I was invited to spend the day with Jeff Greene and Sharon Levy Freed who were teaching a one day seminar called the “EOS Immersion Seminar”. They were holding it in St. Louis, which is where I live so it was perfect for me to go.
The class is aimed at photographers – it isn't a seminar on how to make movies (tho they do teach another class usually the day after the EOS Immersion one if you want a full day deep dive into using your Canon HDSLR for video. Tho one section of this class is devoted to an overview of using the video functions so you can get the basics if you've not shot video yet.
Read more about the classes and register! You can also see the list of upcoming cities there as well!
Beginning section with Jeff Greene
Jeff covers some basic photography and video controls on your EOS camera. Many of you who are very familiar with your camera might be bored… but at the same time, it is great to hear from someone who has different preferences for shooting because you may actually learn something you didn't know. Even guys like me who think they know just about everything about their camera can learn something new. There is always something new you can learn. For example, i use Live View a lot – but yet I don't think I ever knew that I could change the parameters of the Picture Style settings without ever leaving Live View.
Of course we all know about how to operate our camera but yet these cameras are so complicated (feature filled) that in many ways, it is very difficult to learn everything just by reading the manual. Many of us are so fixated on just shooting (especially with a new camera) that we don't take the time to go back and learn some of the details that aren't obvious. That's why sitting thru a class where an expert knows how to teach and Jeff is certainly equipped to teach these settings.
Jeff taught us something new as well… they've found that using the Live View Silent mode actually has less mirror shake than ‘mirror lock up' does – so if you're looking to have really really sharp images, where you would normally use mirror lock up, this will give you even sharper shots!
The second section of the seminar is dedicated to the Speedlight for flash – it is taught by Jeff as well and he really knows his subject here as well. I confess that I've always been a ‘natural light' photographer – mainly because when I shot film, I was too lazy to learn how to properly use a flash… and now, with the newer Canon Speedlights and the overview we had from Jeff, I don't have much of an excuse! So, I went out this week and bought one. More learning on the way.
Canon had a model in to sit for portraits when Jeff was teaching the lighting section. Tho I'm sure they feel compelled to have a professional model, I'm not sure it really added anything to the party… it seemed like they could have had just about anyone sitting there to make their points.
An intro to EOS Video by Sharon Levy Freed
By beginning with a couple of compelling video examples about telling a story, Sharon really made some very good points without just diving straight into the technical details of camera settings etc. This seemed much more effective.
Sharon gave one of the best 90 minute intros into video for photographers who know very little about video that I've seen. She is passionate and knowledgeable and knows how to get her points across efficiently and with clarity.
And this is a good point to talk about the handout – I was very pleased to see you don't just get a paper copy of what you see on the screen. The paper class handout is like a mini book – it has more detail on what was covered in the class. Very nice material! Tho it would be great if they'd send it out in PDF to the attendees as well. Eventually, we'll all become electronic and I'd much rather have the PDF than the paper copy, but i also realize that many attendees love to make notes and for most, a paper copy is therefore a must have.
Jeff finished the day with a section on travel photography – including preparation, tips and tricks, composition, panoramas, bracketing and more. There were some amazing samples from many different photographers (many of them Canon Explorers of Light) which inspire you to go out and shoot.
He also suggested you think of different angles to shoot – including doing macro.
Overall, a very interesting day for photographers. Not aimed at folks who are already very familiar with video and expecting a lot of training on video. This is for still photographers who are interested in gaining more info on canon product, lighting, video, and travel. Advanced photographers are likely to be bored.
I wish that I'd taken a class like this when i was first starting out with my digital camera… tho i managed to learn much of what was taught here, I'd be a bit further along after taking a class like this one. I talked to a couple of the attendees after class and they all echoed the same thought – they were glad to have spent the day learning more about the capabilities of their camera.
I always like to at least make an effort to post a couple of negatives because only rarely is something perfect (like me – but my wife would disagree with that one HA!). There really was little to find wrong – and much of what i might say simply had to do with the location – which wasn't under the control of Canon. My particular learning style is that i prefer a fast paced class and this was a tad slow for me (but i've said that about practically every class i've ever had). I think there were plenty of folks however that would reply that it is just me and that the class was paced well.
There is one other big negative I just thought of… they didn't recommend that everyone read planet5D every day! Shocking I know! HA!
I do want to thank Gina and the gang in the Canon Live Learning team – they've been very supportive of me and are fun to work with. If you have a chance to take a class from Canon, I know you'll find it worth your time.
Find out more about Canon's learning opportunities.
Blogger's Disclaimer: Canon did let me in without charge – tho they didn't even ask for a published review – they simply wanted some feedback. Oh, and they are currently advertising with us here at planet5D.
(cover photo credit: snap from the Canon site)