I have had my Canon EOS 500D SLR for nearly a year. I am still using the auto settings. I need to learn how to use the different settings and also work out the best way to take photos taking into account exposure, depth of field and shutter speed etc. I decided to book for a one-day photography workshop to get more out of my camera. I did some research online and there are numerous courses to choose from. In addition, there were also quite a few offers on Living Socials and Groupons to confuse me. In the end, I decided on a one-day course with Andy Piggott. When I read the course outline, I liked the idea that the class is conducted outdoors at Hyde Park in Sydney and covers the topics that I am interested in. It is also a hands-on class. I didn't like the idea of sitting in a class listening to the theory of how a camera works.
I woke up the appointed day, anxious and excited about the class. It was a a little sunny with some clouds about and light drizzle from time to time. I met Andy and 8 others at 9:15am near the Archibald Fountain in Hyde Park in the city. The class was split into two sessions:
Topics covered include how to control motion with shutter speeds, using apertures and Depth of Field to blur backgrounds (or to keep them sharp). Exposure compensation, Exposure bracketing.
Then we had a 30 mins break for lunch.
The afternoon session expanded on the morning's learning and explained the advantages of RAW files, how to optimise White Balance. Learn how to make better portraits and close-ups. We also did some "panning" and explore perspective. "Panning" was an interesting exercise. All of us lined up on Park St (Hyde Park side) and took photos of passing cars, cyclists and ambulances. It is not an easy skill to grasp, it will come with practice. But when you've grasped this skill, it's a great way to take moving objects - cars or children or animals. We received some strange looks from people passing by as we stood on the side of the road like a row of paparazzi.
I went to the class with some expectations and I must say the class has met them and more. My head is spinning now with all the information Andy has covered today. I won't say that I am confident to use manual settings but at least I know what all the different buttons and settings are for. I am still a long way from taking awesome photos, but I hope this will come with practise, practise, practise. Andy did provide great notes for review. He also gave good advice about the different types of lenses, flash, memory cards and why it is best to shoot photos in RAW form.
I am looking forward to more practice during our upcoming holidays in East Malaysia and Singapore. I have to stop using the Auto settings and use P, AV and TV. I also have shopping list of things to add to my equipment.