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Cancelled Nature Photography 4-Part Class

September 11, 2020 @ 2:08 am

$195 – $205

Photo by Kathy Eyster

DATES: October 8, 15, 22, 29

TIME: 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


  • Class 1. 10/8. Meet at the the Visitor Center at the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge
  • Class 2. 10/15. Meet at Maclay Flats.
  • Class 3. 10/22. Meet at the Kelly Island Spurgin St. Fishing Access.
  • Class 4. 10/29. Meet at the Montana Natural History Center. We will convene in the gardens at the east side of the builidng.

Learn nature photography techniques from the masters and take your skills to the next level in this 4-part, 16-hour course. You will travel to beautiful locations including Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge, Maclay Flats, and Kelly Island. Your instructors are Neil Chaput de Saintonge, founder of the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, instructor, and photographer, Jessica Carter, program director and core instructor at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, and Kathy Eyster, photographer, instructor, and master naturalist. You will learn tips for shooting the best compositions, techniques for photographing birds, wildlife and landscapes, and how to make the most of available light conditions. Students must be familiar with their camera and it’s functions. A DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses is required.

This class will be held entirely outside in all weather. We will wear masks and practice social distancing. Limit 10 students.

 Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge with Neil Chaput de Saintonge, 9:00-1:00 p.m. Neil Chaput de Saintonge will start the course with an informative outdoor lecture. At the refuge we will take advantage of the beautiful Bitterroot mountain backdrop and migrating waterfowl to practice a variety of shooting and composition techniques. We will also walk the nature trail to the river looking for more birds and photographic opportunities along the riparian corridor. Naturalist Christine Morris will interpret breeding bird behavior and landscape features as we go.

There are only a handful of people in the world who can say they studied photography under a guy named Ansel Adams. Neil Chaput de Saintonge is one of them. After teaching and running photography schools in Atlanta, GA for about ten years, Neil and his wife Jeanne decided to pack up the U-Haul and head West. In 1989 they landed in Missoula, MT, where they created RMSP. Neil has taught photography for 50 years to up to 20,000 students. He has taught classes and workshops in the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. Neil is a Reiki Master, too.

Kelly Island with Kathy Eyster, 9:00-1:00 We will meet at Kelly Island with Kathy Eyster. Learn to create a visual story of the Clark Fork River by photographing the environment from a variety of perspectives: wide-angle overviews, medium portraits, and close-up details. Potential subjects include the surrounding riparian landscape, details of rocks, water and plants, and possibly birds and wildlife. You will learn to tell a story in three pictures.

Kathy Eyster is a master of landscape and macro photography techniques using both film and digital cameras. She has studied with Julieanne Kost, John Paul Caponigro, George DeWolfe, and Katrin Eismann. Kathy has served as technical editor of digital photography books. She also travels throughout the country to teach digital camera classes and photograph extensively in the spectacular surroundings of western Montana. Her new book is The Grace of Trees.

Maclay Flats with Jessica Carter, 9:00-1:00 Meet at Maclay Flats. Jessica Carter will bring your attention to textures, light, and overall image making as you wander the trail in this beautiful area. This is a wonderful location to find inspiration in the open meadows, Bitterroot river, conifer stands, and riparian flora.

Jessica Carter is a full-hearted nature lover and collector of experiences. Some of her favorites: standing on a black sand beach, hearing the wind rush through the woods, watching orcas silently swim in the fog, and feeling the tiny paws of a flying squirrel on her hand. Her love of nature led her to photography and to Rocky Mountain School of Photography; she is an alum of the Summer Intensive program and currently serves as program director and core instructor. She enjoys helping others discover their own abilities, passions, and ways of seeing and capturing the world.

Montana Natural History Center with Neil and Jessica, 9:00-11:30 Meet at the Montana Natural History Center for a photo critique. Each student can exhibit photographs taken during the course for critique with Neil and Jessica. This is a wonderful way to share work and learn what resonates with viewers.Find out how a different exposure or crop can elevate your piece and develop your critical eye as you look at color and composition. You can print your photos to bring, or send them to MNHC to print on their computer.

What to Bring:

  • Mask (we will wear a mask and practice social distancing)
  • A DSLR or mirrorless camera with interchangeable lenses
  • Clothing and layers appropriate for changing Montana weather conditions
  • Good walking shoes or boots
  • Water and snacks
  • Lunch
  • Journal and writing implement to take notes
  • Tripod (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional- we have pairs to borrow)

COST: $195 MNHC members, $205 non-members.

FAQs What’s the refund policy? The course fee (minus a 25% administrative fee) is refundable if a cancellation is made up to 7 days before the event. No refunds will be issued for cancellations made after this deadline.

Special Circumstances
In light of changes to programming due to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Montana Natural History Center will make exceptions to its normal refund policy. These exceptions are as follows:
• Any programs cancelled by the Montana Natural History Center are eligible for a full refund.
• In the event a program fee can be rolled over to a following cycle or year, that offer will be made available to the paying program participant, and a spot will be reserved for the participant.
• If a program is cancelled by a participant due to reasonable health and safety concerns from exposure risk to novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Montana Natural History Center will issue a full refund.
• If any participant experiences major illness, injury, or loss of a family member prior to the start of a registered program the participant is eligible for a full refund.
• Changes to normal program fee structure are at the discretion of the Montana Natural History Center.

Do I have to bring my printed ticket to the event? Nope! We will have a list of all the attendees.


September 11, 2020
2:08 am
$195 – $205
Event Category:


Montana Natural History Center
120 Hickory St.
Missoula, MT 59801 United States