3240 Forums

letter 2As part of the 3240 class we must participate in Forum discussions. Always happy to talk but usually disappointed in the tone or tenor of forced conversations, I was ( and still am) happily surprised at the content and subject matter if our discussions. Bright, curious people engaged in thoughtful discussion… it’s been a pleasure and privilege to learn from and exchange ideas with people from all walks of life, and with many different perspectives. I’m eager for more. Thanks to all my classmates, most of whom I’ve never met, for the great exchanging of ideas !

Knowing Your Rights as a Photographer

The discussion in our 3240 class has led to the topic of digital copyright. Who owns what you put online? The conversation has been enlightening and frustrating at the same time.  There have been some great articles posted. From Steven Fyfe’s,


To my own response,


All great information for anyone looking to find out who owns what you put online.

As a photographer, I am always challenged about who and what I can photograph. What are the privacy laws concerning your rights to privacy in a public space? From Google Glass to cell phones, there are still expectations of privacy and “personal space” even in public venues.

I refer all my students, and those just curious, to this article:


It is a very comprehensive guide, so all the rules listed may not interest everyone, but it is a great resource for the curious photographer and the camera shy public.

Adapting Classes to Use of Social Media

I have been using technology in my photography classes for years. The pressure to use technology started with the digital camera and then exploded with the advent of Social Media and a cell phone in every pocket.

Technologies creep into our lives (and my classes) slowly at first then seemed to explode with new Apps and access to information anywhere, any time.

I resisted a complete tech takeover of my classes at first (still do), but because of the subject matter and ease of adaptation, I have adjusted along with my students. I now know that I use an adapted version of a Flipped Classroom.


I no longer care which device they use to take pictures, as long as the principles I teach are adhered to. I encourage my students to find tutorials online and to connect with each other to share their triumphs and sorrows.

It is a process of trial and error. Some online tools are great, YouTube for tutorials, Flickr to share images and Artcyclopedia: http://www.artcyclopedia.com/museums.html to look at any country in the world and see if they have a gallery presence online.

I discourage overuse of digital photo editing tools. No amount of tweaking can make up for a bad photograph. These tools can be useful but discourage the one thing we all need to do more of… practice.

I am lucky since the subject I teach adapts itself well to this new learning paradigm. I have found that it takes time, effort and constant research and adaptation on my part to keep up with the advancements in these new digital tools. In the end it was worth it, as my students are happier doing what they can on their own time and are more engaged and enthusiastic in class.

Photographing On Site

2014-06-29 13.04.31 copyI chose this particular subject of photographing on site because this is what I teach and it is one of the most difficult and challenging ways to shoot. Natural light photography seems easy to the untrained, but to get the shot you want involves controlling light, one of the most important and challenging aspects of photography. Good photographers know how to control their equipment to get what they want. Hopefully it is a mood or a feeling, not just an image.

Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Hollywood Forever Cemetery

One of my favourite online teachers is a man named Mike Brown. He exemplifies the kind of educator I am trying to be. There are a lot of other online resources and tutorials but Mike Brown gives clear, concise tutorials that focuses on one subject at a time. I really like that he makes these complicated tutorials seem easy and fun. He is one of the great resources I direct my students to. This is one of my favourite Mike Browne tutorials on Location, Light and Composition.


Image and Identity Online

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Having a presence means having an image. How do you decide what that image will be? Especially knowing that on-line, that image is perceived as your identity?

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines identity as:

‘The quality or condition of being a specified person or thing’.

Those of us who have spent a lifetime defining who we are are reluctant to fall into this shallow pool. We are keenly aware that, for good or bad, it is a reality of the online world. My tastes run to simplicity and directness. My identity as a photographer is defied easily. I choose to produce images that are clean and impactful. I need to tell a story in an image. I have one shot to capture what I want to convey, what I see and how I see it to the world. That identity is reflected in my logo and my website layout… as well as the images I choose to put online.


Image is defined as:

‘A representation of the external form of an object…the character or reputation of a person or thing as generally perceived’.

My personal image is another matter. Here is where you can choose to change your online image every day… every hour… every minute if you wish. Like a lot of people, I am never comfortable with photos of myself online. So I choose to use a portrait of myself because it is one of my favourite representations of me. Thanks to James Picard


for the loveliest image of me that I feel proud to put out for the world to see.

Choosing an image and an identity that speaks to people of what you want to say and how you want them to see it can be difficult. My advice is to keep it simple.

My New Digital Life

Having resisted putting myself fully online, this course has helped me think about ( and act on) connecting my passions with a digital presence. Even deciding what to blog about has been difficult… until now. My love of photography and sharing my perspective on the world has overridden my fear of personal exposure. My visual point of view IS my new online persona.I am not afraid of the technology, I am not afraid of voicing my opinions, but I was afraid that by putting myself online, I would lose something that I could never get back.

Teaching is not for the faint of heart… good teachers, give of themselves in ways that students will never fully understand. There is a fearlessness in their need to express what inspires their passions, drives their need to keep learning and passing on their knowledge. Until I connected with this class of thoughtful, engaging teachers, I was not fully aware of what this technology could mean to me… and to what extent it would help me let go of my fears.

My passion for critical thought and engaging discussion has been met with the same and I am grateful for it. I am still learning how to use all these online tools so this space will be changing and growing as I do. Hope you like what’s to come.

A Little Critical Thinking Helps in Our Digital Age

I have always believed that the power of education was to create critical thinkers. The more people became educated, the higher their powers of critical thinking would become. I have spent my whole life touting the beauty and power of logic and reason. Not Spock-like, non-emotional reasoning…but a kind of relativistic reasoning that uses information and emotion to find the best answers to life’s most complex questions…or at least life’s most complex situations.

Now we are in a digital age where information is abundant and the answers seem to be a click away. The power and flow of digital thought and innovation is truly astonishing, but there are people I meet that are still unaware and completely off-put by the technology around them. I was baffled by this until I realized that these people that seemed so unimpressed, confused or dismissive are using the technology the same way they use all other forms of media in their lives.

Instead of approaching this technology with open-minded, inquisitive excitement and wonder, they are passive reactors to what their peers and popular culture feeds them. A world of education opportunities, connectivity and knowledge is at their fingertips and they seem to only see the surface. It seems too complicated and yet at the same time too shallow for them to bother putting in the effort to learn and explore this new world. I’ll grant them that a huge part of the internet is devoted to mindless content… but if they took a little time and applied a little of their critical thinking skills, they would find a wondrous array of great minds discussing important issues that affect us all. Even more exciting is the opportunity to interact with these modern critical thinkers… wondrous!!

Photographers view on the world

Images have always had the power to move people.

Em and Teddy Bears

They capture a mood of a moment in time

James in NYC, Stairs

Photography allows a singular, personal perspective

El Camino 1

and tells us not just what the photographer sees but how they see it.

It is a magical, frustrating thing to capture an image of what you want when you want it. You want the moment you see to be caught in time…

Main Street Bike 1

to show others the beauty of the world… your world.

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New Beginnings…

Just thoughtI would start this new course by stating how ironic it is for me to be choosing the Social Media option for 3240 when I am a pretty private person. I have all the tech savvy, but don’t use the media very much because I’m not sure what I have to say hasn’t been said before by much superior wordsmiths than myself. The true irony is that I love connecting with people ( it’s a huge part of both my jobs) yet I feel something gets lost in the tech-translation. Well fellow Social Mediaites…here we are and here goes. Looking forward to hearing and connecting with you all. Good luck! :))