Please join me this July in beautiful Sitka. The capital of Russian America back in the late 1700s and early 1800s, Sitka just may be the most photogenic city in Alaska. Historic homes front a picturesque harbor crammed with fishing boats. The Alaska Raptor Center, which functions primarily as a bird rehab center, teems with many bald eagles and some owls. Fortress of the Bears, a few miles from Sitka, is a rescue center for these magnificent bruins and the photography can be great in this natural-looking setting. In Sitka National Historic Park, totem poles loom in a dark forest next to an ocean shoreline. And all of this is surrounded by green, mossy temperate rainforest. We’ll savor it all, using as our base the buildings of historic Sheldon Jackson College, lovingly restored over tens of thousands of hours by community volunteers. For an intense five days, we’ll spend the mornings (and at least one afternoon) learning the basics of Photoshop and digital photography, hunkering over computers for a little while before wandering some of the venues mentioned above. There will be activities before and after the workshop itself, and these are described in detail on the Sitka Fine Arts and Science Camp website. Once you touch upon a few basics like camera operation, composition and rudimentary Photoshop, you’ll then springboard into applying some magnificent artistic effects. In addition to photography, afternoons may also feature musical strolls in the forest or a boat tour in Sitka Sound with its myriad tiny islands and teeming bird life.

Using this beautiful Alaska community for inspiration, turn your photographs into works of art. The workshop exists within the Sitka Arts & Science Festival. Find inspiration from other artists and scientists on afternoon excursions and through the evening concert and lecture series.

The workshop is surprisingly inexpensive, $600 (plus tax) plus room and board (beginning at $633, with simple shared dormitory-style accommodations, or you can opt to stay in a more expensive hotel and eat off-campus—Sitka is a highly walkable town). Food is basic cafeteria-style, with emphasis on healthy options, including vegan, Alaska seafood, and gluten-free choices.

Please bring a digital camera with a normal (50mm) or small zoom (24-70 or any equivalent), plus cards, card reader, charger. If you prefer to work on your own laptop, by all means bring that. We will have access to a computer lab on campus. For photographing bears and eagles, bring a telephoto lens 300mm or longer. (If you don’t have a telephoto lens, rentals are surprisingly affordable from sources such as or A tripod and remote release are nice but not necessary for the purposes of this workshop.

Recommended Personal Items to Bring:
● Warm clothes to sleep in if you get cold easily (although summer temperatures in Sitka are generally in the 50s and low 60s F., the rooms are not heated)
● Soap and other toiletries
● Raincoat and waterproof shoes
● Quarters so you can do laundry if needed
● Sleep mask if you are light sensitive when sleeping
● Water bottle
● A laptop if you require computer access

Access to Sitka is via Alaska Airlines jet. There is jet service from Seattle and other points. Taxi service is available from the airport to the college and rental cars are available. The workshop will include transportation to/from the Raptor Center and Fortress of the Bears.

Think of this as Alaska “lite,” a tiny sampling of the misty, wet coast of this Great Land. No, this is not the intense experience of whales, bears and amazing scenery to be savored on the Dolphin Charters boat trips I have led for nearly 20 years, but even so, this will be an experience you will cherish for the rest of your life.

Registration is being handled by the Sitka Fine Arts and Science Camp.

NOTE: This workshop is now close to full, so please enroll right away.