Sarah Lefrancois

Norwich Free Academy, Norwich CT

Retrace the footsteps/work of Ansel Adams in and around Yosemite Park to learn about landscape photography and advocacy and these concepts to students culminating in an art show documenting their local landscapes.

Where I've Been

  • Yosemite, CA

My Fellowship in Images

Standing in front of Half Dome with my 70-200mm lens!
Standing near the Grizzly Giant Sequoia
Photographing the Stamp Mill at Bodie State Park
Climbing what I have to!
Sunrise over Half Dome
Peace in a meadow along Tioga Road.

Igniting Your Personal and Professional Growth

Describe one or two, specific learning experiences from your fellowship. In words, show us this experience and explain why it was powerful.

I took a class with the Ansel Adams Gallery on Smartphone Photography. I didn't think I would take much away from it since I am a proficient photographer, but I enjoyed the style in which the instructor taught; showing examples of Adam's work, explaining a concept, and giving us creative time on a pre-set walk. It gave us freedom, but within the walls of some structure. I will absolutely be using his methods with my students in the field.

What did you learn about yourself? What did you learn professionally?

I did a lot of reflecting on this trip. It was a solid week where I had nothing to do but explore with my camera, which I haven't been able to do since having children. It was a blessing for me, because I was able to reconnect and be creative with something I am passionate about, instead of being creative for students. I also really appreciated the isolation and silence of Yosemite National Park. It was a wonderful place to reset and remember why I love doing what I do!

What were some unplanned or unexpected experiences or outcomes of your fellowship? Or, how did the fellowship you crafted differ from the actual learning experience?

One of the classes that I really wanted to take, "In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams", was canceled. I was disappointed, because I originally had the intention of re-photographing the exact locations of where Adam's took his images for comparison with his "Portfolio 3". I tried to follow a map that the gallery gave me, but was pretty overwhelmed. After taking another class, I began to use the inspiration of how Adam's experienced the park as the basis to create my own work in his style.

Impacting Your Classroom, School and Community

Outline specific plans you have to implement your fellowship and reach your student goals.

I'm working with local land conservation and preservation agencies to set up a series of field trips in diverse locations for students to explore, experience, and photograph. We are looking at coastal spaces, working farmlands, culturally important lands, wildlife management areas, and open spaces in urban settings. We will create a series of images using DSLR cameras and smartphones. Students will reflect on their experiences and we will have a cumulative art show.

What is one way you can leverage your fellowship to create one authentic learning experience for students? (e.g. hands-on learning, projects, community engagement)

The work has just begun! I have a series of field trips planned and have made connections with local land preservation activists, the Mohegan Tribe, and outdoor educators to help my students have meaningful experiences outdoors so that they can better understand the importance of land preservation and conservation. I am excited for them to be hands on in the landscapes and also involved with the community.

How, specifically, will your fellowship extend beyond your classroom? (e.g. families, school-at-large, afterschool groups, surrounding community, colleagues, etc.)

Our culminating experience will be an art show, where students will have examples of their creations alongside mine as well as the work of Ansel Adams. We are very excited to share our collective images and feelings with the student community, deep alumni community of my school, as well as the public.