This fall we’re going “Back to Basics” with our photography group.
Essentially, photography involves capturing a subject that you find interesting. There are many ways to do that; from a snapshot taken with a smartphone camera to a carefully-composed image taken with an expensive digital camera outfitted with expensive interchangeable lenses. Often, our images are disappointing, and we wonder how to improve our picture taking skills. Occasionally, we get an outstanding picture and wonder what made it so great, and how to achieve this success more consistently.
The goal of our “Back to Basics” sessions this Fall is to help participants recognize both what they did right, but more frequently what techniques could be attempted next time to obtain better results. This often involves taking your camera off “automatic” and taking pictures in the “creative zone”. By reviewing and discussing your images with the leaders and other participants, you will learn options for what to do differently on your next photographic outing.
The most important aspect of photography is composition. This involves recognizing the elements that make a good picture. Many photography enthusiasts already have a strong aesthetic sense; however, they might not recognize it in the moment when taking the image. Many scenes capture clutter and distracting elements. However, even in these environments you can find interesting and compelling compositions by re-positioning your subject or walking around it to get a different perspective. Afterwards, your images can be enhanced using photo editing software.
The next most important part of photography is understanding the relationship between available light, shutter speed, aperture (lens opening) and film or sensor speed (ISO). This often involves a trade-off. Many cameras do an admirable job taking good photos in automatic mode. However, understanding what is possible in manual or “creative” mode will take your photography to a different level. “Depth of field” can give your photos a magical quality. Knowing how to manipulate your camera in low light can help your images convey the true sense of an evening scene. Adding light with a reflector or off-camera flash can dramatically improve some pictures.
Our first session will cover composition. We will discuss how to hone in on “opportunities” in average settings. This will be followed by a practice session in a nearby, cluttered environment.
Subsequent sessions will typically focus on one or two aspects of cameras or photography, followed by a practice session using specially chosen or prepared projects that demonstrate that aspect.
Before starting the formal sessions, I encourage participants to visit Spruce Meadows during the “Masters” Show Jumping event to be held between September 5 and 9. This optional activity provides many photography subjects, in addition to horses and show jumping. For those who are interested in participating in a “photo challenge”, I will provide a list of photo subjects to capture. Otherwise, participants may take photos of subjects that interest you. Please don’t be concerned about making “novice” mistakes. Imperfect photos provide valuable examples for the photographic techniques we’ll be discussing during this CALL photography interest group.
We are also planning, weather permitting, one field trip somewhere in-between the scheduled dates.
A unique feature of our group is this website http://boomerartist.ca . Here, CALL participants can find details regarding the photography sessions. You may also upload your “experiments”, view other participants’ submissions, make comments, and ask questions. If you wish, interest group leaders will critique your photos and make suggestions for improvement.
As an informal group of photography enthusiasts, there is no pressure to complete assignments or post on the website. Each session consists of approximately 1 hour of instruction followed by 1 hour of practice. There will be many opportunities to ask questions or share your own photographic experience and interest.
The 2018 CALL Digital Photography Fall session will be held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month, starting September 25. The other dates are Oct 9, 23. Nov 13, 27 and Dec 11
Location: Rosedale Community Centre 901 – 11th Ave N.W. Beugin Hall (upstairs)
Time: 1:00 to 3:00 pm
The digital photography interest group will be facilitated by three experienced shutterbugs:
Henri Walhout is an experienced photographer who just likes to photograph all kinds of subjects. He has kept pace with current equipment and software.
Bill Stilwell is an experienced photographer with a good knowledge of photo editing on the Mac platform.
Jim Springer has been an amateur photographer for 40 years. He is well versed in all types of photography, but prefers portrait, landscape and wildlife photography.