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  1. #761
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Art Direction - Project 3

    I know, I know... hey. it's ongoing, kind of like the cascading flu.

    The final piece to have done for the Art Direction "Event" is a creator's choice project that should promote the 2-booklet, poster & box cover entries.

    While most of the graphic design students have opted for some kind of static display of some type or perhaps a constructed paper model, I have opted to put my lesson in "lighting" on a digital photo frame, with supporting graphics and text. Yes, I could have added music, but that gets rather monotonous after you have heard it play the first thousand times, right?

    Anyway, barring the beat, the short, automated image presentation is more of a "teaser" for the booklets, not something I am offering on video. I suppose you could almost see it as a PowerPoint presentation without... well, PowerPoint! Just a series of JPGs, timed to be able to be comfortably read and images examined. It is stored in the digital memory of the frame, so that no one can abscond with the normal plug-in 2GB CF card, during the show.

    I call it:

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    This should free me up to take images of the overall show and not have to answer a bunch of hokey questions about what I built. Yes, business cards will be available.

    Sadly, after all the work we went to, to have a common class file format to provide to the printer we have chosen, it turns out that it is not so common and we have to repeat the booklet/cover box submission-effort all over again, to straighten it all out, tomorrow. My God, another wasted day! I swear, for all the rush-rush we have been going through, all we are getting is trash-trash. It has been some strange times, indeed... and not leaving me with a very positive feeling about designer-print shop relations.

    Onward we go... one step forward and then, two steps back.

    EDIT: So. today's corrective printing action wound up being a one-on-one sit down with every student, to use the exact same procedure for producing each project container insert and cover. Again, a minor hiccup in the procedure, but there should be more attention paid to this as these type of classes continue. A lot of wasted time.

    My picture frame exhibit was accepted as complete and seems... (oops, they are digging up my front yard, again. We've sprung a leak! Water! Water! From the bottom UP, this time!)
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-15-2011 at 04:35 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  2. #762
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Lightbulb Portfolio... showing off your stuff

    Today was a day of reflection, as I sat down and reviewed the current selections I have in my presentation portfolio. I then sat back and looked around at the people I have known, as I have gone through all these classes. When I graduate, in March, nearly every single person I have attended classes with will also be graduating or has already done so. Honest to Jake, I look in these other photography classes and there is not a person I recognize, any more.

    The big push had eleven (11) photography students graduating this past Summer 11 quarter, versus the solo (1) student that did so in the Spring Quarter 11. There should be four (4) more at the end of the Fall 11 Quarter, then eight (8) in March, the Winter 12 Quarter. That's 24 photographers looking for work! Eek!

    I do not know what the future has in store for me. What I do know is that the past two years have been a constant adventure with my photographic efforts. Yes, there have been lulls, mostly due to financial constraints and the demands of the particular class. I also know that I have not been as wild as some folks out there, carrying a camera, but I am a pretty conservative guy, ordinarily. Agreed, I have done more in my photographic efforts than 80-90% of those students attending the school. A lot of that comes from just being familiar with the equipment and willing to take the chance to "get the shot."

    I suppose my notion is to point to doing that, in my portfolio presentation. Not so much the end result, mind you, but the technical aspects of achieving them. The school has done, for the most part, a pretty minimal job of that, in my opinion and that leaves me a little bitter. I believe that had the staff truly been given some leeway in what the demands would be on the students... and held these students to a higher "practical" knowledge standard (ala, my test), the product the school is producing would be substantially more capable when they hit the street.

    If you do not know something, I will simplistically opine that you are either ignorant (suffering from not being exposed to the knowledge) or unable understand it (knowledge is presented, but either rejected as useless or confusing). The mission of the student is to ask, seek, and accept the knowledge presented (if it is), then regurgitate it back in a competent and useful manner. My experience has been, as I also vicariously experienced through my fellow students, as to be lacking in true substance and real practicality. I know this sounds like a pretty harsh condemnation... and I suppose it is.

    So ask me, "Don... if you were to teach it to them, what changes would you make?" I figure, at my age and level of experience, I should make a decent sounding board for... improvement. I would figure they could get a much better overall look from my vantage point, than some untested, rookie student... who is still IGNORANT of what is out there.

    The challenge I often hear back is, "What do they know? How could they offer a valid opinion or educated process?"

    To be honest, I feel that my two-year experience has revealed that the school is not all that receptive to hearing about "substantive" improvement. It costs money... and they just let five staff members go, this week, and reigned in departmental budgets, because of the school's revenue shortfall. Folks, I am afraid THAT does not bode well for improving the future of this educational experience. Yes, I suppose it could be argued that you get out of it what you put into it, but my stand is... you still need to be aware of what is important in each of your courses and that is precisely where the talented academic staff has to step up and make sure the course criteria is met. Not kind of, but actually is. The standard.

    One major contention that I discussed with several students was that learning the material is truly relative, because the course material for each class changed with every instructor teaching it. No two "identical" courses seemed to be taught alike. That is a lack of standard and difficult to deal with. The fact is that my Studio Lighting course was a complete repeat of the Advanced Lighting course, including the use of the very same reference book... sure, twice as much practice, right? Saved some money not having to buy the book, again. Practically speaking, it cost twice as much, for the same experience. Personally, I think once was enough. The entire photography program is due for a decent and solid academic review, based on the discussed mutual student experiences.

    Call me old fashioned, but I would still like to believe that the "earned" degree really means something more than just the minimal completion of the program. The GPA system is a poor reflection of your true knowledge. A more comprehensive exam, both practical and academic needs to be designed to truly gauge whether you are a "finished photography product" and ready for prime time.

    That's my "student vision" portfolio, which this thread was devoted to, from the very beginning.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 11-18-2011 at 10:12 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  3. #763
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Lightbulb The Art Direction Personal Project

    In the "Great White Whale" Art Direction Show, open to the adoring public, scheduled for December 9th, 2011, from 6p-10p, at the Faux Design Studio, in Addison, IL, the "third" project was at the artist's discretion. These projects range from all sorts of paper and cardboard constructs to my electronic presentation device (not a laptop, but a electronic frame), which progressively describes the "lighting" challenges that I faced, this year, in some of my photography.

    Here is the catalog image that describes it and some of the content:

    "My Great White Whale: Lighting"

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    Anyway, I thought I'd toss that up... since it is my "keep it simple" centerpiece.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  4. #764
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Specialization Project Two... Cars?

    Well, I decided on scrapping my aircraft shots, this time, and concentrating on cars, instead. I went to the Volo Auto Museum, in Volo, IL, today... and there, they have hundreds of restored cars and some really novel automobiles, too.

    I have been thinking about changing out my 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche for something different and when I saw this Cadillac, today... well, it was the breast car on the lot. Now, that's one helluva hood ornament, eh?

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    SONY α850 w/ SIGMA 12-24mm f/4-5.6
    @ 12mm - f/5.6 - 1/15 sec -ISO-800 - Light source ambient and Metz 76 (TTL Mode)


    Then again... when I caught up to the Elvis Ride... I mean, Thank you... Thank you, very much!

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    Talk about live music wherever you go...

    But, what would life be without your own "Mr. Fusion" powered DeLorean, to scoot back to the past and have a jaw with "The King" and the "Diamond Girl"? Remember, "Where we're going... we don't need roads."

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    Then, of course, the car 'Pops' Racer fashioned from "Memorite", the metal that remembers its shape.

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    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-10-2011 at 05:23 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  5. #765
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Art Direction rehearsal show

    Got a solid and positive response to my "Lighting" project, in the Art Direction class and presenting the "Nebraska Zepher" series of shots. The President of The Illinois Institute of Art - Schaumburg along with the Dean of Academics came through on a V.I.P. tour and spent some serious time examining the work involved to create those shots. I had included the images of the lighting set-ups, because they really were the point of the exercise, not the actual results and they seemed suitably impressed. The President mentioned that he had also seen the shots posted in the school's hallways, from my "Specialization" class, and wondered who had done them, because the professor had not posted the name labels, at the time. Well, today he shook hands with that fellow.

    It was kind of embarrassing when he spent such considerable time with me, discussing it. One of the students captured the moments... (you can see my camera on the floor, next to the wall, behind the rear table leg)

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    Plucking up my camera, I counter-attacked with a "pano" of the entire rehearsal.

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    The other students (mostly Graphic Design-types) got bored and started wandering around, visiting with one another. None-the-less, the big show is from 6p-10p, Friday. It should prove to be quite exciting for these young people and I look forward to seeing the result.

    School goes on...
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-10-2011 at 06:16 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  6. #766
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    The Art Direction Show (actual)

    Well... the setup for the show took close to 8 hours, which entailed painting, fabric fitting and all sorts of tidying up, as you might imagine, when you take a workshop and turn it into a showplace.

    Even the owners of the shop had to admit, we had provided on of the fanciest shows they had ever hosted. and they have had a few, I understand.

    Here was the "Project Poster" wall:

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    All these will now hang in the Institute's Gallery for the next quarter. Quite an honor for this type of class.

    One thing is for certain, there are 27 students who are very happy it is concluded. It's nice when a plan comes together.

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    Yes, I pulled the shutter on this bad boy. I would have liked a little more hair separation, but hey... the show was over, they had been there 13-hours, and they wanted to tear down and get gone!

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    While I did not circle my display, I did get a number of compliments on the work. To me, the funniest question of the night was: "What's with all the trains?"

    Some people, just do not get it. It's not about trains... it's about the lighting of trains! Well, at least the President and the Dean got it. I suppose that could be considered "limited" success in the message.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-10-2011 at 06:20 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  7. #767
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
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    Tuesday, in review

    The final class was held, yesterday, for the Art Direction effort and after some review, it was agreed that the class was not all that beneficial to the photography students. Sure, there was a lot of cross contamination with the Graphic Design group, but when it came to truly being of any use to the Art Direction portion of photography... BUZZ. Did not happen.

    We got a chance to voice our concerns for the class via a questionnaire, but it was so slanted towards the GD portion that it really did not provide any relevant questions, in this regard.

    Anyway... it is over and another $1700 of educational funding is utterly and uselessly destroyed.

    Just one class left for the quarter... Portfolio... which has, for the most part, been of a fine tuning of my past effort and pieces. Everything (all printed pieces) is due on Friday, for final grade determination. Personally, due to the enormous amount of Graphic Design classes in this curriculum, the required production of photographic work is terribly thin. And if I feel my work seems rather thin... I pity the other students.

    There seems to be a "spray & pray" mentality to it all. Over and over, I meet students that had no idea of what they are doing... or how to compose a photograph, be it from lighting to framing to using the software properly to detail and groom the final image. It is disappointing.

    I had hoped to learn much more than I have... but even the staff seems almost tentative to teach the material. I know that being a college student is producing results, on your own... but the proper presentations of the basic principles are still the building blocks that have to be understood and taught correctly. I feel there is a foundation of sand under these students, not concrete. All it does it create a mess and you wind up having to start all over. Where? At the very beginning. This was the reason I wanted to have the annual, comprehensive "written exam"... to quickly show what the student did or did not understand.

    One more class... to show my stuff.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-14-2011 at 08:28 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  8. #768
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    Chongqing Jiaotong Daxue, Xuefu Dadau, Nan'an, Chongqing, P.R.China
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    19
    Going back to your train pictures you took, the lighting was your big focus and where your major efforts went, but as to art direction and variety to the pictures, I have been wondering just what they would have been like if you had use your russian tilt-and-shift for a few pictures...

    The train shorts alll shrink into the distance towards the upper right hand, I'm wondering what the effect would be if you had them dead level, shrinking in a perspective of being dead level, or of shrinking in a lower right hand slant as if they were climbing uphill...

  9. #769
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    San Diego, CA
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    602
    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    The final class was held, yesterday, for the Art Direction effort ... Just one class left for the quarter... Portfolio... which has, for the most part, been of a fine tuning of my past effort and pieces. ... Personally, due to the enormous amount of Graphic Design classes in this curriculum, the required production of photographic work is terribly thin. And if I feel my work seems rather thin... I pity the other students.

    There seems to be a "spray & pray" mentality to it all. Over and over, I meet students that had no idea of what they are doing... or how to compose a photograph, be it from lighting to framing to using the software properly to detail and groom the final image. It is disappointing.

    I had hoped to learn much more than I have... but even the staff seems almost tentative to teach the material. I know that being a college student is producing results, on your own... but the proper presentations of the basic principles are still the building blocks that have to be understood and taught correctly. I feel there is a foundation of sand under these students, not concrete. All it does it create a mess and you wind up having to start all over. Where? At the very beginning. This was the reason I wanted to have the annual, comprehensive "written exam"... to quickly show what the student did or did not understand.

    One more class... to show my stuff.
    Don, my last large format photography class was this past Monday and I share some of your observations, although it is difficult for students to "spray and pray" with a large format camera. As part of our final we were required to submit a cohesive idea/themed portfolio -- not a "best of" -- with a minimum of 10 images printed either in the darkroom or scanned, digitally edited and printed. While there were some truly remarkable portfolios showing thoughtfulness, originality and technical excellence, I was amazed at how many of the students appeared to simply cobble 10 images together with very little cohesiveness.

    Technique and technical knowledge is some of the easiest to learn when it comes to photography. After all, the basic principles of a light tight box with a light sensitive material to capture the image (film or digital sensor) and the means to control the amount and quality of light entering the camera do not change. Likewise, how to use those aspects are relatively easy. And yet, a lot of photo students don't bother to learn that aspect of photography to where it becomes second nature, chosing instead to rely on the digital camera to do that. So, it is not surprising that they also pay little attention to framing techniques, use of natural and/or artificial lighting, and the all important decision of "when" to take the picture.

    When I presented 21 of my portfolio images (space ran out), the teacher took the opportunity to make a point to the other students about the motivation behind being a photographer. It shouldn't be about how many pictures the instructor requires. You should be photographing because you want to make art, convey an idea, or show a subject. It is about passion.

    So I encourage everyone reading this post and visiting the Sony forum, show your passion for photography. That is what I will be doing over the next month before my Advanced Large Format class starts - taking the A900 out along with the medium format YashikaMat and exploring for the next empassioned project!!!
    Darin Wessel
    α 900
    Zooms: Tamron SP AF70-200mm f2.8 Di LD Macro; Sigma 28-90mm D macro, Konica-Minolta 18-70 f3.5-5.6
    Primes: Minolta 28mm f2.8; Sony 50mm f1.4
    Minolta RC-1000 remote commander

    Film:
    Calumet Cambo CC400 4x5 View Camera
    YashikaMat 6x6 TLR (other accessories)
    Minolta Maxxum 7000 w/ Minolta 35-80mm f/4-5.6 & Minolta 2800 flash
    Minolta Maxxum 5000i & Vivitar 728 AFM flash
    What's next???

  10. #770
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    Feb 2006
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    Des Plaines, IL
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    Agreed!

    Darin,

    I have to totally agree, that if you are shooting with a film view camera, there would probably be a little more thought into the entire effort, than hoisting the DSLR... and "machine-gunning" your way to a good photo. It is kind of scary considering the differences, overall, between the two... and those individuals still calling themselves "photographers."

    Happily, I walked away with three As for my effort, this quarter. Got my GPA locked into a 3.5/4.0 and... it's Christmas. See how that all fits together? Okay, me neither.

    This FINAL quarter of school is the Senior Project. Basically, it involves getting all the work together, sorting through it and... probably, re-shooting everything! No, just kidding... c'mon, sorting? Pish-posh!

    Anyway, aside from presentable work, I will need to develop new business cards, my "artsy" resume and other sundry business items. This is a real departure from my experiences in the IT/technical world. After my encounters with the other students at the school, I think we are definitely operating at different temperatures. My approach is radically different than theirs... and I struggle to keep up.

    Photography is in the eye of the... photographer. We frame and create our images. We tell the story. Interpretation? Not so much. The real skill: tell a good (great) story.

    Okay.. the holidays are here, celebrating the Greatest Story Ever Told! Don't you wish you had the photos?
    Last edited by DonSchap; 12-23-2011 at 02:22 PM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

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