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Dash Improvements for 2014

As I am sure you have heard, I’ve opened registrations for the Photography Dash starting on February 1st. I’ve made a number of improvements to the Photography Dash since the first “Photography Dash” and “Photography Amble” courses I ran in November, 2013. If you participated in one of those Dashes, this page will let you know what changes I’ve made, and why.

Slowed Down the Dash

Most participants of the Dash thought there were too many topics and it was too fast. So I’ve slowed the Dash down to run over 1 month (rather than 2 weeks). I’ll now email new topics twice a week (rather than daily), and only email one topic at a time (rather than a normal and stretch). That’s 8 topics in total.

If you liked the original pace of the Dash, I recommend you sign up to both streams of the new Dash. You’ll get 4 new topics a week plus extra challenges – 16 topics and extra challenges over the month.

Merged the Dash and the Amble

The Amble name has been retired. As The Dash now runs at the same speed as the old Amble (which had 2 main topics a week), it made no sense to keep participants split into two groups.

So from now on, it’s just “The Dash”.

Fantastic image captured by Charles Foreman during the November Photography Dash.

Two Simultaneous Dash Streams

I’ve moved the concept of the original ‘stretch’ content into a second, Intermediate Dash Stream, that runs concurrently to the main Dash. I’ve reduced the diffilcuty of the stretch content as I found that a lot of participants in the original Dash/Amble did not complete the stretch topics.

So if you’re after more topics and more challenges, sign up for both streams of the Dash. The Intermediate Dash will still be accessible to beginner photographers, but it will handle more advanced topics so if you consider yourself to be a beginner photographer, I recommend you start out with the Basic stream only.

Two Dashes Per Month

I’ll be running two dashes each month for at least the next 6 months! So you can now continually improve your photography and share your results with fellow participants. You’ll get a discount if you sign up for all 6 months of dashes; or you can select which topics interest you the most and choose those.

All New Content

These Dashes have all new content! Each topic Dash goes deeper into a specific element of your camera. For instance, the “Landscapes” dash concentrates on all you need to know to take lovely landscape photographs. We only scratched the surface in the short time we spend on Landscapes in the original Dash course. Plus there are all-new elements we didn’t cover in the original Dash, like Sunset/Sunrise and Photographing Water.

The only exception is the “Dash Blend” topics in the Beginners stream (see the Dash Information page for a list of all topics). Some of the topics inside the Blends will be taken from the original Dash/Amble course. Perfect for a revisit to see how much you have improved!

Smaller Groups

A lot of respondents to the survey commented that the large group was too big, and it was hard to navigate through the smaller #dashgroup and #amblegroups. I’ve made it much easier this time – see below where I talk about moving away from Google+.

I’m also pleased to announce that Cath Longley (who you might know as organising the Dash Revisit) has agreed to come on staff during the Dash as a community liaison. She’s there to make sure you are happy, having fun, and enjoying the Dash.

You won’t be lost in a sea of people!

More Critiques Added

Another thing a lot of respondents noted was the lack of professional critiques in the Dash/Amble.

My original intent was to teach all participants how to critique other photos, because looking at another’s work critically is a fantastic way to improve your OWN photography. However, that didn’t happen in practice and there were too many “Great Job” comments on photos which didn’t help anyone.

So for this new Dash, I’ll be selecting two photos uploaded from each topic. I’ll have the images critiqued by professional photographers, and will share those critiques with the whole group. Even if your image isn’t selected, you’ll still see valuable information on how the pro’s look at an image and work out what works, what can be improved, and how to improve.

Personal Critiques for YOUR images

If you’d like guaranteed personal critiques of all the photo you upload, I’m introducing a “Gold” and “Platinum” edition of the Dash. In the Gold edition, you’ll receive a personal critique from a professional photographer on the photo you upload for each topic. You’ll have the opportunity to take the feedback you get, and use it to improve the photo you took and upload the new version for a final comment from the critiquer.

In the Platinum edition, you’ll receive separate critiques from two different professional photographers, and I’ll chime in on each of your images as well letting you know what I think works, and doesn’t work.

I have hand-selected three professional photogaphers who will be critiquing your images. Two coaches, Dalisa Couvillon and Julia Harwood participated in the initial Photography Dash.

I trialled the Gold and Platinum edition of the Dash with the Christmas Dash in December to great success, so I’m making it a permanent feature of the Dash.

If you are interested in the Gold or Platinum edition, you’ll see a page allowing you to upgrade to either edition once you have joined the Dash.

More Content

As well as the Dash topics, challenges and critiques, I’m adding more content in the form of long form articles. Becki Robins (as well as being a critique coach) will be writing longer articles each week on a specific topic. With the longer articles, we’ll be able to ‘deep dive’ to give you more background and more techniques.

Cost Changes

So I can pay professional photographers to write the 4 critiques a week, plus the longer form articles, I’ve needed to increase the price of the Dash slightly to $25. You can still pay the lower original price of $19 if you’d like to sign up for the next 6 months of dashes.

No More Google+

While the Google+ system for sharing photos was good, it had a number of issues, and wasn’t that easy to navigate.

However, the value of being able to see others images, and share your own was not something I wanted to lose.

So, I’m switching to some custom-built software that will be a lot easier to use, and includes all the photo sharing features of Google+. And there are some extra features like a forum and private messages. It’s still a web-based software, so all you will need to access the community is a browser. And, of course, your camera!

The Photography Dash – Open Now!

That explains all the major changes to the Photography Dash from the original Dash and Amble. If you are interested in participating in one of the new Dashes, you can read all about it on the Photography Dash Registration Page.

If you have any further questions, please ask me via email.

I hope to see you in the February Dash!

David.