Notes by Nectar

Your destiny lies in your own hands

Introduction to Digital Photography: Week 1

on January 17, 2012

One of the things I wanted to do when I got to Dubai was take a photography course. I received a Canon EOS 600D as a gift before I left London and had no idea how to use it. I needed to sit down and play around with it but the weeks before I left were so hectic I didn’t have a chance. I Googled photography courses in Dubai, found one that is taught at DUCTAC (Dubai Community Theatre and Arts Centre) at the Mall of the Emirates, emailed the tutor and asked her to reserve a space for me in the class starting in January. It’s a four-week course, held on Fridays from 2 to 6pm.

A week before the course started she sent round an email to the course attendees telling us to:

  • Get a tripod
  • Take some photos and upload them to the Facebook group before the class

I uploaded these:

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There were so many settings on the camera and I had no idea what any of them were, so almost everything was set to ‘auto’. 

When I got to the class, there was only one other person there but the class filled up soon after. At the beginning of the session, the tutor made us all stand in a circle and whoever she threw the ball to would have to introduce themselves, and then that person would throw the ball to someone else, and so on. There were 14 of us – three from the UK, two from the Philippines, one Australian, one Irishman, one Indian, one Spaniard, one Russian, one Lebanese and a few Arabs – quite a mixed group. 

The tutor covered a whole range of things, starting with the most basic: how to hold your camera. 

She gave us several pointers, including things that I would never have thought of:

  • Always have a spare charged battery (I had thought of that)
  • Don’t delete photos from your memory card – upload regularly and then re-format the card (this minimises the possibility of losing images and corrupting your memory card)
  • Get a lens cap with elastic so you can put it around your wrist to avoid losing it
  • Lens fogging – moving from air conditioning to outdoors will fog up your lens and there’s nothing you can do about it
  • If you press the shutter button halfway down, the camera sets focus and exposure (I told you I knew nothing about my camera)
  • When you change lenses on your camera, do it as quickly as possible – because we live in a desert dust will easily find its way into the body of a camera and you really don’t want that to happen (I’ve noticed this at home – things get dusty really quickly). I would never ever have thought about this

She then talked about focus modes, depth of field, ISO and aperture in detail and we had a practice session – using different apertures and depths of field. These are some of the better ones I took:

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See how the focus is on a different item in each photo? Pretty cool, isn’t it?

I think my camera and I could still become friends… 

Read about weeks 2, 3 and 4.


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