DEDPXL Assignments

DEDPXL Assignments

I discovered Zack Arias of DEDPXL in rather a roundabout way. I was driving to work and saw a friend of mine sitting on a wall in Lamlash with his camera. This is the dude that sold me his D300. I wondered what he was doing and I got the answer when I saw a picture he’d posted to Flickr with the weird tag #DEDPXL.

‘Huh?’ I thought to myself. So I did a bit of digging and soon found my way to Zack’s site where the first assignment video was posted. Always on the lookout for inspiration for my #365, I decided to submit a few pictures for the first assignment. I looked some more into what DEDPXL was all about and pre-ordered the OneLight 2.0 lighting videos. I’ve now been through that course and am the proud owner of a new lightstand and 150cm umbrella and I’m loving it! His teaching methods are exemplary and, for the first time since buying my SB800 around 10 years ago, I have an idea of how to use it! Those videos were incredibly helpful!


At the end of the first assignment, Zack sat down with his wife Meg and recorded a video critique of the submissions and it was super helpful. It’s incredible to think that a pro with chops like Zack’s would give his time like that at no charge. I was in! Now, I’m not sure what his methods are for choosing which pictures to critique, but none of mine was picked. ‘Fair enough,’ I thought. There are probably thousands of submissions!

Assignment 2

The second assigment was entitled Repetitive Shape: Form / Pattern / Rhythm and I got into it quite early. I submitted a total of six shots, two or three of which I should’ve taken back out the pool because I didn’t really think they were that good, but, stupidly, I left them in. And this time, Zack DID pick one of my shots. Which one? Yep, you guessed it. One of the ones I wish I’d removed.

I watched the long-form video and got a C with some good feedback, but in the short-form video I got a D with the comment that it was ‘kinda boring and sucks’. I felt crushed. I knew the feeling would pass, but I’d had the worst day and had to go and play a gig that night and was kicking myself for not waiting to watch the critique. The long-form critique was actually valuable, and I knew Zack’s comments were on the money, but the shorter critique where I got a D made me sad and angry and all I could think of were the words ‘boring’ and ‘sucks’. Such is human nature I suppose: ten good reviews and one bad one and guess which one you’ll dwell on?

These were my three favourites of my submissions:


I like the sky and the sun flare, but especially the sandbags and the story that they represent. I’m not sure about the stones in the foreground.

Hamilton Terrace

I like the triangles that the roofs make and the way the chimneys go into the triangle of sky. I wasn’t sure about the crop, whether to crop the right-hand edge off and, now that I’m looking at it again, I think I should probably have done that. I remember playing around with the crop before I posted it, so I must’ve chosen not to do that for some reason.

Haymarket Station

I grabbed this one while I was waiting on a train and it’s one of my favourite shots of my #365. I’m not sure how I could’ve made this better, so critique would be useful.

My Lesson

So, what have I learned? Well, firstly, I need to be far more judicious in selecting my submissions. I guess four selects is about right for an assignment, but I have to be sure that they’re keepers. That log truck should never have been in there.

Also, learn to take the criticism. I know it can be a bitter pill to swallow, but I also know that I’m getting incredible value just from the inspiration that I get from the group to get out there and think about my photography. All it’s costing me is time and I would do well to think on that when I consider just how much I’m getting out of it.

Assignment 3

The third assignment, Shadows, has just been set, so it’s time to get back on the horse and think my way into making some great shots that I can be proud of! If I’m proud of them and get a bad grade, well, we’ll see how that goes if it comes to that. But it won’t. Will it?