Admittedly I’ve tried to get back to regularly photographing for years. Each site, group or app I joined had a very limited success in getting me there. The biggest downside I felt was while I was taking and posting lots of photos, I wasn’t actually improving my technique or understanding the ins and outs of my camera’s idiosyncrasies. So when the opportunity came to sign up for a course at our local museum, I signed up! We’re at our 3rd bi-weekly meeting and the topics we’ve covered, and the lessons I’ve learned from them, so far:
Week 1: Intro Portfolio – when you pick only your best work to show, it can leave a wrong impression. Trying to narrow down the choice to only a few images was enlightening/terrifying! Another thing that became apparent while browsing so many images was how my phone pictures have an immediacy about them that my camera doesn’t seem to capture, or maybe that’s my perception.
Week 2: Triptych, 3 images of a single object/process – This was an exercise in framing/composing an image. Not a huge success in my eyes. I ended up focusing too much on choosing the object (wooden shoes) and didn’t really connect emotionally with any of my photos.
We learned a bit about the history of image making, including Camera Obscura and the development of the camera. (I’m really hoping that we will make a pinhole camera, but the others don’t seem too enthusiastic to work in a darkroom.)
Week 3: Black and White – Again an exercise in framing and composition and during this session we have finally begun talking about aperture and length of exposure. There’s a lot to learn.
Besides critiquing each others’ work every week, our teacher introduces us to the works of local and international photographers and since we meet at the museum, she also takes us on tours of the current exhibitions.
Last week I sat down with my camera’s manual for several hours and discovered that this little Canon thingamajig has more features than I will ever remember when I need to use them. It’s rather like that old joke about having a million functions on your Beta/VCR/DVD/Blu-Ray player, but never needing or wanting more than Play and Stop. But now that I have someone to help guide me, I do.