Tips for snap-shots even penguins can learn |

Tips for snap-shots even penguins can learn

Greg Marshall, Of the Record staff

If people use 10 percent of their brains, as the saying goes, the same could be said for their digital cameras.

An abundance of effects to adjust for lighting and composition go unused in most equipment.

"People will get a camera that has too many features for them to understand," said David Schultz, a professional nature photographer and the owner of West Light Images. "It’s like getting an iPhone. It comes with a three-inch manual."

Schultz will host a free digital photography workshop Wednesday, April 29 and May 6 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. In the first class, students will learn about light meters and histograms, a chart that measures exposure. The goal of the workshop is to teach photographers of every ilk to produce high-quality images, even in low light. The second class covers the basics of digital photo editing.

Participants should call West Light Images at 645-8414 to reserve at spot or visit the gallery at 738 Main St. Participants will meet at the gallery for light refreshments and then walk to the Sky Lodge, where the workshop will be held.

Attendance for the workshops caps at about 60 and spots are still available.

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Schultz is no stranger to teaching photography to both novices and advanced students, he said. He has taught free class in Park City for about five years and has worked as a photographer-in-residence on large frigate in the Arctic, where he recently photographed Empire Penguins and other polar wildlife.

A self-taught photographer, Schultz knows that learning the switchboard-like apparatus on even pocket-sized point-and-shoot camera can be difficult. People underexpose photos shot around snow, water and ice. Without adjusting for proper exposure, bright surface turn out gray in photos with shaded foregrounds. And it’s not just a matter of buying expensive equipment. "It’s amazing the people who come in with pro gear and they don’t know exposure settings," he mused. Once the concept it explained, though, it’s easy to grasp.

Overdependence on photo editing software is a common pitfall in the digital age, Schultz said. Reckless editing leads to lost detail; proper manipulation allows images to shine. "People are sometimes lulled into a false sense that they can fix the photo afterward," Schultz explained. Better, instead, to capture as much visual data as possible and work from there.

Beginning photographers tend to focus too much on the camera and not enough on the lens. Before purchasing a camera, have a clear understanding of what you want, Schultz recommends. Will you be shooting landscapes or portraits, outdoor action shots or still shots indoors? Are the images for publication or will they likely only be posted online? The best lens is not always the most expensive.

Schultz encourages shopping for bargains on the Internet. But don’t be shy about visiting camera shops to get a feel for cameras. Size, weight and digital menus are important considerations. "People have so much information a mouse-click away," Schultz said. "It’s so easy to learn, but that seed has to be planted."

Workshops are Wednesday, April 29 and May 5 at West Light Images. For more information, call 645-8414.