American Canyon’s landscape offers many beautiful outdoor spaces to photograph. Sunsets over the wetlands are spectacular. The old basalt and cement ruins are both beautiful and unique (note: the ruins are not open to the public, however they can be accessed via organized tours). Newell Open Space offers up gorgeous trails and breathtaking views all the way to San Pablo Bay. We even have our very own picture-perfect vineyards.

We are, after all, part of the Napa Valley.

But, even surrounded by all this beauty, we often wind up disappointed by the images we capture. What does it take to reduce a gorgeous 360° view into one photo frame? Professional photography skills? Perfect lighting? Expensive equipment?

According to local photographer, Paul Hippauf, the key to getting good images lies in the composition. “You can have an awesome camera, but if you don’t know how to properly compose a picture, it won’t be very compelling.”

Paul believe that anyone can take a great picture with even the most basic eequipment, including the camera in your smartphone.

In his upcoming Nature Photography Series, Paul will not only share his secrets for composing great outdoor photos, he will also talk about his passion for photographing American Canyon’s incredible outdoor spaces.

These family-friendly classes will be held at Wetlands Edge on Saturday, February 27, 2016 and Saturday, March 26, 2016. Register online or at the American Canyon Parks and Recreation Office located at 100 Benton Way.

In an interview with Paul, we asked: What’s your favorite American Canyon park, and why?

“I love the wetlands all year round. The ponds change a lot with the tides with birds seeking out their next meal or catching a snooze in the calm water. Often you’ll see hundreds of newborn birds huddled together in the water while their parents are gathered on the shore keeping a watchful eye.

The sunsets are dramatic because the wetlands offer a very low horizon and a huge sky. On cloudy days it is spectacular!

The walks are easy; paved or nicely graded earth make it easy to walk or bike. I like that you can go from Eucalyptus all the way around the water’s edge up to Green Island Road.”

To see more of Paul’s work, visit his website.