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Photo by Owen Biddle

November Photo Newsletter

Stop and Look

Still Life Photography


November Workshop


Two-Session Photo Workshop

Still Life

Wednesdays  November 14 and 28  7:00 - 8:30

Of the main photographic genres available (portraiture, landscape, photojournalism etc.), setting up and taking a still life is the best introduction I know of to the art of photography.  Taking an exposure reading, determining depth-of-field, framing (composing), using a tripod, focusing a lens and arranging your subjects are all basic skills that carry through to every other part of photography.  Even if your intention is to learn about landscape, portraiture or some other branch of photography, this unhurried approach can be the best way to tackle working with  new camera, learning F-stop, shutter speed and ISO (the basic exposure triangle) is much easier with non-moving subjects.  

    A still life is a grouping of ordinary objects, perhaps boring in themselves.  What can  bring them to life is their arrangement, the light you use, your choice of background and of course, by extension, the concepts and emotions they evoke.

The first session will be discussion and viewing great examples of still life photography

The second session will be for sharing your work from the intervening two weeks.





November Photo Field Trip

Mt. Laurel Cemetery 

Sunday, November 25  10:00 - 12:00

An unusual choice of setting, perhaps, but one that is especially evocative in the  winter light.   The mausoleums, obelisks, angels and arching trees are the elements for creating uncommon compositions.  A great chance to try out your tripod and wide-angle lens.

Location:  Bala Cynwyd, PA





                                        photo by Owen Biddle


Upcoming DSLR Fundamentals Classes


Please note:  Private individual classes are always another option. Call (610)-626-7854 for details and scheduling.

All classes held in Lansdowne

(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.                  

Thursdays  7:00 - 8:30  11/1,  11/8,  11/15,11/29  (no class 11/22)


Saturdays  10:00 - 11:30  11/10,  11/17,  11/24,  12/1

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.

Saturdays  3:00 - 4:30    11/10,  11/17,  11/24,  12/1

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

Saturdays  1:00 - 2:30  11/10,  11/17,  11/24,  12/1

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.




November Photo Salon











Sunday 3:00 - 4:30  November 25

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 confirm your spot early!


Photographer of the Month:

Irving Penn








You may know Irving Penn for his iconic fashion work for Vogue Magazine, but he was also an unrivaled master of the still life.  Check out his work for inspiration.  You'll see the creative possibilities are endless.  He can even make rotten apples into something that delights the eye.


Click on thumbnails to see full images.




Photo Tips for Still Life Photography


Pick several items that look good together. 


First look at the abstract design elements of potential subjects and try to find in them the basic building blocks of composition - line, shape, form and texture


Don't assume you already know what the things you choose look like.  Stop for a moment to give yourself a chance to switch to the right hemisphere of the brain (the non-verbal part) where spatial relationships become more compelling and time seems to slow down.

Look a what you have framed letting your eye  travel the four edges of the picture. Crop out the the nonessential.

See the effects of the light on the different planes of the picture.  Check foreground, middleground and background.  Making one plane brighter than the others will create more depth. 

Notice negative space (the shape of the background area around the subjects). 

Also remember, still life speaks to both emotion and intellect, a concept of feeling can be what holds an arrangement together.  What do your object remind you of?  How do they make you feel?  Happy?  Nostalgic? Amused, or sad?

Have fun.

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