heron taking flight at sunrise

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DIGITAL BASICS COURSE DESCRIPTION

You've purchased your first digital camera and are trying to get it all figured out. Looking through the manual it seems you need a degree in computer science or engineering to get it all figured out. Even with going through the manual it doesn't seem to make sense and you have as many questions or more than when you started. Not to worry. This course will take you through the steps of understanding what everything means and how it works in a simple, easy to understand progression of lessons to get you on your way to taking great photos. As a leader of photo workshops for more than 17 years, I have had just about every question come up from the novice to the advanced photographer pertaining to digital equipment. Let me walk you through the early stages to put it into easy to understand terms.

Subjects to be covered by lesson

1. The Language of Digital Photography / Understanding the Camera
With the advent of digital photography a whole new language has been developed including words such pixels, resolution, noise, histogram and many more. Before you can learn to fly, you first have to walk and this initial lesson will define the language as you use a digital camera. Besides a discussion of terms, topics such as looking at and understanding the histogram will be introduced.

What are all these things in the Menu and the buttons and dials? Get to know your digital camera and what items need to be set when you first start out and which ones do what as you progress in your photographic journey.

2. Shooting Modes and File Formats
Help move away from Automatic or Program mode shooting as you get an understanding of the basics behind Aperture and Shutter Priority as well as the difference between shooting in jpeg or RAW file format and which is best for you in addition to understanding White Balance.

3. Exposure and Metering Modes
This lesson will help you determine which metering mode is best for any given situation. The basics of exposure will explain how shutter speed, aperture (f/stops) and ISO work in combination with each other in working to control depth of field and freezing movement or creating longer exposures. Advanced exposure techniques help you in understanding how and when to use over- and under-exposure to enhance your photographs and compensate for a primarily white or black subject. A deeper discussion on using the histogram to make corrections to exposure will also be included.

4. Autofocus and Lenses
Single sensor vs. multi-sensor AF, how the focus squares work, single vs. continuous autofocus, focus tracking. Making sense of the various features that determine how the focusing system works. A discussion on lenses will also be introduced in this sections and which lens to choose for a given subject.

5. Composition rules
The rule of thirds is the general guideline to use for composing interesting images. Very rarely is an image that is centered in the frame the most appealing for the viewer to look at. We will go into depth about the rule of thirds and the best place to put the subject in the shot as well as determining if a horizontal or vertical orientation is called for. Horizons will also be discussed as well as several other Do's and Don'ts in addition to seeing photographically.

6. From Camera to Print / Accessories
A discussion on a basic workflow on what to do to get your pictures from your camera to your computer and getting them printed including general tips for optimizing images in Photoshop or Elements. Now that a digital camera and lens is around, what else is needed? A look at the various accessories that will make photography more enjoyable and easier as well as cleaning options will be covered.

Lesson Assignments
Assignments will include a mix of taking pictures with your camera and recording what settings were used so you gain a knowledge of the topic covered as well as answering general questions to make sure a basic understanding has been grasped.