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Designing Great Landscape Photos

Designing Great Landscape Photos

October 29, 2023
Spend a full day expanding your landscape photo skills and end with a beautiful sunset beach shoot. Includes online follow-up evaluation.

A class for photographers of all skill levels.

Spend a day learning how to translate the beauty you see in subjects ranging from tiny wildflowers to broad landscapes into strong, expressive photos in both color and black and white. You’ll learn the principles of good composition plus how to work with light direction, time of day, weather, sun, moon, and tides.

Meeting at the Red Barn, the day will be a mixture of lecture, slide shows, exercises to expand your creative vision, evaluating some of your past work, and finishing with a field photo session around sunset at one of the National Seashore’s most beautiful beaches.

Online Follow-Up Review: On the following Saturday, Nov 4 from 10am-12pm, we’ll evaluate your photos during a two-hour on-line meeting.

All types of cameras, both digital and film are welcome, but you should already be familiar with your camera’s controls.

Bill Helsel has been a free-lance photographer since 1976, specializing in architecture and travel plus a bit of everything from weddings to wildlife. He has been represented by three major stock photo agencies and his work has appeared in hundreds of publications worldwide, including Audubon, Bay Nature, California Living, California Scenic, Conde Nast Traveler, National Geographic publications, Ranger Rick, Sierra and Sunset. Since 1980 he has taught photography through Acalanes Adult Education Center, Walnut Creek Center for Community Arts, St. Marys College, the American Institute of Architects, and Pt. Reyes Field Institute. He has also been a contributing editor for Darkroom Photography magazine.

His personal, fine art landscape work has been mostly in black and white, and since 2000, mostly in black and white infrared. He presently shoots both digital and film, and processes his images in both Photoshop and an old-fashioned darkroom. Over the last 15 years or so his work has been shown in many Bay Area solo and group exhibits.

Photo Credit: Bill Helsel


-We will be meeting at the Red Barn Classroom

-Details for the online follow-up meeting will be emailed to registered participants

– Please arrive 10-15 minutes early to check in

– Refunds available for all classes 7 days in advance of the start date, after 7 days and before 2 days, participants can credit their class for a future date. All requests before 48 hours in advance will be declined. For COVID policy, see below.

– Please follow the parking instructions for the facility used that day

– Please provide an email you check regularly for updates and reminders about your class

– Registration is required online prior to the event in order to maintain class sizes

– Sales end 48 hours before the start date.

– Waitlists are available when the class sells out

What to Bring

Camera with lenses from wide to medium telephoto (or whatever you have), lens hood(s), spare battery, memory card with lots of capacity (or film)

Camera instruction book

Sturdy tripod and remote release

Filters recommended: Protective (skylight or UV), Polarizer, neutral density (don’t buy just for this class)

Flashlight or head lamp (for setting camera controls after sunset)

Landscape photos for sharing and evaluation: up to 4 images, JPEGs, max height 2000 pixels, on a mini-USB drive

Day Pack

Lunch and snacks for later

Warm Variable Weather Clothing

Hiking shoes that are waterproof or you don’t mind getting wet or muddy

Water Bottle

Notebook and Pen/Field Journal

Eventbrite Confirmation Email

Binoculars (Optional)

About the PRNSA Field Institute

The PRNSA Field Institute offers hands-on environmental education classes throughout the year that foster enjoyment of Point Reyes National Seashore. Our classes are led by expert instructors, who take you out of your everyday life and into the natural world. We host a variety of classes about the arts and sciences and have something for everyone. You can reach the Field Institute at (415) 663-1200 x304 or by email at

Interested in becoming a member of PRNSA? Click Here!

Interested in becoming a PRNSA Field Institute volunteer facilitator, or are you an outdoor educator or artist who would like to teach a PRNSA Field Institute class? Send an Email!

For any questions, please email us at

COVID-19 Field Institute Guidelines

Please respect the following COVID-19 procedures:

• Perform a health self-check before coming to class using the CDC Symptoms of Coronavirus as a guide

• Do not attend class if you are experiencing COVID symptoms, know that you have had a close exposure, or are suffering from any flu-like or respiratory illness

• Contact the Field Institute if you will not be able to attend due to COVID. You may be eligible to receive a full or partial refund

• Participants exhibiting signs of respiratory illness may be asked to leave class

• Masks are optional at your discretion

• Please bring your own food and water

All guidelines are subject to change pursuant to State or County Health order updates.

Thank you for your cooperation in following these guidelines to help keep everyone safe.