My photographic education to date has been, to say the least, informal. I picked up a camera in high school back in the 80’s. I learned the basics of technique and exposure from books, magazines and experimenting. I got lucky in my junior year- my buddy John’s dad had an awesome dark room and we spent hours in there working up film and print. During college and grad school photography was a some-times hobby. I took lots of slides on vacations and hiking trips, but never just as an art in itself. When digital came around, I avoided it mostly because I didn’t understand things like white balance. But I did buy an Canon point and shoot and had a lot of fun with it. Then about five years ago I decided to buy a dSLR and lean how to use the thing. In the course of putzing around with it I found David Hobby’s site (aka the Strobist) and it opened a whole new world for me! I bought a couple of flashes and started playing around, mostly replicating David’s online lessons. That was all well and good, but I needed some hands on instruction. I was searching online for a rental darkroom when I stumbled across the Studio of Photographic Arts (www.thesopha.com). And that’s when everything changed!
The SOPHA is a 8,000 membership based studio in Manchester, NH. They offer three rental studios, multiple pre-built sets, tons of props and other resources. More importantly, they offer classes in everything from Beginning Studio Lighting to Business for photographers to Building a WordPress Site. The place is run by Bud Thorpe and he has managed to build a dynamic community of photographers. In fact, it’s that community that makes being a member of the SOPHA so worthwhile.
The hands on guidance there from Bud and Dave Dawson and the rest of the community helped move my work and vision to a new level. Plus having access to a ton of gear and new techniques to play with helped accelerate things! Most of my studio images on this site were shot at the SOPHA. If you happen to be in Manchester, NH drop by and check them out!