Marin County Civic Center Lagoon Park

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This lush 10-acre park is part of the Marin Country Civic Center campus designed by famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, embroiled in national controversy at the time, but completed nonetheless, just after Wright’s death in 1960.

The lagoon is a photographer’s dream for photo ops. Your instructor will demonstrate and supervise a myriad of composition strategies and will also offer expertise on choice of camera or cell phone controls all playing off of the unending variety of activities and themes inherent to this park wonderful locale.

Start with the ducks, geese and variety of shorebirds who have made the lagoon thier home. Compare the choice of capturing a sitting duck with a Rule of Thirds composition approach to placing your main subject in the dead center of the frame. Inevitably you will add both options to your artillery of composition selections as you engage in the never ending process of developing your own signature style of making images.

How about panning? Focus on a flock of geese in flight and work your camera controls to depict the glorious freedom this soaring creature might experience and enable the viewers of your image to imagine what it must be like to take to the air.

Your instructor will help you create artful portraits, whether soulful fishman in solitude, whimsical images of dog walkers, their canine ward in tow, long lens shots capturing the face of determination on a relentless jogger and much more. Shadows, lighting, surrounding objects all contribute to the final image and you can walk away with a portfolio-worthy photograph to enlarge, print and proudly mount on an office or living room wall.

How about the leading lines composition strategy? Rather than a head on shot of a senior couple enjoying quiet time on a far off bench, start with a row of bushes, allow yourself a low angle by lowering your viewpoint to just above a row of 4 or 5 shrubs, that are positioned so the photo you capture, creates a formation of those bushes, starting at the lower right of your final frame, leading the eye of the viewer along the bushes, diagonally across your photo and culminating with a glimpse of the conversing couple. Such an approach will create a visual narrative, triggering your viewer to wonder what the situation might be for this anonymous couple.

Then of course is the lagoon itself. There are ways to deal with harsh sunlight reflecting off of the water and your instructor can show you.

How about Aperture Priority to highlight a lovely flower in crisp focus, surrounding it with a blurred background of the landscape, achieving a photographic version of a Renoir Impressionist painting?

There will be demonstrations of shutter priority control to capture a fountain in the park in different ways. You have seen the velvety smooth flow of a fountain spouting, almost in slow motion, as a visual metaphor of eternally flowing water. The other end of the spectrum would show a crystal clear version of the same fountain, by a different application of the shutter speed as if you made the stream of water freeze dead in its flow.


Meet at 3530 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael, CA


Call Digital Photo Academy at 1 877 372 2231. Lots of people seem to hang up if our welcome recording comes on instead of a live voice, but we promise to return your message within a day or two if you leave one with your name and number.  It would be even better if you included your email address as well as the date and city of the class you are considering.  If leaving a voice mail message is not your thing, please email us at