During those early years I learned a lot about composition and other skills that still apply to digital photography. But I'm a firm believer that you can never stop learning. So I regularly take photo classes looking for a few new techniques or ideas that can help my images. I've taken classes at the Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena California. But when I got an email telling me about a class titled "Travel and Adventure Photography" offered by a local photo shop Calumet Photographic I signed up.
I won't go over every aspect of the class, it was basic, but well done. The instructor didn't spend any time dealing with specific hardware since every camera is different, but focused instead on composition and image content. He said "People take pictures, not cameras." He covered concepts such as the rule of thirds along with suggestions on ways to research your trips photo opportunities before you leave.
He did show us a few gadgets that would help any photographer. He displayed his homemade pocket mono-pod designed to help you steady your camera. I a piece of rope connected to an i-bolt that matches you cameras tripod socket. You screw the bolt into your camera let the rope dangle then step on the rope anchoring it. Pulling up slightly on the camera adds stability that can help you get sharper images when zoomed in tight or when using a slow shutter speed. (see it in the above photo of Ralph)
Calumet Photographic has 29 stores, 10 in the US and 19 in Europe. Don Ernst, VP of US Marketing, was most familiar with the domestic stores and said about half of them offer travel photography classes in addition to other classes. He said that Calumet has offered a variety of classes for at least the past 10 years, but has increased their offerings in the last 18 months.
I emailed my local Calumet store manager Daniel Perez and asked for his input. "All individual travelers should take a Travel and Adventure class to improve their composition and pre-visualization skills. Travelers tend to miss or underestimate different points of interest when traveling due to a lack of experience. This class will train their eye when out in the field helping them identify strong photographic subjects in the environment they previously missed."
If you want to improve your photography I suggest you seek out classes to help improve skills and vision. If your near a Calumet Photographic check out their many classes, if not look into offerings from your local commnity college. Take a basic class if your a novice, more experienced shooters should take a class like the travel photography class we took.