Author: Erica Hart

Digital Photography Training Can Give You A New Career

Digital photography training is needed by anyone who wants to make a career out of photography, and it can also be extremely useful for those who are just seeking to get the best use from their camera in an amateur capacity. The type of training you will need to apply for will depend entirely on the future you have in mind for yourself, as different positions will require different qualifications. If you are thinking of entering journalism, for example, you will need a formal degree, while a wedding photographer can just get started by advertising for business.

Formal digital photography qualifications can be obtained from college campuses, either by direct attendance or through one of the increasingly popular online learning programs. These qualifications will be needed to get you into any profession where photographers are licensed. In journalism, for example, employers will expect to see an education to degree level. This will mean giving up at least two years of your time to study, and possibly more if you want to take those studies to an even higher level. The college route is a traditional one, which has been around since the days when all cameras were analog film cameras, but it is still valid today.

The greatest difficulty with the traditional college route has always been that it effectively shut off many people who wanted to change careers in later life. These people simply could not give up two or more years to residential study, not when they had an existing career which they needed to keep in order to pay the bills. A large percentage of these people will also have young families which they need to support. The introduction of online learning has given a lifeline to these people, who can now achieve the qualifications they need while still keeping their existing career.

You can take digital photography training with the intention of obtaining a formal qualification, or simply to give you the skills you will need to follow through with your chosen career choice. A wedding photographer, for example, does not need a degree to be able to set up in business, as it is not a regulated profession. What you will need are the basic skills to do the job, as what is a routine job for the photographer is one of the most important days of a lifetime to the participants.

The greatest difficulty a beginning wedding photographer will have is in trying to convince people to give them a chance while they are still new and have no testimonials. This is never easy, no matter how much of a discount you give to people, as they will be taking a chance with such an important day in their lives. There is always the possibility to try out your skills at a friend’s wedding, even if they already have someone more experienced to take the main photographs. If yours are high quality, you can always give them to the couple in exchange for a testimonial.

The most important feature of digital photography training is that it will never become obsolete or go out of fashion. Digital is now the standard for the future, and anyone becoming skilled in the techniques now should be able to look forward to a long and effective career. New training will not be needed to anything like the same degree it is with other disciplines, such as programming and software development, because although the equipment keeps improving the basic techniques stay the same. You will just need to keep up to date with the operation of the cameras in your profession, as ongoing digital photography training.

Develop Skills With Online Digital Photography Courses

Online digital photography courses can take an absolute beginner from the position of knowing virtually nothing about cameras, quickly to the level where they can take effective shots using entry level equipment where most of the settings are calculated automatically. They can then take people to the level where they can use their own settings to achieve an even more effective result. It is even possible to use these courses to obtain a university degree, and to be eligible for entry to professions which require this advanced level of formal education.

There are many simple free courses online which will be effective in helping a beginner get to grips with the basics in short order. Most entry level cameras are easy to use, because they offer the user the chance to use adjustable settings. The camera will calculate for itself the levels which need to be used, guaranteeing an acceptable result. The algorithm is not flawless, and the user of such a camera is never going to get the type of result that a trained photographer will get from the use of manual settings. Nevertheless, these beginner cameras can help people to get started quickly, and to learn the basics.

Once someone is able to take basic shots with an entry level camera, they can then begin to see the manual settings to see if they can improve on the results. It should be possible, after learning about aspect, lighting and distance focusing, to improve greatly on your initial results. It is a good idea to take pictures of static objects, so that you can then return to the same site multiple times to try out new tips and techniques. When you are capable of working out your own manual settings and producing a good result, you will have reached the status of effective photographer.

A vital component of online digital photography courses so that they teach the skill which separates the digital photographer from their film predecessor. This is the ability to manipulate the image in software after it has been taken, and after it has been downloaded to a computer. There are free and paid software programs which can eliminate common faults such as red eye, and which can also allow you to enhance the image in various ways. If you are going to take photography to its most advanced level, you will need to learn to work with Adobe Photoshop, but at over $500 this software is not for everyone.

There are courses which can take you to every level of photography success, including the level at which you can become qualified for a new career. There are many careers within photography which do not demand formal qualifications, such as wedding and portrait photography, but others such as journalism have a definite requirement for a degree. It is possible to take the degree course while studying online, and this means that you can keep your existing career while you learn.

Studying with online digital photography courses also gives you the freedom to schedule the learning in and around your other commitments, although it is vitally important to make sure that you have enough time to carry out the tasks. Always allow a safety margin to cover for emergencies when you are planning your time, as life is not something which ever runs entirely smoothly. If you are able to be an effective self motivator, and someone who can get themselves through the inevitable difficult times, you can achieve whatever you want to with online digital photography courses.

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Death Race

Have you ever noticed that when a movie is released that takes place in “the not-too-distant future”, that future is always bleak? Sometimes only marginally worse than things are today, and sometimes cataclysmically awful, but pretty much invariably bad.  Perhaps a huge section of the population has been wiped out by nuclear war or a viral outbreak and the survivors are left to fight over the decaying scraps of society.  Such examples of films in this vein are The Road Warrior and Escape From New York, which remain classics of the genre, a genre that Doomsday utterly failed earlier this year.

Then there are those films that require less of a stretch of the imagination.  In fact, the setting is set up in the first two minutes of Death Race:  “In the year 2012, the economies of the world have collapsed.  Crime rates are at an all-time high, and the prison system is at a breaking point.  Prisons are now controlled by large corporations for profit…” yada yada yada.  Basically, a deadly competition was set up involving the dregs of society, who would challenge each other in a no-holds-barred road-race.  Quite simply, the winner gets his freedom, the losers don’t live to race again.  It’s all overseen by Warden Hennessy (Joan Allen), a tough-as-nails entrepreneur who created the game.  But when her star driver, the masked “Frankenstein” dies after a crash, she looks to former racecar driver Jensen Ames (Jason Statham) to take his place having been sent to prison for murdering his wife (a crime for which he was framed).

Death Race was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson (the Resident Evil series), so I knew going in that I wasn’t going to get Shakespeare.  My hopes weren’t all that high, I have to tell you.  When I saw The Condemned last year, I was intrigued; I expected a Most Dangerous Game kind of story, but I ended up disappointed because it got so puffed up on its message – “we love violence, therefore we all suck” – that it deflated the entire story, which was supposed to be an action movie.  Note to Hollywood:  if you want to send a message, fine, just don’t use Stone Cold Steve Austin to send it.  Please.

Death Race, I am delighted to say, never once tried to be anything that it wasn’t.  It was an adrenaline-filled, testosterone-charged thrill ride with terrific stunts, awesome explosions, and the action never let up for a moment.  They didn’t try to reinvent the wheel; instead, they put Jason Statham behind it, which worked very well for me in the Transporter films.  And I loved every damn minute of it.

Much like The Running Man two decades ago, this was over-the-top, action-for-action’s-sake at its popcorn-gulping best.  I expected violence, profanity, and gore to the nth degree, and it did not disappoint.  At all.  Go see this film, but before you enter the theater, be sure to switch off your brain and shed your preconceptions.  Otherwise, you won’t see the forest for the trees.

4 ½ / 5 stars

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Changeling Movie Review Part 2

While this is going on, a detective named Ybarra (Michael Kelly) follows a lead on another missing-child case, and finds himself involved in a situation almost too ghastly to contemplate.  This situation connects directly to Christine’s missing son, and it was especially good to see that there was one representative of the police force that seemed interested in actually doing his job.

There’s no doubt that Eastwood meant for Changeling to be a story that drives home the point of what happens when any entity, be it a government or something more secular, is given too much power.  As far as the acting went, Jolie does a decent job as Christine Collins.  I have never doubted that she has a fair amount of acting prowess, and I have enjoyed those rare moments when she chooses to showcase it rather than take roles where she is raiding tombs, stealing cars or curving bullets.  However, there are more than a few moments when her character is overwrought, and the tears flow freely, that seem more like a performance than a genuine reaction.  Malkovich, as I said earlier, is terrific, continuing the truism that no matter who he plays, be it a good guy or bad guy, you do not EVER want to be on John Malkovich’s bad side.

Some critics have said that Changeling is Oscar-worthy, while others have said the exact opposite.  

For myself, it’s still a little early to make that call, given the caliber of films coming out in the next few months, but given what I saw, I would honestly be surprised if Eastwood’s latest outing walked off with Academy gold. A decent and entertaining picture, yes, but nowhere near the caliber of previous efforts like Unforgiven or Million Dollar Baby.

3 / 5 stars

What do you think? Did you like the movie? Do you agree with my thoughts?

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Changeling Movie Review

Imagine if you will a society where the police department, the entity pledged to serve and protect the community, is given permission by the chief of police to “clean up the streets”, to brutalize and murder “offenders” without warrants, trials or paperwork; a system as corrupt as the Mafia and just as ruthless, that brooks no dissension, embarrassment or threat to their power.

Now imagine a mother, coming home from her job at AT&T, where she works as a supervisor of telephone operators, to find her nine-year-old son missing.  Frantically, she informs the police, who, after a four-month nationwide search, bring a boy matching her son’s description home to her.  They absolutely insist that the boy IS her son, despite the fact that he looks different and is four inches shorter.  And despite her protests that they made a mistake, the police consider the case closed.

It is hard to imagine that anyone could be so ludicrously brazen as to say that a hysterical mother is not objective enough to know her own son when she sees him, but that is the premise behind the story of Changeling, the latest directorial effort from Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood, and starring Angelina Jolie as Christine Collins, the aforementioned mother desperately trying to find her missing son, Walter.

Despite the insistence of L.A.P.D. captain J.J. Jones (Jeffrey Donovan) that they found the right boy, Christine continues to protest that a mistake has been made, and that her son is still out there somewhere.  She eventually finds an ally in Rev. Gustav Briegleb (wonderfully played by John Malkovich), a local pastor who also does regular radio broadcasts vilifying the police force, but not long afterward, Capt. Jones has Christine committed to the psychopathic ward at a local mental hospital, since she’s “obviously lost touch with reality”.

Read the rest of the movie review in the next post! It is already waiting for you!

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