Friday, February 26, 2010

Photography 125: Part 1

Did I tell you that I'm taking a photography class this quarter? Well I am -- Photography 125 (also known as beginning photography). I signed up because I decided it was about time that I got out of "automatic" mode and learned how to use all those buttons on my camera. And ... I thought it would be an easy "A". Well, I discovered, it's not going to be an easy "A" -- which is a good thing, because sometimes you need to be challenged. Maybe that's what getting out of automatic mode is all about. I'm working on "manual" -- where you set the camera to fit specific conditions --- sunny days, dark days, slow motion, action shots. Sounds a lot like life, huh.

So for the past few weeks we've been learning about aperture, F stops, shutter speed, and ISO. If you understand these terms, I envy you. You must be in manual mode you lucky dog. I have to leave in a minute to take hundreds of shots which will prove that I understand these concepts -- which is alarming because I don't. I'm still so confused. But I'm not giving up -- even if it means I have to settle for a "B." Plus, I feel pressure because I'm assuming that our teacher is expecting interesting shots which frightens me a little. So far, I've captured BORING. See what I mean. I call this "Car in Driveway."

But... I remembered something today that gave me hope. Last November, a wonderful photographer by the name of Jefra told me a little secret. She said "It doesn't matter what kind of camera you use .... you can get great shots with any type of camera. It's all a matter of training your eyes to see. When you take a photograph, tell a story.... show people what you see." And to prove this, Jefra had a slide show with all sorts of photographs using all sorts of cameras. Every single one of them was beautiful. I just couldn't get over the fact that some of them were taken with the camera in her cell phone. I wish you could see them too because you would be amazed, I guarantee it. Jefra tells beautiful stories from behind her lens.

So, today as I embark on my adventure, I am going to remember her words, and try to capture what I see. I think this exercise is going to be exciting because it will require me to really look -- which sometimes I don't. When I make time to really look, I see beautiful in the ordinary -- and really, when you look at a great photograph, isn't that what they usually capture?

Wish me luck. Maybe if I get brave, I'll show you my first baby steps in manual mode.

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