Can we have a drum roll please as we get ready to introduce you to a special article feature: Mental Resolution!

Over the next few weeks you will see posts by ‘fancyblithe’ as we take a journey with her on her first photographic course at The College of Digital Photography. We will get to hear her experiences and see a side to photography that I think many of us forget after a few years of being familiar with what an aperture or f/stop is etc. At the end of the course we will have a special feature in PhotoComment Magazine where you will get to learn more about ‘fancyblithe’ and if, how, where this course has helped her on the journey.

See each chapter of the story below, check back to read often to catch the latest chapter of this story.


  • this is an adventure. care to join?

    a friend recently asked me to describe myself in a few words. i said “commitment-phobe-but-recently-married, adventurer. i am constantly looking for ways to quench my thirst for change and new experiences. my latest exploration comes in the form of photography. i’m a noob at it. if you don’t think photography really classifies as “hard-core”, wait till you hear the jargon.

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  • adventure – part 2

    i realise a little more with every class that every penny i earn from now on will likely be spent on some or other piece of camera equipment. every lens we were introduced to at our last class sounded essential. i’m pretty sure i need at LEAST; a portrait lens, a telephoto lens, a macro lens, 2 ultra wide angle lenses and a fish eye lens as a cherry on the top (and that’s just to start). i haven’t told my husband what lenses cost, i just said “expensive”. for now i’ll have to be content with my little 18mm – 55mm “kit lens”.

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  • adventure – part 3

    today i give you special deal; two for the price of one.

    lesson 3 & 4 were just as mesmerizing as the previous two. yes, i said mesmerizing. i would be lying if i told you i haven’t absolutely LOVED this course so far. maybe i’m a photography nerd? do you get those? if you do, i’m convinced that i am one. i would also be lying if i said that it’s been easy. there have definitely been those frustrating moments where what i see in my head and how the photograph actually turns out haven’t quite met up. but i have come to terms with the fact that it’s all part of the creative process.

    clearly our classes have finally gotten to the point i’ve seriously been looking forward to; the place where we are allowed to use our creativity. lesson 3 covered learning to understand and master creative choices ie.; working with aperture to produce the envisioned DOF (depth of field), shutter speed to produce the effect of freezing the moment or showing movement. we were taught how a higher ISO setting can be helpful in lower light settings.

    AND THEN, wait for it…the Grey Card! what a useful piece of grey cardboard. it’s so useful because it is 18% reflective, meaning it absorbs & reflects the perfect amount of light so as to give us a perfect average of the light falling on our subject. perfect exposure! that’s if you can effectively hold the grey card tilted to the right angle in one hand and hold your camera balancing your light meter with the other. did i mention this glorious course is strengthening my hand eye coordination too? anyway, the point is, the bride’s dress will be white instead of blue and the groom’s tux will be black instead of grey. a wonderful, cost effective substitute for an electronic hand-held light meter.

    on to lesson 4 where we learned about flash photography. i learned that the little pop-up flash on my Canon can be quite effective at filling in light where awkward shadows would usually sit. here i was, thinking that flash on my camera was the devil when actually it’s a wonderful little added extra to everything else my nifty camera can do. of course, again, it’s not as simple as popping the flash up and snapping away. we were informed of “GN” (Guide Number – the power output of the flash), “fall off” and “flash synchronisation speed” and my favourite, TTL (Through The Lens flash exposure metering). what i can say is that i’m a fan of this “TTL”. basically, because this feature is built into my digital camera i don’t have to do a bunch of on-the-spot maths calculations to figure out the flash intensity needed. film is GREAT, i’m sure. but I don’t like maths.

    i also learned i really want a “bounce flash”.

    when it came to composition we were given some “rules” or “essential tips” (if you don’t like rules). there’s the “rule of thirds” and “power points”. creating effective photographs often means simplifying and usually choosing one COI (Center Of Interest). as a photographer you have to preconceive the image you want and then you have to guide the viewers eye to your “point” with your use of colour, contrast, leading lines and camera angles. simplifying your image does not equal simplifying your thought processes before you make the photograph.

    and that’s why we don’t simply take photographs. we MAKE them.

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  • adventure – part 4

    last Sunday we had our “early morning outing”. we had to meet at the venue at 06:30 am. i always find it difficult to wake up so early but once i’m up i feel fantastic. i love the early morning light. it wasn’t such a bad thing that i saw a magnificent shooting star trailing across the still-dark sky. i missed my onramp onto the highway because i was watching it but who cares? a quick u-turn and i was on track again. we spent some cold hours taking photographs of subjects i would usually have found pretty boring but with that light and looking through my viewfinder, i found myself excited by what i saw. just like our lecturers said; if you want great photographs, you’ve gotta be up before the sun.

    yesterday evening my husband asked me what i learned at my photography class that morning. i told him about exposure compensation and about the histogram. he looked at me with one raised eyebrow and said “a histogram!? isn’t that a surgery performed on women!?”.

    needless to say he won’t be impressed with my divulging of his “moment”. of course, i can’t really expect him to have known that a histogram is basically a graph that shows the highlights, mid-tones and shadows of each individual image. i like that Hannah, one of our passionate lecturers called it the “heartbeat monitor” of the photograph. a clipped histogram on the right means you have blown out whites, while a clipped left is shadows that are too dark to show any detail. of course some people would say your histogram should be a lovely little hill; sloped on each side and gently round in the middle. BUT some of us WANT patches of blown out whites and too-dark shadows. and that’s just another reason i love photography. it’s all about making choices; preconceiving the image you want in your head, and then telling your camera how to capture it.

    after hearing a little about aperture priority mode (Av) and shutter priority mode (Tv), we got to see our images up on the wall; an intimate little exhibiton. quite a feeling.

    yesterday was our last class for the Fundamentals course. i didn’t leave without a pamphlet with information on all the other courses the College offers. i’ll need it. i’ll be back. i want more.

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  • PhotoComment Magazine Issue 18

    It is finally here! Due to some technical problems this issue was unable to go live in August as it should

    have. We have taken the extra time to get some more great content to bring you a great issue of PhotoComment Magazine. Our apologies for the delay.

    In this issue:

    The Feature this month is Mental Resolution. We have been following the adventures of fancyblithe as she has embarked on a Photography course as a complete novice, in this article she wraps up with her overall impressions of the course and photography and we get to she some of the work she has produced.

    We feature Cas Pretorious from Camera Club as our Reader’s Portfolio.

    We report back on the Worldwide Photo Walk.

    We review the Nikon S8000, Nikons Ultra zoom Compact Digital Camera.

    Lisa Solonynko teaches us how to take great photographs of Smoke.

    We also have our regular features including Scoop, Editors Comment and Final Comment.

    Click here to read this issue.

    We love to here from you, please leave your comments below or mail us on

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  • learning to share

    i’m one of those irritating “artists” who doesn’t like showing off my work because of how critical i am of myself. seeing my photos in the photo comment mag however, kind of made me go…”hang on a sec, this feels pretty awesome”. i need to keep sharing. i need to open myself up to an onslaught of crits or praise and be equally gracious about feedback in both categories, instead of brushing off any compliments…

    …so, i went ahead and uploaded a few of my recent images. as you might notice i have played around with editing a bit:




    for some reason i have noticed that some photographers try not to divulge where their photo-shopping (or in my case “gimping”) has helped the creative process.


    personally, i think that’s a bit narrow minded. you need a great image before you even begin your editing. editing can enhance a fantastic image. if we carry on trying to hide any editing, we start to become like those people who say “photographers aren’t artists because the camera does everything”.



    as a photographer, you preconceive the image. you make the photo in your head before the shutter comes down. and that process is just extended into your editing. if you have no creative vision, editing won’t help you much. right?

    some might say “keep telling yourself that”. i will, thank you very much.

    my unprofessional opinion counts because this is my blog post.

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