The first class of my photography course!

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Andrew McCall, Jan 30, 2004.

  1. Hi Folks,

    My girlfriend wasn't interested in what I had to say, so maybe someone
    here will be :)

    I had the first lesson of my Open College A Unit (OCA) Photography
    course on Wednesday. This is a 16 week course that lasts 3 hours a
    lesson once a week.

    Everyone there was really nice, and we were all in the same boat with no
    one knowing anything about photography or how to use a camera. It was
    pretty funny, for people who say they don't know anything about cameras,
    there were a lot of Pentax K-1000's and Nikon FM2's around, so they must
    have been advised to get a fully manual camera from somewhere.

    The lecturer explained that for this class, we only shoot in black and
    white (he recommended Illford HPS 400) and although we get set
    assignments to do during the week, we don't focus much on actually
    taking pictures. The course does a lot of developing techniques.

    He then talked us through camera history, cameras, lenses filters and

    After this he showed us around the darkroom and exposed some multigrade
    paper with some objects on to light using an enlarger, then developed
    it. To show us how light passes through different objects to give a
    different image. The whole group then did the same (not each, the whole
    group helped with one exposure) to see if we could remember how he did
    it. One person was really confused as to why the image on the cigarette
    packet didn't show up on the photo - which was kinda funny, even he
    realised how stupid a question it was when the lecturer explained!

    Our first bit of "homework" is to get some multigrade 5x7 paper and to
    think and bring in some objects that will give good images when we
    expose them onto the paper next week. I am getting the paper tomorrow,
    and I have some cool ideas for what I can do, and have started to do
    some sketches so I remember what I want to make.

    All in all, I really enjoyed it and can't wait till next week!

    Andrew McCall
    Andrew McCall, Jan 30, 2004
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  2. Andrew McCall

    Joseph Kewfi Guest

    My girlfriend wasn't interested in what I had to say, so maybe someone
    here will be :)

    I don't believe you are in a sustainable relationship, you need a new woman
    Joseph Kewfi, Jan 31, 2004
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  3. Good for you Andrew, it's nice to see some honest enthusiasm for a change.
    Don't loose that.
    Innocent Bystander, Jan 31, 2004
  4. Andrew McCall

    Annika1980 Guest

    From: Andrew McCall
    What a waste of time.
    Tell your professor that 1965 says "Hi."
    Annika1980, Jan 31, 2004
  5. Andrew McCall

    Joseph Kewfi Guest

    What a waste of time.
    Why so cynical Bret ?
    Joseph Kewfi, Jan 31, 2004
  6. Andrew McCall

    Fuzzfactor Guest

    Yeah! who needs those stoopid lenses with the stoopid numbers on that ring.
    Forget those cameras with the knob that has the numbers on it. Just set it to
    the *green rectangle mode* and go shooting! ; )
    Fuzzfactor, Jan 31, 2004
  7. Andrew McCall

    Peter Irwin Guest

    I think the fun of the darkroom is pretty much timeless.

    There is something really amazing about watching a print
    develop. Better still is making a really good print.

    I think it is great that there are still people discovering
    the fun of the darkroom.

    I would suggest to anyone starting out in the darkroom
    that they think about trying out medium format. It isn't
    much more expensive then 35mm if you do your own darkroom
    work and the bigger negative is a real joy. An old folder
    or TLR can be pretty good.

    Peter Irwin, Jan 31, 2004
  8. Well, it certainly is a unique approach to photographic instruction.

    street shooter, Jan 31, 2004
  9. street shooter wrote:

    Please don't top post.

    For those people for whom photography comprises pointing a camera and
    pressing the shutter, it's quite enlightening to discover that photography
    actually comprises a vastly greater scope of practice, most of which is
    even more entertaining that shutter clicking.

    For an instructor to start out with the darkroom makes very good sense, IMO,
    because halide emulsion photography presents so very graphically all the
    issues involved in discerning how to get the image one thinks one will
    automagically with today's modern gear. We all know that it doesn't work
    that way, that the automagic is not dependable; they don't. So rather than
    tell them that, give them an opportunity to discover why it doesn't before
    they have assumed otherwise.

    Finally, too many youngsters simply have no idea what is involved beyond the
    current crop of photo gear. This gives them a chance to make that
    discovery in ways they can understand.


    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, Jan 31, 2004
  10. For very good reason, as I suspect you already realize...
    Ask him about Man Ray!!
    Good for you!!! As others have said, it's certainly heartening to encounter

    What you are getting (I would hope) is a chance to discover for yourself
    what photography is really all about. As this statement is probably rather
    volatile flame bait, let me expand a bit:

    The word "photography" translates approximately as "writing with light".
    When you understand the basics of how that really happens, you will be in a
    position to appreciate what is involved when you press that shutter. This
    appreciation will allow you to comprehend that you can do more than simply
    point the camera, press the shutter, and be satisfied with what results.
    And this comprehension is the beginning of photography, as opposed to

    Now, I want to point out that the choice of words and terms in the above
    paragraph was deliberate. 1) Notice, in the second sentence, that I
    didn't say 'know' the basics, I said 'understand' the basics. Here,
    understanding is tested by the ability to apply knowledge and correctly
    predict the results of application, almost always achieved by experience,
    such that darkroom work will give you. 2) Notice, in the third sentence,
    that I used the word 'appreciation', not 'recognition', 'awareness',
    'knowledge', etc. Appreciation includes all the rest, but adds that
    quality of active involvement, rather than passive acceptance. After all,
    when it comes time to go out and get images, you, as a photographer, will
    be actively involved in crafting the image you envision, not passively
    acceptant of whatever the camera decides to give you. Note also the use of
    the word 'comprehend'; by that I mean recognition with knowledge of what it
    is one recognizes. That means having what is required to recognize the
    issues involved with any given shot, and the wherewithall (both knowledge
    and skill) to decide what can be done, what you want done, and how to go
    about doing it.

    Reread the above paragraph and see if you can extract and couch, in your own
    terms, the addressed issues, such that you can take them to each class and
    make use of them. If you can do that, it's a pretty good bet you'll come
    out of the course with a good deal more for your efforts than you otherwise
    might. And that "good deal more" may be just what is required to keep your
    enthusiam bolstered until your work begins to serve as its own reward.

    If you are successful, you will live to be profoundly thankful for having
    done so, I suggest. You will never forget that, no matter how mundane the
    subject, the photographer has the artist's edge: he/she can create, rather
    than simply record, an image of the scene/subject/object/whathaveyou. And
    that is what will define you, to yourself and to others, as a photographer.

    Ummm... the above is relevant for whatever status you eventually acquire:
    the only difference between amateur and professional is that the latter has
    to think about the commercial aspects thereof. The amateur has only to
    love the craft. Your choice, and I wish you the best of luck!!!

    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, Jan 31, 2004
  11. Andrew McCall

    Lionel Guest

    Sounds like great fun, Andrew. Best of luck with it. :)
    Lionel, Jan 31, 2004
  12. Andrew McCall

    Wayne Guest

    I had been doing photography for several years before I tried my hand at B&W
    phpotography and developing my own film and prints. I now wish I had started
    with the classes you are taking. When you understand how to develop film and
    make your own prints you not only understand exposure, shutter speed, and
    aperature you also KNOW it.
    My basic B&W photo and darkroom techinque course made a me a better
    photographer by simply understanding the principals better.
    Keep at it and never stop learning!
    Wayne, Jan 31, 2004
  13. Andrew McCall

    Lionel Guest

    Kibo informs me that (Annika1980) stated that:
    Why's it a waste of time? Even though I shoot digital myself, dark room
    processing is still fascinating stuff, & well worth knowing.
    Lionel, Jan 31, 2004
  14. Andrew McCall

    Lionel Guest

    <nods> I still remember standing there, (age 13 or thereabouts),
    awestruck as I watched my very first 8x10 print appear on the paper.
    It's one of those moments that stays with you forever. That said,
    pulling a card full of just-shot RAW digital images out of the camera &
    into the computer has a lot of the same appeal, but it still doesn't
    quite achieve the same level of 'magic' as a wet darkroom. Both are
    miles ahead of taking a roll of film to a lab & collecting some prints
    the next day.
    Lionel, Jan 31, 2004
  15. Andrew McCall

    MikeWhy Guest

    Howzat? Not to trivialize the experience, but it's no different from
    standing at the counter oblivious to the world as you review your rolls. Of
    course, nowadays, I'm master of my equipment, and I know how every shot
    looks. I wait till roll film base clears a little before squinting at the
    still drying slides.
    MikeWhy, Jan 31, 2004
  16. Andrew McCall

    Dallas Guest

    Lionel said:
    I agree. I am still itching to try it out, but finding the equipment and
    someone who can give you assistance in this part of the world is not all
    that easy.
    Dallas, Jan 31, 2004
  17. I always found P to work way better.
    Or Tv @ 1/6s for nighttime pictures (28-135 IS USM)

    Composition is the hard part.
    Povl H. Pedersen, Jan 31, 2004
  18. Andrew McCall

    Annika1980 Guest

    From: Lionel
    Sure, if that's the area that you want to go into. But starting out with B&W?
    No way!
    They should be teaching photography, you know, composition, exposure, lighting,
    etc. ... that kind of stuff. Darkroom should be a separate class akin to

    I think most curriculums have been teaching it that way for so long, they're
    too lazy to change. I know very few photographers who print their own pics.
    They get paid to take photographs, not do printing.

    Fine Art Photographers are the exception and darkroom skills should be taught
    as a separate class to Photography 101.

    One wonders how many promising would-be photographers have been put off by that
    first year of spending all that time in the darkroom instead of spending it out
    in the field learning what their cameras can and cannot do.

    Well, you asked....
    Annika1980, Jan 31, 2004
  19. Sorry.
    street shooter, Jan 31, 2004
  20. I top-post. If it offends you, kill-file me.

    I am familiar with methods of schlastic photographic instruction.
    I've taken several semesters of photographic classes at the local
    community college. The photography instructor is an accomplished fine
    art photographer. I don't see the point in placing objects on a sheet
    of photographic paper to demonstrate their translucence; why not just
    use a negative, then explain the difference between highlight and
    shadow areas, and why a print is the reverse of the negative due to
    the silver-halide build up affected by light at the time of exposure.
    Placing random objects on photographic paper, then exposing it to
    light has little effective correlation to printing a negative.

    street shooter, Jan 31, 2004
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