Introduction to Adobe Camera RAW & Photohop Course

Hello, I’m teaching an Introduction to Adobe Camera RAW & Photoshop Course at the Dundas Valley School of Art starting on Wednesday, January 11, 2023 through to March 1, 2023 (an 8-week course).  

Classes run from 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm.

You can bring your own laptop computer (Mac or PC) with the subscription version of Photoshop already purchased and loaded on your computer.  If you want to buy the subscription version of Photoshop before the course and have it already to go, click this link.

Or, you can use a DVSA iMac computer with the subscription version of Photoshop already loaded on it.  Then after the course you can purchase the subscription version of Photoshop for yourself.

Course Description

Ideal for amateur and hobbyist photographers looking to get the most out of Camera RAW and other Photoshop tools – selections, layers, masks, sky replacement, removing unwanted content and more as you look to more fully edit and prepare your images.  You’ll become familiar with the editing capabilities of Adobe Photoshop (PS) as you explore the PS workspace, the RAW editor – Camera RAW –and its expansive set of digital tools.  Lessons cover the basics of opening, saving and storing image files, the various processing tools of Camera RAW used for editing image files and making the most of the other PS tools used for more advanced image editing.

To register for the 3A77 Introduction to Adobe Camera RAW & Photoshop course, click the following link DVSA.

Students receive detailed, step-by-step handouts for each lesson, on all image processing software processes and procedures.  As well, students get to edit images supplied the Instructor and their own personal RAW image files shot for specific lessons.  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 purchasing an appropriate laptop (PC or Mac), or how to buy the most economical subscription version of Photoshop for 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!!

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”?

GAS - Gear Acquisition Syndrome

A past and current photographic trend is the quoting of the Shutter Speed, Aperture and ISO used to make an exposure.  This is a common inquiry within camera club members when reviewing fellow member photographs.  (There are others regarding various rules of composition, but that’s another topic.)  Fine-art photographers, that being those with a BFA or MFA from a distinguish higher institution of artistic learning, seem to list these three technical exposure factors for each photo plus the camera and lens used as this endows the work with greater significance and worth and possibly value.  I find this obsession interesting, but irrelevant.

Personally, I do not know why these three pieces of technical information about a photograph are needed.  They communicate nothing about the photograph’s emotional state of mind, his/her purpose or intention for the photograph, they do not speak to her/his sensibilities or motivations, or what she/he hopes to communicate with the photograph.  These three technical aspects of a specific exposure have no baring on what camera/lens setting you or I would have used were we all together at the same location, on the same day, or at the same time.  Painters do not go on and on about what specific type of brush they use, or what brand of paint, whether oil or water colour, or what paper/canvas they use.  So why this technical obsession with photography?  I suspect it has to do with the technical nature and aspects of the photographic craft a person must master before it becomes second nature to them that impacts the desire to continue quoting the exposure settings.  For me, they are irrelevant.  In fact I doubt, even if pressed for the specifics for a photograph, would I be able to recall, or even have a desire to ascertain these settings.

A photographer I know uses his camera to capture a record of his growing family and post the images to a variety of social media platforms.  He regularly acquires, to him, a new camera and lens, is excited and enthused at the prospect of capturing more meaningful images and posting them as quickly as possible, directly to social media.   After a short period of time, he announces he’s going to acquire yet another newer/better camera or a better lens.  And he sets out to do so.  The digital camera industry is more than happy to oblige and meet, or even exceed, his desire.  That’s what keeps the camera companies in business.  And so the newer camera/lens combination is obtained and old one sold off.  However, it’s not too long before the newest and greatest needs to be replaced by some newer and great photographic technology.  And, so it goes.  Once or twice a year, or perhaps more often, depending on his image capturing success or failure, a new piece of photographic technology shows up and the old one quietly disappears.  The images continue to proliferate on social media and his growing family’s life continues to be recorded in faithful accuracy and timelessness.  However, the images on social media do not appear to reflect the constant striving for technological perfection the photographer strives to achieve.  The images faithfully capture all the meaningful moments in a growing family’s life, but still there is the longing for better technology.

More than one renowned photographer, over time, has stated that great images occur not between the front element of the camera’s lens and the digital sensor, but at that distance from the back of the photographer’s head and the camera’s viewfinder.

To record the light reflecting off subjects, be they people, trees, rocks, water, buildings, etc., is technical matter.  Today’s digital camera’s can be placed on the A(utomatic) setting and a perfectly acceptable image is obtainable.  Finding that unique, fleeting expression on a child’s face that lasts but a moment and then quickly vanishes requires patience and increased observational skills by the image creator and an ability to anticipate and allow a spark of inspiration to inform the movement of the index finger.  Putting your camera in burst mode and making 10 - 15 quick exposures in hopes of capturing the right one is an approach, but upon reviewing the 15 images, realising the desired moment was missed and going at it again is, in my opinion, an exercise in frustration.

Now, if you’re perfectly happy with the quick fire approach and simply want to document your growing families life and special moments, then pretty much any digital camera today will suffice.  And if this is your ultimate goal, then go for, have fun, post the cutest images to social media, revel in reviewing them all a some future date and be happy and full of joy.  But also, keep your extra money in the bank for some other worthy purchase, because the latest and greatest new camera technology will never meet your goals if what you really want to do is create an image of a rock that is ”more than a rock”, or capture that furtive expression on a child’s face as she sits and contemplates her expanding world.

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