Syllabus for An Introduction to Digital Photography
Sponsored by Cal-Wood Education Center
August 21-22, 2020.
Classroom session: online using Zoom video-conferencing software.
Field session: Cal-Wood Education Center, a 1,200-acre private nature preserve and environmental education center near Jamestown, Colorado.
This workshop is appropriate for adults of all ages who want to learn the basics of digital photography.
$195. Enrollment is limited to 10 students.
A modern digital camera can rightly be called "a computer with a lens." After spending all that money on the latest gee-whiz electronic gadget, you may well be thinking, "Why do I need to learn all this technical stuff about photography? Why not let the camera pick the right aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance (whatever that is)? I'll worry about the fun, creative stuff ‒ choice of subject, composition, and timing ‒ and let the camera handle the rest."
Sometimes "auto-everything" will indeed give you exactly what you want. In many of the most exciting photographic situations, however, auto-everything will fail miserably. If you really want to master the art of photography, you should start by mastering the craft. This course will give you a solid foundation in the fundamentals and let you set forth on your photographic journey with confidence.
About the Instructor
I have been a full-time photographer, writer, and instructor for 41 years. Over 2,000 of my photographs have been published, including 84 covers, and I have sold over 10,000 prints. Rocky Nook published my book The Art, Science, and Craft of Great Landscape Photography in spring 2015 and published the second edition in the spring of 2020. It published my book Dusk to Dawn: a Guide to Landscape Photography at Night in spring 2018. Farcountry Press published three books of my landscape photographs: Rocky Mountain National Park Impressions, Colorado Wild & Beautiful, and Sunrise from the Summit: First Light on Colorado’s Fourteeners. I have had 24 feature articles published in Outdoor Photographer, where I am a contributing editor.
Friday, August 21st, 2020
7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. An introduction to digital photography, including a discussion of the “exposure triangle” (aperture, shutter speed, and ISO); histograms; exposure danger zones; white balance; auto-focus modes; and composing images for maximum impact. This online classroom session will be held via Zoom video-conferencing software.
Saturday, August 22nd, 2020
4:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Field session at Cal-Wood, a 1,200-acre private nature preserve and environmental educational center in the foothills near Jamestown, Colorado, where students can put their new skills to immediate use.
What to bring to the field session at Cal-Wood:
Camera: This is a digital-only workshop. Appropriate cameras include all DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, with or without interchangeable lenses. Smart-phone cameras, in general, do not offer the features I’ll be explaining in this workshop.
One or more spare camera batteries, fully charged.
Your camera’s instruction manual.
Lenses: A mid-range zoom lens is all that is necessary. A moderate wide-angle lens (24-35mm) and/or a moderate telephoto zoom (80-200 or so) will increase your creative options.
Tripod: Useful for shots at shutter speeds that cannot be hand-held, but not required for this workshop.
Camera bag: Sized to comfortably carry all your gear.
Digital media: Plan on bringing more memory cards than you think you will need. You do not want to be frantically scrolling through your last card looking for pictures to delete when the light is peaking!
Small headlamp or flashlight.
Sufficient warm clothing: The average high at Cal-Wood in August is around 75 degrees F; the low is around 50 degrees F. I recommend bringing long pants, a short-sleeve shirt, a sweater, a rain jacket, a sun hat, and a warm hat. Sturdy walking shoes or light hiking boots are also essential.
Dinner picnic. We will take a half-hour break for dinner during the field portion of the workshop.