Introduction to Digital Photography Course

Hello, I’m teaching two Introduction to Digital Photography Courses at the Dundas Valley School of Art.  They both start on Tuesday, April 25, 2023 through to June 20, 2023 (a 9-week course).  One course is during the day from 9:30 am - 12:15 am.  The second course is in the evening on the same day from 6:45pm - 9:30pm.  Each student gets a detail handout for each lesson.

Course Description

In this beginner level course, you’ll develop a solid foundation by using your digital camera in class and receiving feedback on your photos.  Fully understand shutter-speeds, apertures, ISO, histograms, focusing and the various exposure modes available to create better quality images.  We’ll also cover how to safely transfer and backup your photos.  Bring your camera, or if you are looking to purchase, hold off until after the first class as we’ll review various makes and models. 

To register for the evening course 4A78-B Introduction to Digital Photography,  to register for the day time course 4A78-A Introduction to Digital Photography click the this link, of go to and search for the evening course 3A74-B, or the day time course 3A74-C in the Winter Semester/Photography classes.

Please bring your current digital camera to the first class, or if you don’t have one, hold off buying any, and I’ll talk with you about what types of pictures you want to take and what you want to do with the images.  Then I can suggest a number of camera options for you, based on your budget, that you might want to consider.

Students receive detailed, step-by-step handouts for each lesson, detailing all the photographic concepts and ideas discussed during each lesson.  All the lesson handouts form a fantastic, easy-to-read and understand reference guide you can refer to anytime after the course.

For me the really cool things is… I really enjoy teaching, sharing what I know with others, because it’s through that sharing that I too learn!!!

If you have any questions about the course, please feel free to email at   I’ll be happy to answer all your questions.

I look forward to meeting you and working with you as you begin your photographic journey!!

Digital Camera Memory Cards

I’ve recently learned a lot of beginner, and so beginner photographers use their digital camera’s memory card as a permanent storage device.  In doing so, when out on a shooting day, they check the camera’s LCD screen after each shot to see if they like it.  (This is called chimping.).  And if they don’t like the photograph, for whatever reason, they press the camera’s delete button and assume the photo is history - gone - is no more!!  And then they go back to capturing more and more digital images on their camera’s memory card.

While this is a common practice, it is not a good idea.  It’s not a matter of if a digital camera’s memory card will fail, but when.  And deleting an image in-camera off the memory card does not really delete the offending photograph.

No???  What does it do??

So what is the preferred process???

IMO, digital camera memory cards are not permanent storage devices for your digital photos.  A simplistic description of a digital camera is “a small computer with a hunk of glass on the front of it”.

A digital camera doesn’t capture/create a photograph.  It creates a digital image file consisting of 1s and 0s - a computer data file.  At its most basic, a digital image is a computer file.  And like all computer files, they are subject to corruption.

Your camera’s memory card records the digital computer file your camera body creates.  On the memory card is a File Allocation Table (FAT).  This FAT records where on the memory card each image is stored.  A pointer is created to each image.  When you playback the image on the LCD screen, the FAT locates the image file and displays a JPEG version of the data on the LCD screen,  whether the file type is JPEG or RAW.  When a photographer deletes an image in-camera from the memory card only the FAT pointer is deleted - not the actual digital image file.  As the photographer keeps adding new images to the memory card the odds of a new image overwriting an old digital image data file increases.  Eventually, depending on the storage capacity of a memory card, a new image data file may not completely overwrite an old one.  Then you end up with two corrupted digital image files, or maybe the whole memory card may become corrupt.  And therefore useless.

What’s the solution??

When you return from your photo shoot, transfer all your digital image files to a computer hard drive, or an external hard drive.  Check the drive to ensure all the images are present and safe.  Then put the memory card back in the camera,  locate the camera’s Format command and format the memory card in camera.  The camera’s Format process completely erases all the FAT and all the digital data files from the memory card.

Do NOT format a digital camera memory card in any computer - ever!!

Now you are ready for your next fantastic photo outing where you can start all over again creating photographic master pieces.

Oh yes, create a second copy of all your digital image files stored on your computer’s internal hard drive on a second external hard drive.  And if you originally transferred your digital image data files to an external hard drive, copy these files to a second external hard drive - just to be safe.

Wabi Sabi

Wabi and Sabi and Creative Photography 

Wabi is a feeling of loneliness synonymous with solitude, reflection, a sense of non-attachment and appreciation for the spontaneous unfolding of circumstances.  It is like the quiet that comes from a winter snowfall, where all the sounds are hushed and stillness envelopes everything. 

Sabi is the suchness of ordinary objects, the basic, unmistakable uniqueness of a thing that is and of itself.

Much art, other than photography, is generally presented as expressions of creativity:

 “Here’s a symbol for what I felt.”

 “Here’s a metaphor for something meaningful.”

 “Here’s an expression of my beliefs and philosophy.”

 “Here’s a unique style, or innovative arrangement, I came up with that defines my work as distinct from others.”

 “Here’s a visual experience for you to contemplate.”

In contrast, much photography seems deliberately presented as decidedly uncreative:

 “Here’s where I’ve been.”

 “Here’s what happened.”

 “Look how lucky I got!”

 “Here’s a picture of …”

An on-line landscape photography magazine I read is having an ongoing conversation about the truth, or lack there of, about a photograph.  Before digital photography, when film was all there was, photography was presented as absolute truth of a thing.  That’s because the photographer could present the print and the negative to show that no intervention had occurred between the developing of the negative and the making of the print so, therefore the print represented exactly what the camera saw.  And since the camera lens was much better at capturing fine detail than any human could represent with a paint brush, then, by default, the camera lens captured truth.

But was that precisely true?

As photography progressed with newer different focal length lenses, e.g., wide angle, telephoto and variable zoom lenses, absolute truth was no longer true.  A wide angle lens distorts perspective and exaggerates the distances between objects, while telephoto lenses compress distances between objects making them appear closer together.

Enter the digital sensor that captures photons of light, converts those photons into a computer file of 1s and 0s, and once the shutter is pressed, a computer file is stored on a memory card.  The memory card, depending on the photographer’s budget, can hold thousands of computer (images) files.  While the photographer can display an ”image” on the camera’s LCD screen of the ”picture” he/she just took, the image he/she is looking at is the camera’s firmware’s interpretation of the 1s and 0s rendered by sensor.  Once the ”image” file is downloaded onto a computer, opened/edited with image editing software, there’s an excellent chance the processed ”image“ and the ”image“ displayed on the camera’s LCD screen will have little in common.

What does all of the preceding have to do with Wabi Sabi and creative photography?

As the winter freeze gave way to a welcome Spring thaw, I walked along the banks of a small creek near my home.  The banks were still solid enough to walk along, but venturing out onto the ice was an adventure.  After breaking through the ice, falling backwards, but keeping my camera in the air, and regaining my footing and I spotted a patch of melting ice and flowing water.

As I stared at the scene in front of me, a realisation formed in my mind - water was present in three different forms, in one place, at one time: snow, ice and liquid.  I was seeing the transformative power of nature in real time.  The shape and form of the ice reminded me of fingers reaching down into the cold, moving water.  The bubbling water sounded like laughter as the creek welcomed the melting snow and ice back to its previous form.  My awareness of my surroundings faded; I was alone, my mind focused entirely on the tiny scene in front of me.

How do I capture the awe, my amazement and the extent of my emotional reactions into an image that conveys all this to a viewer?

The Wabi Sabi concept came back to me.  I framed the scene on the camera’s LCD screen, slowly moving progressively closer, eliminating extraneous details, until the image in my mind’s eye displayed on the LCD screen.  I smiled to myself as I pressed the shutter release.  I lowered my camera, fully satisfied I’d captured my emotional response to the ongoing transformation before me in nature.

Is the above image the truth, or is it ”presented as an expression of creativity”?

Using Format