Friday, January 28, 2011

Photography Class, Part #1 // Camera Nerd Talk Ahead

Last night I went to my first photography class.

It was supposed to be my second, but Old Man Winter had other ideas.

It's a class open to the entire community, so there was a plethora of people in attendance. I was probably the second youngest person in there.

I feel like what happened was a bunch of people got new camera for Christmas, tried to learn how to use them for a week, and then gave up when they saw they could take a Basic Photography class.

**Disclaimer: I am by no means saying I've got this all figured out, because I don't. Up to this point anything I've learned has been self-taught, without even the benefit of knowing whether it's correctly self-taught!**

However, I have been experimenting and familiarizing myself with my camera for well over a year now.

So when the instructor (who seems like a really neat lady, may I just add?) got into the following discussion with an older gentleman in my class, I felt like clawing my hair out:

Instructor: "OK, so does every one know how to change their image quality? I shoot in JPEG 100% of the time, but you may also choose to shoot in RAW."

Older Gentleman, shouting: "What's the now? J Tag? What's J Tag?!"

Instructor: "J... what? Sorry, what did you say?"

Older Gentleman, still shouting: "I don't know what you're talking about! What's J Tag?"

Instructor: "Oh, no sorry, it's actually JPEG."

Older Gentleman: "What?!"

Instructor: "J-P-E-G. JPEG. It's one format your camera can save photo files. JPEG takes up less space on your computer than RAW would."

Older Gentleman: "Computer! I don't mess around much with those machines."


Other incidents in the class:
--5 minutes for instructor to help a lady find the ISO setting on her camera (this mystery was never solved...)
--about 5 minutes for instructor to have a conversation with a woman who wants to buy her step-mom a new point & shoot (save it for after class folks!)
-- Couple minutes for woman who "always carries multiple memory cards, to get that perfect shot," and, "when I'm editing in Photoshop, when I'm doing _____ in Photoshop," learn how to change her aperture.

Enough complaining! Things I learned:

-- Photography is really all about documenting light. How is the light falling on your subject and how can you tell your camera to capture said light.

-- ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed can really be looked at as a trifecta. Higher ISO means more light but not as saturated of a photo. A slower shutter speed means more light but more change of having a blurry finish. And a wider aperture means more light but you sacrifice depth of field (which, I've found, is sometimes a good thing, depending on what you're going for.) I knew these things individually, but I like to see how they all affect each other.

-- I've done well to make myself always shoot in Manual mode. The instructor's mantra is to learn how to "take control" of your camera. I like that!

I was unsure about how I felt about the class after leaving last night, but now I can say I'm definitely looking forward to next week!

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