Desktop Images via Digital Imaging

Photography students at Topeka West who have completed Advanced Photography have the option to take Digital Imaging. This class is a lot like Advanced Photography but instead of working in the dark rooms projects are created on the computer and printed out on photo-quality inkjet paper. This class only meets during the spring semester and is usually a small class consisting of juniors and seniors.

The first project that students are asked to complete is a desktop image that they can display on their computer. They are all given the same image to work with: the Apple icon. Displayed below are eight desktop images that were created this semester. I asked the students if it would be okay to posts the images on this blog at full resolution and they all agreed. They don't mind sharing their creations if you would like to decorate your computer with their work. The desktop images measure 1440 pixels x 900 pixels. Click on an image to view at full resolution and to download to your computer!

Eric Boeselager

Caitlin Morrissey

Angelo Chavez

Savannah Abbott

Caitlyn Olsen

Jackie Hebron

Kyler Delfs

Tyler Weber


A Gifted Eye for Photography

From the Naples Daily News website: "Matt Milligan, a 13-year-old Bonita Springs (Florida) resident, has been shooting his own photos since he was 9 years old. What Milligan has accomplished -- being shown in local art shows, winning awards from magazines for teenagers -- is monumental in light of some of the challenges he has faced in his life. Milligan, who has cerebral palsy, had to fight to learn simple things, such as walking and riding a bike. His motor skills are still not perfect, sometimes a problem in photography, but he makes up for it with patience and gumption." Read the rest of this amazing story here ---> A gifted eye for photography: cerebral palsy doesn't stop 13-year-old boy


Painting with Light, Redux

From guardian.com.uk: "Thirty-nine-year-old photographic artist Michael Bosanko has made these pictures, which have not been Photoshopped, using colored torches at night in the same way that an artist uses a paintbrush. His digital camera stays on a long exposure, ranging from 10 seconds to one hour to create the images against the backdrop of Cardiff, Newport and the Brecon Beacons in south Wales."

Green Dragon, Michael Bosanko

To view a small sampling of Bosanko's photography, click here to view the slideshow.


Meeting Lauren Greenfield...

I attended a wonderful lecture tonight at the Topeka/Shawnee County Public Library. Lauren Greenfield was present to speak about her career in photography, her book Girl Culture, and her latest HBO documentary Kids + Money. If you couldn't attend, you missed out!! It was fascinating to listen to the stories behind her photos.....the stories provided so much more depth to the images.

After her lecture I browsed through the gallery to look at her gorgeous photographs and I even purchased a copy of Girl Culture and had her sign it.....to me!

Mr. Berryman & Lauren Greenfield


Online Photo Editing with PICNIK

There are plenty of sites online to store your images (deviantART, flickr, photobucket, Nikon's my Picturetown, etc.), but what if you don't have access to any decent photo editing software? You should immediately surf on over to picnik.com!

Picnik provides the opportunity for the everyperson to work with powerful yet easy-to-use photo editing tools. The site is free to use (for now) but if you want access to the really cool editing tools (or to store your edited photos) you will have to pay $24.95 for Picnik Premium.

You can easily upload your photos from you computer or from many of the photo-sharing sites including MySpace and Facebook. Once your photos are uploaded you can:
  • Fix your photos in just one click
  • Use advanced controls to fine tune-your results
  • Crop, resize, and rotate in real-time
  • Use tons of special effects, from artsy to fun
  • Astoundingly fast, right in your browser
  • Awesome fonts and top-quality type tool
  • Choose from basketfuls of shapes to add to your images
  • Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux
  • No download required, nothing to install!
I uploaded one photo just to play around with and I was really amazed at how easy it was to work with the editing tools and undo any effects that I didn't like. Here is the before and after of the photo I worked on:

A couple of my advanced photography students were the ones who informed me about Picnik. I asked if they wouldn't mind showing a few of their images as well (thanks Savannah & Alex!):

Elizabeth by Savannah Abbott

Steph by Savannah Abbott

by Alex Rios


Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures

What would you do if you were at a sporting event, or out shopping, or taking a walk in a park and found a camera that had been separated from its owner? If it is a digital camera you would probably turn it on (if you could) and take a look at the pictures right? (You know you would.) But what if it is a film camera? Would you take the time (and money) to get the film developed? Would you put an ad in the local newspaper?

Luckily there is a blog called ifoundyourcamera that is dedicated to reuniting lost cameras (or memory cards) and orphan photos with their original owners.

Fujifilm Camera Found - Milwaukee, Wisconsin

"I found a pink Fujifilm Fine Pix camera on the east side of Milwaukee, WI., near UW-Milwaukee campus the morning of January 4th. The camera was found demolished and damaged beyond repair, but I salvaged the 4 GB memory card. I am more than happy to return the card to the owner, but I have tossed the camera as it was so badly destroyed."


Is film obsolete?

Over the past few years I have been asked by both students, peers, and parents (concerning the photography program at Topeka West): "Are you shooting digitally, yet?" Or, "Why are you still using film?" Both questions are very difficult to answer. I try to remain neutral with my answer, stating one of usually three blanket answers:

A.) The district doesn't have enough funds to completely revamp the photography program from film to digital (i.e. digital cameras, computers, printers, etc.).

B.) I think it is important to teach beginning photography students where digital photography was formed by teaching them about film, developing, and printing.


C.) Do we need to teach digital photography at the high school level? (Which is my way of trying to confuse them by answering their question with a question of my own.)

Many of the advanced photography students choose to shoot with digital cameras if they already own one. The responsibility of getting their files printed is on them and there are several places around town that print high-quality digital images. The darkrooms at Topeka West are still available to them and a few of the projects assigned in Advanced Photography can only be completed with use of the darkrooms. Am I forcing students to continue to use film? Absolutely not. I understand that students enjoy shooting digitally because of its ease of use (versus rolling film in a darkroom, developing by hand, and printing on 5" x 7" paper). But I think it is very important for students to still use film in their portfolios.

According to a post at www.photographyblog.com:
"A survey of more than 9,000 professional photographers in the U.S. found that 75 percent of photographers say they will continue to use film. Black and white photography in particular was a popular reason for sticking with film, with 57% preferring to use film rather than digital to create a certain look and feel. “This survey indicates that film remains an important tool on which professional photographers rely to effectively create their work, so providing choice is of utmost importance. It’s an ‘and’ world where digital and film co-exist and complement each other.” said Mary Jane Hellyar, President, Film Products Group and Senior Vice President, Kodak. A similar survey run by Kodak in Europe also found that more than two-thirds of professional photographers surveyed plan to continue using film."

Still thinking of dropping several hundred (to possibly several thousand) dollars on a digital camera? There is so much to know about digital images before you decide to invest. Here are a few (very important!) ideas to keep in mind before you decide to give up film for good:

1.) JPEG images lose quality every time they're saved.

2.) Few digital cameras can compete with the resolution of film cameras.

3.) Many of today's leading photographers still shoot on film.

(to read more about digital photography versus film photography click here to read "What You Probably Don't Know About Digital Photography".)

Honestly, I am proud to run a program that still teaches film photography to beginning students. They always seem to really enjoy working in the darkrooms even if it is a bit more "work". Fortunately, over time, I have built a program that works for students that choose to continue to work with film or to give digital photography a try. I hope to never lose the darkrooms that I inherited but, at the same time, I am beginning to build up the digital equipment that students will be able to use. I already have two Nikon D40's that are itching to make their way out of their boxes and, hopefully soon, there will also be the addition of four brand-new Apple iMacs in the photography room!