Environmental Photography



Course Number



Modality: Remote-Synchronous

Time: W 3-5:50pm

Note: This class satisfies either Fairhaven 206 (Science and Our Place on the Planet I) or the Fairhaven 300 level science requirement. It may be used as an elective for other majors on campus with the permission of major advisors.

This class uses photography as a tool to advance our understanding of natural history, ecology, and environmental issues. We will work on advancing our photographic skills including understanding how cameras work, but our main goal in the class will be to use cameras to study the environment from a variety of perspectives through individual and group photography assignments and original group scientific research projects. Students will choose topics for weekly photo shoots from an extensive list that includes such topics as animal behavior, botany (including ethnobotany), agriculture (including gardening, farming, and permaculture), illustrating ecological principals (such as forest succession or symbiosis), marine biology, environmental issues (such as pollution, climate change, habitat loss, or ecological restoration), and more. The course culminates with individuals or small groups using photography to conduct an original scientific study on the topic of your choice. Examples from the past include conducting a photographic survey of tree, moss, or insect species on Sehome Hill, comparing historical vs. modern photographs to study environmental change over time, using satellite photographs to study the relationship between green space and socioeconomic standing of different areas within a city, or using photographs or video to study aggression in gulls at the beach. We will also have optional field trips for those in Bellingham (depending on social distancing rules). No special camera is required - using a cell phone will work fine - but for those with cameras, I will provide instruction for developing photographic skills including lessons on composition, depth of field, controlling shutter speeds, focus, using light, and nighttime photography.

Texts: John Cox: Digital Nature Photography and readings on environmental photography assigned via Canvas.

Requirements: Regular attendance at Zoom classes, completion of an individual or group research project, weekly photoshoots and accompanying writing and research, and a portfolio of photographs turned in at the end of the course.


FAIR 206a or equivalent


Summer 2021
Course Instructor