Digital Macro Photography Class at John C. Campbell Folk School

John C. Campbell Folk School is transitioning from film photography to digital photography classes. Jim and Elizabeth found two classes at the folk school being conducted at the same time that they wished to attend. Jim chose the macro photography class. The image above was taken during the class.

Jim, an avid nature photographer, has always enjoyed photographing natural subjects. He has hundreds--perhaps thousands of color slides bearing images from insects to big game, molehills to mountaintops, water drops to oceans, and lichen to redwood forests.

Jim completed a week-long class in Digital Macro Photography at the folk school during September 2008. Les Saucier, an excellent nature photographer, was instructor. September is a good time a the folk school to take photography classes because many plants are growing in flower and vegetable gardens, leaves are beginning to turn, and insects are busying themselves preparing for winter.

The class description specified that students should bring their digital single lens reflex (SLR) camera and macro lens. While we have had our digital Nikon 990 for years and taken tens of thousands of images, we didn't have a digital SLR. Jim shopped the internet for camera prices, but when it came time to buying one, he wanted to fondle it first. On a trip to visit Elizabeth's family in New York, Jim found exactly what he was looking for--a Nikon D300 camera and a Micro Nikkor 105mm 1:2.8 G ED lens which also has a vibration reduction feature. Nikon also makes a wide angle model and a telephoto macro lenses, but the 105 seemed to be a good choice. Jim has been brand loyal to Nikon since he purchased his first Nikon F 35mm camera around 1967.

Jim spent quite a bit of time with his new camera's manual before class, but Les was more than helpful in explaining many of the finer features of the complex camera (Les also owns Nikons). Each day, Les made assignments of subjects and techniques that encouraged each student to become familiar with their camera's options while exploring a different photographic principle. Mornings were spent in the field and afternoons were spent discussing digitally projected images that had been taken by each student.

One of the things Jim enjoyed most was viewing a digital projection of beautiful images taken by freelance photographer and motivational speaker Nancy Rotenberg. Jim liked the presentation so much that he bought a signed copy of a book by Ms. Rotenberg--Photography and the Creative Life.