YouTube Recommendation: Marc Levoy – Lectures on Digital Photography

Marc Levoy - Lectures on Digital Photography

When you start looking into the theory of photography, you soon realise that it is quite easy to become lost in detail. The exposure triangle alone just doesn’t do it. How does the image get to the sensor in the first place? How does the camera see colours? How do we see them? Where does image noise come from? You can either search for the answers to any of these questions individually – or you grab the comprehensive package provided by Marc Levoy.


Marc Levoy is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at Stanford and now works for Google. From 2009 to 2014, he taught a University course titled “how cameras work, and how to take good pictures using them”. In the spring of 2016, he gave an adapted version of this course at Google, which thankfully was recorded and made available online. 18 lectures, altogether more than 22 hours of video material. This is the course description given on the homepage:

An introduction to the scientific, artistic, and computing aspects of digital photography. Topics include lenses and optics, light and sensors, optical effects in nature, perspective and depth of field, sampling and noise, the camera as a computing platform, image processing and editing, and computational photography. We will also survey the history of photography, look at the work of famous photographers, and talk about composing strong photographs.

The lectures are easy to follow; the image and audio quality is very good. Even more important, he does not lose himself in gobbledegook, even when going deep into the finer details. He never loses the golden thread, and that is what makes the entire package so interesting.

The lecture’s Homepage does not only provide the links to the 18 YouTube videos, it also runs all applets used in the lectures, including instructions, as well as all of the assignments if you want to give it a try yourself!


Recommendation: This is a must-see!

What I’ve learned: A lot 🙂 In particular, it helped me understand a lot of technical background as well as explaining contexts which are easily missed when just looking into individual aspects. Of course you can use the course schedule to pick out the topics you’re most interested it, but I strongly recommend taking the time to watch the entire course over time.


Wishing you interesting hours,
– Jochen =8-)

Title image: Screenshot from Homepage

On a personal note: All aboard!

Bitte Einsteigen!

“The problem with getting started with photography is not that you can’t find any information about it – but way too much of it.” – Own experience

At least that was my conclusion when I decided to finally get started with photography “for real”. Until then, all I had done with my first DSLR – an Olympus E-510 – primarily was to take snapshots. I had a rough idea of what I wanted, but things like aperture, depth of field, angle of view etc. always passed me by. I mostly trusted the automatic programs the camera provided. I did manage to get a number of really nice pictures – but admittedly, I often didn’t know why.

In the fall of 2015, I had the unique opportunity to travel to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Not I only could I visit the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, world’s largest host-air balloon event, but I also had the chance to drive up into the mountains and watch the stars – far away from city lights and above any haze. That was the primer: how do you photograph the Milky Way – and how do you do it right? What equipment is needed, which settings, how do you process the images afterwards?

So the odyssey started through the vast spaces of the world wide web. Initially, the sheer amount of information stunned me. Soon, though, I started to get an idea about which websites and video channels are actually useful, and which ones can be quickly discarded.

Now, more than a year later, I have a good feeling for which photographers, homepages, blogs, YouTube channels and software tools help me, and which don’t. Over time, this resulted in a positive list with collected bookmarks – and a negative list as well, of course…

Are you at the same point now? You’re interested in photography but don’t know where to start?

Then let my train of thought take you where you want to be, faster. All aboard!

– Jochen =8-)

Title Image: Own image, 2012

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