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photo by Claude Toulson

August Photo Newsletter
Summer in the City

Dear Photographers,

   Country landscapes offer  idyllic views of nature that bring us a sense of tranquility and balance. But the city challenges us to see and record another kind of reality - the man-made world of buildings, streets, bridges, vehicles, electric lines, and of course, people being people.  The rhythms and patterns, the textures and lines, and the humanity all add up to compelling pictures that present a point of view and tell a story.












           photo by Steve Philips



Two-Part  Photo Workshop: 

Composition in the City

    How to tame the often seemingly chaotic mix of elements presented by the city?  A developed sense of composition is the key.  This workshop begins with framing and focus to establish and enter the scene.  We will discuss such compositional concepts as layering, leading lines, use of symmetry and asymmetry,  positive and negative space, center of interest, rule of thirds etc.

  Not only for cityscapes, these principles will elevate your photography no matter what the subject matter. 

First Session:  Friday,  August 13  7:00 - 8:30  Using the work of master photographers we will analyze the compositional tools used. 

Second Session:  Friday, August 20  7:00 - 8:30.  Show your work from the intervening week. 


 Photo Field Trips






Art Museum

This monumental building, with its iconic stairways and fountains, is an ideal place to practice  your architectural photo skills.  Come capture this magical place as we deal with issues of wide angle photography and perspective .

Sunday,  August 8  10:00 - 12:00

University of Pennsylvania Campus and University City

 University of Pennsylvania's urban campus and the surrounding neighborhood provide an exciting visual mix of green areas, sculpture, modern and classical architecture, and of course, young people in their preferred habitat!

Saturday,  August 14  10:00 - 12:00




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Photo Tips for Summer in the City

To make the most of these sultry days and to capture your urban vibes, here are some things to consider.

1. No need to lug around a heavy camera and all your lenses.   Pack a light camera body with a fixed normal lens (neither wide angle or telephoto), or a zoom lens at the normal setting.  This makes the camera easier to use and more like your eye. 

2.  Remember the triad:  subject, light and background.  If you're feeling ambitious include gesture to add a sense of immediacy.

3.  Use a default ISO of 400.  Try out using  the "I don't care" aperture, f-8.  This was the equipment that many mid-century photographers employed.

4.  Try black and white  to bring out the city's abstract qualities of geometry, line, texture.  Remember, "... back of my neck gettin' dirty and gritty"  Doesn't that sound like black and white to you?

5.  Look for subject matter that reveals the season, like kids jumping in fountains, people stopping for a cold drink,  summer events, folks fanning themselves with a newspaper etc.

6.  Check out the work of some of the masters:

Cartier Bresson

Elliott Erwitt

Roy Decarava

Jay Maisel

Vivian Maier

Ilsa Bing

Ezra Stoller

Kwasi Boyd-Bouldin





                                       photo by Owen Biddle


                 In- Person!

Like many of the rest of you, we are taking some steps to reconnect...            in person!!

For those who are vaccinated and comfortable meeting in the classroom setting, small group events and individual lessons are available.  

For those who are not yet ready for this step, we are carrying on with remote lessons via Zoom.

Email or call (610) 626 - 7854 to sign up.


Please Note:  New Cancellation Policy


As we transition to this phase of providing photography instruction both in-person and on-line, we are instituting a new policy covering cancelled lesson.


Students are asked to provide at least 24 hour notice when an appointment cannot kept.  

When a lesson iscancelled with less than 24 hour notice, students have the option of rescheduling for a $10 rescheduling fee.   If no make-up session is scheduled, however, the full amount of the missed lesson will still be charged.


Exceptions in the case of emergencies will be determined by Owen on a case by case basis.

DSLR Fundamentals Tutorials

Below are descriptions of the basic units of our curriculum available to students ranging from beginner to advanced.  Most units are five lessons and include a set of assignments designed to give practice in targeted skills with opportunities to get feedback from the instructor so that you learn from your experiences.

Just give a call and  we can set up individual sessions to keep you moving forward with your photography.

 Call (610)-626-7854 for details.


​(click on links for more information)


Fundamentals 1:  Camera Operations   is for students who are just starting out, or want a good review of the basic camera functions. 

Fundamentals 2:  Applications  is for students who have some comfort with the camera and want to start applying their skills to expand their photographic range.

Fundamentals 3:  Composition  takes photography beyond the subject, and encourages you to see the artistic and compositional opportunities in everyday life. Here is a chance for your right brain to come out and play!


Fundamentals 4:  Lighting Across the Genres is for students who are  ready for the next critical step: lighting.  Explore sophisticated means of controlling both natural and artificial light for portraits, landscape and still life to get just the mood and effects you want.


Advanced Photography - Using self-generated assignments and in-depth critiques we will help you move forward in your work.  


 Photo Salon

​  Sunday  3:00 - 4:30  7/25  In Person at our new address!!!

These are very friendly, relaxed get-togethers at my apartment in Lansdowne. Photographers of all levels are welcome to share pictures, get photography tips, and discuss camera equipment. You can also get ideas for entering photography contests, submitting to photography magazines and having photo shows. Feedback from the group provides encouragement and inspiration to go out and take more pictures. These informal photography critiques offer an excellent opportunity to start identifying themes in your work and to get ideas for new directions. Group size is limited, so if you can come an RSVP is required by email or call (610) 626-7854. Cost is $10.  These Salons often fill-up,

so it's best to get your spot early

ALSO.... Check out this  facebook link and join the group.  

Our purpose is to provide an online place for our community to stay in touch, stay inspired  and get out there and keep snapping.  You can post pictures and get feedback, ask photo questions, make suggestions etc.  What do you say???

Special thanks to Jonathan Prusky, whose technical skills have saved us more than once and made this whole endeavor possible.


                            photo by Owen Biddle


Not a photo, but ...
Fernand Leger (1881 - 1955) shows how to compose the city by seeking out the abstract




Claude Toulson










Here's what Claude has to say...... "I have been interested in photography from a young age; what really sparked my interest was the space program in the 1960’s and seeing the pictures of the Earth from space.  I’ve been taking pictures on vacations and other trips for years but have never had any formal training until now. I’m also interested in nature photography, landscapes and the play of light on various surfaces. I especially like late evening shadows, cloud shots and chasing the golden hour looking for that one shot out of a dozen that makes this hobby so exciting."

  We are so proud to present Claude's photography.  He has been taking lessons for only five months, but as you can see, he is clearly mastering  the craft.  But even more exciting is his openness to trying every sort of new idea to capture really unique images.  [See the nostalgic mother and child at the train station and   the boldly cut-off statue in front of the fountain] 

    As you look at Claude's photos, you may notice he is bringing us to a new city.  Claude lives in Cincinnati.  It's fun to see new cityscapes!


Click on thumbnail to see full images.                    



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