Welcome

FIRST: Read everything here so
that you may come back and find it when you need it!

Notes to the class

First, I want to let you know that I am very happy to teach you.  I love photography, and have been puzzling over how to make better images for over 40 years.  While you might be a beginner, there is always more for us all to learn in this exciting medium.  I started when I was about 14, and clearly remember doing on my own what I am going to ask you to do when we begin this class.  I sat down with my new Minolta SRT101 and it’s manual and tried to figure out how to make it all work.  I very clearly remember reading the part about lens openings (apertures) and how they affect Depth of Field.  I closed the book, and decided to look at this again later!  You may have a similar experience, except I’ll be here to help you understand, I hope, such puzzles as we move through the class.

I also want you to know that, while I’ve taught at UAF for over 25 years, and have now taught digital photography for over a dozen (after learning it myself), this is the first class I’ve taught/managed, so I ask your patience.  I will be doing a lot of new things, such as making small videos in order to critique your photos each week, and it will all be new to me.  I do want your feedback on how you feel the course is going, how to improve it one your end, etc., as much as possible as we go through the semester.

Nuts and Bolts

To take this class, you need to have a Digital SLR Camera.  There are a few other cameras that will work, for instance a 4/3rds camera usually has the controls we want, but no point and shoots are allowed. 

You need to be able to manually set the camera, shoot it in RAW and JPEG together, and make other changes that SLRs allow.  You do not , though, need a lot of gear.  If you are buying a camera for this class, I’d prefer you get a lower end Canon or Nikon SLR, and a fixed focus fast lens, like a 28mm f/1.8, and perhaps an attachable flash for your camera (same brand).  The kit zooms that often come with the SLR kits will work, but they aren’t able to shoot in very low light, and zooming adds another variable to what we are trying to learn.  Better to zoom with your feet for now.

You will also need to own and already have some familiarity with an Adobe image editing software.  Specifically Photoshop, Lightroom, or Elements.  I will write most assignments from a Photoshop point of view, but this is easily translatable to Lightroom, and most things can be done in Elements as well.  If you are about to purchase one of these, then go Lightroom 5 or 6, as it is by far the best value out there.  You can download it from Amazon, though you might want to pick up a basic book for its usage as well.

I will post all the assignments at the beginning of class, though each week a new assignment will be given out on a Thursday, with the photos due on the server on Tuesday.  You’ll be able to look ahead, though further assignment explanatory materials will be added each week.  Attendance will be counted by your assignment being in on time.  Please only ask for extensions with valid medical or travel excuses, and you need to do so before the assignment is due, not after.  Else it won’t count.