Big question for the day: How has photography impacted attitudes towards wilderness? What can images do and how do they do it?
Writing into the day (10 minutes): Browse the Ansel Adams gallery for 5 minutes or so. Pick a photograph that speaks to you. Why did you pick that image? What does it say to you? How does it connect with your emerging definition of wilderness?
Pick photo for Full Group Visual Analysis (20 minutes) : What can we infer (because we have bodies and live with others in society) about this image? Where are the vectors of attention? How is the audience involved in the photograph? How is the image framed? Are we, as the audience, asked to be intimately involved or distant? How has the image been cropped to focus our attention? How do light and color affect us?
Investigation: Explore the PBS American Experience (25 minutes): Ansel Adams website. Definitely check out the timeline and the sections on Ansel Adams, Photographing the American Wilderness and Closing the Wilderness. As you read, make notes about what surprises you, what intrigues you, and what bothers you. Break as needed during independent reading time.
Full Group Discussion (15 minutes): How does building historical context and an understanding of photographer, his audience, and his purpose impact our interpretations of Adam’s photos and his writings–including the letter to Cedric?
Workshop (40 minutes): Return to your River Park North wilderness narrative. What is the theme, message, or significance of your narrative? How can you use strategies of visual rhetoric to help your image argue as effectively as your words?
Choose an image from that you shot last week at RPN. Import it into a photo manipulator that will allow you to crop, flip, rotate, play with color and light, and experiment with filters and special effects. Work to with the tools to make your photo a stronger part of your persuasive argument. If you do this easily, repeat the process with additional images. Post the original(s) and the edited photo(s) to a new blog post with a description of what you did and why.
Outdoor Letter Writing (45 minutes)
Based on Adam’s letter to Cedric, write your own letter to a friend explaining an abstract concept or idea such as love, friendship, success, grief, suffering, art, happiness etc. that likens one or more of these abstracts to something you observe on our walk or while we sit. Try not to obsess over picking the right concept or the right metaphor in nature, just go with it and write.
Finish your photo manipulation blog post and create another post for your letter to a friend. Feel free to add persuasive images to accompany your letter as well.
Reading: Read “Thinking Like a Mountain” by Aldo Leopold available on course readings page. Leave a comment on this post that responds to the question– what does it mean to “think like a mountain”? How does this notion of being resonate with Dillard, Thoreau, Adams, and/ or your own? Make connections and show where there might be emerging conflicts.
Also, make sure that you have a copy of and are reading your chosen book–either Becoming Odyssa or A Walk in the Woods as we will discuss those novels during the Winter Wonderland Trip.
Next week we will meet at the ECU Adventure Center to learn about wilderness safety, winter hiking, and snowshoeing. We’ll also make plans for our trip the following week to Boone. Start keeping a list of all your questions, concerns, or hopes for the trip!