Friday, April 11, 2014

Finding my Nikon

"And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it seems, it would be easier sometimes to change the past."

I've talked a lot about my online class, The Advent of the Atom Bomb. I've barely talked at all about my art school class, Beginning Digital Photography.

That's a lamentable oversight, because I really love my photography class. Despite the fact that my main motivation for taking the class was to learn to take better photos of my beads, and so far, we have not covered macro lenses and I'm not sure we will.

I should have known, being an art class, it would have been less about technical aspects and more about composition, artistry, evoking a mood, playing with light. No matter, I'm enjoying it anyway. My teacher, who happens to be a jewelry maker who "moonlights" teaching photography, is great, very accessible and patient and even inspiring.

So, although I have no intent to become a photo artist, I'm enjoying what I'm learning and having fun with the homework assignments.

Our first assignment was to take pictures illustrating elements of desgin - line, shape, direction, size, texture, scale, repetition, color - to name a few.

For our second assignment, we took photos that demonstrated depth of field.

Positive and negative space were the nexus of our next assignment.

Then we moved on to contrast and color.

That took us to Spring Break and it was an extra week long because my teacher had a conflict. So, our assignment, What I did on my Spring Break, was to take photos every day that said something about our day.

I won't lie. I didn't take pictures on every single day of the twenty-one days. I did take pictures on more days than I didn't, I can say that much.

I got a bit into Vivian Maier style self-portraits. I'm still fascinated with them, and with her work.

Low light photography was our next assignment, including painting with light and ghost images. I hosed this one up because I needed a remote control for my camera (since Neil would not model except under duress) and the first one that I got with Amazon Prime 2-day shipping turned out to be incompatible with my camera. The second one, purchased at Best Buy the day before the assignment, was compatible but had, um, another issue. The user. In my defense, there were no instructions and it was not intuitive. I made do.

Last week, our assignment was motion. Freezing it, capturing it, panning with it. I was never quite coordinated enough to pan and depress the shutter at the same time. And for my best motion shots, I pretty much aimed at the road or the freeway and snapped away. I'd listen for the big rigs on the I-10 and try to time the photo to catch them. I had some luck and a lot of fun.

For some reason, I'm missing all the freeway shots. It's a mystery. I might be able to pull them next week from the ones I saved on the computer at school.

One of the fringe benefits of taking this class is learning a little bit about Photoshop. Of course there's a big difference between being a photograph artist and being a Photoshop artist. Since I'm not trying to become a photo artist, I'm having fun with it.

And this week, our assignment is photos representing the five senses, and a sixth sense - balance, perception, emotion. I almost had the perfect shot of a fully-dressed hot dog last night. Bun, dog, ketchup, mustard and relish. But my camera wouldn't take the shot, it didn't like the lighting or the ISO or some god-knows-what setting.

I messed with it for a few minutes, then gave up. My dinner was getting cold.

"Looking through some photographs I found inside a drawer
I was taken by a photograph of you
There were one or two I know that you would have liked a little more
But they didn't show your spirit quite as true

You were turning around to see who was behind you
And I took your childish laughter by surprise
And at the moment that my camera happened to find you
There was just a trace of sorrow in your eyes

Now the things that I remember seem so distant and so small
Though it hasn't really been that long a time
What I was seeing wasn't what was happening at all
Although for a while our path did seem to climb

But when you see through love's illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to hide sometimes, but now you're all right
And it's good to see your smiling face tonight

Now for you and me it may not be that hard to reach our dreams
But that magic feeling never seems to last
And while the future's there for anyone to change, still you know it seems
It would be easier sometimes to change the past

I'm just one or two years and a couple of changes behind you
In my lessons at love's pain and heartache school
Where if you feel too free and you need something to remind you
There's this loneliness springing up from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

Fountain of sorrow, fountain of light
You've known that hollow sound of your own steps in flight
You've had to struggle, you've had to fight
To keep understanding and compassion in sight
You could be laughing at me, you've got the right
But you go on smiling so clear and so bright."

(Jackson Browne)

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Thanks for your comment! I will post it as soon as I receive it. Liz