Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure lecture

Sandy Carr

Posted May 15, 2011 in: Events  News 

Bryan Peterson, a well known photographer for 30 years and a teacher of photography for 20, gave a slide/lecture presentation at the Byrd Theater in Richmond, Va. First, though, a little history on this beautiful old fashion theater.Bryan PetersonThe theater was built in 1928. It was named after William Byrd who was one of the founders of Richmond. The first movie shown there was on Christmas Eve in 1928. It was a comedy called Waterfront and was a silent movie with sound added. At that time a matinee costs 25 cents and an evening show was only 50 cents. A dinner and movie in one night ? Wow !!

The Byrd Theater is listed as one of our nations Grand Movie Palaces, is a State and National Historic Landmark and to this day, the appearance of this theater is mostly unaltered. The Byrd is still an operating movie theater so on Fri., May 13th you can see “Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave” for only $5. Now back to our presentation.

On April 9th a few of our club members attended the lecture that Bryan Peterson gave. It started at 9 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. with an hour break for lunch. I avidly watched his presentation, listening to his every word as slide by slide was presented on the large screen in front of us. Such colors, so vivid and sometimes wild. I asked myself, “Just what kind of a camera do you need to catch the kind of life that Mr. Peterson was showing?” Why wasn’t I seeing these colors? Were there other photo enthusiasts who thought the same way ? But that was exactly what his talk was all about. Learning to see creatively and understanding exposure ! Angles, lines, thirds, light, or lack there of, rainy days, fog, reflections (my favorite),imagination and learning to see differently. I learned how to not center my subject and produce a better photo. Do not put the horizon in the middle of your picture ! Na, break the rules, Peterson said. Change things if you can. Zoom in on the subject. It will make for a more interesting photo. Experiment when possible. The Bryd TheatherHe showed us how to imply motion on stationary objects which produced not only an interesting photo but art. He also showed us how to use fill flash in various situations and the amazing effects one can achieve when using neutral-density filters. He discussed how to soften water and freeze action and the effects that a polarizing lens would have on photographs shot either on a sunny, cloudy or rainy day. Front light, side light and back lighting was discussed. Each technique that Bryan Peterson presented was accompanied by a beautiful and vivid photo. I took copious notes and was glad that he shared with the audience the F stop, shutter speed and lens used for each photo. 
More of the theatherDuring the lunch break we were able to purchase any of the numerous books that Bryan Peterson wrote on photography. I purchased 2 and had him autograph them.
By the end of the lecture I was feeling more confident with my own photography. I’m sure I was not alone. Now, armed with more info and quite a few examples, I just might produce a photograph that is worthy of a few oohs and awes. And I will try and take Bryan Peterson’s advice. Enjoy what you are doing, don’t give up and practice, practice, practice.

Thank you, Bryan Peterson, for the eye opening lecture and thanks to the Richmond Camera Club for hosting the lecture.

About Sandy Carr - In the winter of 2009 Sandy contacted members of a previous photography club to see if anyone was interested in starting a new club. She organized the initial meeting of the Calvert Photography Club and currently serves as the clubs treasurer. Sandy said that her love of photography came late in life. "I guess I get it from my Dad. He was forever taking pictures of the kids or the mountains in upper New York state." As an amateur photographer Sandy says she want to explore everything. Her passion lies in capturing the ever changing images of water. At the moment she owns a Canon Rebel XSI DSLR and a digital Nikon P100. Sandy said her favorite photographer is Ansel Adams.


Thanks for the great write-up - I really enjoyed the lecture too! I would highly recommend any of Bryan's books to anyone interested in demystifying creative exposure.

Comment from Guy Stephens on May 15, 2011

Nice write-up Sandy. Thanks for sharing, sounds like the trip was worth it.

Comment from Jeff Smallwood on May 15, 2011

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