Digital camera technology has allowed most amateur photographers to replace their film cameras with new digital cameras. The result has been a revived interest in photography and an expectation that anyone can take a “good” photo with one of the new digital cameras.
Instructor Dennis McGill says, however, that with a little effort, a digital camera operator can take a better-than-good photo. His course at School of the Arts at Rhinelander, Mastering Your Digital Camera by Learning and Doing, provides the insights that can take good pictures to the next level.
McGill is a returning faculty member for School of the Arts at Rhinelander. For more than 25 years he operated a portrait studio in Rhinelander, and he is a member of the Wisconsin Professional Photographers Association. For 18 years he was the director of the Wisconsin Professional Photographers School.
“Digital cameras have obvious advantages over film cameras, not the least of which is not having to buy film and not having to take the film somewhere to have it processed,” he said. “In the film days, photographers carried several speeds of film of multiple types to cover all the different lighting situations they might imagine themselves getting into.”
Today’s digital camera can handle any film speed and film type necessary. “A good digital camera has more information programmed into it than most photographers can learn in a lifetime,” he said.
But here is where learning how to use the new cameras takes over.
“The ‘auto’ button on a digital camera is set to record an image in perfect conditions,” McGill said. “This is normally considered to be noon on a sunny day. Life doesn’t happen only at noon on a sunny day. You need to know how to use all the information your camera has at your fingertips when the conditions are less than perfect.
“While this workshop does include some classroom time, our true aim is ‘on location learning,'” he added. “We’ll explore histograms, white balance, file size and format, and you’ll get the camera knowledge you’ll need to handle any photographic subject. We’ll also study the basics of the Rule of Thirds, the ‘S’ curve, and when black-and-white is better than color.”
McGill is also offering a companion course, Adobe Photoshop Elements: Basic, which covers “everything from cropping and straightening to removing blemishes and making dull skies blue!”
Mastering Your Digital Camera by Learning and Doing is offered Saturday, July 20, through Wednesday, July 24, from 8:30 to 11:45 a.m. Adobe Photoshop Elements: Basic is offered Saturday through Wednesday from 1:30 to 4:45 p.m.
Registration information for all School of the Arts at Rhinelander courses is currently available online at soawisconsin.org. In recognition of the School of the Arts’ 50th, registrants who complete registration before June 1 will receive a commemorative T-shirt.