Stratford Career Institute or other Institutes?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Crpdeth, Aug 9, 2009.

  1. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Has anyone here used one of these type schools? I've been looking at this card that I got in the mail, seriously considering letting these folks send me a brochure on a course in photography. This is something that I truly enjoy, but doubt that I would ever try to make a career out of it... If I sold a print or two along the way, that would be great but taking this course would be solely for educating myself in this field in order to get more from my hobby.

    The main thing going around in my mind is how much time I would have to devote to this thing, they say you can "learn at your own pace", is that true? If I couldn't find the time to complete the course in a year or so, would they really be okay with that?

    Any other thoughts or opinions?

    TIA!


    Crpdeth
  2. SpazFreak1911

    SpazFreak1911 New Member

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    really? are u in canada? cause those are canadian based institutes huh didnt know they had any in America well any way if your around NY ahah you should look in to FIT or hunter or any of those ahah
  3. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Not sure I understand all of your post friend.. What is ahah?

    This card is actually from Champlain NY. I live near Dallas TX.


    Crpdeth
  4. SpazFreak1911

    SpazFreak1911 New Member

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    im confusing some times :D well i don't think you will go all the way there to take up photography it would be much better for you to check out some community colleges near or in Dallas cause they usually have classes for photography and such things
  5. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Yes, Spaz, but the whole allure of the thing is in the ability to learn at home and wrap my study time around my busy schedule, which "frees up" considerably in the winter months.


    Crpdeth
  6. SpazFreak1911

    SpazFreak1911 New Member

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    hmm well i dont know what they can teach you that you cant find on the internet i guess try and find a forum with professional photographers were they talk about all that stuff and photoshop touch ups, i have a thing for photoshop and graphic arts its pretty fun!
  7. Donny, some "learn at home" schools are legit and teach what they say they will teach, but all too many of them are below, or barely above, the "scam artist" level. The only way to be sure is to check with your state and the state in which the company is headquartered to find out how many complaints have been lodged against them. Also, check out what agency accredits the school and check there. If the school is not accredited by any agency, I'd give them a definite pass.

    As for how effective such a school, assuming it is legit, might be, you have to do a little soul searching. Are you actually willing to commit the time and effort necessary to cover the course work offered? If not, don't waste your money. Some people can study effectively in a non-structured, at home environment, and some can't. You have to decide--honestly--for yourself which category you fall into. It's most often not a question of "can" a person do it; it is more often a question of "will" a person do it. As for your question concerning extension of time, most legitimate schools will work with you on the time frame as long as you are making a genuine effort. But remember, when you sign up for one of these schools, most often you commit to a binding legal contract for the payment of their fees for the instruction. That is normally binding whether or not you complete the course. ;)
  8. 358 winchester

    358 winchester *TFF Admin Staff*

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    Donny , Rich said it all BTDT
    Local shops may offer a work class on different subjects that are only one or two evenings and a month later a new subject. Check with the local camera shops to see if they have something like that. Hey never know who else might be in the class ;);):D:D
  9. fmacsin1

    fmacsin1 New Member

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    It might even be worth your while to look into something offered through the local Adult Ed. program at the local school. Many times they offer courses like photography and it's definitely cheaper and probably will not take as much time as a "take at home" course.
  10. Suwannee Tim

    Suwannee Tim New Member

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    I wouldn't do it. My wife has become an accomplished nature photographer over the last five years and not through something like this. She goes to birding festivals and takes classes from pros. She shoots a lot of photos. Whatever kind of photography you are interested in, I expect there are seminars, festivals or the like available. Spend you $$ on that and equipment.
  11. flannelman

    flannelman New Member

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    Community colleges also offer non-credit classes that can teach you a lot but are on a shorter time frame than a full blown class. If you aren't concerned about a degree then this might be something to look into.
  12. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    I have to agree with the comments above. I would not recommend it to you. Hit your local Jr. College for corses in art. Photography is not in the camera, it is behind your eyeballs. You either see the picture or you don't. The camera is a small part of it.

    About 4 months ago, Ken Rockwell was talking about two photos hanging in an art gallery in La Jolla, CA. One went for over $10,000 and the other was over $3,000. Both were taken with disposable cameras.

    Running the camera and knowing what your camera does differently from what your eye sees is important, but that is the small part of photography. The hard part is teaching people how to SEE. Take an art class to learn about color and form. Take lots of pictures and get to know you local photo shop. If you run a roll of film through them a few times a month, they will be glad to chat with you about technique.

    You have the digital camera which will take just about anything you want to shoot. You will probably want the 55-200 lens after awhile. I finally got mine. I have used it twice in the past two months. When I used it I needed it. However, I wouldn't have missed anyting really spectacular.

    Get an inexpensive Nikon SLR from ebay (I'll help you evaluate the ones you are interested.) Shoot a roll a week and take them to the same shop that has PHOTO in their name, Not WalMart or RiteAid or Walgreens. A real camera shop. Read kenrockwell.com.

    What I've seen of your work looks like you can become a great photographer. You are already good. Keep it up.

    Pops
  13. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Thanks a lot guys... I will obviously take your advice and steer clear of these type schools.

    Pops, due to your recommendation some time ago, I have been visiting Ken Rockwell's site almost daily and then many times on the weekends, he has a ton of good information on that site and seems to be very serious and dedicated. You almost read my mind here... If things go according to plan I will be buying a Nikon 55x200mm VR lens this week and will follow the links through Ken's site to do it, in an effort to pay him back for this wealth of knowledge.

    I'll have to get back to this later, I've gotta get off to work, but wanted to thank you folks for all the helpful posts.


    Crpdeth
  14. glocknut

    glocknut New Member

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    I don't recomend those mail order..learn at your own pace scams. I asked a boss about it one time many many years ago and got laughed at pretty bad.

    mike
    gn
  15. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Thanks again, Guys...

    I suppose I was putting these type schools parallel to such courses as Rosetta Stone and other worthy courses in my mind... I don't see why they couldn't come up with a legitimate plan that would allow people to learn at home who don't have time to go to school. The idea of looking into workshops in my area this fall/winter sounds promising. But what I've been doing lately is simply gleaning from the Internet.

    Dropping in on YouTube has at least been teaching me a few things and it's really nice in the fact that you can learn what you like, when you like so I may just stick with that for awhile. Heck, I could just put the darn camera on auto and let it do it's thing, but what's the fun in that? I wanna know my camera inside and out the same way I do my firearms... What makes what work and why.

    Pop's... Have you found yourself wishing you'd bought an 18x200mm instead? The price difference is huge of course, but I just hate to have buyers remorse and wind up shelling out the cash later, having gotten tired of switching lenses and missing shots while doing so... So I just wonder if I should consider waiting until I could afford one of those and forget the 55x200mm?

    Crpdeth
  16. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    There are a few very good schools out there for learn at home. Howver, I think you would be best served by getting the art training (or, at least, exposure) first. So many of the schools concentrate on the camera mechanisms and darkroom lab work, without looking seriously at the art aspect of the skill. Knowing your camera's mechanical and electronic settings are important, but seeing and capturing the picture is the important thing. Get your settings into the camera before you get on scene, so you have to do only minor adjustments as the light and scenes change. I shoot most of my stuff at P with -0.7 exposure index, vivid +, matrix exposure metering, and center weighted autofocus. If I need to pull the exposure one way or another, I can almost always find someting off subject to set the exposure as I want it and then swing back to the subject without releasing pressure on the button.

    The 18x200 is a marvelous lens, but it unbalances the D40 too much for everyday use. You will find that you very seldom will use anything beyond 55. (However, when you do need the tighter framing of the 200, you NEED it.) If I were considering the 18x200, I would, instead, buy the 55x200 and pick up another D40 refurb to put it on. $700-ish for the 18x200. $150 for the 55-200 and $350-$400 for the camera.

    Remember, don't think of the zoom lens as a telephoto. Lens power change is used primarily as a framing tool. It lets you frame in the picture and out the extraneous "stuff." Yes, when you are trying to get that eagle in flight or that perigrine in full stoop, you do want the telephoto function, because your hot-air baloon won't get you close enough in time. However, that is not the way to think about your higher powered lenses on a camera. They are "contain the frame" tools.

    That said, there is an old saying among photographers, "If you have two lenses with you, you will have the wrong one mounted." :D Of course, thst is why they invented zoom lenses.

    I shot a car, truck, motorcycle rally Saturday. I had the Nikon 6006 (35x70,) the Nikon N60 (28x135), the D40 (18x55) and the extra 55x200 lens with me. I took 210 shots with the D40 using the 18x55 and never took the rest of the stuff out of the pickup.

    Go to Kenrockwell's links page and you will see that he lists ebay as one of his partners for income. If you send him $10, mention I sentcha. :D I drop him a dime everytime he saves me money or heartache on a major purchase. He saved me well over $150 on my purchase of the D40 and another $75 when I got the N60.

    Pops
  17. Crpdeth

    Crpdeth Active Member

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    Thanks a ton Pops... I am definitely considering everything you've said here.

    I have two more important questions for you... What would I learn in an art class that would improve one's "eye for photography"? I can certainly understand if they leaned towards lighting techniques and things like that, how this would greatly improve ones ability to see the differences between a great shot and a mediocre one.

    And secondly, I'm glad you sounded off regarding the lens, I can easily see me be buying a refurbished D40 kit and a 55x200 instead of the 18x200, but where do you find the 55x200 for 150 bucks? The one I found through Kens site is 219.00, although it does have VR which I think is important.

    Okay, enough questions for one day. :D

    Thanks, Bro...


    Crpdeth
  18. armedandsafe

    armedandsafe Guest

    I missed that you were specifically saying VR. I found the 55-200 on Adorama at that price range. I did not check the prices on the VR ones. Oooooops :D

    There are two great advantages in taking the art class. Yes you learn about light, but you learn what light actually does to enhance the subject. I've had times when I was shooting a subject outside and had 10 minutes delay change the shot from good to fantastic and back to good. The way light strikes a subject is important, but the way the light casts shadows is just as important. Light of the right temperature, angle and intensity makes for a great shot. However the shadows make THE great shot. Shadows are not all the black, no-detail blobs that most people visualize. Shadows are the soft shading cast by a model's hair as it swirls about her jaw line, or the change of a hillside from solid brown to waving grain, each head visible from 100 feet (figuratively.) It is hard to explain, but easy to show with drawing and painting.

    The most basic of art classes will concentrate on perspective, drawing and such, but a class above that is where they get into the way of seeing. Another thing they can help you learn is the vision of detail. When to include it and when to exclude it. I jacked the camera around a bit when I shot my Frozen Fog shot. The field behind it was covered with a deep layer of large, bright colored leaves. They would have "been" the picture had I had a deep field of focus. So I opened up the aperture and dropped them out of focus. Thus, they became the back-drop which enhances the tiny ice crystals. Look at the flags in this shot and see how the shadows make them "come alive." I talked to the organizers and had them delay the Taps cermony about 20 minutes to get the sun where I wanted it. That gave a local politician his speech a little earlier than he thought it would be.

    I was in town today delivering product, at a City Council meeting, met with my group after the meeting laying strategy and got home just a bit ago. I'm going to bed. More later.

    Pops

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