Foundations of Photography: Black and White

Your digital camera is capable of producing incredible color images, but color isn’t always the best way to represent a scene. By choosing to express a scene in black and white, you’re stripping photography down to its barest essentials, and very often, you will achieve an image with more power than if you choose to capture rich, perfect color. This Lynda.com course covers every aspect of digital black and white, recognizing a good black and white scene to shooting, to black and white conversion and further retouching.

Read more »

Now Available: Foundations of Photography, HDR

As amazing as current digital camera technology is, it can’t compare with those two squishy orbs in the front of your head. In addition to great autofocus, exceptional white balance, and amazing low light capabilities, your eyes also have tremendous dynamic range (that is, an ability to perceive an extremely wide range of dark to light). In fact, your eyes probably have almost twice the dynamic range as the digital camera you’re currently using.

Read more »

Foundations of Photography: Black and White

In an effort to make the world less colorful, I recently produced a course on black and white photography for Lynda.com. That course is now live and, thanks to the incredibly talented Lynda.com crew, it looks great! They did a fantastic job of crafting evocative noirish sets using only light and shadow, all of which serve to reinforce the fundamental vocabulary of black and white shooting. Covering shooting, post-production, aesthetics, and how to “see” black and white images, the course is available for immediate viewing here.

Foundations of Photography: Lenses

Many of the creative options available to a photographer hinge on an in-depth understanding of lenses. Foundations of Photography: Lenses, will give you that in-depth understanding, as you learn how to choose lenses and take full advantage of their creative options. This 2.5 hour course covers fundamental concepts that apply to any camera, such as focal length and camera position, and shows how to evaluate and shop for DSLR lenses. The second half of the course focuses on shooting techniques: controlling autofocus, working with different focal lengths, and managing distortion and flare. You’ll also learn about filters, cleaning, maintenance, and more. You can find it all right here on the Lynda.com web site.

Foundations of Photography: Exposure

If you’re new to photography, or have been shooting for a while but still don’t feel comfortable with the fundamental theories of exposure, then you’ll want to check out my new Lynda.com course Foundations of Photography: Exposure. This three-and-a-half hour video training course works you through every fundamental aspect of exposure theory. You’ll learn what the exposure controls on your camera are for, and how to use them. In addition to learning how exposure control can help you solve problems, you’ll learn how to use exposure control to expand your creative palette. Shot on location in Southern California, this all “live-action” course was a lot of fun to make, (especially when the horses and mules got involved) and should get you a deep understanding of some of the fundamental concepts that you have to know to move beyond the auto modes on your camera.

Photoshop CS5 for Landscape Photographers

If you’re interested in landscape photography, then you might want to check out my new Photoshop CS5 for Landscape Photographers course at Lynda.com. This six-and-a-half hour video training course takes you from shooting through post-production, with thorough discussions of all of the landscape-related technical and aesthetic issues that you’ll face along the way. For more info, take a look at the preview, after the jump.

Read more »

Shooting People with Paul Mobley

Last October, I had the good fortune of assisting photographer Paul Mobley at a 4-day workshop in Oklahoma. Paul’s got a new website up, that is well worth checking out. He’ll also be teaching a workshop in Santa Fe in March. If you have any interest in portraits, shooting strangers, or any other types of people shooting, this is a great opportunity. You can check out more of Paul’s work here.

Choosing A Starter Camera

If you’re looking to buy a starter digital camera – either for yourself or as a gift – then you might be surprised to find that your options are fairly limited. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Are you crazy?! Every time I go into Best Buy there’re huge piles of little point-and-shoot digital cameras!” While this is true, there are very few of those that I would consider a “starter” camera. “Starter” implies that this first camera will be a start – that you’re looking for a camera that will be a jumping off point, and that you (or your gift-ee) might want to learn from this camera, and one day move on to something more advanced. Here’s what you should buy, and why.

Read more »

Remembering Some Basics

Ask any educator and they’ll tell you that teaching is usually a two-way street. While, as a teacher, you always hope to impart useful knowledge to your students, (and possibly even understanding) you almost always come away learning something yourself. For the last four years I’ve had the great privilege to work at the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute, an exceptional arts camp for 14 to 18-year-olds. And every year, our students remind me of some very simple, essential photographic tenets. If you’ve lately been feeling uninspired, or “stuck” with your shooting , perhaps some of these ideas will help you re-find your photographic footing.

Read more »