Mar 29, 2012

Getting There: Podcast Learning

By Bob Kulon
Bob Kulon, originally from Northeast Ohio, is headquartered in Southwest Utah within easy reach of some of our most treasured National Parks. Bob has been in professional photography since the mid-70’s. His current interests lie in fine art representations of outdoor scenic, overlooked remembrances of yesteryear, and the human lifestyle. Along the way, Bob obtained a BS degree in Computer Science, certification as a Project Manager, and honed his skill as an adult trainer. Bob Kulon teaches a wide range of Photography and Digital Workflow courses at Dixie State College in Saint George, Utah. Bob is an ongoing member of NAPP (National Association of Photoshop Professionals). He leads field workshops and provides private 1-on-1 mentoring. He has been a frequent participant in juried regional art shows. Contact Bob at

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get free training on a specific topic, whenever you want it, as you need it, in a concise format? Wouldn’t it also be great if this training was repeatable and always there for you to mine for more insight? Would you like the flexibility of being able to tap into this training from your computer, TV, iPod, iPad, or iPhone? All of this is a reality, with of course, a few caveats.

There are literally thousands of photography-related podcasts being generated regularly. All of these reside on the Internet for free access by audiences just like you and me. There are many obtuse ways of finding and mining these resources, but for the sake of discussion, let’s concentrate on the big daddy clearing house for all things “podcast”: Apple iTunes. Aside from its manifold purposes as a music player, movie player, audiobook player, and media organizer, iTunes is what’s known as an aggregator for podcasting. It runs flawlessly on all computers, PC or Mac, and, best of all, this best in class application is free. You can search, discover, subscribe, play, and even list your own podcast.
I find that learning from topical podcasts suits me just fine. At this point I find it to be my best resource for advancing my personal knowledge without making a mandatory time investment. Time is precious. My attention span is not what it used to be. I enjoy the convenience of having multiple options for playing a podcast. Before we discuss those options, we need to cover one basic concept: podcasts can be found that are strictly audio (no visual content, like radio) or full video (audio and video content, like TV).

Regardless of the format, here are the options available for finding and playing podcasts:

·         Apple iTunes – accessing the online iTunes Store through this program makes it all possible. After you zero in on a podcast you can “stream” an episode for immediate viewing (or listening) or subscribe to it to have new episodes accumulated to your computer. Within iTunes on your computer, you can sit back and absorb the podcast as it plays. The only downside to this is that if you plan to follow along on your computer with your application software (let’s say Photoshop), you probably should be using two display screens. Any podcast saved in iTunes can be transferred to an iPhone, iPad, or most iPods. Also, all iTunes content can be streamed to your Apple TV devices around your home.
·         IPhones, iPads, and iPods – these portable devices can play podcasts. You can either load the podcasts during synchronization with iTunes or stream them from a Wi-Fi home sharing setup. Here’s what I have found. Audio podcasts are flawless experiences. This is a perfect portable solution. Video podcasts are probably a bit compromised on the iPhone and the iPod Touch because of the small screen size. I am pleased to report video podcast nirvana on the iPad’s big screen in a handy form factor.
·         Apple TV – 99 smackers bucko! You mean you don’t have one yet? These little buggers plug into you HDTV and provide an amazing full-screen viewing experience for Podcasts. These can be sourced directly from online connection to your iTunes Store via Wi-Fi or streamed from your saved subscription material on your computer running iTunes. Now, you just kick back in front of your 55” wiz-bang LED/LCD home theatre and see everything big and clear. Amazing stuff! A competing technology called Google TV is being introduced with similar features in a stand-alone box ($299) or built into newer HDTVs. This technology does not have the handiness of being an integrated part of the Apple ecosystem.

There are so many good podcasts out there that I think each of us would land on our own set of favorites. In the next installment, I plan to share a list of podcasts I tend to visit regularly and highlight their goals and tactics. For now, here is how I classify the photography podcasts that can be found on iTunes:

  • Technology Training – using the software, hardware, and workflow that are ubiquitous in this digital era.
  • Field and Studio Training – the photography methods that are used to create professional-class images.
  • Bull Sessions – entertaining banter that takes on the tone of a radio talk show.
  • Gear Reviews – features and comparisons that will turn you into a salivating fan-boy.
  • Critiques and Aesthetics – insightful opinions and recommendation for improving and showing your work.
  • Celebrity Insights – the big names hold court for their subjects. This is often combined with another category listed above.
That’s it for now. Please return next month for a rundown of specific photography podcasts that pass through my Internet connection on a regular basis. Cheers!

This is article part of a monthly series provided to you by Las Vegas Photographer Magazine. We hope you enjoy it and return for more.
The material is an excerpt from Bob Kulon’s book entitled Getting There: Discover the best approaches to boost your personal skills in Photography and Processing. It is available in paperback and downloadable PDF file from
Bob Kulon is a professional photographer that residing in St. George, Utah. He has been a practicing pro for over 35 years. Bob’s current activities involve training and mentoring, fine art photography and printing, and business consulting.  He is a staff instructor for Dixie State College Community Education. Bob’s internet presence can all be accessed through the homepage. From there you can reach his Blog, Gallery, Podcast, Facebook, etc. You may also reach Bob at or 435-275-5975.

No comments: