Fundamentals of Photography by Joel Sartore

For the last three Bridge Lake Photo Group meetings we’ve been watching a series of videos presented by Joel Sartore, a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine and an excellent lecturer.  Fundamentals of Photography is one of the Great Courses which periodically come up for sale.

There are twenty-four lectures in Fundamentals of Photography, of which we have watched the first four:

  1. Making Great Pictures
  2. Camera Equipment – What You Need
  3. Lenses and Focal Length
  4. Shutter Speeds

Each lecture is ended with an exercise, designed to help cement the concepts presented in the lecture.

The first two lectures had one homework assignment: to take two photographs.  The first photograph was to be of one’s favourite room in one’s house.  The second was to be of the same room, but this time with something happening in it.

This was my take on the assignment (I also used it as an opportunity to try out some High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography.)

The third lecture on Lenses and Focal Length was ended with the following two tasks:

  • Take a series of photographs of a single subject but using many different combinations of camera settings (speed/exposure and f/stop) noting the differences between the photos;
  • Take a series of photos of the same person or pet using three or more different lenses (or a zoom at different focal lengths) e.g. telephoto, regular, wide-angle. macro.

The fourth lecture, on Shutter Speeds looked at the effect of different shutter speeds when the subject was moving.  Some interesting effects can result.  As homework we were set the tasks of:

  • Shooting something which is moving.  First use a slow shutter speed (less than 1/30 sec) and then use a fast shutter speed (greater than 1/500 sec) and notice the difference.  How could you deliberately exploit that difference in some of your photos?
  • Do the above assignment at different times of the day in different light.  How do the lighting conditions change what the camera sees?

At our next meeting we’ll be expecting to view homework photos from members. 🙂


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