Digital Photography Workshop (Class #1)

As mentioned previously, I am taking the Digital Photography workshop at Photographic Center Northwest (PCNW) in Seattle with the goal of improving the quality of my photographs, specifically, and getting more enjoyment from the creative aspects of photography, in general.

The workshop consists of five 3-hour courses that are held from 6-9PM on Thursdays at PCNW. The six other students and I had our first session on Oct 27. First impression: Not good.

Here are a few lowlights that led me to re-read the fine print regarding workshop reimbursements:

He started the class by informing us of his qualifications including 12 years as a professional photographer, 5 years teaching and an avid digital photographer since the inception of digital photography. I lost all respect when he made the following statements (and stuck to them after being further probed/challenged by me):

  • He does not own a digital camera.
  • A camera’s resolution determines the quality of the pictures it produces regardless of the size of its image sensor or the dimensions of the pixels on the sensor. For example, a current 8 mega-pixel consumer point-and-shoot camera will produce higher quality pictures than a current 6 mega-pixel professional digital single lens reflex camera. (FACT)
  • Merely opening a JPG/JPEG file for viewing and closing it (no editing, no re-saving) degrades the image quality over time because JPG/JPEG is a lossy format. (FACT)

My jaw literally dropped when I heard the last two at different points in the presentation. I balked at both. The instructor tried unsuccessfully to parry my contempt-laden ridicule of the sheer lunacy of his words. For the 3rd bullet I even asked if this were true for images hosted on the web that get viewed thousands if not millions of times. He said, “Yes, the images lose a small amount of quality each time they are viewed.” Other people in the class chimed in on that one as well asking about images burned to CD-R or marked read-only. He held firm. I grew silent and somber upon recalling the adage “Never argue with a fool since people might not know the difference.” All I could do is shake my head and state, “I have never heard that before.”

He has exactly two more sessions to tighten up his game and make me a believer before I pull a Fitzgerald and draft an indictment of his competence. Right now, my vote is:

Thumbs Down!


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