A Change of Perspective

Photos by Piper Watson (Staff) VisionWorkshops


Often times, when faced with a difficult situation, human nature is to fight, flight, or freeze. However, a shift in how we see things can turn an unsurmountable challenge into a positive, life-changing experience. The same applies to photography. Our view of the world through the viewfinder of a camera can change drastically depending on our vantage point. In this case, both mental and photographic perspective were challenged when our students embarked on an adventure with Sylvan Rocks Climbing School, in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

Angel looks for the next foot hold on the route.



Sylvan Lake also provided the perfect backdrop for our lesson on capturing overall scenes and landscapes. The students were able to experiment with a variety of lenses and focal lengths while exploring the hiking trails and utilizing the natural light for portraits as the sun set.

Volunteer Whitney Shefte uses the outdoor classroom to her advantage while explaining the 'scene-setter' lesson.


Apollonia, Martin, and Kenny practice their overall shots.

The day came to a exciting close when a herd of American Bison were sited, and an impromptu photo session began. Teaching assistant and former Pine Ridge Photo Camp student Chaz “Wasu” Thompson made a special connection with one of the herd. Chaz’s family celebrates their traditional heritage, and he shared with us that this special connection was a skill that has been passed down to him by his grandmother.

Chaz reaches through a barbed-wire fence to greet an American Bison.


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