Thursday, August 19, 2010

Yet Another Photography Class

As you may know, I bought a nice camera last year which came with free photography classes at Wolf Camera. While the classes were taught by the lovely Farley Vaughn, they were far from informative and 97% of the information covered in those classes was stuff I already knew. So, the search began to find a “real” photography class and as a result, I attempted another run at a photography class last night.

I had searched around on the internets for photography classes in Huntsville and came across this web site. The photographer, Robert Shuffert, is a landscape photographer and so I emailed him a while back asking him what topics he covered to try and figure out if the class would be informative or a complete waste of my time. He emailed back and said that yes, he would be covering the topics I had mentioned, which were primarily aperture, ISO and shutter speed, all of which seem to be a source of confusion for me. So, after debating on whether or not to go for a couple of months, I decided to bite the bullet and take his class. It was only $25 and I figured I could fork over that amount of money and hopefully get something out of it; plus, it comes with his book of photography tips and highlights as he calls it.

The class was held at a Methodist church here in town. I arrived a few minutes early (as you now, I’m a stickler for being on time) and found a seat. I had been hoping that the class would only have three or four people in it so that we could actually take our cameras out of the bag and play around with the settings – wrong. There were 15 people in class – many arriving late Argh! – allowing Robert to pocket a cool $375 for the two hour session. Thanks to those who inconsiderately arrived late, the class didn’t start on time, which didn’t set well with me because I like for things to start on time – after all, when I promise The Tide I’m going to be home at 9:00, that’s what I mean!

While I was sitting around waiting for the late arrivals, a man walked in and asked if every one in the room was Methodist or Presbyterian because he was in need of a heeling. When I looked up at the guy, I thought he looked awfully familiar and finally about 20 minutes later I remembered where I knew him from – he also took classes at Wolf! Clearly my friends and I were not the only ones who thought the classes at Wolf were a complete waste of time.

The class began by Robert telling a couple of stories about his hiking experiences. By the way, it’s better to hike in the fall and the winter because there are less bugs and spiders about and the snakes are hibernating. Then he told a story about how he almost sat on a copperhead a couple of years ago and a couple of years before that he almost stepped on another one. At this point, I was getting really frustrated because I had come to learn some things about taking nice photographs, not hiking tips. So about 20 minutes after the class was supposed to have started, it did just that.

As far as the class goes, it was okay I guess. I don’t wish I had my $25 back, but it also wasn’t as great as I had hoped for it to be. I actually took quite a few notes and I think I came away with a little better understanding of ISO, aperture and shutter speed. There were a few other topics that he spoke about that I had some general knowledge of; so, it was nice to expand on what I already knew. The book he gave everyone had a copy of all the graphics from his presentation and descriptions of various things he went over in the class. I ended up leaving the class at 10 minutes until 9:00 because I was getting adult ADD and the information Robert was going over was just a repeat of things he had said earlier in the class. At this point I had been sitting in a chair for two hours and was ready to be home. I don’t think he had much more material to go over because like I said he was basically recapping everything he had gone over earlier.

So, generally speaking, I learned a few things, but the class was still a disappointment because I was really hoping for class that showed everyone how to change the settings on the camera, which is what I don’t really know how to do. I guess I’ll just have to learn that on my own. I bought the Nikon D3000 for Dummies book earlier this year and just haven’t had an opportunity to look through it and apply it when taking photos. Maybe I can do that this fall. Last week I received an email from Nikon that said “Nikon Photo School Coming to Your City” – when I clicked on it, the closest city was Philadelphia or something ridiculous like that. I was crushed. I really wanted that photo school to come to my city so the good folks at Nikon could show me all the magic of the camera. Oh well; the search for a really good photography class continues I suppose.

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