Photographing Nature with Your Digital Camera

Photographing Nature with Your Digital Camera

Portland Community College

$99.00 Enroll Now!

Instructor-Led Course
Hours: 24
Duration of Access: 6 weeks
Start Dates: Aug 20, Sep 17, Oct 15, Nov 12
3,491 Students
have taken this course.

Syllabus

A new session of each course starts monthly. If enrolling in a series of two or more courses, please be sure to space the start date for each course at least two months apart.

Week 1

Wednesday - Lesson 01

In this first lesson, we'll explore what makes nature photography an exciting and joyful hobby. You'll do fun exercises that help you focus on the details in the world around you. We'll delve into the concepts of composition, form, shape, and contrast. And finally, you'll join me on a photographer's journey in one of my favorite places in the world!

Friday - Lesson 02

Nothing could be more important to a photographer than light, right? So today we're going to explore how to work with different kinds of sunlight, use fill flash, and photograph the sun. We'll talk about using the rule of thirds to compose attractive photos, and we'll also take a look at three cool natural forms that make great patterns to photograph. Light + composition + natural forms = the next step in your development as a nature photographer!

Week 2

Wednesday - Lesson 03

Landscapes are a pleasure to photograph, so we'll explore how to make landscape photos that are a pleasure to look at, too! In this lesson, you'll figure out how to manage aperture settings and depth of field to get the most from your landscapes, and you'll realize the benefits of focal points and vantage points. You'll also receive some tips to help you spice up landscapes that are flat or lack obvious details.

Friday - Lesson 04

Nature is full of interesting subjects to photograph, and flowers and trees are two of the best. So get ready to experiment photographically with a variety of textures, patterns, and colors. We'll start today with the basics of photographing flowers, and then we'll move on to explore advanced techniques the pros use. You'll also gain an appreciation for the ways trees can communicate feeling and practice photographing them in a way that evokes the specific feeling of a season or place. You'll discover the joys of trying unexpected perspectives as you take your photos.

Week 3

Wednesday - Lesson 05

Water is a fun subject to photograph, but it does present some challenges that we'll tackle together in this lesson. You'll learn how to use your camera to compose photographs of large bodies of water (like oceans and lakes), and you'll receive fun tips for taking effective shots of streams and rivers. You'll also get better acquainted with your shutter-speed settings and practice controlling them to blur or freeze action to create interesting effects.

Friday - Lesson 06

Telephoto equipment can help you get close to subjects that are far away or too dangerous to approach, thus giving you access to an otherwise inaccessible natural world. So today we'll investigate the ways telephoto equipment can enhance your experience of nature photography. You'll find out how your camera and lenses handle magnification, and you'll gain an understanding of how to work effectively with a telephoto lens. Then we'll turn our attention to composing telephoto shots, and you'll practice photographing clouds, the moon, and the stars. Whether you're already working with a telephoto lens, want to buy one, or prefer to stick with the zoom lens on your consumer camera, this lesson will help you gain confidence in the telephoto realm.

Week 4

Wednesday - Lesson 07

Large animal photography, as you might expect, can be a lot of fun and very exciting! In this lesson, we'll explore how to get the best photographs of large animals, whether domesticated or in the wild. You'll photograph single animals, groups, and animals in zoos and other captive areas. You'll also learn how to get pets to cooperate for a photo shoot!

Friday - Lesson 08

Today, we'll delve into strategies for photographing small animals in the wild, including reptiles and other sneaky creatures. We'll discuss common composition, angle, and lighting issues you're going to be wrestling with. You'll learn tricks for photographing small animals at zoos, including animals in terrariums and aquariums. And you'll receive tips for photographing your small pet, including how to keep your pet's attention and what to do to avoid getting an ugly yellow color cast in your photos when shooting pet portraits indoors.

Week 5

Wednesday - Lesson 09

In this lesson, you'll learn about the challenges of photographing birds and the techniques for overcoming those challenges. Birds in flight, for example, can be tough to handle, because you have to be fast on the draw with your camera's settings and manage backlighting to prevent exposure problems. You'll learn to deal with these issues and get started setting up a bird photo studio in your own backyard, which you can use to practice all of your bird photography skills year-round.

Friday - Lesson 10

With today's lesson, we'll delve into macro photography, which you'll use to document some of the smallest creatures in our natural world. We'll sort through your equipment options, ranging from inexpensive attachments to more expensive options like macro lenses. And we'll investigate the particular challenges of exposure, shutter speed, and depth of field. We'll end with a look at a collection of macro photos and discuss what works and what doesn't.

Week 6

Wednesday - Lesson 11

Photo-editing software gives you the opportunity to correct common photography problems and enhance photos creatively. Need to fix a blemish, crop a photo, or adjust the color? In this lesson, you'll find out how to make these quick fixes. Then we'll turn our attention to more advanced functions, like using layers and masks to make complex edits. And we'll finish by exploring some of the just-for-fun options of photo-editing software, like special-effects filters and using layers to add text. If you're not already working with photo-editing software, I'll direct you to a free program you can download in order to explore the techniques we discuss.

Friday - Lesson 12

Today we'll wrap things up with a fun exploration of the creative possibilities of abstract nature photos. You'll expand your understanding of subjects and composition, and you'll see how abstract photos work to achieve a specific effect or feeling. We'll end our discussion with a tour through a gallery of abstract photos, and I'll share a final entry in my photo journal about my visit to Tulum, Mexico—a favorite spot for photographers.