The above photograph is of my buddy Ryan riding his bike in March. He and his brother were helping me complete a photography assignment I had from an intermediate photography class at the Springfield Art Association, taught by local photographer Sarah Chatham of NBP Studio. For the assignment, I was trying to illustrate speed/motion. After many attempts at the shot, this one turned out fantastic.
I'm posting about this photo because of a nice surprise I had April 21. [more]
One of the best photography courses I've taken has returned: the Fundamentals of Digital Photography online course with instructor John Greengo. My girlfriend and I last took this course in the fall of 2009 and I can say, without a doubt, that John's course made photography "click" for me, drawing in all of the piecemeal information I have learned over the years and tying it together to make me better behind the camera than I had ever been.
We bought John's first course and have been watching the current course since it began on April 7. If you're not familiar with the course, this is a 10-week class that you can watch for FREE while it is being filmed and streamed live on the Internet. It, along with many other courses, are created and produced in Seattle by the creativeLIVE team. Check their calendar for when the course will show live in your time zone.
For this iteration of the course, John has brought in several new things to keep the class fresh, interesting and interactive. One of the new interactive aspects is ... homework! It is a class, after all! The assignment for week two was to post your best photo using a fast or slow shutter speed to the course's Flickr page. I posted the photo above.
The following week, John showed off a few of the submissions at the beginning of the class. My photo above was one of them. I got an excited SMS message from my girlfriend telling me to tune in. The next photo was up by the time I made it to the creativeLIVE site but luckily, the homework review of that episode has been posted for free. Just go to the course's website, scroll down to "0 - Homework Review" under Week 3 and click "Watch." Pretty cool, eh?
I highly encourage you to give this course a try if you're interested in photography and especially if you own a DSLR camera. I can tell you the price is worth it for 10 sessions, which are about two hours each. You can also check out the 21-episode John Greengo Photography Show which was put on by John in between the first course and the one that is running now.
About the Photograph
In case you're wondering about my photograph, here are the details. I was having varying luck getting speed shots with my subjects, Ryan and his brother Jesse, driving past me while I was standing still, panning the camera as they sped by. I had the bright idea that I could get a cool shot if I were photographing Ryan while riding parallel to him in Jesse's car. To get the shot the way I wanted, though, I had to get a little risky with the camera. So I leaned partially outside the window of the car as we rode down an empty, dead-end road behind my house. I had the camera on a monopod, which I was holding upside down about a foot off the pavement. I fired the shutter with a Canon RS-80N3 cable release in my left hand. The camera's neck strap was wrapped around the inner elbow of my right arm. My right hand was gripping the bottom of the monopod for dear life!
The photo was shot with my Canon 50D with the EF-S 10-22mm wide angle lens. The shutter speed was set to 1/25th of a second, ISO was 100, autofocus on, aperture of 9.0 and the lens was widened to 19mm. It took more than two dozen "blind" attempts to get this right, which was really a stroke of luck because I couldn't see the subject as I was shooting. The effect of the slow shutter speed makes us look like we're traveling pretty quickly, but in reality we were going about 15 mph.