camera course [116/365]

Dark Tulip ~ but it WAS dark when I shot it
Dark Tulip

In May 2009, I took a camera course. I put the emphasis on camera, because it wasn’t a photo course … it was in order to learn the basics about the DSLR camera. The guy said “it’s so you’ll be able to read the manual and understand what you’re reading”. I thought that was good.

I’d bought the Nikon D60 a couple of months earlier, it was my first DSLR, and really … I could even say it was my first camera. Photography hadn’t even been an interest of mine.

Thought I was thorough before I bought it … I read a lot and compared. The camera was fine — it was a good choice — it was ME who was the problem! I didn’t understand anything, so this course was a godsend for me. I got the basic understanding of what aperture, shutter-speed and ISO did … or so I thought. Now, seven years later, it’s as if I should take the course all over again. At least the part about shutter speed.

In one way, I shouldn’t really have had a DSLR camera. All the technicalities of photography isn’t for me. But once you’ve tried one, there’s no going back. When you know what can be done, you just cannot go back to point-and-shoot.

For the longest time, I used to shoot only in Aperture Priority, but then, at some point, I changed to Manual. When it comes to birds, I still prefer A, because there’s no time to fiddle with the settings. When there’s really harsh sunlight, I set the aperture to ⨍16, otherwise I keep it to 8, most of the time. That’s all fine and dandy — it’s the shutter-speed … I’ve totally lost the grip of that, I don’t know what to set it to.

Anyway, the course was four sessions, and we finished off with a photo walk, along Harbour Passage. It got fairly dark before we were finished, which was a good thing.

I got to borrow the guy’s tripod, shot this, and was immensely proud of it afterwards 🙂


It would’t take long before I bought my own tripod, and a longer lens. At this point I only had the kit lens, which was 18-55mm.

33 Replies to “camera course [116/365]”

  1. I have a Nikon D80, which has the advantage of being less heavy and less professional than fully fledged DSLRs, which is perfect for my purpose. I do need to get a tripod too… Uncharacteristically of me, I haven’t read the camera manual – I tried several times but never got beyond the first section, Parts of Your Camera 😉 I went to a beginner’s course, probably similar to yours, some time ago and didn’t really benefit from it as the instructor strangely presumed that we know where all the settings are and what they do. I should have gone to something for dummies. You clearly know more about your camera and using it more than me. I accept the challenge!

    1. I don’t know the D80 … must check it out.

      Our guy was good — he assumed we knew nothing! The only thing annoying there was one of the partakers … he took the course together with his wife, and I don’t know what the heck he was doing there. Typical “know-it-all”!

      1. Haha 😀 I hope I’m not the know-it-all kind of person, but I know I do ask nagging questions and demand answers. I also don’t hesitate to correct the teacher in informal settings 😮 So I guess I’m equally, if not more annoying.

        1. I don’t think so. Nothing wrong with asking pertinent questions. These people I’m talking about seem to already know everything, so why the heck are they there in the first place. This last guy, in the camera course, he not only knew everything — he also treated/talked to his wife the way you talk to a child.

        1. No, these people, who take classes on subjects they already seem to know, are attention seekers . We all like attention, but there are so many other ways to get it 🙂

  2. One thing I have never done is to use auto-ISO. I feel it would be giving up too much control. Going full manual , on the other hand, would feel like too much of a burden – so kudos to you for using it. What do you do to ensure you’ve got the exposure right?

    I graduated from film cameras and I always used Aperture Priority and still do. I once took a course on lighting with flash and use full manual for that because it’s the only way to dictate ambient light to the camera.

    1. Yeah, me too. I guess partly it’s a matter of looking at stuff differently … to see what would make a good picture that’s pleasing to the eye. I’m not so good at that — I like to take pictures of little flowers, cats and ducks 🙂. Squirrels too.

  3. On the requisite, one per course “know-it-all”… Why bother to attend if you know what’s going to be taught?
    On the total FAILure of a teacher at Mara’s course… A Beginners’ course is for beginners. It was your “teacher” who was the Dummy here, not you!

    1. I don’t know why people do that, except seeking attention. I’ve met them in all kids of courses … English, calligraphy, photo …

      My ex-SIL bought a DSLR camera when I was home 2011. When I came back 2012, she’d taken a camera course. Turned out though, she still didn’t know anything about what aperture priority or shutter speed did … those buttons she’d never touched! So I asked what the heck they did during that course she took. She told me their guy just went around to each and every one of them, and changed the dial on the camera to those different ‘presets’, like macro, landscape et cetera … (!!!) What a waste!

        1. That’s a good thing to have in the baggage! All that stuff would have been like Greek (or French!) to me, before! I had no clue …

          The guy prides himself of being a professional freelance photographer, but just because you’re a good at something, that doesn’t mean you possess the ability to teach.

          1. Ab so lutely!! Couldn’t have said it better. And, just from this little cross section; it also appears that there are a lot of people claiming to be something they’re not ):

  4. From the woman with a Nikon ‘Cool Pix’ point & shoot camera, I applaud you for using such a fancy camera! And I have to say Rebby, I have NEVER seen a substandard photo from you! I think you have a natural eye for picture taking!
    That harbor photo is gorgeous!

    1. Thank you, my friend 🙂 I do have a few I’m really pleased with, but it still feels as if it was by chance … not my own doing 😊

  5. I’m in a photo course now at a local community college and it’s been a very mixed experience, primarily because the class itself is a mix of 3 levels. It’s been a roller coaster, but I’ve learned a few things about Photoshop so I’ll call it good. I’ve been to several workshops previously and overall I think so much really does depend on the teacher – a good photographer does not necessarily a good teacher make! Anyway, one of the things we use in class quite a bit to go over and learn the camera basics is this little website – it’s fun to see what adjustments do what and get a feel for adjustment without worry.

    1. I can imagine it must be a roller coaster, with three levels mixed! And PhotoShop too! The guy we had, gave a PhotoShop course separately. I never took it. I should have. I did take an online course in CameraRaw, which was really good, though.

      Now, a few years later, I feel totally comfortable with changing the basic settings, at least.

      Will go and check out the link now … thanks! 🙂

      1. Happy to share 🙂 It’s a good place to practice / refresh on the basics and it does seem to be useful.
        I think my next venture will be a Photoshop/Lightroom workshop. I’m not sure I could do another course (especially after this one), but maybe a good basics. Seems like there is always something else to learn with editing!

    1. Thanks. Basically, there are three things: Aperture, Shutter speed and ISO. I have it set to Aperture priority (usually an A on the dial), and that makes my life so much easier 🙂

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