Learn all about lensman’s art

IF YOU enjoy photography as a hobby but want to improve your skill, why not sign up for a course taught by professionals in the field?

Photographer and retired lecturer Pine Pienaar and his team of photographic lecturers have the knowledge and skill to teach you how to take top-quality, beautiful pictures.

Port Elizabeth-based Pienaar is a former NMMU photography lecturer. He taught photography, graphic design and fine art students.

“While teaching I also specialised in astronomical photography and worked at the Boyden Observatory, [outside Bloemfontein], in this capacity,” he said.

He lived in Mozambique for three years and used this time as a base for exploring the southern and central regions of Africa.

“It was during this time that I became interested in photography. After my travels I settled in Johannesburg, studied photography and worked as a commercial photographer.

“When my son was born, I accepted a lecture position at the PE Technikon, today the NMMU,” he said.

After retiring he started Learn Photography, a private photography school specialising in short courses for the public.

“We currently run beginners courses twice a month. The courses are comprised of a theory component, composition and practical workshops. During the workshops students apply what they have learned in the theory classes and gain hands-on experience.”

Q: Who can attend the classes and what equipment must they have?A: Students of all ages are welcome. They must of course have a camera – SLR or compact.

Q: What courses are offered?A: Beginner courses runs twice a month. These courses comprised a theory component, composition and practical workshops. During the workshops students apply what they have learned.

The beginners courses are designed to teach people who know little about photography. Some students arrive at the classes with their cameras still boxed.

After a week and a half they get to know their cameras, understand light and gain the ability to produce stunning photographs.

We also offer a wide range of one-day workshops. These include studio flash workshops, flash on camera workshops, portrait and figure workshops, macro workshops and Photoshop courses.

Q: Are there extended courses on offer?A: The extended course runs over 11 weeks. Workshops include studio portraiture, studio figure studies, night- and low-light workshops and light- painting workshops. The works of famous international photographers are also studied, as well as visual semiotics and design for photography.

As part of this course, there are also field trips to small Karoo towns like Steytlerville, Nieu Bethesda and Hogsback, where students learn to photograph sunset silhouettes, practise more light-painting and photograph star fields.

Other activities included are an astronomy lecture, star-gazing with a deep- space telescope, a lecture on plate techtonics and the formation of the Karoo as well as the Karoo fossil record.

Q: What are the course fees?A: Basic photography – R1490 (for people who know little about photography); extended photography – R2950; Photoshop – R1490 per module, and one-day workshops range from R500 to R1500.

Q: Who lectures at the courses?A: All our lecturers are university trained with years of experience in the fine art and commercial field.

Q: What camera do you use?A: If you must know, Canon, but it really does not matter. The best camera is one that becomes an extension of one’s vision, regardless of make.

A friend of mine recently photographed night scenes with his grandfather’s Kodak Box camera. Although the images were not sharp or detailed, they were stunningly beautiful and stirring.

Q: How serious are the people who sign up for the photographic course?A: Students are generally serious about getting to know their cameras and taking better photographs. Some of our students go on to study photography full time at NMMU or start their own studios. Others simply want to learn how to get the best out of their cameras.

Q: Where is your studio: A: Our studio and lecture rooms are in the Bloomingdales Centre in Main Road, Walmer. For more info on short courses, e-mail: info@learnphotography.co.za,visit our website at learnphotography.co.za, or call us at 073-174-4444.

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