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  1. #1
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Is Horenstein's book over the head of a sixth grader?

    My nephew asked me to teach him about photography.
    He is 12 years old. He is in the sixth grade.

    He can operate a 35mm camera 90% by himself with only occasional help.
    We went out and spent a day on photo safari. I only had to help him 2 or 3 times in the four hours we were out.

    He knows what aperture and shutter speed settings are but he uses the camera on program-auto most of the time. I would rather he concentrated on focusing and handling the camera before I bog him down with those details too much. He has expressed a desire to turn off all the automatic exposure settings and operate the camera on full-manual. I will move him to manual when I think he's ready. (Pretty soon.)

    He can load and unload the film in the camera mostly by himself. I only stand by to supervise... just in case. He did reload the camera by himself without me being there one time. I would give him a 90% on film loading too.

    He understands that "wherever light touches film it turns black after you develop it."

    He can load film onto plastic reels and get it into the tank for developing without messing it up.
    I showed him how to do it with some practice film. He did it correctly while we had the lights on. He did it again with his eyes shut but with the lights still on. Then we did it a third time in the dark, still using practice film. Finally, after three practice runs, he did it with real film and had no problems doing it right the first time.

    He understands the developing process and can do it mostly by himself.
    I measure the chemistry and put the mixed solutions into marked plastic containers. He does the pouring and agitating. I help him remember what order to do it in and what the time is for each solution.

    I suppose I could put a chart on the wall. That's how I learned. I am just so used to doing it by memory I don't think of that but, if he's going to develop film on a regular basis I'm probably going to make a chart.

    He can operate the enlarger and develop a print by himself. I mix up the chemistry. He does the rest. Again, I should probably put a chart on the wall.

    The only thing about making prints that he needs supervision on is printing exposure but I can see he's figuring that out as we go along.

    So... The bottom line is that he is capable of making a photo, from camera to darkroom, mostly by himself if I supervise.

    I can't give him formal photography lessons. I don't have the time and he can only come to visit once every couple of weeks, at most.

    I thought I could get him a book to read but the only one I know that would be close to his level would be Horensten's book. However, I'm not sure that book would not be over his head.

    Personally, when I was that age I read books on that level all the time but I was an above average reader.

    Do you think that book would be appropriate or can you suggest another book that would be more appropriate for his level?

    TIA!
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  2. #2
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Worker 11811 View Post
    Personally, when I was that age I read books on that level all the time but I was an above average reader.
    That sounds like a fair description of me at that age too. I don't know the book you are referring to but it sounds as if he would have no trouble with it. Even if it was a bit advanced in some areas I'm sure he would eventually understand it. I think a book just above his abilities would be preferable than a more simplistic version.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  3. #3
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Oops... Sorry... Inappropriate use of telegraphic language. :o
    "Horenstein's Book" should have been written:

    Henry Horenstein - "Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual"

    http://www.amazon.com/Black-White-Ph.../dp/B000KJTOMG
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

  4. #4
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Your nephew sounds like he could help beginners here on APUG .

    In answer to your question, I'll come back to you with another question.

    At what level does he read?

    If he reads to a grade six level (or better) I would think that most of the book would be accessible to him, and those parts that might be over his head could always be explained by you.

    One of the good things about a reference like this book is that it doesn't hurt if you cannot understand it all, because it is broken up into discrete parts, each of which generally stand on their own.

    It's also good to give him a chance to challenge himself a bit - there is nothing better for learning then trying something new in order to figure it out!

    Tell him that those of us on APUG are rooting for him!
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  5. #5
    Greg Davis's Avatar
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    Give him a copy and let us know. I am very interested in knowing if a sixth grader can understand it, because my college students seem not to. It's not a difficult book, I just think I have stupid students.
    www.gregorytdavis.com

    Did millions of people suddenly disappear? This may have an answer.

    "No one knows that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." -Matthew 24:36

  6. #6
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Let him take the pictures he wants to take,
    and help him print the pictures he wants to print.

    Henry is a great reference, but there isn't any reason to put a book, or organised instruction, between him and something he enjoys doing.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  7. #7
    Roger Thoms's Avatar
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    That was the text for my beginning black and white photography class. If I could understand it a sixth grader should have no problem.

    Roger

  8. #8

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    Just give him some time. He will get soon enough.

    Jeff

  9. #9
    RalphLambrecht's Avatar
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    First let me say that you should be complemented for doing this. I'm sure this will create a nice bond between uncle and nephew, and it will most likely go beyond photography.

    Alternatively to the book, I would try Kodak's introductions to photography on the web. If he is above that level already, try the book. It is a good choice for beginners.
    Regards

    Ralph W. Lambrecht
    www.darkroomagic.comrorrlambrec@ymail.com[/URL]
    www.waybeyondmonochrome.com

  10. #10
    Worker 11811's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Davis View Post
    Give him a copy and let us know. I am very interested in knowing if a sixth grader can understand it, because my college students seem not to. It's not a difficult book, I just think I have stupid students.
    I think it's epidemic. I work at a college and a lot of students seem to be unable to understand things that I could do when I was in high school.

    I took my first official photography class as a Junior in high school.
    (The class was limited to Juniors and Seniors.) In order to pass the class with a "C-minus" you had to be able to take a photograph from camera to finished print without help. The better you were at making photos the better your grade.

    I took two more classes in college. "Photography 101" was the prerequisite but I sailed through because of my high school experience but most of the students in that class were able to learn it at least as well as the kids I was in high school with. "Photography 201" was harder, of course, but, again, most of the students passed that class with a "C" or better. There are always one or two who are either slackers or dumb asses. That goes with the territory. Still, I would say 90% of the students understood the classes well enough to get a "C." From what I remember, the average grade was a "B" or better.

    I shoot the bull with the photography teacher at the college where I work. He tells me all his horror stories. Frankly, I wouldn't believe them if I didn't know the guy.

    Just this last term, he told me that 15 out of 20 of his "Photo 101" students didn't complete their last assignment and only about half of them passed with a "C" or better.

    I don't think it's because students are any "less intelligent" than they were 25 years ago when I was in college. I think it's because they have an attitude of entitlement. They want "Instant Gratification" and they don't want to work for anything. They are too accustomed to having everything handed to them and, if they can't do something right the first time, they give up and stop trying.

    This is why, when my nephew asked me about photography, I jumped on the chance.

    I want to make sure that he can produce a photo, start to finish... from camera to print... with only basic supervision. Hopefully, I can get him to the point where I can turn him loose on his own and he'll only need to come and ask the occasional question.

    That is still getting ahead of things a little bit. I want to get all the basics covered before we go there.

    That's what the book is for. I want him to have something he can read now but still be able to use as a reference later on.

    Ever since I was a kid, I have always preferred to swim in water that's just a couple inches over my head. (Both figuratively and literally. )
    If I get him this book (or better yet, convince his mom to buy the book for him) that's what I hope it will be: Just a little bit above his level but not too much that he'll be discouraged.
    Randy S.

    In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni.

    -----

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/randystankey/

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