Any excuse to get outdoors and outside of the office is usually a good one, and Canada's Coolest School Trip (CCST) is no exception. I've always enjoyed spending time and connecting with youth, especially when there's an educational component. Perhaps that's one of the things that makes CCST so special: students are encouraged to travel, explore and learn outside the classroom. Friendships grow stronger, new friends are made and everyone goes home with a few tales to tell.
There were a number of memorable highlights along the way. We canoed on Lake Wapigazonke at sunset, and spied pictographs on a cliff face. The following day was punctuated with a hike to Waber Falls (we had to canoe through multiple lake basins to reach the trailhead). At Fort Levis, I watched the students giggle and fret over who to partner up with for our swing dancing lessons, while taking part in historical reenactments. In Vieux Quebec we topped the day off with a surprise horse drawn carriage ride through the citadel, followed by a military style formal mess dinner at the prestigious Garrison Club.
Tips for photographing large groups
It's always a bit of a challenge to shoot large groups, but there are a few things I try to keep in mind for every shot:
1. I try to make sure my lens has an unobstructed view of everyone in the group. With large groups such as this (i.e. 30 or more people), that can be difficult, so I'll often perform a double check by asking if everyone can see me, too.
2. It's not just about remembering who, but where. I try to shoot medium wide to wide at each location to give a sense of place.
3. Children and youth want to have fun. Make a point of taking the traditional, staged group shots, but leave the floor open to other suggestions and ideas. During our last moments together in Quebec, the students on this particular trip asked if they could throw their caps in the air -- like a graduation celebration. It was fun and a little bit different, and suited the occasion perfectly.
Click on this photo to see a slideshow of the 2015 Canada's Coolest School Trip