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Digital Photography: Conquering Cameras and Computers Without Curses

Program Number: 16453RJ
Start and End Dates:
6/16/2013 - 6/20/2013; 8/17/2015 - 8/21/2015;
Duration: 4 nights
Location: Raquette Lake, New York
Price starting at: $588.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Photography Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 12; 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    

Perched on a peninsula that juts into picturesque Sagamore Lake, Great Camp Sagamore is a photographer’s paradise. On this former Vanderbilt wilderness retreat, professional photographers demystify your camera settings and the principles of proper composition. Learn to “see” your subject, whether you’re focusing on rustic, 19th-century buildings or trees bursting forth in their autumnal splendor. In computer workshops, learn how to download and enhance photos, email them to friends and family, and print your masterworks.


• Gain confidence to push the envelope of your creativity during constructive photo critiques.
• Delve into the history of Great Camp Sagamore and hear stories of the Vanderbilt family.
• Try your hand at photographing deer, birds and other wildlife in the surrounding woods and waters.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to one mile on groomed trails and unpaved roads. Standing for periods of time without places to sit.

Date Specific Information


June is black fly season in the Adirondacks. Pack accordingly.

Coordinated by Sagamore Institute of the Adirondacks.

Raquette Lake

Raquette Lake’s pristine water and wooded lakeshores are located in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Great Camp Sagamore, founded by the Vanderbilt family in 1897 and now a National Historic Landmark, shares this wilderness area.

National Historic Landmark-designated buildings at Great Camp Sagamore.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Burdette Parks

A popular Road Scholar teacher at Sagamore, Burdette Parks is a multi-talented artist. He is a painter, a photographer, and an actor with a one-man show on Benjamin Franklin. Fully competent in digital and electronic media, Burdette never loses his artistry in the midst of technology. Much of his teaching is about seeing a subject — the transfer to electronics is secondary to the artistry of the photograph. He reminds students it is not the camera, or the computer, it is the photographer.
Nancy Foltz

Nancy Sue Foltz is an artist and certified art teacher who has been directing the crafts program at Great Camp Sagamore for almost a decade. A former high school teacher, she focuses on offering a wide variety of age-appropriate crafts. From pots to plant pressing, from pine cone art to painting tee shirts, from papier mache to paper hats and so many things in between, her ideas are always fresh. Grandkids will end up with some great, outdoorsy craft projects to bring home. Among her other duties at Sagamore, Nancy Sue is also the group leader for many Road Scholar programs.
Meals and Lodgings
  Sagamore Institute-Raquette Lake, NY 4 nights
Type: Lodge
  Description: As a guest at Sagamore, you will be accommodated in our historic buildings in (mostly) double occupancy rooms with twin beds and bathrooms, many with footed tubs, in the hallways. Most of our guests are housed in one of our three lodges each sleeping 20. There are no telephones in rooms, no cell service, and no TV so your relaxation is assured. Our chef will carefully prepare buffet meals from which you will make your selections. The buffet is served in our paneled dining room with splendid views of Sagamore Lake. Everyone is called to meals by the bell. One of the highlights of our dining experience is our excellent water. Please do not bring bottled water with you. You may purchase beer and wine to accompany your meal. The dining hall seats 84. During free time many of our guests enjoy our 20 miles of hiking trails, playing giant lawn games, and canoeing. Sagamore also recommends its history-based DVDs. Porch-sitting is also highly recommended.
  Contact info: Sagamore Road
Raquette Lake, NY 13436 USA
phone: 315-354-5311
  Room amenities: All rooms are historic.
  Facility amenities: Lake, trails, 27 historic buildings, surrounded by Forest Preserve lands.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Baths in hallways, many with claw-foot tubs.
  Additional nights prior: 99 Please call for availability.
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Additional nights after: 99 Please call for availability.
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4PM starts check in at Great Camp Sagamore You will be staying at Sagamore that night.
  End of Program:
10 AM You will be staying at Sagamore the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Health Form
  Parking availability:
There is a parking lot for Sagamore guests. It is free.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sagamore Institute-Raquette Lake, NY
  Nearest city or town:  Raquette Lake
  Nearest highway: I-87 and I-90
  Nearest airport:  Albany
  From End of Program
  Location: Sagamore Institute-Raquette Lake, NY
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details





None - Car Required


Unfortunately there isn’t any public transportation to the central Adirondacks. Amtrak serves Albany (Rensselaer) and Utica. The nearest airports are located in Syracuse and Albany. Bus service reaches only to Warrensburg. Limo service is expensive, but available from the airports in Syracuse and Albany. For more information on limo services, please contact your local AAA agent, visit Most guests prefer to rent a car from the airport.

Driving Directions
  Albany, NY About 3 hours. Follow I-87 north out of Albany to exit 23 (Warrensburg). Follow Rte. 28 through Warrensburgh and bear left as it turns into the Adirondacks. You will follow Rte. 28 for about 1 1/2 hours to Raquette Lake. Look for signs saying Sagamore and Sagamore Road on your left. Turn left. Follow Sagamore Road for four miles to the Sagamore Guest gate. Open it/close it. Welcome!
  GPS/Website Map Instructions • Garmon Handheld GPS: Search 'Great Camp Sagamore' as a point of interest OR type 1105 Sagamore Road; RAQUETTE LAKE (make sure you list Raquette Lake!) - either will give accurate directions to Great Camp Sagamore. • TomTom GPS: (currently the most popular GPS system): Search for SAGAMORE, NEW YORK - as a town, and it will give you accurate directions to Great Camp Sagamore. While Sagamore, NY does not actually exist, this seems to work while we wait for technology to catch up to the Adirondack region! • Google Maps or Mapquest users: Search for SAGAMORE, NEW YORK - as a town, and it will give you accurate directions to Great Camp Sagamore. While Sagamore, NY does not actually exist, this seems to work while we wait for technology to catch up to the Adirondack region!
  Plattsburg, NY Drive time: Plattsburgh to Sagamore, 3 hours. I-87 to Rte 3 to Rte. 30 to Rte 28 to Raquette Lake. Take the Plattsburgh exit off I-87 and head southwest to Saranac Lake on Rte. 3. If you have extra time consider this alternative: continue south on I-87 to exit 30, the Lake Placid exit. Lake Placid was the site of both the 1932 and the 1980 winter Olympics and you can visit the venues and museums of the games. Continue from Lake Placid to Saranac Lake on Rte. 86. You are in the Adirondack Park, a six-million acre forest preserve with public and private lands. Saranac Lake was founded by Dr. Trudeau (the cartoonist Gary’s great grandfather) as a wilderness cure for tuberculosis. It is still a medical research center and charming 19th century town. Follow Rte. 3 from Saranac Lake to Tupper Lake. Tupper is the home to the newly opened natural history museum, the Wild Center. Continue on Rte. 30 from Tupper to Long Lake on a straight road known for its scenery and speed traps. Be cautious. Continue on Rte. 30 to Blue Mountain Lake, home of the famous 27-building Adirondack Museum. At the bottom of the hill you will follow Rte.28 the last 12 miles to Raquette Lake, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. Look to your right to see Blue Mountain as you cross the second causeway. Sagamore Road is well marked just past the school. You will turn LEFT and follow the four-mile road to the “registered guest” gate. Do not look for other signs. You are driving through protected Forest Preserve lands and signage is not permitted. At Sagamore’s gate, let yourself in. You are welcome!
  Utica, NY About 1 1/2 hours. Follow Rte 12 north out of Utica. It will merge with Rte. 28. Follow Rte 28 toward the Old Forge signs. Continue through Old Forge and on to Raquette Lake. Look for signs saying Sagamore and Sagamore Road on your right. Turn right. Follow Sagamore Road for four miles to the Sagamore Guest gate. Open it/close it. Welcome!
Elevation Note: Sagamore is at 1900 feet.

Equipment Requirements: Digital camera and computer (laptop) and camera manual.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Arrival/Orientation
(Sunday, June 16)
 Afternoon: CHECK IN: Available from 4:00 pm
 Dinner: The chef will carefully prepare buffet meals provided in our paneled dining room with splendid views of Sagamore Lake. Dinners typically include selections such as: a hot entry, like creamed chicken over biscuits, veggie lasagna, pot roast, spaghetti/meat balls, roasted turkey, stuffed pork loin, or ham; salads, along with several dressing choices; potatoes, rice or pasta; a vegetable choice; bread or rolls; milk or juice. Coffee & tea are always available Note: Sagamore's buffet line is bountiful and varied. If you do not think that you can choose the foods you need for your special diet from the buffet, please supplement with your own that may be stored for your convenience in our walk-in cooler and/or cooked in an available microwave. Beer and wine are available for purchase. Sagamore's water is pure and delicious. Please do not bring bottled water.
 Evening: ORIENTATION: Tonight we will meet each other, have an orientation to Sagamore, the great camp of the Vanderbilts, including a 15-minute DVD, and will go over the schedule.
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Lecture/Workshop/Lecture/tour
(Monday, June 17)
 Breakfast: All breakfasts are served in the Vanderbilt dining hall, with lovely views of the sun rising over the mountains of the Blue Ridge Wilderness. Breakfast choices typically include selections such as: one hot entry, like blueberry pancakes, egg strata, french toast, or scrambled eggs; hot & cold cereal & milk; a variety of donuts, bagels & pastries; and several juices. Coffee, tea, and very pure Sagamore water are always available to guests.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: The course will begin witha lecture on composition, point of view, and understanding camera settings. This basic introduction to digital camera use will serve as your foundation for good photography with any camera.
 Lunch: Lunch in the Sagamore dining hall. Lunches typically include selections such as: sandwich meats, cheeses, breads and condiments: a hot entree like macaroni & cheese or soup; various salads, like cole slaw or potato salad; cookies or granola bars; a variety of fresh fruits; milk and a variety of juices or lemonade. Coffee, tea, Sagamore water are always available.
 Afternoon: ACTIVITY: We will take our first pictures. Sagamore has 27 historic buildings with unique rustic architecture. It is also on a pristine lake and has myriad natural subjects to select as your themes.
 Dinner: Dinner in the Sagamore wood-paneled Dining Hall.
 Evening: PRESENTATION: Tonight we will have a presentation on an aspect of Sagamore and the camp's role in Adirondack history. Sagamore was the wilderness retreat of the Alfred Vanderbilt family for over 50 years. It has been designated a National Historic Landmark. There are 27 authentic buildings to see while we discuss the functions of the structures and their uses for entertainment. Several famous guests stayed in the buildings you will be occupying including Gary Cooper, Gene Tierney, Howard Hughes and General George C. Marshall.
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Lecture/Workshop/Discussion
(Tuesday, June 18)
 Breakfast: Breakfast in Sagamore Dining Hall.
 Morning: PRESENTATION: Our discussion this morning is about demystifying digital jargon. Having read your manual will be a plus. Your instructor will help you translate the terms you know from traditional photography into this new language of electronics.
 Lunch: Lunch in Sagamore Dining Hall.
 Afternoon: ACTIVITY: We'll continue with more shooting in order to gain confidence in our skills. Again we will have time to choose indoor and outdoor subjects that catch your "photographer's eye."
 Dinner: Dinner is at 6 PM.
 Evening: ENTERTAINMENT: Tonight we will be entertained by well-known Adirondack musician and storyteller, Dan Berggren. This might be a good opportunity to test your skills getting live shots of Dan!
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Lecture/Free time/Workshop
(Wednesday, June 19)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is at 8 AM
 Morning: PRESENTATION: This morning, our discussion will center on what to look for in additional equipment; we will also familiarize ourselves with computer technology necessary for getting shots out of the camera and emailing to friends and family.
 Lunch: Lunch is at noon.
 Afternoon: PRESENTATION: We will discuss ways to enhance and manipulate photos via the computer.

ACTIVITY: We will do more shooting. We are practicing to gain both confidence and skill.

 Dinner: Dinner is at 6 PM
 Evening: ACTIVITY: Tonight we will critique our work. This is an opportunity to see the work of others and to ask about your own. The critique concentrates on the positive and putting more and more skill into your own work. This is a true learning experience.We will practice our computer skills.
Accommodations: Sagamore
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Discussion/Workshop/Entertainment
(Thursday, June 20)
 Breakfast: Breakfast is at 8 AM
 Morning: ACTIVITY: We will download our shots to the computer, email them to friends, and practice getting them back out of the computer as prints. This will be the last activity of the course. Good luck and good shooting!
 Lunch: Lunch is at noon.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Free Time Opportunities
  Sagamore Institute-Raquette Lake, NY Adirondack Museum
Called the "Smithsonian of the Adirondacks." It is located in Blue Mountain Lake. For additional information, visit
  Raquette Lake Navigation Company
Dine and cruise boat on Raquette Lake, the largest natural lake in the Adirondacks. For additional information, visit
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Adirondack Vernacular: The Photography of Henry M. Beach

Author: Robert Bogdan

Adirondacks: Views of An American Wilderness

Author: Carl Heilman

Great Camp Sagamore: The Vanderbilts' Adirondack Retreat

Author: Beverly Bridger

Description: Beverly Bridger has been Sagamore's Executive Director for more than 20 years.

The Landscape Photography Field Guide

Author: Carl Heilman

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