Back to school!

by DaniGirl on May 14, 2010 · 6 comments

in Photography

I am very excited and a little bit nervous, just about the same way I’ve felt every single time I’ve headed back to school throughout my life. Tonight is the first class of my “Beyond the Basics” digital photography class at the School of Photographic Arts, Ottawa (SPAO). Eek!

Although I’ve always loved taking pictures, I’ve only taken one other formal photography class before, and that was very much a course for beginners — learning about aperture and shutter speed and ASA (the precursor to ISO for film cameras) and some very basic compositional stuff.

I was cleaning out some boxes the other day and I found the slides I took for that old photography course with my dad’s Canon AE1 SLR. Slides! They seem almost as antiquated as my manual typewriter! I used to have to go out and shoot my assignment for the week, then go down to Ginn on Bank Street and get the roll of slide film developed, and hope like hell I got at least a couple of shots on each roll of 36 worth handing in. It was just on the cusp of the digital era, and nobody had digital SLRs back then. I didn’t even have a digital point-and-shoot until 2003, and my precious D40 came into our lives in 2007.

How quickly things change! Granted, it’s been about a decade since that course, but it’s absolutely dizzying to think about the innovations in photography since then. For tonight’s class, I have to bring my camera and lenses and memory cards (plural!) and cables, but also my laptop. No more slides!

I was poking through the old slides and laughing. I could tell just by looking through them what the lesson of the week was: depth of field here, freezing action there, rule of thirds on this one. Most of them were not even worth keeping, except for the retro charm of having some slides in my collection.

I’ve come a long way, photographically speaking, from those days. I’m really loving taking pictures right now, and I’m looking forward to some critical class work to sharpen my skills. Of course, the opportunity to get out of the house and head down into the Market on a Friday night for three months through the spring and summer isn’t too bad of a deal, either!

If you could, what kind of course would you like to take? Cooking, interior design, photography, pottery? Something a little more unusual? And, more importantly, why don’t you?


{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Guillermo May 14, 2010 at 9:00 am

I have so many things in my mind… What would I study if I could have the chance? English writting (to feel more comfortable and confident so I can finally write a blog in ENG)? Immigration Consultant (to expand the scope of services in my blog)? I don’t know…

And why I don’t? I wish I had the re$ource$!!

Good luck with your training! I’m lookig fowd to your new “beyond the basics” pics!

2 CQ May 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

Why don’t I? Um, err, I don’t have good luck with schooling. When I started a Computer Programming program, its initial instructor died in the midst of the first class – as in let’s take a break a little early, then soon after listen to an ambulance leave without sirens. During the next semester, the university announced a shut down of the class’s (paid) lab access as of immediately after the week seven mid-term to save money. I passed only by having scoured the internet for a free language compiler program and choosing the simpler of two projects – without any spot of instructor guidance. The third semester I finally quit on after two classes I was taking featured instructors – one very old & one very young – both “instructing” as though I had already taken the entire program (or had a hand-me-down cheat sheet?).
I’ve had bad luck with education right since Kindergarden it seems.

3 Judy May 14, 2010 at 10:17 am

There are a few I would take. I would love to take some photogrpahy courses, but we haven’t been able to invest in a DSLR yet.

I would also love to take some cooking classes. I would love to find a course that teaches jarring and preserving. I have done this as I am finding it hard to take the time from family and invest in myself, given the slightly unconvetional schedule we already have.

4 Susan May 14, 2010 at 7:17 pm

I’d take skiing and cooking classes, I think (bread baking–I bake a lot of bread and would like to know how to do a variety of wheatier sorts of things, more consistently). Oh, and French. And Norwegian. I’d like to get my French back to how it used to be, and I’d love to be more fluent in Norwegian, too.

5 Shannon May 14, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Oh gosh…I’m about to embark on the biggest “course” of my life, a MAJOR CAREER CHANGE…I’ve been accepted into the Paramedic program at Algonquin in Sept. Two kids under 2.5yrs, one income, 2 years. I’m crazy. But it will be so worth it in the end!

6 DeuxHirondelles May 17, 2010 at 8:24 am

@Shannon: it will be a challenge, but good for you! Wish I had had the c*j*nes to do that ‘way back when. I’d be a healthier woman today. You go, girl!

Spanish, Polish, some engineering, maybe some practical courses on keeping chickens and goats, more Psychology, Astronomy, and Physics. I already took welding, which had always interested me. That was fun. DS took small engine maintenance last fall. We’re aiming for a high level of self-sufficiency when we retire to our fairly secluded rural parcel in a few years.

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