Photography Seminars or Workshops?
Over the course of the art fair season, within the Powder Hill Photography booth, as people view my photographic prints, I’ll be asked if I teach photography seminars. Currently, I do not.
I have in the past. One 4-night seminar at the local art center, the second 4-night session a few years later at the area university.
While I enjoyed both sessions, I don’t consider myself an instructor or teacher.
Explain what I do – via the blog
Rather than teaching photography sessions, I prefer to answer questions and explain my methods, or those of others that fit the answer.
This is how the idea for many blog articles have come to fruition.
As an example, “The Photo’s Story” had its genesis from questions about different images. What were the settings I used, why or how did I take the image, etc. After receiving a few questions, I started writing a short blog post about different images.
Questions about my methods and equipment at art fairs brought about the “Art Fair Notes” category. Other categories had a similar origin.
By all means, ask me questions
I am very happy to answer any and all questions you may have regarding my photography, equipment, methods, etc. Send me a note and I’ll respond.
The answer could very well become the basis of another blog posting. In this way, your question may also help others!
That’s how I learned
Yes, that is how I learned. I’ve never had any formal art or photography training. Everything I know is self-taught.
Every question that came to mind was recorded on a yellow pad. I had many! Answers were sought out from books, the internet, YouTube videos and company information. Researching the answer for one question often led to additional questions.
From the answers, I took what I wanted and discarded the rest. With practice, my own style started to emerge.
Even today, I make notes of everything I want to learn.
My yellow pad is constantly filled with questions yet answered.
As mentioned above, one source of my research is through reading. Over the years I’ve accumulated a number of very useful books, shared in my reading list.
I believe all books can offer at least one good idea that might help my photography, even if the book is totally unrelated to that subject.
This is by far not a complete list, nor is it all that I have. It is a great starting point.
Learn by doing
After reading, the next step is doing. Photography is like any other skill or sport or musical instrument – it must be practiced.
Take the camera and start shooting different subjects, with different settings. Understanding how to accurately meter a subject can go along way to improving your images.
As you research answers to your questions, don’t feel compelled to take any answer as an absolute. Rather, incorporate the information into your own style.
How boring photography would be if everyone took pictures the same way! Experiment with it, change it, and make it yours.
Composition of the final image is a personal decision by the photographer. It’s transferring the pre-visuallized image to the digital sensor and ultimately into your computer.
Each of us sees things differently, which is a good thing. What I may like about an image, you may not, and vice versa. That’s OK.
I personally have to feel a connection to the subject, as I view it through the viewfinder. If this connection isn’t present, the resulting images are of no value and are the first deleted once on my computer.
With this connection, the images retain this emotional connection long after I’ve left the scene.
As a landscape photographer, my tripod is in constant use. Every image is captured using the camera’s 2 second delay shutter timer with mirror lock-up.
For focusing, I use Single Shot mode, with single point, spot focusing. Shooting in manual mode, and using the built-in light meter, I decide what shutter speed and aperture setting to use to create the image.
All images are captured in Camera RAW, converted to DNG and processed exclusively in Adobe Lightroom.
Recently (2018), I’ve switched completed to prime lenses, even selling the trusty 70-200. I may find that was a mistake!
Do I ever use Aperture Priority? Yes, probably about 1% of the time. You’ll note I am a landscape photographer, not a wildlife photographer, nor a sports photographer.
However, there are a few times when I do capture wildlife or take sports pictures. Those instances include:
- The very few times when I do see animals of interest
- Grandkids sports (basketball, soccer, etc)
In those few instances, using Aperture Priority, AI Servo mode, Evaluative metering (no longer manual), and no shutter timer works well as the scene changes quickly with the movement.
These images are handheld, using one of the two lenses (70-200 f/2.8 II L or 300mm f/2.8 II L) with Image Stabilization activated, and shooting with a fast shutter. (Note – Since the fall of 2018, each of the two mentioned lenses have been sold. I now use the Canon 200mm f/2 L for sports).
Make it Your Own, and Make it Fun
When all is said and done, the one thing photography should be is fun. If you don’t enjoy it, you may stop taking pictures altogether.
Photography captures memories of locations, people, activities, scenes. Decide what works best for you. Enjoy it, and have fun.