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DSLR Fundamentals – Week 1 – Homework Assignment

January 28, 2014

Getting back to basics……….my motto for 2014!

My decision to revisit basic photography techniques let me to Schoolcraft College’s Continuing Education class“Fundamental DSLR Photography Techniques” which started last Wednesday.  The instructor is Bryce Denison, who is the Director of Midwest Photography Worksh0ps (MPW) in Farmington Hills, MI.   Mr. Denison also instructs the same class for MPW.

What a great first class and what a great instructor.   In addition to the traditional round-table of introductions and a review of the syllabus, Mr. Denison presented a thought provoking power point slideshow which emphasized the importance of proper exposure using shutter speed, aperture and ISO to create beautiful photographs.  He touched briefly on composition, but will speak about that topic in more detail at a future class.  He also discussed the actual  mechanics of a DSLR along with all the bells and whistles today’s new technology offers.  Upon dismissal, Mr. Denison outlined two homework assignments.

Assignment “A” – Moving Car -  required two photos to be taken of a moving car, preferably from a tripod, approximately 35 feet perpendicular to the moving vehicle, on a somewhat sunny day, with the camera set in “Shutter Speed Priority” (TV mode on a Canon camera) and the ISO set at 200.  The first photo was to be shot at 1/30 of a second and the second photo at 1/1000 of a second.  From the syllabus, “the expected results would be to turn in two digital images, correctly focused and correctly exposed.  The image shot at 1/30 sec. should show the car blurred from motion..  The shot at 1/1000 should show the car’s motion completely frozen.” 

Below are my two images:

Homework assignment A-2, moving car stopped in motion.

Homework assignment A-2, moving car stopped in motion.

Homework assignment A-1 - moving car  shown in motion

Homework assignment A-1 – moving car shown in motion

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Assignment “B” – Depth of Field – required two photos to be taken of a small subject placed at arm’s length with some kind of background at 30 feet behind the subject, the camera set in “Aperture Priority”
(AV mode on Canon camera) and the ISO set at 200.  The first photo was to be shot at the camera’s lowest aperture setting (ie. f 2.8) and the second photo was to be shot at the camera’s highest aperture setting (ie. f22).  From the syllabus, “the expected results would be to turn in two digital images, correctly focused and correctly exposed.  The image shot at the lowest aperture should show the primary subject matter sharp, but the background out of focus.  the image shot at the highest aperture should show bot the primary subject and the background in focus.

Below are my two images:

Homework Assignment B-1 – Snow Teddy in Blur

Homework Assingment B-2 – Snow Tedding in Detail

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Needless to say, I have a pretty good understanding of shutter speed and aperture having learned all about photography many moons ago.  However, taking this class with such an inspirational instructor is most definitely worthwhile whether you are a beginner or a pro looking to hone your skills.  Throughout the entire lecture, Mr. Denison injected a lot of humor, he used everyday life examples to compare with photography techniques, and offered “hands-on” examples.

If the rest of the classes are like this first class, I believe anyone could learn to use a DSLR and “make beautiful photos” after taking this course.  I look forward to recapping my future classes and sharing my homework assignments.

Oh, and by the way, any and all “CRITIQUE” is welcome………..but save “CRITICISM” for another time and place.

In the meantime, remember this bit of knowledge from Bryce, “Pictures don’t lie…….Well, it ain’t necessarily so”!

2 Comments
  1. Thom Eggert permalink

    as a former student of Bryce,soak up as much of his knowledge as you can. He will open your eyes to a whole new world out there. I really like how he teaches

    • Thanks, Thom – I’ve been photographing for a long time, and I have already learned a lot in just two classes. Bryce is indeed an excellent instructor. Hopefully, I will be able to participate in one of his travel workshops sometime in the future.

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