"Review of Nikonians Academy D300 In Depth class with Winston Hall"
Jefferson City, US
For those of you considering the D300 In Depth class, heres my opinion. I am not affiliated with Nikonians, no one suggested I write this, and no one got a look at it before I posted it. This is my opinion and I am solely responsible for the content.
Presenter: Winston Hall (Tuner)
I want to put your mind at ease if you’re planning on attending one of the Academy workshops. This will be a wonderful experience. Winston Hall is a great presenter and teacher.
You’ve all been in the presentations where the presenter puts up a bunch of powerpoints and reads them to you. Each topic has a few bullet points, and the presenter is really no good once you ask a significant content question that isn’t in the slides.
Or, you may be familiar with the “all day workshop” that goes from 8 to 9, does a group activity, goes again from 10 to 11, breaks from 11 to 1, and then has class again from 1-2, with another activity from 2 to 3. You get out at 3.
Or, maybe you’ve been in a presentation where the content is so dumbed down to the lowest common denominator that you feel like the guy reading the powerpoints is doing a Dr. Seuss impression. When I attend seminars and workshops, these are my biggest worries. I have walked out of a lot of workshops like this going “what, exactly, did I spend this money for?”
When I got out of the Nikonians D300 In Depth workshop this weekend in Las Vegas, I was very pleasantly surprised. Winston Hall is a content expert. He knows the camera inside and outside, backwards and forwards, and can tell you things that likely only one or two of the people at Nikon know. More importantly, he knows photography, what works and what doesn’t, and has the gift of being able to communicate it well. Unlike the content master who can’t teach, or the teacher who hasn’t mastered the content, Winston is the best of both worlds.
Obviously Nikonians assumes that by the time you have gotten to their course, you’ve opened the manual, found the power on switch, understand what “menu” does, and generally are not a complete amateur. In none of the classes that I was in was there the anchor that you often find at these classes. People who either want the complete history of photography in 30 minutes, or people who don’t understand how to get their images out of the camera. Everyone had a D300, knew which end was pointed at the subject, and Winston assessed this and moved past it in about 2 minutes.
The first part of the workshop was spent on modes of shooting (PSAM), Aperture, Shutter Speed, the Exposure trifecta (ISO, SS, F Stop), and the basics of capturing a good image. Even though I had this several times before, Winston presented it in a fresh way and it was a good refresher.
The class started promptly at 0800, and went through to 10 when we took a 15 minute break. At 10:15 we started back up, went through until 12, took a one hour lunch, and were back at 1. At 1 we went to 3, took another 15 minute break, and went straight on through to 5 pm. We were either writing things down, or trying things out the whole day. We wound up at the end of the day skimming the idea of picture controls, and at the end of the day I was a better photographer than when I went in. Having started in film in 1973 on an airbase in the Philippines, and having shot pictures all my life, I was skeptical going in of just how much I could be taught in a basic course. But I learned a lot, and specifically, I learned how to do things with my camera that I had not known how to do at the beginning of the day.. I left the workshop, went to the Vegas Strip, and shot photos at the Bellagio, etc. I applied a great deal of what Wiston taught me. More importantly, I knew when I went back the next day to the Creative Lighting System workshop, I would learn even more.
I can’t recommend Nikonian’s Academy D300 In Depth class any more highly. Come for the day, leave the cell phone behind, and bring a couple of good pens. You’ll be taking a lot of notes. You’ll get some good handouts, but you’ll have to do some writing of your own to follow along. Make sure you take your camera, and make sure you have charged batteries because you use the monitor a lot.
A. L. DeWitt Jefferson City, MO
Cameras allow us to share the beauty in God's creation with others.