You know how much I love taking photos and sharing them, I’ve been a happy snapper since getting my first kodak camera when I was about 13, madly photographing horses, cows, kittens, family and anything else that would let me immortalise it on film. My Mum was not happy when she paid for the development of a roll of film only to discover that half of the photos were blurry images of my friend’s cat and her new litter of kittens. My Mum still doesn’t understand my desire to photograph everything, this is a woman who manages to go on holiday to Singapore and leaves her camera at home or attends my wedding but doesn’t take any photos, it just isn’t a priority for her. I however, recently did a one day beginners photography workshop with BlueDog Photography because I decided that it was time to act on my desire to learn more about the technical aspects of photography. I want to get out of the habit of using auto settings and learn how to combat some of the challenges that arise in photography and ultimately, take better photos.
Blue Dog Photography is based on the Gold Coast hinterland, they offer a range of courses from Beginners to star trails, wedding photography and photography tours to places like Fraser Island, Vanuatu and Cambodia. I chose them because of friends that had raved about the course and looking at the course outline, the beginners course was focusing on the areas that I wanted to learn more about. Our teacher/instructor was Danielle, a down to earth lady with an amazing attitude and lengthy experience in the photographic industry, assisting her was David, a former student and experienced photographer, both of them very patient which is what you need when learning something new.
Theory was interwoven with practical, the course wasn’t just about how to use the manual settings on your camera, but included discussion on composition, depth of field, shutter speeds, camera maintenance, file formats and archiving files. Two important things for me to remember are: Auto is evil and to MOVE when taking photos.
One of the practical exercises was to focus on using the shutter priority mode (S on the dial) (without a tripod), we photographed moving water to understand how the shutter speed affects motion and light: a slow shutter speed blurs the water and a fast shutter speed freezes the action, as the shutter speed got faster the image got darker so we had to increase the ISO. The higher the ISO the more light is captured and voila! we had the image we wanted. The f-stop (eg. f8) is automatically set by the camera when in shutter priority mode but I’ve included it in the caption so you can see how it also changes when the other settings are changed. This is not a photography tutorial so I’ll leave it at that but you can see the difference in the following images.
For anyone experienced with photography, you already know this stuff and it is something I had learned years ago during a short course on photography but for me it was about learning how to think and what questions do I need to be asking myself before taking a photo. It was a fun day for me and I could have spent the whole weekend at that class but I’ll have to settle for putting what I’ve learned into practice and signing up for the intermediate course.