Probably the most important thing that I took from this class was learning some of the settings and how to use my camera. One of the most important things right off the bat was my ISO settings were at 1600 and my autofocus was set to focus on the left middle side of the screen. I didn't know anything about either of these things but they were both reducing my image quality by quite a bit. Figuring out how to change the area where the focus will be on was extremely important and I can't believe I had never figured that out before. It is kind of disappointing knowing that I have taken some really cool trips and missed out on some great photo opportunities because my settings were wrong.
Another very important thing was learning how to shoot in aperature priority. This is what I shot in the majority of the semester and I like the lighting options that it gives you and allows you to play with. Depth of field is extremely important in many of my opportunites to take photos and I had never understood how depth of field worked previously and was not happy with it a lot before.
I had the opportunity to get very close to a black bear in the Pryor mountains right here. Despite snapping hundreds of pictures I was very disappointed in the quality of them. Looking back now I think of ways that I could have fixed that. Aside from those mentioned already exposure compensation is an important tool to use. I was shooting the black bear in sport mode on a bright sunny day, and normal camera functions usually turn everything a certain percentage gray. My pictures of the bear come out gray it was pretty disappointing. I with I would have known about exposure compensation then to make the bear blacker.
One take home point from the class was the seven rules of photography. The seven rules are; red is more attractive than yellow, jagged lines are more attractive than curved lines, light is more attractive than dark, large draws more attention than small, difference draws more attention than conformity, diaganol lines are more attractive than vertical lines, and sharpness is more attractive than blur. These general rules are easy to follow and usually if you can obey a few of them in an image it will become very interesting visually.
Another thing I learned that may be very important for me in the future is the use of RAW format to take pictures. I like all of the adjustments that can be made when it is first opened and photoshop becomes available. What makes this option seem appealing to me is that even if the settings aren't quite right on the orignal image they can be tweaked quite a bit to look very realistic.
I have always been told that I have a good eye for setting up a composition. That wasn't really what I was worried about coming into this class. I have taken a lot of picutres since college began and have gotten used to what I need to do to set up a good composition. I went into this class knowing very little about camera settings and I got everything I wanted. As mentioned earlier there are a lot of mistakes I have made while photographing on previous school trips or other trips I took myself in cool locations such as the Galapagos and Costa Rica.