In 2008 RMSP will celebrate its 20th year educating students in the field of photography. It marks a milestone in the schools history as well as some exciting changes to our Career Training program. Jeanne Chaput de Saintonge, school director and co-owner, sat down with Bob McGowan to talk about some of the changes.
There are some changes to the Career Training program for 2008. Can you tell us a bit about them?Yes, as a matter of fact we have some very exciting new changes to the CT program this coming year. We are continuing Summer Intensive (SI), our very popular course that we've been running for 20 years. Naturally, SI changes every year due to emerging technologies, but the strong foundation the program provides is stronger than ever. We've expanded our Professional Studies offerings to include courses on Fine Art and Stock, Adventure Photography and Editorial Portraiture. But the biggest change is that ‘Digital Intensive' is now ‘Advanced Intensive' and includes a significant component of marketing and portfolio development. You can take any of our three courses individually, but taken together, they provide a comprehensive 20-week photographic education.
What changes are being made to the curriculum for Summer Intensive 2008 that will make it stronger?The most significant change is that students will be shooting, editing and managing images digitally from day one. For the first time in the history of the course, you don't need a film camera to come to SI. Although traditionally we've taught many of the building blocks of image making using the black and white darkroom, this switch to digital provides a number of advantages. Digital cameras are a great instructional tool for teaching the foundations of photography and digital image editing provides the potential for tremendous creative growth.
Professional Studies courses have expanded to cover a three week time frame. Can you tell us why?We wanted our Career Training students to be able to take a more diverse selection of classes. In addition to adding three more courses to choose from, we've structured these courses to allow the student to design his or her own individual curriculum from the variety of offerings. The addition of a third week of Professional Studies provides the student with more flexibility in setting up a personalized line-up. We've designed "tracks" of interest that can give a student a range of options for a career path.
You mentioned that RMSP will be changing Digital Intensive to Advanced Intensive (AI). From where did Advanced Intensive evolve and why? And a follow up question, can you tell us more about the new course?Advanced Intensive evolved from Digital Intensive, a program we've taught for the past five years. In AI we'll continue with our fine tradition of providing professional digital training, but we'll also provide something more. We recognize that Summer Intensive graduates need support and access to facilities in order to continue to develop their work and their portfolios. We've included this component as well as more business and marketing classes in our AI curriculum to insure our students' professional success.
Advanced Intensive is the third step in the RMSP Career Training program. A student, who has mastered the fundamentals of photography and focused on a career path, is ready for it. AI is about working on a portfolio, defining a marketing plan and learning to work professionally with digital technology. Our commitment to students is that we provide them with an up-to-date look at how digital technologies are used today and teach them the skills they need to enter the marketplace and operate effectively within it.
You've told us about changes in Career Training. So are there new things going on with Workshops too? We've got a great line up of workshops for next year. We're repeating many of our most popular workshops and we've added some exciting new ones, including:Northern California's Wine CountryAlaskan AdventureIndian Summer on the Upper PeninnsulaTravel Photography – Creating a Sense of PlaceStorytelling Through ImagesFinding Your Focus: Sedona, ArizonaPhotoshop for the Landscape PhotographerThe Black and White Master Print Obviously digital technology plays a big role in photography these days. How do you feel about the direction the school is taking with regard to the digital age? The digital age has brought so many exciting new possibilities to my world, not only in terms of the tools and techniques that our students learn for shooting, editing and displaying photographs, but also in terms of the educational process itself! Digital technology is used everyday in the classroom and enhances the learning process in so many ways. Everything from instructor presentations, to students submitting images for critiques, to posting handouts as digital files, RMSP is embracing the technology and using it to its full advantage.
Thinking About a Digital Point and Shoot? Neil outlines important things to know about point and shoot cameras today.
Most of us who consider ourselves photographers (amateur and professional), love our DSLR cameras with their high quality and multitude of features. However, one problem we often have is how to carry a camera that size with us. I know I always think I will bring my camera with me, but then when it comes time to leave the house, I often leave it because it is just too much to carry.
So how about a digital point and shoot that will let me get great quality photos and will give me enough features to have some of the control that my DSLR has? This is a very complex subject when you first encounter buying a point and shoot camera. There are so many to choose from with so many features.
Let's start with the brands that make good cameras. The seven major players I found in my research are: Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax and Sony. All of these brands make very good cameras in many price ranges. Next, let's talk about the types of point and shoot cameras. Depending upon what I am looking for, when I think of point and shoot cameras, I usually think of five categories.
Some of the features to look for when buying a point and shoot camera:
These should be some of the important features that you look for in choosing a point and shoot.
Listed below is one camera in each of these categories that is of high quality. There are so many cameras on the market, that I have chosen Canon because it is the brand I know best. I have done much research and experimentation to find which ones in the newest crop of Canon point and shoot cameras are at the top. Saying this, I realize that there are equal quality cameras in most of the other brands. If you wish to buy another brand, check the features I have listed above.
Lastly, I would like to end with a note of disappointment in the camera companies for not coming out with that perfect point and shoot camera. Some of us remember a wonderful professional film point and shoot – the Konica Hexar. This camera had a 30mm, F2, fixed lens that was super sharp and fast.
We still have no Hexar in our digital cameras. Ricoh has their GR digital, which is getting closer. I think that the Canon G9 is somewhat close, but needs a faster lens and a larger sensor so it can shoot at high ISO's with great quality. I feel many pro and advanced amateurs would pay a premium price for such a camera. Let's let our dealers and camera companies know what we want.
Happy Shooting,Neil Chaput
Our 2008 catalog went out the first of October. If you have not received yours please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check online for detailed course information.
It is a special treat to have our co-founders Neil and Jeanne Chaput de Saintonge both featured in our November newsletter. If you would like more information on the new Career Training courses that Jeanne introduced in her interview, click here to go to Career Training and take a look at Advanced Intensive and the Professional Studies courses we’ve added.
Additionally, follow the links to learn more about our *New* 2008 Workshops Jeanne mentioned.
Northern California’s Wine CountryAlaskan AdventureIndian Summer on the Upper PeninnsulaTravel Photography – Creating a Sense of PlaceStorytelling Through ImagesFinding Your Focus: Sedona, ArizonaPhotoshop for the Landscape PhotographerThe Black and White Master Print
Neil went the distance this month with his thorough explanation of Point and Shoot cameras. Here are some additional links if you are considering making a purchase.
Usa.canon.com- additional information on the cameras found on Neil’s list.Photo.net- reviews of the equipment you may be considering buying (plus a whole lot more!).Bhphotovideo.com- a great source for purchasing that point and shoot once you’ve done a little research. Competitive prices and a great selection.
Our Weekends program kicks off in January going to 11 cities in 2008. Are we coming to yours? Check it out and see!
Virginia Beach, VA
Des Moines, IA
For more information or to register please call our office and contact Michelle or Bob at 800.394.7677
Happy Holidays from all of us at Rocky Mountain School of Photography!