Having a rant!

Perhaps I got out of the wrong side of my bed this morning.

This is a degree course isn’t it?  Our tutors are all well above our level of skills and academic achievement and the author of our notes is presumably more than a level or two above that?

Then why the hell don’t the notes make sense?

This really gets me down.

I previously bleated to my fellow students that I couldn’t understand the exercise ‘Sensor linear capture’ because when the notes said that the tones were squashed right on the histogram, mine where squashed left.  And when the notes said ‘brighter’ my efforts became darker!  Well I was told by my tutor and several other students that the notes were wrong in this case!  Wrong!  You bet… 180º out you mean.  I’m sorry Captain Scott, we have been going North instead of South so no wonder the Norwegians beat us to the pole!

Now I am faced with paragraphs of gobble-de-gook in the exercise ‘Your camera’s dynamic range’ and I am spending more time trying to sort it out than the whole exercise should take!

Of course I might be wrong and I might have to take it all back when someone sensible explains it all to me but in the mean time I want to shout from the roof tops, “Who wrote this, who proofed this and did anyone actually try these exercises out for real before they were palmed off on us?”


6 thoughts on “Having a rant!

  1. You have my sympathy Nick, I really can’t understand why something hasn’t been put in the course notes to explain this error.

    I didn’t really get the Camera Dynamic Range exercise either, in fact I just had to look back in my blog to remind me what on earth it was !

    The course does improve honest ! Although I have to say it wasn’t my favourite.

    Good luck 🙂

  2. Hi Nick

    You are quite right to be annoyed at the error in the course and I am grateful you have brought it to our attention. I hope you find it reassuring that while you were frustrated, your email to your tutor on Friday, was immediately sent by her to one of the Curriculum Leaders for Photography and this afternoon has prompted a discussion with the course author. You are right that the tones are squashed to the left.

    The learning points from this exercise are compromised as a result of this error and one of these touches on the ethical issues you will consider later in the course – if the image is already ‘manipulated’ when it exits the camera it makes judgements about the ethics of manipulation rather more difficult.

    We are amending the course now. In the meantime here is something vaguely related that you might be interested in reading http://www.weareoca.com/photography/caught-in-the-black/


  3. HI Janet,
    Yep I am finding it a frustrating element of the course and I thought I had a good handle on the technical aspects of modern photography. The trouble is that I think we would all find it a rewarding and fascinating part of the course if it were more sympathetically and logically written.

    Hi Gareth,
    Nice of you to respond and I was indeed gratified that my tutor passed on my concerns and that the course author is looking to correct the error. Whilst he/she is at it, is there any way that they might also look at the exercise ‘Your camera’s dynamic range’. I find the paragraph about changing the brightness of the image to check for the noise/detail relationship confusing. By the time we get to that part of the exercise we have taken the photo and noted our exposure settings. If we find that the noise/detail part of the photo is somewhere we haven’t taken an exposure reading what are we supposed to do… go out and do it all again?

  4. Hi Nick

    I will discuss this second exercise with Michael Freeman. I think what you are raising is an underlying issue with the course; in that it could probably be revised so that the learning outcomes from the exercises are foregrounded. The anticipated outcome from the dynamic range exercise is not that you are able to produce a set of first rate photos, but that you have a better understanding of how your camera responds. This may seem like an arcane point, but this understanding does become intuitive with time and helps you produce better images. In the era of 35mm film, photographers knew that getting the images they wanted required understanding of the peculiarities of the film stock – in our digital times many unsophisticated photographers this that what comes out of the camera it pretty much what they saw themselves.

    I hope this helps.

  5. Hello Nick, I have start this same course few weeks ago but I’m sad to tell you that there is no improvement yet in the exercise explanation.
    All the exercise are explained for a PC and not MAC wich cause me some issue.
    I couldn’t understand sensor linear exercise as well dynamic range. There is a lots of information missing. I ask my tutor who send an email to the school.
    I really hope they will be some kind of improvement soon for the next student.

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