With all due respect to the NYIP, and realising that this is like a blind leading a blind or a noob teaching a noob, it seems to me that:The Internet is full of free information on the fundamentals of photography..
What you need to do is to take photographs. Shoot everything you see. Drive family and friends bonkers. And then shoot it all over again.Benefit from the imedeate feedback from a dslr..
Then, when you want to learn more about lighting or what ever, buy a book about lighting or what ever..
Somebody might even give you the NYIP course for x-mas..
Maybe it's because I havn't done the NYIP course that my photos still stink!..
I have thought about taking a class from them - but never felt I had enough free time to devote to learning..
I would recommend you purchase a decent book and go through it all the way once before taking a class..
I have read lots of books about photography and digital photography...I really think John Hedgecoe's New Manual of Photography is a great learning tool..
I also puechased the 123 of digital imaging (see the banner on DPreview.com). It was about $50 and definitley worth every penny..
I think the Hedgecoe book will give you a better understanding of photography while the 123 stuff will give you a wonderful overview of digital photography...
I did some looking into the 123 stuff and the biggest ding against it for me is that is a Windows computer based system and all my computers are Macs. Also, they cover a lot of stuff I'm already very solid on. While new to a pro DSLR, I'm not new to photography and especially not post processing. I provide Photoshop training and have been providing color management support for close to fifteen years..
I'm really wanting to get direction on camera technique itself and maybe shooting is the best way, and I plan on doing a lot of that, but I've also found that with complex equipment, the people that get the most from it are those that make the investment in learning about it and I have always pushed in that area, so just looking for what might be good. Maybe I just need to check out a book or two and use that as the basis for the shooting I'll be doing to learn what the camera/lens options accomplish...
I have taken a couple of courses on betterphoto.com..
One was an intro calss to the Canon 20D....overall it was a pretty decent way to learn about the camera. ABout $200...
At this point, I've decided to skip this big single program, but instead to invest in a number of books that address different aspects of areas I have questions in. Also, in my research I came acrosshttp://www.photoworkshop.com and it has some books and exercises one can do to apply the content covered in the chapter. And even a way to submit images to get feedback from instructors..
This will cost less out-of-pocket, but will use the resources to guide me in lots of practice shoots - to test out and apply the principles and tips I'm reading about with my camera and lenses...