Weekend Photography Workshop at VPW

This weekend I took part in an intensive weekend photography workshop at Vancouver Photo Workshops (VPW). Key word – Intensive. Our classes were Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm with an hour break for lunch, and not a moment was spared to pack our brains full of photography knowledge.

I signed up for the course with my friend Jerra. She received a DSLR camera as a wedding gift from her husband, and was wanting to really learn how to use it, rather than just defaulting to shoot in Auto all of the time. (Even though there is nothing wrong with that! They do make Auto for a reason.)

I have been attempting to shoot with a DSLR for a couple of years now, and recently upgraded from a Pentax K100D to a Nikon D90, but I still didn’t feel completely comfortable behind my camera. I wanted to know the ins-and-outs of my Nikon, be able to confidently shoot in manual mode, or to choose whichever exposure priority necessary, whenever my little heart (or eye) desires to.

I was concerned that the workshop might be a bit too basic for me, that I would be itching to move ahead into the more complex stuff, but I found myself loving every second of it. Our instructor, Aura McKay, was one of the most enthusiastic people I have ever met. It’s obvious that she truly loves what she does for a living, and she is able to effortlessly captivate an entire room full of eager newbie photographers. At one point, on the second day of the workshop, when speaking to us about creative composition, I almost wanted to stand up and clap at the end of her rant. Her attitude about photography is absolutely infectious.

Aura McKay
Aura McKay

Day 1

We covered the basics of exposure – aperture, shutter speed and ISO, and choosing the correct, or creating a custom, white balance. We did an exposure workshop in the studio, and worked on all of these things – getting our whites white, and our blacks black. We took so many shots of these set-ups that I am quite happy to never have to look at them again! But all in all, it was great practice.

VPW Workshop exercise

VPW Workshop exercise

Day 2

Aura talked about depth of field, basic composition theory, different lenses and when and why we use them, and lighting! We did a depth of field exercise in the studio again, then right before lunch we took off for a photowalk, to try and use all of the things we had learned – white balance, depth of field, composition – yay! My photos from the walk are not all that exciting, so I’ll spare you.

After lunch, we basically spent three whole hours shooting models in the studio in different settings under different lighting. We even shot one of the models outside. At the end of it, I think my brain and my creativity were completely tapped, but I was pretty happy with some of my shots from the afternoon session.

The rest of my photos from the session can be seen on Flickr.

Matt

Matt

Matt

Matt

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Olivia

Shazmin

DSC_6140

DSC_6158

DSC_6153

Needless to say, I will happily enroll in another VPW class, after a little more tinkering and practice behind the lens. As Aura quoted many times during our workshop: “If you want to be a photographer, take a picture. If you want to be a better photographer, take another picture.” And so on and so forth. Now, excuse me… but I have to go take some pictures.

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Riot Fashion Theatre

A few weeks ago, I attended the Riot fashion show at Guilt & Co. My good friend (and hairdresser) Stacey, and her co-worker Amber were a couple of the models, so I brought along my camera to take a few shots for them.

Riot Fashion show @ Guilt & Co. Amber + Stacey before the catwalk!
Amber + Stacey

I didn’t really care at first about getting the traditional “runway shots,” but in hind sight, I wish I would have sat at the end of the runway to catch the models when they stopped and actually posed. Those seats were taken quickly, though, and instead I was off to the side of the runway. It was much more difficult trying to get a good shot from there, but I did my best.

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

Riot Fashion Theatre

I also took a couple of close-up shots before and after the show for Stacey and Amber, because their hair and make-up, which was done by Aveda, looked amazing.

Stacey + Amber

Anyways, I’ve never taken proper photos at a fashion show before, so this was an experiment. You live and you learn! View the full set here.

The Switch from Pentax K100D to Nikon D90

A few years ago, I won a Pentax K100D, my first DSLR (like Mother, like Daughter!), and that is when I started to fall in love with photography. I didn’t know a thing at first, except for maybe the rule of thirds, but I happened to take decent pictures now and again without even really trying. I taught myself, along with a little help from my brother Jordan, how to use my new camera.

I’ve had a few years with it now, and while I did love my Pentax and get to know it really well, I felt it was really just my “learning camera,” and I was ready to move on to something bigger and better. As we all know, there’s quite the debate over Canon vs. Nikon. I do happen to be a Canon fan; my point-and-shoot is a Canon and I love it. But most of the photographers I know, when asked for advice on what kind of camera to buy, usually suggest buying the same brand of camera as someone you know so that you can share gear with each other. Jordan has the Nikon D80, and has been whispering in my ear for some time that if I want to upgrade, I should go for the D90, probably because he wants to have access to one! It made sense, though. We would be able to share lenses or other gear quite easily, and he could show me the ins and outs of the camera.

Buying the D90 brand new right now was out of my price range, but I still really wanted it. Well, it just so happened that the other day, someone I know mentioned on twitter that he was thinking of making the switch from the Nikon D90 to the Canon 5D Mark II, for video purposes. That got my attention, so I asked if he was going to be selling the D90. Turns out he was, along with 3 lenses, a flash, an 8GB memory card, and a camera bag – all for a very good deal. I was sold.

So today, I have in my hands a new-to-me Nikon D90 camera that I can’t wait to experiment with and learn more about. I haven’t used it much yet, but I took it with me on a recent trip to Powell River for Thanksgiving dinner with the family, and I snapped a few photos. Thank you especially to my good friend and favourite hairdresser Stacey, for being such a good sport! This camera will probably be in your face quite a bit in the near future. That goes for the rest of you, too. If you thought I took a lot of photos before, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.