Monday, July 19, 2010

Canon, National Parks and Learning New Technology

I have to admit, when it comes to digital photography, I have been a bit behind the curve.  (That was an actual  Zone System joke!)

I can make a pretty good, well exposed, traditional, FILM based, black and white photo.  I really have some issues with digital.  I can make a print with blown-out highlight with the worst of them with my D-SLR/computer/monitor/printer set-up.

Who knew I would get some help with that at the Grand Canyon.

Canon is offering free photo workshops at the National Parks.  What a great fit.  Canon gets a chance to show-off their gear to interested people.  The NPS gets some help with their educational mission and you get some expert help.  Win-Win-Win.

The groups are small and questions are welcomed.  The staff was very friendly and helpful.  There was a casual stroll along the rim of the Grand Canyon and there was plenty of time to try things out.  My group spent some time talking exposure adjustments and histograms.  HDR was mentioned and some direction was given on that front.  While they really weren't set-up for a full blown HDR workshop, there were some pointers for that as well.  That wide range away from the main topic only happens with a knowledgeable, sharing and flexible staff.

Canon is going places other than the Grand Canyon.  Check the Canon website for more workshops and schedules.  They are even doing a photo contest.

Some pointers:
They loan out camera equipment and that is part of the fun.... Want to try a wide angle tilt and shift lens?  A big telephoto?  They can set you up.  Heck, as a Nikon guy since 1976 it was fun just to give the other line a look.

Get there early for best selection on the loaner equipment.  (Boy, they really did have a great selection.) They did a little interview to see what I might be looking for.  I wasn't fussy, but if you have something specific to try, help them help you by getting there early.

You don't need to bring a card or a disc to save your pictures.  They e-mail you a link to them.  Nice.

I think I would bring my tripod if I were doing this again.  Mostly to really see how well the optics do.  I'm not as steady as I would like to think I am.  I also compose better when the camera is lashed down.  Although they do have vibration controlled lenses...

You can print pictures right there when you are done, but since I was going to be able to download them, I chose to get the shuttle back to camp.

Be prepared to leave a credit card and ID with them as collateral.  They aren't going to put a charge against your card, they just want their stuff back.

I'm sure they would love to sell you a new camera on the spot, but they aren't discussing prices at this workshop.  So if you fall in love with a new piece of gear, and you probably will, you are going to have to talk to your favorite dealer.

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