Archive for January, 2011

Reality vs. Photoshop


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TGJ 2O0 – Introduction to Camera Use

Overall Expectations

B3.1 apply creative skills, equipment operating skills, and software skills to create components for a media production (e.g., text, video footage, voice-overs, graphics, animations for a video promoting a school event);

B3.2 apply editing skills to integrate the components into a unified and effective production.

D1.2 apply safe work practices when performing communications technology tasks (e.g., use ergonomically designed equipment, keep work area tidy, avoid eye strain, use moderate volume levels).

Enduring (Key) Learning

This activity is meant to start students down the road to careful and thoughtful camera usage. They will begin to learn how to take properly focused images and learn the effects of different lighting conditions on final images.

Prior Learning

Most if not all students have likely taken a picture at least once or twice in their lives, whether with a camera, cell phone or webcam. They will build on this general familiarity with the technology in order to safely and effectively operate cameras.

Getting Ready

This activity can be done with virtually any type of digital camera. You will be instructing the students on the proper use of whatever equipment you have available. As this is an introductory exercise, you will likely want them to use your equipment rather than their own (i.e. cellphone cameras) as the goal is to increase their familiarity with the equipment used in class.

Teaching Strategies/Lesson Content

As I have mentioned, we are going to be starting our work in Photography. We are using Digital SLR cameras to complete the assignments in this class. If you have you own camera or you would rather take your pictures at home or outside of class time, that is fine.

We will complete these assignments in pairs or in groups of three – but each person must take their own pictures (the same picture can not be handed in by more than one person)

There are a few rules that need to be followed in using the cameras:

1. Always wear the neck strap! You should be wearing the neck strap and holding on to the camera with at least one hand at all times. Don’t let it swing around and smash in to things.

2. Don’t disturb other classes in the school. Most importantly DO NOT TAKE PICTURES OF PEOPLE IN OTHER CLASSROOMS UNLESS YOU HAVE PERMISSION FROM THE TEACHER. When you disrupt classes, I hear about it, and it is annoying. Don’t forget, you will have photographic evidence if you do any of this stuff!

3. Don’t take pictures of things that you shouldn’t be doing at school (violence, drugs, etc, etc – I think you get the picture)

4. Take lots and lots of pictures! If the assignment asks for ten pics, take a hundred and pick the best 10. The only way to get better is to practice, practice, practice.

For this assignment you will need to take 26 pictures – one for each letter of the alphabet. Look for signs or shapes that represent each letter of the alphabet from A to Z. You could even try to get people to stand in the shapes of the letters (if that’s even possible).

You can take pictures of actual letter from signs, posters, books, etc OR you can go more abstract (as seen here, for example)

The pics must be nice and sharp – no blurriness, and there should be no glare from the flash – in fact, you shouldn’t even have to use the flash. Avoid getting too close to the letter as the camera will not be able to focus – you can crop it out after the fact if you need to. You’ll need to be about 45 cm away from whatever you are photographing in order for the camera to take a picture.

When you have all of these pictures, assemble them into a single page InDesign document to be posted on your blog (JPG format)

It’s not a race – if you take a bunch of pics and realize that they need more work, feel free to go out and get more.
Remember to conduct yourself in an appropriate fashion while out in the school taking pictures. Stay within the allowed areas, take the pictures you need and return to the classroom ASAP. Don’t linger or hang out in the Student Square or the Caf.


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