Learning By Doing Resource Roundup

A week ago, Saturday, Jan. 21st, the OSCC hosted a “Learning By Doing” workshop with an emphasis of computer editing software. Members brought in their laptops, photos to edit, and picked each others brains on a variety of topics – software packages, photo organization, specific editing techniques, and much more.

One-on-one, peer-to-peer instruction at it's best! Photo by Rob Cotton
One-on-one, peer-to-peer instruction at it’s best! Photo by Rob Cotton

A big thanks to all the participants and the organizers for make it a success. A special thanks to Juergen for being the driving force behind the event, and also for bringing power for our computers (by way of his extension cord collection) and power for the participants (by way of his chocolate collection).

Julian demonstrating B & W conversion methods on his now famous manufactured pastoral scene. Photo by Greg McMillan.
Julian demonstrating B & W conversion methods on his now famous manufactured pastoral scene. Photo by Greg McMillan.

Many topics were discussed and we’ve gathered a few of the resources that came up for your viewing pleasure below.

Lightroom

A demo of this popular software is available from Adobe. You will need to sign up for an Adobe ID (this is free). Denise has supplied a few of her favorite Lightroom resources:

Adobe Online Help tutorials.

Adobe’s official Lightroom You Tube channel

Julieanne Kost – Lightroom and Photoshop tutorials. Covers older versions of LR as well… scroll down.

Photoshop Tutorials by PHLEARN

Windows Live Photo Gallery

An organizer with basic editing capabilities. An older version is freely available from Microsoft, and here’s a basic introduction to the software. The latest version was a part of the Windows Essentials 2012 suite, which is no longer available for download and is no longer supported.

Focus Stacking

A couple programs were shown, the freeware CombineZP (links to Internet Archive, the software authors site is nonfunctional) and the pay program Zerene Stacker. Another options is Helicon Focus. The full Photoshop also has built in stacking tools. Both Zerene and Helicon have free 30-day trials.

General Resources

There is a free digital photography course available on ALISON. It may be the same as this course by Dan Armendariz from the Harvard Extension School, which has video lessons available on YouTube (no sign up).

Members of the Bruce County Library system will have free access to Lynda.com, which boasts over 1700 instructional photography videos. You can sign in using your library credentials  by following the link at the Library website.

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Some Helpful Resources

Sometimes we get requests from folks to share links to their websites and recently we received an email about an article that may be helpful to people, members and non-members alike.

You will notice a new link in the Links section down the right side of the page to a site dedicated to helping people solve tech problems related to photography. The information in the article is for those using Mac and Windows, and is for all levels of expertise.

Disclaimer: The Owen Sound Camera Club is sharing this link as an act of kindness and camaraderie to fellow photography enthusiasts. Since the information on the site we’re sharing with you is not from the writers and contributors from the club, the OSCC will not be responsible for any issues that may arise related to the acquisition and/or use of the products or information contained within the site. There shouldn’t be any issues, but we felt we had to add that.

The site is called AnySoftwareTools and you can get there by going to http://www.anysoftwaretools.com/photographer-toolbox/.

Photo Critiquing

Critiquing a photograph can be a tricky thing to do. You want to give an opinion on the image but how do you go about it? Sure, you can be blunt and just say what comes to mind, but sometimes that can backfire and what comes out might not be what was really on your mind.

Before you give a critique on a photo, first make sure it is welcome by the photographer. An unsolicited critique can tarnish the relationship, if any, between the photographer and the one with the opinion. There are many websites where photos are uploaded for the sole purpose of getting critiqued, and usually the photographer will ask for help with the image in the picture’s description. Your friends may post them to social media outlets just for the sake of sharing them. Should that be the case, and if you’d like to give them your thoughts on the image, simply ask them if it’s okay.

Further preparation for critiquing would include educating yourself on the subject matter of the photo. This may not be of the highest importance in some cases but, depending on the subject matter of the image, when trying to help someone improve their craft, a little more knowledge could go a long way. Honesty is another good characteristic of a quality critique. No artist wants to be misled by patronization or “feel good” comments. Go into a critique with the intent to be helpful.

When commenting on someone’s technique, be sure to ask “why” they made the photo look the way it’s presented. They may have taken an artistic approach that, to them, is exactly what they were after, but to anyone else, looks like a mistake. The photo could be out of focus or have a colour shift that just looks odd. Maybe it’s supposed to look that way, but then again, maybe it really is a mistake, a blunder caused by a mere erroneous camera setting. Asking “why” can sometimes help the photographer understand what went right or wrong with their photo.

Keep your critique neutral. Don’t give a biased opinion because that could confuse the artist. What you think the image should look like and what they were after in terms of a result could easily be two different things. This goes along with the “why” part of a good critique. When discussing a photo with its creator, the conversation should produce ways that could improve their work, maybe even motivate them to make another attempt at the same shot if its possible. The last thing you want to do when critiquing someone’s work is discourage them from continuing on or trying to improve.

Be aware of your statements. Short comments like ”that’s nice” may be complimentary but offer no direction to teach the photographer what makes a good photo. Put some thought into it and be thorough. Also, be constructive if you have to be critical. It’s easy to point out what you feel is wrong with a photo, but it’s much more helpful to end the discussion with a positive note. It makes the photographer feel better knowing he or she learned something about their image, yet at the same time, they still have done something right.

I’d like to encourage club members and non-members alike to be more open to giving and receiving critiques on their work. It’s an important part of the learning process, and I’ve always said the Owen Sound Camera Club is all about the learning.

Cheers,

Greg

Camera Manuals in Electronic Form

When was the last time you read your camera’s manual, if ever? Could you even find it if you needed it? They can be dry, coma-inducing reading, but are often handy as a reference. Especially in the early days of camera ownership when all the buttons are shiny and new or during foggy memory days when you just can’t remember how to change that setting (or if you even have that setting available to change).

Continue being excited by camera manuals