CDIA Sneak Peek: Videos of CDIA Photography Studio

Here's a few glimpses into Studio C at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts. About a fifth into the program, the Professional Digital Photography students move into the studio to learn flash photography using strobe kits, soft boxes, gels, and other creative equipment.

First here's a few of my shots from this weekend, followed by a couple quick videos around the studio to watch students at work and play.

Coffee Talks Whipped Decadent


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CDIA Introduction to Lighting Theory, Its a wrap!

This week we wrapped up another great photography course at CDIA, Introduction to Lighting Theory DP114.

This module will explore and demonstrate the use of light so that students of light will be able to recognize the physical properties of light: direction and quality; hard vs. soft; and that they be able to modify light to suit the needs of their photography. Students will also learn how to identify and work with varying color temperatures.


Of most practical value to me was learning how to use a light meter to measure incident light (the actual light hitting a subject), whereas the camera's TTL metering measures reflected light (the brightness of light reflected off a subject). We also learned how to use light glass and metal and work with their reflective properties using diffusion screens, reflector discs, or gobos, and either natural ambient lighting or photoflood (constant) lighting indoors. Before moving on to indoor settings with artificial lighting, we initially honed our skills with portrait shooting outdoors using ambient lighting combined with the tools mentioned earlier. My favorite part of the course was learning how to do Black Line and White Line Photography with glass, also known as Bright Field and Dark Field.

The strength of the class was the actual instruction of lighting theory, lessons which I found highly valuable. The weakness was we were expected to peform all our shooting in groups of 3 or 4 during short bursts of time in class when we'd have to set up tables and lighting and later break them down, and I felt unable to achieve a satisfactory level of quality in my photography because I felt rushed.

Halfway through the course I realized I needed to set up a home studio where I could spend longer periods of time and have the freedom to play around and test various lighting scenarios. To that end, I spent a day running errands to Home Depot for clamps and extension cords, to JoAnn Fabrics for inexpensive black cloth to line the walls and velvet to shoot small objects on, to Staples for black and white foam boards, and finally to Hunts Photo and Video in Melrose to purchase a Smith-Victor 4 Light Photoflood Kit. Total cost for the whole basement studio was close to $600, not including the ping pong table already in the basement.

Next week we refine our lighting skills and learn to use strobe lighting or flash in course DP111 Introduction to the Studio.

www.flickr.com

Ubuntu @ the Library -and- Vista SP1 Will Install XP

Jessamyn, a Flickr contact and the daughter of one of my friends at my photo club, recently posted a great video on YouTube about installing Ubuntu Linux. As a Librarian in Vermont, she was tasked with repurposing several computers donated to the library, each of which had a potentially unlicensed copy of Windows installed on it. Watch Jessamyn wipe the Windows off the computers, install Ubuntu Linux, and show how great Linux really is. She captured the whole procedure in this short and humorous video.

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Pluggable Web Gallery Templates for Lightroom

Earlier this week, Photoshop Product Manager John Nack blogged about the interactive, Flash-based Web Gallery templates from Airtight Interactive which plug right into Lightroom. When viewing a photo collection in the Web module of Lightroom you can then select the template, customize it, then hit the upload button to magically produce a fun photo gallery on your website. Lightroom already comes with a large suite of HTML and Flash-based gallery templates, but you can't deny that those from Airtight Interactive are SWEET! My favorite is the PostCard Viewer.

I recently published two photo collections using the PostCard Viewer. Although I love the presentation, I still pine for the social interaction found on Flickr such as commenting, notes, and groups.

For my class on Photographic Seeing at BU's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, I was assigned to shoot some locations while keeping in mind several techniques of photographic composition, including:

  • Rule of Thirds
  • Frame within a Frame
  • Decisive Moment
  • Leading Lines
  • Negative Space
  • Pattern
  • Long Depth of Field
  • Shallow Depth of Field
  • Panning
  • Blur
  • Creative Use of Whitespace
  • Dynamic Use of Color


You can decide which is which on the final selection from the Photograph Seeing project, displayed with the Postcard Viewer. Also, as recently blogged about you can also check out my Faces of India project, also in Postcard Viewer format.

Vienen Los Vaqueros, Vienen Los Vaqueros!

Vaqueros
Two urban cowboys outside The Skellig in Waltham


During a recent evening on the always eclectic Moody Street in Waltham, MA, among the college students sporting tshirts and baseball hats, two men wearing spurs and cowboy hats came jangling down the sidewalk. With local Hispanic, Brazilian, and Indian populations in the area its common to see an odd mix of cultures, but these two wranglers looked like they just fell off the ranch.

In Spanish, I asked if they wouldn't mind if I took their picture, and they replied with exuberance that two other people had also just taken their photo, and they couldn't believe how popular they were suddenly. I told them how the photography school is just down the street and its common for students to roam the area in search of material, and I just hit the jackpot.

Faces of India - A Photography Project

As a student at Boston University Center for Digital Imaging Arts, my first photography assignment was given in the second class, Camera and Workflow II. The assignment was called The Faces Project, and the goal was to take at least 100 photographs of faces, to be narrowed down to 50 for sharing in class, and finally to 2 for large format printing. Ideally, the student would narrow down the project to a particular theme, such as people laughing, people over 60, people jumping, or even (yes) people blowing their noses. While one of the project lessons was to get students to become comfortable with the camera and to quickly navigate and make best use of the exposure controls, the underlying lesson was a social one rather than technological one. As future professional photographers, the ability to confidently interact with and among strangers should not be overlooked. In fact, many of the students expressed a feeling of dread when given the assignment because, like myself, many are introverts or not highly social, and the thought of blindly walking up to strangers to ask for their photo made many a butterfly spin around our stomachs.

As I travel to India for work on occasion, I decided to choose the theme of Faces of India, since I was to be in Bangalore for a short while. At first, I thought the Faces project would be an impossible one. At times I was overcome with fear when contemplating photographing people in a foreign land, but at the same time I knew that I could accomplish this task that the results would likely be fantastic because of the diversity of culture and people found there.

Hostess at the Leela Palace Ingama Focus on the Future
Faces of India Project


The project got off with a few fits and starts, and I warmed up by photographying those with whom I work in the Adobe office in Bangalore. I'm very grateful for their cooperativeness while I fumbled around with positioning them, taking shots, and retaking more shots. They had a lot of patience with me. Soon a few key concepts emerged that I would quickly adapt to which would progressively help make the Faces of India project more successful. I didn't learn them all at the same time or in this order, but here's a few important ideas that became very useful:

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Professional Digital Photography at CDIA

This year I've taken a big step towards turning a long time personal interest into a professional skill. In May I enrolled in the Professional Digital Photography program at Boston University's Center for Digital Imaging Arts, or BU CDIA for short. The curriculum spans 24 classes over nearly 18 months, and requires the commitment of 2 nights per week and every other Saturday.



First Class at CDIA
First class at CDIA
Over the years I've been able to study at various local universities to build web technology skills, including Bentley College, Brandeis University, Harvard Extension School, and BUTrain (Boston University's corporate education). Compared to CDIA, I would be hard pressed to describe a curriculum or facility that was more current and state of the art, or better staffed with highly qualified instructors. CDIA's facility, conveniently located on Moody Street in Waltham, can hardly be called a campus, although it occupies three floors of a huge building converted into classrooms and studios, and will soon expand into an adjacent building that formerly housed a Jordan's Furniture store. In retrospect, only Harvard's Extension School rivals CDIA in quality of equipment and facilities as well as teaching ability of instructors.

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Looking for a local vineyard and winery in the Northeast US? Try Nimble Hill.

Nimble Hill Vineyard and WineryThis past weekend the website and blog for Nimble Hill Vineyard and Winery went live -- a site I constructed with a template from OSWD for the skin, SlideShow Pro for the photo albums, Google Maps API, and BlogCFC for the Journal.

Currently there is one photo album, taken during the first winemaking ever at Nimble Hill, in October 2006. All photos were taken myself. Soon, Nimble Hill will hold the grand opening of the Tasting Room, and I hope to be present to photograph the event for another album.

Nimble Hill is my cousin Gary's winery in the northeast of Pennsylvania. He operates it as a family winery with help from his wife and children. If you're in the vicinity of New York City, New Jersey, or Connecticut then consider taking a country drive for a couple hours to this beautiful part of the state.

This the first time Gary has ever used a blog, and he's just gotten started with his first post. Please stop by to welcome Gary to the blogosphere by posting a comment so that he can see what blogging is all about.

Gary and Ellie opened the winery to have a business where they can work with and alongside their family, whether it be tending vines, crushing grapes, making wine, or minding the tasting room in Tunkhannock.

Total Training is Going Online

As a very satisfied owner of Total Training DVD video tutorials on Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, and Flex, I literally recommend their training to everyone I speak with that might have an interest... really, and half the time I chew their ear off because I won't shut up about how great their tutorials are.

Now they're launching online training as well, in HD and available 24/7. Here's some quotes from their website:

Premium Training Goes Online
Total Training is a pioneer in innovative video-based training for creative design, digital video, and office productivity software programs. Our mission is to deliver premium training to our users enabling them to quickly learn new software applications. Now, for the first time, our award-winning videos are available online.

  • Access award-winning training 24/7
  • High-quality content produced in HD
  • Explore the customized interface


  • Customized Controls
  • Search Content Within Lessons
  • Lesson Progression Tracking
  • Ability to Bookmark Lessons




Get the Entire Total Training Online: Adobe Library for FREE!
In celebration of our upcoming Total Training Online release, we're offering this once in a lifetime opportunity. For every purchase of $150* or more, you will receive the Total Training Online Adobe Library absolutely free for 1 year that's over $1,000 worth of DVDs accessible online! View our Adobe Library below.

Hurry! Offer expires June 15, 2007.



P.S.

Dear Total Training:

Please add ColdFusion 8 training as a part of your web technology stable of training products.

Thanks!

Photography Club Exhibit Opening and Reception in Concord

First Parish of ConcordThis Sunday on April 22 the Photography Club at the First Parish of Concord will present its fifth annual Photography Club Exhibit. The public is welcome (and wanted) to attend... hey, that's what its all about. I joined the group in 2006, and I've been told that membership has swelled in the last couple years, and we're nearly 50 members.

Come join us for food and drinks this Sunday from 3 to 6pm while you wander the galleries throughout the First Parish, just off Concord Center. Concord Center is usually busy on weekends, and with the first burst of Spring's warmth expected for Sunday the place will probably be bustling. You can find a huge parking lot very near on Keyes Road just across from the Sally Ann Food Shop and behind the Bank of America.

Here's photos on Flickr geotagged for Concord. For my photos of Concord click here, or here on a map.

www.flickr.com

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