and the astounding diversity and uniqueness or our region. 
San Diego County has more native species of plants and animals, and more species at risk, than any other county in the continental United States. San Diego’s coastline of coastal sage scrub is one of the biologically richest—as well as one of the most threatened—habitats in the world.

In southern California, it is not only the least Bell’s vireo and California gnatcatcher birds that are endangered. Equally endangered is our understanding of the rich and complex indigenous history of our region, as well as our relationship to our surroundings, our contact and intimacy with California native plants and species other than our own.

To help to transform this perhaps estranged relationship with our region, we will take several field trips during class time to explore our local landscapes: Double Peaks Park off Twin Oaks Valley Road, Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve in Harmony Grove, the San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve, one of the largest remaining coastal wetlands in San Diego County and endpoint of the Elfin Forest watershed, Daley Ranch in Escondido, and San Diego Botanic Gardens in Encinitas. Later in the Spring we will travel to the Pechanga Reservation to see the ancient Giant Oak, a sacred tree for the Luiseño Indians and the oldest coast live oak in the world.

We also may venture further to explore the Santa Rosa Ecological Reserve in Murrieta, home of the endangered Englemann Oaks as well as unique and endangered ecosystems, including vernal pools. We’ll use our cameras and equipment to explore our relationship to these environments and to create compelling landscapes and environmental portraits while exploring macro, panorama, and HDR (high dynamic range) photographic techniques and the use of tripods, diffusers, reflectors, off-camera flash, and other gear.

There is also a community engagement segment of the class: The Advanced Photo Fieldwork class will focus on creating potential digital media for a Chia Cafe Collective (CCC) website and related social media. Students will take photographs that focus on Native foods, Native community/portraits, and most importantly, Native landscapes, all central to Chia Café Collective’s work. Among our Subject Matter Experts: Tima Lotah Link, Chumash; Craig Torres, Tongva; and Abe Sanchez, Purapecha. Tima worked for Sony, and is now the designer for News From Native California. She is also a renowned basket weaver. Craig and Abe lead workshops throughout southern California on California native foods, medicines, and materials.

The Chia Café Collective (CCC) is a grassroots group of southern California tribal members and collaborators committed to the revitalization of native foods, medicines, culture and community.

Our work honors the vast traditional knowledge and spiritual relationship to the land, and the nutritive and medicinal bounty the land offers us.

Through workshops, classes, demonstrations, and native foods celebrations, as well as our CCC Cookbook (May 2016) and blog, the CCC focuses on ways to re-incorporate native food plants into our daily diets to take back responsibility for our health and well-being.

Many of these ancestral food plants are not only incredibly nutritious, but show remarkable heat and drought resistance, with the necessary resilience to adapt and survive in the face of the unpredictability of climate change.

With photographs, recipes, stories, and personal narratives, we offer ways to reconnect with the land through gathering, gardening, and cooking native foods and the preparation of medicinal plants as teas, tinctures, salves, and soaps.

We promote an ethic of gathering and cultivating plants in a manner that is sustainable, and we stress the importance of preserving native plants, plant communities, and the land for the future generations of all species.

COURSE APPROACH: This course is a FIELDWORK class that will provide you with an in-depth examination of how the creation of art using digital tools can be a means to discover and develop your ideas about the world and to extend the power, clarity, and range of your voice and vision. 

You will engage in serious critical inquiry as well as hands-on experimentation and investigation with digital technologies, including SLR cameras and cutting-edge software for editing and enhancing your images.

You will develop skills by learning advanced techniques in Photoshop, including panoramic and HDR imaging, formal and informal lighting techniques outdoors and in the studio, the use of plugins, such as the Google Nik Collection, for processing your photos, among other techniques.

We also will explore the work of contemporary digital artists and photographers and their documentary and experimental uses of digital media. In addition, you will be attending a photographic exhibitions at MOPA, the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park.


The class is conducted as a workshop and a fieldwork class. All students must participate actively and consistently. The class will be devoted to fieldwork excursions, to examining the work of contemporary photographers, and to the development and discussion of your photo projects and portfolio.

1. Learn the language
Software: We will focus on Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop, and the Google Nik Collection for editing and enhancing your images. You will learn the software through classroom lectures and use of the online tutorials. Learning will take place via classroom lectures, demonstrations, online tutorials at, and discussions and critiques of the projects that you will complete for the class.

Digital cameras, lenses, tripods: In this class, you continue to use DSLR cameras and various lenses, focusing on understanding the controls on your camera to effectively manipulate the exposure triangle: aperture/depth of field, shutter speed, and ISO, to create compelling images. 

Contemporary Artists: Through classroom lectures, discussion, screenings, and web research, we will explore contemporary landscape photographers and environmental portrait photographers, as well as artists who do artwork about the land and environment. By viewing and discussing a broad range of artistic practices, you will learn how art making is a means to discover and develop your ideas about the world and to extend the power, clarity, and range of your voice and vision.

You will blog about 2 online photographers who will inspire your final project. Each of the two blog posts will a minimum of 250 words, or the equivalent of one page. You will research and study their work, and then write on your blog about the work in relation to your own: what inspires you about the photographer’s work, how has their work has influenced your way of seeing and photographing the world, etc. You will also write a page about your chosen MOPA photographer.

Student Learning Outcomes B
Using the Language/Creating Artwork: For the class, you will complete the following four projects:
1. BlogYou will create a blog at for all thoughts, ideas, research, and images.
2. Project Proposal: your particular focus area: Spring Break photos
3.  Final Photo Portfolio Website Project in 22slides or a related site.
4. Funes Digital Arts Competition: you will submit online to the annual competition your best photographs and write a blog post about why you chose the particular images you submitted

Part of your final evaluation will focus on your ability to respond thoughtfully to other students’ artwork and to work collaboratively with each other. It is essential that you attend class regularly. Two unexcused absences will result in lowering your final grade.

30% Photography Blog
35% Final Photo Portfolio Website Project
10% Funes Digital Arts Competition (upload in class)
25% Participation in class and during Fieldtrips

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