Dave Wyman's job is to find interesting and exotic places for people to photograph. So, with the world at his disposal, what out-of-the-way locale do you think he likes best?
Try New Mexico.
"It's an amazing place for photography," Wyman said. "It's the people who are interesting . . . like going to a foreign country, but you don't need shots or passports. It's a lot of fun to meet those people on their own terms and experience a completely different culture."
Wyman, director of the USC Adventure Center, is expected to find photography excursions for students, faculty and anyone else who has an interest in such trips.
He will teach a one-night seminar called "Secrets of Mountain and Nature Photography." The class, sponsored by the REI Outdoor Gear & Clothing store, is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 27 at the Community Hall, at the northeast end of the City Shopping Center in Orange. Admission is free.
Wyman, a native of Los Angeles, has been a fan of the outdoors since he was a child when his parents would take him camping. He was lucky enough to turn his love for the outdoors and photography from a hobby into a career. Before his job at USC, he organized trips for the Sierra Club.
Most of the trips he organizes last only two or three days. On most trips he includes an assistant or even a notable nature photographer, such as Gordon Wiltsie of Bishop, Calif.
The trips are easy. "We drive to a particular place, walk a short distance and take pictures," Wyman said. "We go to places that are spectacular, like Yosemite or the Taos Pueblo."
They are also economical. For example a weekend trip to Anza-Borrego State Park in San Diego County is only $60. A trip to Yosemite National Park costs $150, and that includes three nights' stay and a couple of meals.
For those who may want to attempt outdoors and nature photography on their own, Wyman does offer some suggestions.
If you are using slide film, expose for the brightest part of the scene. This will keep your photos from being overexposed.
Don't place your subject in the middle of the photograph. It tends to make the pictures boring.
Don't forget to set your ASA or ISO. Newer cameras may set it for you but the older ones do not.
The slower the film speed (ASA or ISO) the sharper and higher quality the image will be.
Use a tripod whenever possible. This is especially important with telephoto lenses, long exposures and slow film speeds.
The best time to photograph nature is just after dawn or around sunset. That's when the light is at its best.
Watch for shadows, they can make or break a photo. Shadows can give a sense of three dimensions. They give you a sense of depth, texture and form.
Filters are important. A polarizing filter can help saturate the colors of the sky and reduce glare. An 81B filter is good on overcast days or in the shade to give the picture more warmth.
For more information about the class, call Wyman at (213) 743-7084.
If you are looking for a seminar with sparkle, bells and whistles, look no further. Dean Collins' World Tour called "The Magic of Light" is making its Southern California stop in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
The cost for the 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. show is $55 for those who pre-register, $65 at the door and $45 for students. For more information, call (800) 243-3238.
The photography column, which runs each Saturday in Orange County Life, is intended to help both the serious amateur and weekend shooter. Questions and ideas are encouraged. Write to: Robert Lachman, Chief Photographer, The Times, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, Calif., 92626.