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Digital 1: Photography Class

This Winter I enrolled in Photo Center North West’s Digital 1 photography class taught by Janet Neuhauser.  I have had a DSLR for a few years and loved playing around with it, but decided to learn a bit more and create some beautiful photos on purpose.  I shot the photos in this class using my Canon Rebel T3i and a 50mm f/1.8 lens.  Some of the best photographers shot with fixed 50s so I figured it would be a good place to start.

Below is a sample of my work, every week we had an assignment which involved creating 20 photos for a contact sheet, printing out 2-3 larger prints.

Week 1 we focused on learning how to use our cameras in full manual mode.  Setting shutter speed, aperture, and iso to get the correct exposure, and also manually focusing.  I felt really slow and clumsy at first, but eventually got the hang of it.  Digital 1: Week 1 Assignment

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Week 2 we focused on Shutter Speed and motion.  We took photos using the 5 types of motion: motion blur, panning, ghosting, intentional blur, and stop motion.  Another 100+ photos were taken over several shoots, I even pulled in some juggling friends to help.  By the end of this week I really began to understand how shutter speed effects photos.  Digital 1: Week 2 Assignment

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Week 3 focused on Depth of Field, and the three different ways to control it: Aperture, Lens Length, and Proximity.  I played around with aperture and proximity since I’m using a 50mm fixed length lens.  I took a trip up to the Volunteer Park Conservatory and spent the afternoon exploring and shooting.  The cactuses were my favorite by far!  Digital 1: Week 3 Assignment

ImageWeek 4, focused on portraits.  Our assignment was to do a session of single person portraits, ideally with one person.  I enlisted my friend Hoop, co-creator of the Light Hoodie.  Unfortunately Hoop’s hoodie was no longer functional after a raucous night of celebration after the Seahawks won the Super Bowl, so we stuck to more traditional photos.  Digital 1: Week 4 Assignment

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Week 5 we focused on luminosity and shot in black and white.  The week’s assignment was to focus on sources of light.  Shooting in black and white felt very different than color.  In some ways its easier you are just looking for contrast and light, but in some ways I found it harder since I’m attracted to brightly colored images.  It was a good exercise to really just focus on light.  Digital 1: Week 5 Assignment.

In addition that week I met up with some more experienced photographers at Seattle’s first Drink & Click event.  It was a great time meeting other photographers and chatting.  Everyone was incredibly nice, and very helpful as I explained that I’m a newbie.  I got to play around with some wide angle lenses, and other really cool gear.  It was an awesome experience and I learned a ton.  I can’t wait for the next one.

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Week 6 we went night shooting down in Georgetown for class.  Learn by doing right!  Janet really loves night photography and has some amazing photos.  It was really fun to go out as a big group and shoot.  Georgetown is filled with train tracks, cool alleys, and planes overhead!  The shot below is a 3 minute exposure of a plane flying to Seattle-Tacoma airport shot from a bridge over Airport way.  The whole experience was really cool, and so I went out in Capitol Hill again that week to shoot some more!  Digital 1: Week 6 Assignment

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Week 7 we focused on Abstract Photography.  This was challenging for me since I’m not huge on macro photography, so I tried my hand on larger things and scenes.  The focus was on using compositional devices like light, tone & contrast, texture, viewpoint, lines, and depth of field.  I found that I disliked many of the images I took that were purely abstract (personal preference), so instead I focused on creating images where the subject of the photograph wasn’t readily recognizable at first, but became clear upon inspection.  I also really focused on shape and lines in these photos.  Digital 1: Week 7 Assignment.

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Week 8 we talked about Self Portraits, and our assignment was to shoot 2-3 self portraits.  It was tough, setting up the tripod, framing the scene and then posing was a lot of work, but also kind of fun.  I took some typical selfies, but then also played with more artistic shots, long exposure and interesting light effects with the light hoodie!  Digital 1: Week 8 Assignment

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The class wraps up with a final project, which I’m currently working on.  More on that later.  But overall this has been a great, experience.  I’ve learned a lot and had a lot of fun.  I definitely plan to keep up with my photography.

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