Today I've attended the first day of the weekend course Creative Digital Photography with Denise Felkin. I've never had any photographic training before so I approached the course with a combination of nervousness and eager anticipation. There are 5 people on the course - 4 with different digital SLRs, 1 with a compact camera - covering different levels of previous experience. I am probably the most experienced with my camera having had my d80 for almost 18 months, others have had theirs for just a few weeks, but others have had previous film experience including dark room work whereas I have had zero so it all balances out pretty well.

The course started with some examples of masters of photography covering inspiring photographers like Diane Arbus, André Kertész, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jo Spence and Man Ray with examples of their work and elements of their biography.

The next subject was composition, with a brainstorm of what makes a good photograph. Everyone had different points to make during this, with some concentrating on the practical and others on the emotional. We also discussed the building blocks of photography with regards to composition concentrating on colour, tonality and contrast, line, form, shape, negative shapes, texture, perspective and depth, scale and pattern. We learnt about the rule of thirds, and how this can relate to depth in the image (foreground, midground and background) as well as right-to-left and top-to-bottom and the golden section.

We then moved on to getting to know our cameras, listing all the parts of a camera, before finding all the standard functions - ISO settings, white balance etc - on our models.

We finished the day learning about aperture and shutter speed and then were given homework to take a photograph of something which is not man made using the Programme mode of the camera (I would normally chose aperture priority mode). I chose the sea as it is a subject that I enjoy photographing and was delighted to discover that there were some great waves about. I decided to go for a close up on the sea and try and get a feeling of motion - in part because the sky wasn't very interesting and was a distraction. I ended up with 2 photos that I was reasonably pleased with:



both of which I plan to submit tomorrow.