This page will grow throughout the semester. Check back when you
have question to see if the answer is already here. If not, email
Rick <firstname.lastname@example.org> I'll
answer it.......and probably put it here.
What type camera should I have (or buy)?
You should have a modern (auto focus, programmed exposure,35mm
camera with the ability to override the automatic settings and a 35mm
to 80mm zoom lens (or similar). "Point
and shoot" cameras offer
too little creative control to be of any use in a photography
course. Beg, borrow, or steal a contemporary 35mm single
lens reflex camera. You will learn more and take better photographs
(well, in theory, anyway). If you are thinking of buying a camera
(or, better yet, if someone has offered to
buy you one!), I think one of the best values is the Canon
of cameras (GII, K2, Ti or T2 – the newest
model). They are extremely well designed, have tons of features, can
be used in full manual or fully automatic mode, and are very reasonably
priced (all of them are under $300 w/lens).
Why can't I use my digital camera?
Digital cameras that are affordable are still not good enough for
this course for several reasons.
1. They present storage problems when traveling because of the
need for expensive memory cards to record a large number
of high quality images. Furthermore, digital memory cards are susceptible
to catastrophic failure at the whim of an electron. This
could be ruinous on the Sicily trip.
2. Digital cameras (all of them) have deficient dynamic range (the
ability to record a wide range of light values) which prevents them
from recording all of the values in a sunlit daytime scene on planet
earth. They perform like slide film from the 1950's.
3. Film is a very data-rich, stable, archive for photographic images.
There is currently no safe and permanent way to store digital images.
(CDs and DVDs have very limited life expectancy. Damage to a disk
can render all of the contents useless. Damage a negative and you
still have the other 35 images on the roll.)
Where can I get one of those handy table-top tripods?
If I don't have any left at the "giveaway" price of $6.00,
I found them on-line at B&H
Photo for $17.95. I have also seen them at Hunt's in Hadley.
What kind of film and how many rolls should I take to Sicily?
I recommend either Kodak or Fuji color negative film no faster than
ISO 200. You could easily shoot 10-15 rolls. Don't forget that you
have have it all processed when you get back.
Do I need a flash?
Not really. Flash photography is usually quite ugly. It allows you
to photograph things in bad light, but the images will rarely be
anything that you would want in your portfolio. The built-in flash
on most modern cameras will work for those occasions when you just
want a document or a snapshot of something.
Do I need a passport?
Yes! Do so immediately. (Northampton Post Office or the Amherst
Town Hall) or go to the State
Department's Passport Web page. You will need a certified birth
What if I'm not a U.S. citizen?
If you are not a U.S. Citizen, you must find out if you need a visa to enter
Italy. You can call the Italian embassy to find out. Do this immediately!
EMBASSY OF ITALY IN THE UNITED STATES
3000 Whitehaven Street, NW - Washington, DC 20008
Tel (202) 612-4400 - Fax (202) 518-2154
When is our payment due?
You will need to pay for your travel package($1,465.95) right away when you
return from winter break. There is a form for you to fill out in the Journalism
Office and the payment will be sent to Durgan Travel Service. We don't have
any flexibility here. your payment to UMass ($100) is due as
well but we can be a bit more flexible with that if needed.
What will the weather be like in Sicily?
Hopefully, sunny and in the 60's (sometimes 70's). It could rain, although
the rainy season is November through January. We change altitude a lot. On
Mt. Etna it is cold. Layers are the best choice for clothing. Long live Polar
How much spending money will I need?
This is a tough one. We feed you most of your meals and all of your
travel expenses (air, hotel, ground transportation, etc.) are part
of the price. You will definitely need $30 for tip money which I
will collect before we go. (Our guides depend on tips for their
survival and I can't let them be short changed by students who have
all of their funds.) Beyond that, it depends on your social life
and your need for gifts and
souvenirs. You could survive easily with $100 - $150. Make
sure you are able to pay for film processing and printing materials
How should I carry my money?
Don't carry a lot of cash. ATM cards work in Sicily. So do credit
cards. Call your bank and tell them ahead of time that you will be using
the card in Europe. Otherwise, the security program may block your transactions.
Make sure your PIN is a number 6 or fewer digits.
Traveler's checks are secure but hard to use. You could carry a few
but your ATM card is more convenient for day to day use.
When does the course meet?
Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6:00 to (sometimes) 9:00 in Rm. 131 or
Rm. 109 Bartlett.
Is attendance mandatory?