Environmental Photography



Course Number



Note:  This class satisfies either Fairhaven 206 (Science and Our Place on the Planet I) or the Fairhaven 300 level science requirement.  Students satisfying the 206 requirement will have one slightly different assignment than other students.  The course 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 nature, ecology, the human environment, and the rest of the natural environment.  We will work on advancing our photographic skills including understanding how digital and single lens reflex (SLR – analog) cameras work, but our main class goal will be to use cameras to study the environment from a variety of perspectives through individual photoessays and original photo-based scientific research projects.  Students will be free to choose their own topics for weekly photo shoots, or can from an extensive list of topics that includes 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), Queer ecology, the human environment (the places we live, the relationships we have, the human body), and more.  We will also have field trips early in the quarter for students in Bellingham and possibly one in the Seattle area. 

No special camera is required – using a cell phone will work fine – but for those with cell phones, digital cameras, or non-digital 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.  We will also study a diverse set of photographers who use photography to explore issues related to this course.

Texts:  Nat Coalson: Nature Photography Photo Workshop.  All other readings will be assigned via Canvas. 


FAIR 206A.


Summer 2022

Course Instructor

John Bower