I have a Canon 1000D which is an entry level DSLR and the kit lenses that came with it. (EF-S 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 II and EF 75-300mm f/4-5.6 III.) Although I’ve had it for more than a year, I have never had the confidence to try anything other than the auto settings. I’ve never bought any extra lenses because the range that is available thoroughly confuses me.
My daughter had attended a Trekabout workshop a couple of years ago and loved it. Her confidence and photographic know-how increased tremendously. When I saw this workshop advertised, the opportunity to learn more about photography in a beautiful setting was just too tempting. The tutors, Michael and Mark are both accomplished nature photographers and the workshop would be a combination of informative talks, hands-on experience and one-to-one assistance. We both enrolled – a weekend away together doing something that we both enjoy – and hopefully we’ll learn a bit as well.
Saturday morning we rose very early and drove 150 kms to the Sunshine Coast to meet up with the group at 8 am.
Because we were both doing the course but only had the one DSLR we had brought one of our small point and shoot cameras with us as the second camera. When we showed our tutors, it was kindly suggested we should just share the Canon .
We met at Buderim Rainforest Park. There were twelve students. Three had been to previous workshops and were refreshing or honing their skill. Some of the students had a reasonable depth of knowledge but most were novices like us. Some had state-of-the art equipment worth megabucks. Others had quite basic cameras, like us. It didn’t seem to phase Michael and Mark. The workshop was geared to teaching you at your individual level.
After an introductory session where I learnt not only what ISO, depth of field and aperture meant, but which knobs and buttons on my camera control them and why they are important, I moved the dial from Auto to Av. I had never done that before. The first step was taken to a brave new world.
Macro photography is something I would love to get into so I’m asking Santa for a macro lens too.
After lunch we were shown some digital post-processing techniques using Picasa and Photoshop and Viveza. I’d been using Picasa for a while to upload and organise my shots and to do some minor editing, but still learnt some additional and valuable techniques. I’d never used Photoshop.
Mmmm – Santa, what do you think????
Again time flew. It was all over too soon. The sun was up. The soft light was replaced with bright harsh sunshine and it was only 6 am. Back to our unit to pack up and check out, down to Mooloolabah for breakfast and two cups of coffee each (We had been up before dawn). Back up the mountain to the rainforest by 8 am for bird photography. This was getting better and better.
“Never take a shot of a bird from underneath” Michael said. “You just get a bum shot” - so I tried it.
He was right - Not this fellow’s most attractive angle.
With my kit lens it was quite hard to zoom in on the birds. Maybe Santa could bring….OK, I’m asking too much now. I know. This photography thing could get out of hand if you let it.
After morning tea there was another session covering post-processing techniques. Michael and Mark told us about where to get the best deals on photographic equipment and tempted us with up-coming workshops they will be conducting.
It was time to head home.
We’d learnt so much.
Even though we took notes, it’s going to be hard to remember it all. Maybe another workshop ... next year.
This is Michael and Mark's website - http://www.trekaboutphotography.com/