“I only had my phone with me”

A recent quote from David duChemin is indeed something that has been on my mind for a while now. He says and I quote “What we lack is not better cameras but better photographers”. I so agree with that statement. Lately I have been seeing a lot of posts from people saying “oh look at this or look at that but I only had my phone with me”…
 
Really? You only had your phone with you? So it is not good enough?
 
No I believe your phone is a perfectly good camera. It is you who is doubting the capabilities of yourself or the camera. The camera is only a tool to achieve an end result. I can drive a nail in to a piece of wood with a $5 hammer from a dollar store or a $50 hammer from Home Depot.
 
I have literally taken 1000’s of images with my phone(s). Maybe I can’t print them wall size, but that would not be the purpose anyway. The purpose is to capture the moment.
 
Another favourite quote of mine is “It’s not the camera you have, it is the camera you have with you.”
 
Don’t let the type of camera you have stop you from creating. Don’t see with your camera, see with your eyes.
 
Image shot on my iPhone from a moving car (passenger seat)

What Makes Someone a Good Teacher?

I teach photography courses out of my home and in the field. I have no formal training, never went to school for it, but I love it. Why?

I have been asked a few times why I enjoy teaching. There is no simple answer to that question. I consider myself a decent photographer. I am by no means amazing, technically gifted or anything else. But I have a passion for it. I absolutely love to be behind the camera, capturing the beauty that surrounds all of us every day. Okay, you enjoy photography, but how does that make you want to teach it to others? Simply put, I love to see the smile on someone’s face when they see the result of an image they have taken out in the field on one of my excursions. I love to hear the “wow..that worked!” I love to see the fist pumping and the high fives when people make images they are happy with. Being able to pass knowledge onto others is not only rewarding, but makes me happy as a person. Most times when I am in the field teaching, I don’t take a single image. I may set up my camera to show others a composition, but for the most part, I am there to help. 

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What makes someone a good teacher? What makes you want to go and learn from that person? 

Knowing a lot about a particular subject does not necessarily make someone a good teacher. It is having the ability to pass that knowledge onto others in a manner that makes them want to learn. Everyone wants to learn throughout their lifetimes. It is being human that makes us want to learn something new. Some teachers will teach in a way that is boring. They will drone on about the subject, without having any emotion. Others will teach by telling you their way is the only way. And others will teach you in a demeaning way. Criticize you and bring you down. I have been taught by all 3 types of teachers and it is not a lot of fun. But I have also been taught by those who are passionate about their subject. They show real emotion, they are friendly and funny and they just love to teach. I try to be a teacher like that. 

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If you have ever taken any of my courses you will know that I avoid handing out criticism, constructive or otherwise.  Many photographers will tell you that constructive criticism is the only way you will learn. I don’t agree with that. I think many people will learn by making mistakes and by learning from those mistakes. We all make mistakes, each and every day. It is up to you to learn from those. Photography is an art form. And as such, it is completely open to interpretation of the subject matter. You can sit 10 people down, show them the same image, and perhaps 5 will like it and 5 will not. There are literally hundreds of reasons why one image may appeal to someone and not appeal to someone else. All images are completely subjective. Everyone has their own opinion and it is their right to like or dislike an image. I will always help you when you take my courses. I will show you the way I do something, or how I approach a scene, or how I set up for a particular image. But I will never, ever tell you that is how you must do it as well. For it is up to you. You may not like the image I have composed and you may find one that appeals to you. That is perfectly fine. That is what learning is all about. That is what finding your path and growing creatively means. 

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This coming year I will be introducing 2 brand new courses! Stay tuned!