first steps

When I first bought my new camera, I "knew" most of how to use it from old film camera days. I also knew digital photography had more potential over film and, I believe, is more flexible. That summer I bought two books on digital photography;

  1. Understanding RAW Photography by Andy Rouse, and
  2. The Ultimate Field Guide to Photography by National Geographic.

The first book introduced me to camera RAW, the most flexible and forgiving form of digital photography. Andy also introduces the concept of a digital camera RAW  workflow, one of the keys to obtaining high quality, consistent results and other not often mentioned "professional" tips and techniques such as high dynamic range (HDR), "shoot left - underexpose for highlights" and "shoot right - overexpose for detail".

© Andy Rouse

© Andy Rouse

Andy is a world renowned wildlife photographer. To a reawakened painter of light, his images are inspirational. Have a look at some of his work - quite a level to aspire to.

The National Geographic book is by far the broader and deeper of the two, covering topics from purchasing a digital camera to point-and-shoot techniques, digital darkroom workflows, film photography and camera phones. With chapters on managing digital assets, it includes printing, scanning and archiving.

While the National Geographic publication is more detailed and complete, I found Andy Rouse's book far more inspiring and in many ways more instructive. But both books made me aware I needed a more structured approach to understanding the elements of digital photography.

Emily Carr University of Art and DesignI registered at Emily Carr University of Art and Design for their Introduction to Digital Photography course. For six weeks we looked at the common elements of photography, some unique to the digital form;

  1. JPEG vs RAW,
  2. types of composition,
  3. shutter speed vs motion,
  4. aperture vs depth of field and
  5. white balance.
With weekly assignments including a final, printed assignment, it gave me what I was looking for. Our instructor Kathryn Mussallem also introduced us to some of the more prominent photographers of old, many of whom have helped define the medium, such Ansel Adams and WeeGee (after the "board game" Ouija), to studio photography and recommended websites that provide photography services (one of them,, I recently used to create my first published work, "Lost Lagoon").

So now, just before Christmas 2008, with all this "education" under my belt, it was time to get out there a do photography. This website and blog are the result. Enjoy!

One response to “first steps

  1. pingback //: workshop | blog | john bishop images | photography | vancouver, bc

    […] have developed an outline using a course I took just over a year ago at Emily Carr University as a starting […]

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