Hello fellow COUGARS, Mr. Solomon here. It is my pleasure to be your photography teacher this year at San Ysidro High School.

We have begun the return to the classroom and are experiencing a lot of emotions and new changes. Worry about being gracious, kind and mature. Every single student in the nation just went through this period of “unknown”. Being back in the classroom doesn’t erase all the time you’ve missed but don’t worry too much, we will course correct to meet you wherever you are. Teachers are experts at this! We can teach anyone anything, that’s our job. We want to encourage learning not mandate it. Your mental health and well being is just as important as your academic skills. We will persevere, we will be stronger, braver and smarter from this but only if we participate and engage with each other. May we rise up and do BETTER.


Now… if you would like assistance with Photoshop, Lightroom or another digital manipulation/editing software let me know in class or by email. I do not want anyone feeling left out so please ask whenever you need help, remember “closed mouths don’t get fed.” If you want a free version of photoshop you can use Photopea https://www.photopea.com Your Lenovo laptops can handle this and we will work with this program when needed.

aperture study

1) What is Aperture?

Simply put, aperture is a hole within a lens, through which light travels into the camera body. It is easier to understand the concept if you just think about our eyes. Every camera that we know of today is designed like human eyes. The cornea in our eyes is like the front element of a lens – it gathers all external light, then bends it and passes it to the iris. Depending on the amount of light, the iris can either expand or shrink, controlling the size of the pupil, which is a hole that lets the light pass further into the eye. The pupil is essentially what we refer to as aperture in photography. The amount of light that enters the retina (which works just like the camera sensor), is limited to the size of the pupil – the larger the pupil, the more light enters the retina.

2) Size of Aperture – Large vs Small Aperture

The iris of the lens that controls the size (diameter) of the aperture is called “diaphragm” in optics. The sole purpose of the diaphragm is to block or stop all light, with the exception of the light that goes through the aperture. In photography, aperture is expressed in f-numbers (for example f/5.6). These f-numbers that are known as “f-stops” are a way of describing the size of the aperture, or how open or closed the aperture is. A smaller f-stop means a larger aperture, while a larger f-stop means a smaller aperture. Most people find this awkward, since we are used to having larger numbers represent larger values, but not in this case. For example, f/1.4 is larger than f/2.0 and much larger than f/8.0.


                                        f/29                                          f/5.6

3) What is Depth of Field?

One important thing to remember here, the size of the aperture has a direct impact on the depth of field, which is the area of the image that appears sharp. A large f-number such as f/32, (which means a smaller aperture) will bring all foreground and background objects in focus, while a small f-number such as f/1.4 will isolate the foreground from the background by making the foreground objects sharp and the background blurry.

GOAL: Using the Av (APERTURE PRIORITY MODE) complete 10 photographs using the same subject but one with the lowest f/stop and the other with the highest f/stop. Upload the photos side-by-side to compare and contrast the depth of field. (Total due 20 images)

VANTAGE point & frame

(Courtesy Daniel Solomon)
Daniel Solomon

Vantage Point and Frame are essential choices that must be made by photographers no matter what their ultimate goal for image making.

This act of choosing what to include and exclude, what is our central focus and what is on the periphery (outside the frame), as well as the vantage point and point of view of the camera provides context and meaning. The use of the photographic frame as constructed in the camera’s viewfinder is central to reflecting the intentional visual and conceptual concerns in how photographic meaning is considered.

Give particular attention to your use of the photographic frame and your vantage points

  1. Shoot From A Low Angle: Bug/Worm’s Eye View

Shooting from a low angle is probably the most popular alternative to eye-level perspective photography. It can be challenging because you may have to squat, sit, kneel or lie down to capture your image. It’s worth the effort because it provides an out-of-the-ordinary look at your subject and the results can be stunning.

Saul Gonzalez
Saturday, Juan Talavera, age 3, left, and his brother Carlos, age 2, right, try some cotton candy from the midway at the Humboldt County Fairgrounds. Daniel Solomon/The Eureka Reporter

Start by identifying your subject and find a low angle to shoot from. You might even want to place your camera or iPhone on the ground for additional support. You can use leading lines or anything in the foreground to draw the viewer into your image.

Focus on the interesting angles you find when your camera is really close to the ground or better yet, on the ground, level with or looking up at your subject. You could also experiment with flipping your iPhone so the camera lens is closer to the ground. This will provide an even stronger low-angle effect.

  1. Shoot From A High Angle: Bird’s Eye View

Looking down towards your subject is another way to get a new and unique angle with your perspective photography. You don’t necessarily need to climb to the top of a building to accomplish this, but that is one popular possibility. In fact, if you can gain access to the upper floors or the roof of a tall building, you can discover some amazing vantage points.

Hannah Vega

There are other ways to get above your subject, whether you’re standing on something that gives you a little lift or if you’re just naturally taller than your subject. It could be as simple as looking down into the cup of coffee you’re holding, with your feet and the ground beneath them included for depth.

You could also try this technique with portraits by having your subject lie on the ground or sit and look up at the camera. Just be sure the angle flatters them and enhances their appearance.

Go above and beyond your typical habits and present your surroundings from top to bottom. The view you create might serve as an exciting new perspective that you can use again and again, improving your photography in the process.


GOAL: While paying attention to your FRAME complete

5 Bird’s Eye View and 5 Bug’s Eye View photographs and upload the best to your individual websites.

Title the assignment VANTAGE POINT AND FRAME and also type the titles below

BUG’S EYE VIEW and insert your 5 photos

BIRD’S EYE VIEW and insert your 5 photos

thank you and GOOD LUCK!

Below are your at home “cell phone” photography assignments.

Due August 13th

Motivational Banner Photo

This project asks you to create a motivational banner using whatever material you may have. Post-It Notes, napkins, paper, etc… Please create a banner with a motivational word, message or phrase. Hang the banner wherever, inside or outside, on a wall or a tree, that’s your choice. Last step is to photograph the banner and then upload to your website. Please remember to give the photograph the title. MOTIVATIONAL BANNER and then insert the photo below. THANK YOU

photograph an outfit with a significant memory

This project asks you to remember a significant moment in your life. Positive or negative, happy or tragic, but think of the outfit/clothing you wore. The outfit can be hung or laid out upon your bed or floor. Using your cell phone camera please photograph the entire outfit. Thank you for sharing with me this important memory.

Movie that made me cry (or almost tough guy)

This project can be drawn or sketched if you prefer but at the least please photograph your device ( T.V., laptop, iPad) and capture any scene from the movie that made you cry or emotional because it was that darn good.

Fix it and document it

For this project I would like for you to discover or fix that thing you’ve been staring at forever but never got around to fixing it. Like a broken pencil or a hole in your jeans find something in need of repair. Photograph it and then fix it and photograph it once more (before and after). Upload to your website with a title.

Flash photo under your bed

In this project you will simply turn the flash on your cell phone camera. Look under the bed and take a picture! No moving things or cleaning up just take a picture as it is. (If your bed is on the floor or there is no space under your bed then you don’t have to take one, no point deduction)

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