Yesterday was the first Houston PhotoCamp, an unconference dedicated to photographers of all types. My primary goals in attending were to learn a bit more about the basics of photography, learn how people were organizing their pictures on their PC’s, get a some tips and tricks on Macro photography, and to learn a bit more about my flash.
I had mixed results in my goals, but I had a great time and learned a great deal. I wanted to mention a couple of sessions/things in particular that stand out from the day. Before I get into that discussion though, I wanted to give a shout out to Ben Bailey and say thanks for saying hi yesterday. Ben introduced himself as a reader of my blog, and I thought that was totally awesome that someone “knew” me from the blog.
Photocamp started for me, like many people with Elaine Meskers' discussion of TtV or Through the Viewfinder photography. I was blown away by how cool this was, and more importantly how awesome the photographs turn out. What is TtV photography? The idea is that you take an old camera, typically a camera designed for waist from the 1950’s, and you shoot through the viewfinder of the old camera with your SLR. You need to create a tube to get a dark area between your lens and the old viewfinder. You can use a box or tube of pretty much any type, and can find templates for creating a cardboard box online. Taking pictures in this way works best with a macro lens. The old cameras, preferably a bit on the grimy side, can be purchased on Ebay or from thrift stores.
It was a really great presentation, filled with all the info you need. A copy is available on Slideshare, and embedded below. The image above is my first try at TtV photography. I recommend looking at the presentation for a collection of great links on the subject.
I attended three sessions throughout the day dealing with software for managing photographs on a PC. It was pretty obvious that if you were a Windows user you had one choice for the software you should be using and that was Adobe LightRoom. I think that Jeremey Barrett’s presentation on RAW photography and the associated workflow opened my eyes to actually having a workflow. I currently suffer from lack of a workflow, and end up with a bunch of photographs just sitting in a pile. The most important thing I learned in the sessions on Lightroom and photo processing workflow was that LightRoom is non-destructive to your pictures. I have destroyed pictures in the past be accidently cropping or modifying the primary copy of a photo, and then saving before I realized that I had not made a copy. Lightroom is expensive at $300 and does have a pretty big learning curve for me, but it does handle the photo process from import to export, from metadata to print. You can find a copy of Jeremey’s presentation on Slideshare as well.
I enjoyed all of the presentations I attended, and thank each of the presenters. I also attended Stephen Alexander’s presentation on obtaining the correct exposure and Mark Austin’s humorous discussion on concert photography.
A big thank you to Chris Denbow, Tracy Manford, Christine Tremoulet, Imelda Bettinger, Jessica Grieves, Katie Sunstrom, Tracy Tesmer for putting this event together. It ran smooth as silk from my perspective, and was well attended. You can’t ask for much more in your inaugural event. I look forward to PhotoCamp 2.