Thursday, January 22, 2009


Last night was my first class in the University of Tennessee's Fundamentals of Digital Photography - 1 Course (part of their Photography Certificate Program), instructed by Tom Geisler. After just one class, I can tell you that if you live in Knoxville and have been thinking about taking such a course (like I had been for some time), TAKE THIS COURSE! Tom's got a fantastic teaching style and the class is informative, high energy, and fun.

The first portion of this course is heavy on the technical aspect of using your DSLR camera, so for the next few weeks, my pictures are going to be very pedestrian while I get edumacated about this here picture takin' box. Don't expect any breathtaking pictures for now.

This week, we are working on using ONLY manual mode setting the aperture and shutter speed myself, making sure my result has a "happy" light meter. This is just concentrating on 3 of many, many variables but I'm taking baby steps here!

Today at lunch, I grabbed my camera bag and headed to a great photo opp spot, Sharps Ridge Memorial Park. It overlooks the city of Knoxville, the Sunsphere, etc and gives you a great view of the Smoky Mountains...well on a less hazy day, that is. On a clear day you can see very specific peaks of the mountains. I think this picture shows the potential of this location. If you look close, you can see several layers of the mountains.[f8, 1/800, iso 200, 122mm focal length, 0 exposure bias]

I took one shot in auto mode:
[auto chose f10, 1/200, iso 100, 55mm focal length, 0 exposure bias]

just so I could compare it to my first fully manual shot:
[f22, 1/200, iso 2oo, 55mm focal length, 0 exposure bias].

Since the ozone haze wasn't cooperating for a scenic shot, I turned my attention to the plethora of radio/TV antennas on top of Sharps Ridge to play with the camera settings with basically the same shot. The ISO, focal length, and exposure bias were all the same.
[f5.6, 1/640]
[f8, 1/320]
[f22, 1/15]

I didn't know that President Obama had signed an order for closing Gitmo when I took these shots of razor wire around the towers.
[f8, 1/200, iso 200, 190mm focal length, 0 exposure bias]
[f5.6, 1/640, iso 200, 125mm focal length, 0 exposure bias]
[f8, 1/800, iso 200, 190mm focal length, 0 exposure bias]

The one thing I realized today is that I need a LOT of practice playing with this settings. I feel sorry for anyone who doesn't practice this before next week's class.


  1. Enjoy your class, Chris! These photos are so cool, I love the layers of mountains!

  2. I already told ya how much I like these pics but I wanted to tell ya again. LOVE em! : ) great job. I am so happy you are enjoying your class.