August 15, 2016  •  37 Comments


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Self ImageSelf Image >>> Why not get lessons on Digital Photography and how to use that new camera to make beautiful images

>>> Private, one-on-one, live, Camera and Photography Tutoring






DSLR Camera camera class, lessons, or tutoring

4 crosses over San Geronimo Chapel, Taos Pueblo, NM4 crosses over San Geronimo Chapel, Taos Pueblo, NMThe new San Geronimo Chapel, Taos Pueblo, NM. The Pueblo of Taos is approximately 1000 years old and is inhabited by a Northern Tiwa speaking tribe of the Pueblo People. The original San Geronimo Church was constructed by the Spanish around 1620 against the will of the native people. Over the next 60 years the church was destroyed by native people twice, killing one or more priests each time. The latest was in 1680 during the "Pueblo Revolt". This latest version of the church was built in 1850 on a different spot, leaving the remnants of the prior church where it fell several hundred yards away.

You’ve been taking snapshots for years with various point-and-shoot cameras or (shudder) even your cell phone. But now you have a great DSLR camera with all the bells and whistles and have no clue what to do with it. Or, you’ve had your DSLR for awhile and are less than satisfied with the results. You know how to set the dial to “Automatic” and push the button – just like you did with your point and shoot but that’s about it. Now what?

Reading the 200 page camera manual is of no help. It tells you what the buttons do, but not why you would want to do that or what benefits or detriments come along with those settings. It tells you how to display the menu, but not the meaning of the 80+ items in 3 levels of options or when one would want to use those options.

It doesn't matter if you have a Canon Camera, a Nikon Camera, or a Sony Camera, you want to move from just “Taking Pictures” to “Making Photographs” – which is why you got that camera in the first place. In other words you want to learn Digital Photography and how to use your camera.

Guatemala Produce Vendor (Antigua Market)Guatemala Produce Vendor (Antigua Market)This was taken in the Antigua Farmers Market. The light inside this market is quite dim as it's covered on top and all sides with thick canvas to keep the wind out. Unfortunately that also keeps the light out. The market was crowded this day and people kept walking in front of me, but I noticed that when someone moved a flap of canvas to enter or exit behind one of the stalls it lit this vendor with a beautiful light. So, I waited, and got this shot. I was with a photo tour group and our guide had a long standing relationship with many of the vendors, including this woman so she was willing to be photographed by us.

I’m an award winning photographer with great teaching skills who can teach you how to “Escape the Green Box” (get off of the Auto setting) and really use your DSLR. My one-on-one lessons are tailored to your camera and your skill level. These are the highest quality. professional and in depth, lessons and should not be confused with quickie 2 hour overviews. I don't just tell you to "push that button" or "turn that dial", I teach you how the various camera settings impact your images. I give you the information required to fully understand, control and utilize your camera to make beautiful images matching your artistic vision.

Bryce Canyon Morning from Inspirtation Point 6Bryce Canyon Morning from Inspirtation Point 6Bryce Canyon Morning from Inspirtation Point

If you take my structured course format I also provide, free of charge, PDF copies of the class presentation material (over 200 PowerPoint slides) we use during the class, including my instructor notes so you can refer back to them later. After you have finished my course, you should feel free to send me emails with questions, issues or problems that may come up or ask me to look over a few of your photos to offer suggestions - all at no charge.

Winter Cottonwood's, Yosemite NPWinter Cottonwood's, Yosemite NPCottonwood Grove, Ahwahnee Meadow, Yosemite NP, CA

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I tailor the Material to your needs based on how deep you want to go and even what things you want to concentrate on.

As a guide, for a novice covering all material to an in-depth level, will take about 8 total hours. However a light once over of the key points can be covered in 3 to 4 hours

My Rate is $80 per hour.

McWay Falls 03McWay Falls 03Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park CA. Along CA route 1 in the Big Sur area of CA       Toucan with BerryToucan with BerryToucan with berry, Jungle Lodge, Tikal National Park, Guatemala


New York City Skyline #2New York City Skyline #2Including One World Trade Center building. From Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Ferry.



Contact me through the "Contact & About" menu at the top of this screen, or through email to [email protected].  



General overview of Photography Basics

The Light Path from light source to memory card and what controls you have to shape it along the way:  

  • Light sources and Color Temperature
  • Subject reflectivity
  • Camera lens and what it does
  • Camera shutter and what it does
  • Camera Sensor and what it does
  • Camera Processor and what it does
  • The memory card

Your Camera controls:

  • Picture Mode or Main Dial
  • Other Wheels, dials and buttons
  • How to control your, Shutter Speed, Aperture, Focus Pattern, ISO, WB, ISO,
  • Metering Mode, Exposure Compensation, Exposure Shift, Drive Mode and Storage format

The things you have control over and when/why you should control them (rather than let the camera decide)

  • Flash – When to use it and when to turn it off.
  • White Balance – What it is, how to control it.
  • ISO – What it does and what to watch out for (noise)
  • Drive Mode – how to increase your odds of “getting the shot”
  • Auto Focus – the various Auto Focus modes and situations where you would choose one over another – or even turn it off
  • Focus point – Why is the fence in focus but Grandma is all blurry?
  • Metering Mode – How the camera evaluates the scene and helping it choose the right method
  • Jpg vs RAW – Overcome your fear of RAW. Learn what it is and why it is your friend.
  • Other settings and terms explained

The In’s and Out’s of exposure

  • Exposure explained
  • How your camera sensor deals with light and the “Gotcha” of the dynamic range limit of your sensor as well as how to over come it.
  • 18% gray and why it may be the most important thing to know about your camera that most people don’t know
  • Controlling exposure
  • The trade off’s of your settings. What you get and lose as you make adjustments to: Aperture, Shutter Speed and ISO

Using your Camera’s Manual controls:

  • What the main dial settings on your camera mean and when to use them
  • When and why you should use exposure compensation and/or exposure shift
  • Bracketing
  • Your histogram – Understand what it is telling you and read it with confidence. Use it in the field while you still have a chance to shoot again.
  • Depth of Field (DOF) and Hyper Focal Distance (Hyper Focal Point)
  • How to convey a sense of motion in your images. Motion Blur or Motion Freezing.
  • How different lighting and subject situations fool your camera and what to do about it
  • Flash Exposure Compensation (including Fill Flash)

Artistic – Composition:

  • What is it?
  • Rule of thirds
  • Balance
  • Leading Lines
  • Single Subject
  • The Story
  • Selective Focus
  • Subject Separation
  • Shooting for HDR or PANORAMA processing
  • 10 deadly sins of composition

Putting it all together

  • Steps to use in the field.


Thanks -- Dan

House on FireHouse on FireHouse on fire (burning house) is in Mule Canyon which is in SE Utah and an area just North of Monument Valley. The "fire" effect comes from the sunlight reflecting off an apron or red rock in front of the cliff dwelling and reflecting up onto the red rock overhang.

By itself, the refection would just look, reddish when viewed from this angle the particular rock pattern in the overhang at this spot gives the fire its flame like pattern.
     Fog advancing on Machu Picchu, PeruFog advancing on Machu Picchu, PeruBuilding of the Three Portals


Sorrento Sunset 1Sorrento Sunset 1Sorrento Sunset 1, Sorrento Italy       Children of Peru #4Children of Peru #4Portrait image of a child in Peru. This image was taken in the Huancaye local of the Cuzco (Cusco) region of Peru. The native clothing us typical of Peru and is usually hand made from Alpaca wool dyed, spun, and woven by family members. Most people, outside of the large cities, dress in clothing such as this as they go about their normal daily routines.


Shikha Mittal(non-registered)
I have new Nokia D7500 camera . I want to learn how to take pics and how to use the camera in various setting . I love photography
Holly L. (Review copied from Yelp)(non-registered)
I am so thankful to have found Dan. I wanted to learn more about photography and cameras and Dan did an excellent job creating an overall basics class. During the class Dan was able to answer specific questions I had about photography without missing a beat. He is extremely knowledgeable and flexible so he can teach you what it is that you need/want to know. Not only was his class good, he was fun for me to be around and he gave me his full attention every time we met. Thank you so much Dan!
K. H. (Palo Alto)(non-registered)
(Review Copied from Yelp)

Dan provided excellent overview across a wide variety of topics for my daughter and me. He was comprehensive, interesting, very knowledgable and helped us learn a lot in a short amount of time. Really enjoyed our time with Dan!
I’d like to get a one on one session or group class.
(Copied from Yelp 10/10/2017)

I took basic camera/photography lessons from Dan. He is extremely knowledgeable and detailed in his lessons.

A few things I liked about his teaching approach -
* He had prepared a list of topics to introduce/teach based on my specific needs
* He asks good questions, so we actually think about logic and answers
* He is very detailed and approachable, willing to answer any questions

Found his class very useful and would definitely recommend him for photography lessons!
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