Sunday, March 6, 2011

Photography Class

As mentioned in my New Years Resolution post, this year I resolved to pursue some hobbies. In January, I took a cupcake decorating course and today I took a photography class. I was motivated to take it now because I'm headed to Morocco (fingers crossed) in just a couple of weeks. Morocco should be a photographer's dream and I want to feel confident using my DSLR camera to get some great shots above and beyond what my trusty point and shoot can do.

I had taken a course years ago in Chicago when I first bought the camera, but I really haven't developed those skills (or used the camera if I'm honest) since the class, so I knew I would be pretty much starting from scratch. Today's 4-hour power session was a walking workshop for four people led by a very knowledgeable instructor. It was focused on "street photography" so there was a lot of instruction around how to capture the true vibe of a street by taking shots of the actions and interactions of the nearby people. We were told to "be a spider", crawling in and out of other people's personal spaces with our camera to capture the moments happening around us.

I was definitely the novice of the group and owned the least sophisticated camera by far. The course was really designed for folks who have already mastered the basics, meaning they can confidently take a photo on the pure manual setting, and are now looking to up their creativity.  I have far from mastered the basics.  Capturing a fleeting moment, when say a man is purchasing sticky nuts from a street vendor or putting his child on his shoulders or lighting a cigarette, is very difficult when you're still thinking about what shutter speed might work and then which aperture is appropriate and do I need to change my ISO setting and where is the light coming from and oh great....his back is now facing me and the moment is long gone. That's how I felt most of the day.

I did learn a few things about how to better use my camera settings to obtain a correctly exposed shot.  But it's pretty complex stuff and from what I can tell, it's going to require a lot of practice to master it. Hopefully today was the first step in that direction. I took 188 photos and most of them are utter crap. Here are a couple where the camera settings and the "moment", by some miracle, came together:


  1. I've never taken a photography class, but just from gossip, I've picked up that you are supposed to take about a million shots to get a good one.I'd say 3 out of 188 is ahead of the curve. Nice work.

  2. Love these. Can't wait to see how Morocco turns out!


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