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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old December 8th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #1
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Photography 101 or books/cam/practice?

(Not sure if this belongs in Still Crazy, oh well...)

I want to learn some photography. All of my favorite big-league videographers started off in photography, certainly some photo theory and practice would not hurt my video camera skills.
I thought about taking some photo classes at community college. One class would be cheap and easy to keep up with. Ironically though, I was rather unimpressed by a lot of the photo gallery on the school's website ("Hmm, I wouldn't brag about THAT picture..."). I'm trying not to base my decision off of that alone, but it is hard to ignore.

The other option is to get some photo books and just go at it on my own, read and practice I suppose. In lieu of a teacher I do have some photography friends (and the Internet) that I could ask questions to.

Any opinions for a photographer hopeful? Immerse myself in a seat of learning, or read the books instead of waiting in traffic? Either way I'll be picking up my first SLR, which is another post all its own :)
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Old December 8th, 2005, 03:07 PM   #2
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I'd get the camera first, mess around with it for a month or two, then take the classes. By then, you'll have a better idea of what you need to learn and better questions for the professor. You may find you'd rather take an art class instead of a photography class to grow. Visiting museums always helps.

One good way to practice is to join contests like http://dpchallenge.com

Consider a range finder body. Because of their size, you are more likely to use it over an SLR. Plus your subjects are less likely to get panicky when you whip out your camera. I used film SLRs for years, but it wasn't until I finally went digital with a Canon G2 that I re-discovered the joy of photography.

I have both a Canon G6 and a Canon Rebel XT DSLR. 9 times out of 10, the Canon G6 is in my pocket as I head out the door.
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Old December 8th, 2005, 03:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for the quick rep Mike. That sounds like a good plan.

But could you explain a rangefinder? That's new to me.
It's probably naive but I only said SLR mostly because in my mind SLR == lots of manual controls. I'd prefer a digital SLR over film, but they cost more (I think) and the class seems to prefer 35mm SLRs. Plus it's probably been ten years since taking a picture on film so it'd be an "interesting" change of gears.

edit: rangefinder definition
http://johnlind.tripod.com/science/sciencebody.html
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