Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
12-10-2013, 08:55 AM   #1
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Homesick Canadian in New York City
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 659
Need some homework ideas to improve my Pentax-handling skills

Hi everyone - I'm hoping some of you can help me with a plan I have to improve my "Pentax-handling skills" over the next month or so. I am the sort of person who loves learning and am happiest when I'm taking some sort of course. Homework assignments motivate me

Photography is a relatively new hobby for me - I've only been experimenting for less than a year, but I've been spending a lot of time on it, and have taken a number of courses and workshops. So I've worked through the basics of photographing in manual mode, on-camera flash, dealing with tricky lighting situations and composition. I've also taken some introductory classes on Lightroom and Photoshop. The feedback I've received from instructors and more advanced photographers is that I'm relatively strong in the following areas: composition, creative perspectives/angles and colour. I'm also pretty comfortable engaging with strangers or wandering into strange environments to get the photos I want. I'm particularly interested in photographing animals and people, and I do a fair bit of what I'd call "spontaneous portraits" - approaching strangers (and their pets) and asking if I can photograph them. I also do some more planned portrait work and probably will do more in the future. I photograph dogs and cats for an animal shelter and I'd really like to improve the quality of those images, even though I'm working with some major constraints regarding the environment in which I photograph them. I've also dabbled in some macro photography.
If you are interested in seeing some of what I've photographed (to assess where I might need to improve), here's a link to my 500px page:

500px / Janet / Photos

(Of course, I want to improve across all areas of my photography but right now the priority is improving in areas of weakness.)

Probably my biggest weak area is manipulating light (and making the most of natural light). To that end, I took an overview workshop on studio lighting a couple of weeks ago and I'll be doing an intensive workshop (5 nights, 4 hours a night) at the International Center for Photography in New York City in mid-January.

Another area where I need to improve is to develop a more thorough understanding of what my K-3 and my other equipment can do. (I just got the K-3. Before that I was shooting with a Sony NEX.) I bought some new gear in the last month or so in additon to the K-3, but I need to get it out of the box and play with it. I should add that another major weakness is that I don't have a lot of mechanical or technological aptitude.

Given that December-January are a little more quiet at work and that there are a few vacation days coming up, I would like to plan a program for myself - a series of homework assignments - that focus on what I'd probably call "equipment-handling techniques". I hope that will prepare me for the workshop I'm taking in January and more generally will help me improve as a photographer. I thought that part of what I'd do is work through some of the lessons on Strobist (probably Lighting 102, because it's a bit more in-depth).

I would love to hear your suggestions for homework assignments - projects I can pursue in 20-60 minutes (probably indoors because it's freezing in NYC, but some outdoor stuff is fine, too) to deepen my understanding of what my camera and associated equipment can do. For example, two ideas I had in mind were to: (1) use off-camera flash to do the "angle" and "distance" assignments in the Lighting 102 archive; and (2) practise using my flash to create portraits with a black background. Projects that make me use a tripod would be great, too, because I tend to be reluctant to drag it out and set it up. Some assignments might be of the "how to test aspects of your equipment to make sure it's really doing what it's supposed to do".

The equipment Mr frogoutofwater and I have between us (he has a K-30) includes the following: K-3 and K-30 bodies; 18-135 mm lens, 55-300 WR lens; 15mm Limited lens; 77mm Limited lens; Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro; 50mm f/1.8 lens; umbrella, basic umbrella stand; 360FGZ II flash (we only have one off-camera flash but we might get a second in the next couple of weeks); a couple of tripods; 5-in-one reflectors. Photographic models include 3 cats and one husband.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.


Last edited by frogoutofwater; 12-10-2013 at 09:12 AM.
12-10-2013, 09:26 AM   #2
Pentaxian




Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Slovenia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,180
If you aren't afraid of the NSA there is a nice collection of ideas and techniques in the DSLR Photography collection, which can be found on a certain swashbuckler-infested coastal phenomenon.

Or try Digital Photography School, they'll have you covered for hours if not days..
12-10-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Northern Wisconsin
Posts: 703
QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
Hi everyone - I'm hoping some of you can help me with a plan I have to improve my "Pentax-handling skills" over the next month or so. I am the sort of person who loves learning and am happiest when I'm taking some sort of course. Homework assignments motivate me

Photography is a relatively new hobby for me - I've only been experimenting for less than a year, but I've been spending a lot of time on it, and have taken a number of courses and workshops. So I've worked through the basics of photographing in manual mode, on-camera flash, dealing with tricky lighting situations and composition. I've also taken some introductory classes on Lightroom and Photoshop. The feedback I've received from instructors and more advanced photographers is that I'm relatively strong in the following areas: composition, creative perspectives/angles and colour. I'm also pretty comfortable engaging with strangers or wandering into strange environments to get the photos I want. I'm particularly interested in photographing animals and people, and I do a fair bit of what I'd call "spontaneous portraits" - approaching strangers (and their pets) and asking if I can photograph them. I also do some more planned portrait work and probably will do more in the future. I photograph dogs and cats for an animal shelter and I'd really like to improve the quality of those images, even though I'm working with some major constraints regarding the environment in which I photograph them. I've also dabbled in some macro photography.
If you are interested in seeing some of what I've photographed (to assess where I might need to improve), here's a link to my 500px page:

500px / Janet / Photos

(Of course, I want to improve across all areas of my photography but right now the priority is improving in areas of weakness.)

Probably my biggest weak area is manipulating light (and making the most of natural light). To that end, I took an overview workshop on studio lighting a couple of weeks ago and I'll be doing an intensive workshop (5 nights, 4 hours a night) at the International Center for Photography in New York City in mid-January.

Another area where I need to improve is to develop a more thorough understanding of what my K-3 and my other equipment can do. (I just got the K-3. Before that I was shooting with a Sony NEX.) I bought some new gear in the last month or so in additon to the K-3, but I need to get it out of the box and play with it. I should add that another major weakness is that I don't have a lot of mechanical or technological aptitude.

Given that December-January are a little more quiet at work and that there are a few vacation days coming up, I would like to plan a program for myself - a series of homework assignments - that focus on what I'd probably call "equipment-handling techniques". I hope that will prepare me for the workshop I'm taking in January and more generally will help me improve as a photographer. I thought that part of what I'd do is work through some of the lessons on Strobist (probably Lighting 102, because it's a bit more in-depth).

I would love to hear your suggestions for homework assignments - projects I can pursue in 20-60 minutes (probably indoors because it's freezing in NYC, but some outdoor stuff is fine, too) to deepen my understanding of what my camera and associated equipment can do. For example, two ideas I had in mind were to: (1) use off-camera flash to do the "angle" and "distance" assignments in the Lighting 102 archive; and (2) practise using my flash to create portraits with a black background. Projects that make me use a tripod would be great, too, because I tend to be reluctant to drag it out and set it up. Some assignments might be of the "how to test aspects of your equipment to make sure it's really doing what it's supposed to do".

The equipment Mr frogoutofwater and I have between us (he has a K-30) includes the following: K-3 and K-30 bodies; 18-135 mm lens, 55-300 WR lens; 15mm Limited lens; 77mm Limited lens; Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro; 50mm f/1.8 lens; umbrella, basic umbrella stand; 360FGZ II flash (we only have one off-camera flash but we might get a second in the next couple of weeks); a couple of tripods; 5-in-one reflectors. Photographic models include 3 cats and one husband.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.
Oh Mrs Frogoutofwater..... I am so jealous of all the photography classes you have available to you in New York. Here in Northern Wisconsin I may be the only person for a hundred miles with a new K3 and there are no classes so learning my new camera is slow. It appears that you have already learned a fair amount of the basics so what I'd recommend is to use your camera every day as much as you can. Take lots of pics and experiment to see what works and what doesn't. We often learn more from our mistakes than our successes. Also look as much as you can at examples of great photographers and learn from their works. See through their eyes and try to duplicate things you like. And since its winter and cold you can stay at home at night and take pictures of your husband. In art school (and photography) the human form is used a lot to teach form and composition and technique. When we see beautiful pictures of the human form they are simple and elegant but its really hard to get those photos or to draw them. It just takes practice. Use Mr frog as your studio model along with the cats... ;-)
12-10-2013, 11:09 AM   #4
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Homesick Canadian in New York City
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 659
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by woodywesty Quote
Oh Mrs Frogoutofwater..... I am so jealous of all the photography classes you have available to you in New York.
Actually, although I have taken some photography classes in New York City (a shout out for PhotoUno, an excellent school for beginning photographers), I've mostly taken classes online (through Perfect Picture School of Photography and Compelling Image). And I also was very fortunate to take a workshop with Arthur Meyerson in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, through Santa Fe Workshops. Maybe you could escape northern Wisconsin and head to Cuba for Santa Fe workshop this winter .

12-10-2013, 12:47 PM   #5
Site Supporter
davidreilly3207's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: South Jersey
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 587
+1 Digital Photography School
Digital Photography School - Digital Photography Tips and Tutorials
12-10-2013, 01:17 PM   #6
Senior Member
JenniferLeigh's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Southern Alberta
Posts: 280
QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote

I would love to hear your suggestions for homework assignments - projects I can pursue in 20-60 minutes (probably indoors because it's freezing in NYC, but some outdoor stuff is fine, too) to deepen my understanding of what my camera and associated equipment can do.
To fully understand your camera inside and out, I'd suggest reading through your manual and putting all that information into practice. The basics are pretty easy to figure out on your own, but there are a lot of different custom settings and features such as multiple exposures, the electronic level, histograms, bracketing, Anti-Aliasing Filter, video, focus lock, and so much more.
12-10-2013, 03:21 PM   #7
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Northern Wisconsin
Posts: 703
QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
Actually, although I have taken some photography classes in New York City (a shout out for PhotoUno, an excellent school for beginning photographers), I've mostly taken classes online (through Perfect Picture School of Photography and Compelling Image). And I also was very fortunate to take a workshop with Arthur Meyerson in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, through Santa Fe Workshops. Maybe you could escape northern Wisconsin and head to Cuba for Santa Fe workshop this winter .
A trip to Cuba or Santa Fe would be a wonderful winter escape especially Cuba as its a great place for birders. We are avid birders and I'm a wanna be bird photographer but for now we'll have to stay put as we're taking care of 88 and 98 year old mothers... one of life's responsibilities. Guess I could start a photo essay of the 98 year old Marlboro smoking, whiskey drinking mother in law but it wouldn't be pretty!!
12-10-2013, 03:34 PM   #8
Site Supporter




Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Homesick Canadian in New York City
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 659
Original Poster
QuoteOriginally posted by woodywesty Quote
A trip to Cuba or Santa Fe would be a wonderful winter escape especially Cuba as its a great place for birders. We are avid birders and I'm a wanna be bird photographer but for now we'll have to stay put as we're taking care of 88 and 98 year old mothers... one of life's responsibilities. Guess I could start a photo essay of the 98 year old Marlboro smoking, whiskey drinking mother in law but it wouldn't be pretty!!
You could dream about taking this workshop in 2014

The Birds of Bosque Del Apache: Capture to Print | Santa Fe Photographic Workshops Santa Fe, New Mexico

Actually, your MIL sounds like a great subject for a portrait series ...

I'm also a wannabe bird photographer, but I'm not sure I've got the patience to wait in one spot for hours to make the perfect shot.

I do get some interesting opportunities to photograph birds close up here, where I volunteer (taking care of injured and orphaned birds):

frogoutofwater : Animals | SmugMug
Wild Bird Fund | Saving NYC Wildlife

12-10-2013, 06:03 PM   #9
Site Supporter




Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Northern Wisconsin
Posts: 703
QuoteOriginally posted by frogoutofwater Quote
You could dream about taking this workshop in 2014

The Birds of Bosque Del Apache: Capture to Print | Santa Fe Photographic Workshops Santa Fe, New Mexico

Actually, your MIL sounds like a great subject for a portrait series ...

I'm also a wannabe bird photographer, but I'm not sure I've got the patience to wait in one spot for hours to make the perfect shot.

I do get some interesting opportunities to photograph birds close up here, where I volunteer (taking care of injured and orphaned birds):

frogoutofwater : Animals | SmugMug
Wild Bird Fund | Saving NYC Wildlife
WOW! thanks for the heads up on the two photo workshops, either would be great. Maybe in a year or two. Working with the birds will help you learn more about them. Many techniques used in finding and photographing wildlife are the same used in hunting them so the more you know about them the better your chances of finding and photographing them. The "hunt" is part of the fun! I "found" this bird photographer (Gary Kinnard) Thailand - Birds That Fart who has only been at it for a few years. I often thumb through his pictures and am amazed at the beautiful birds. His blog talks about equipment and technique some which is helpful.
12-10-2013, 10:12 PM   #10
Loyal Site Supporter
pacerr's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Henry, TN
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 2,910
Read your camera manual (RTFM) and pick one or two of the many options for shooting and practice them for week long exercises. Easily a year long course right there.

Once you feel you have some appropriate "tools" in hand, choose some themes -- like "anything but eye-level" shots. Or a topics -- e.g., everyone shoots planes, trains and boats, but can you get, say, a photo "ride-along" with a cabby, or accompany a tour guide, or . . .
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
assignments, camera, couple, dslr, equipment, flash, homework, k-3, lens, photograph, photography, workshop
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need ideas for things to do on a one day trip to Napa Valley tomorrow photoleet General Talk 3 07-01-2012 11:06 AM
Food How to improve my food photography? ddekadt Photo Critique 12 06-22-2012 08:45 PM
Industrial photos.... need some ideas and suggestions please :) okitoki Photographic Technique 10 05-08-2012 06:30 AM
just about to buy my Pentax K5 need some advice Murdo Pentax K-5 7 07-01-2011 03:11 AM
Landscape Need help to improve myself RasDil Photo Critique 5 01-22-2011 04:03 AM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:10 PM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top