Nature Photography Clinic

By Jack Dawson

Jambar Contributor

Youngstown State University is teaching students about outdoor photography with real professionals from the field.

On Nov. 8 the Adventure Rec of YSU held a nature photography clinic.

The clinic was put on by R.J. Markowitz, coordinator of adventure recreation for YSU, and Peter Zelinka, a photographer at YM Camera.

Markowitz said the event was a good way to draw in some of the less adventurous students on campus and get them involved with Adventure Rec. Not everyone is willing to go on rock climbing and white water rafting trips, but they can try a photography course.

The clinic taught interested students the basics of outdoor photography, gave advice on good gear and included tips on how to make pictures come out better.

“We really tried to inspire students to get out there and take some photographs of their own,” Markowitz said.

Linda Roldan, a student employee for Adventure Rec, said the event was great for anyone from hobbyist to students who wanted to learn more about photography.

Roldan recently purchased her first camera and relished the opportunity to learn more about outdoor photography.

“I’m moving to Utah next summer, so I wanted to learn more about outdoor photography so that I can document how pretty it is out there,” Roldan said.

Markowitz said he chose to have the event capped at 20 participants to create a one-on-one interaction between Zelinka and the students.

Zelinka works for and is a representative of YM Camera, which is a local business located in Boardman about 15 minutes from campus. YM camera sells and rents cameras and other photography gear.

“It’s great to reach out and try to form a connection with the community. It’s mutually beneficial for YSU and local businesses to work on projects like this together and make an impact on students,” Markowitz said.

Zelinka said he has always loved things like hiking, backpacking and camping. He got serious about outdoor photography while traveling out west on a road trip.

Zelinka just returned to the area on Nov. 5 after a three-month trip doing photography in areas such as Yosemite National Park in California and the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado.

“The goal with this program was to really inspire people to get out there and see the country, and give them the opportunity to take great pictures and really capture the things they see,” Zelinka said.

Zelinka gave students a lot of advice on how to further their own pursuits in photography during the clinic.

“My best advice for aspiring photographers is to get out as much as possible. Take your camera with you and take as many photographs as you can, and over time you’ll see your photography improve,” Zelinka said.

Markowitz said as long as student feedback from the event is positive he would love to hold more clinics like this one.

Zelinka’s photography and contact information can be found on his website,