Been pondering a fair bit lately. Or maybe it’s mulling (to borrow the word from a certain Internet chum). Whatever it is, I’ve been doing it. And it’s a good thing as well.
With a clearer mind over the past couple of months I have made some decisions regarding this photography caper. Lark. Endeavor. I’ve decided that I like being an amateur photographer. I enjoy relaxing with the camera in hand. I’m even learning to enjoy being in front of the computer doing the editing and decision-making stuff. But more importantly I have decided that if I’m going to enjoy this caper. This lark. This endeavor. Then I had better get better acquainted with it.
I’m talking about learning.
Now before you go off half-cocked (or fully-cocked… whatever suits your pleasure) and tell me that education and learning are hardly necessary if you’re only looking to enjoy taking some snaps ‘ere and there, just let me explain.
I really, really enjoy a handful of things: socio-economic-political things, consumer electronic things and photography things. To those ends I have a fairly voracious appetite for reading. The more I read the better informed I hope I become and subsequently the better I might enjoy these capers. These larks. These endeavors. But unlike socio-economic-thingys and consumer electronics there are things one can learn to physically and mentally do to make oneself a better photographer.
Now what exactly is a “better” photographer in this instance? I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest it is one who better understands their camera, their other photographic equipment and the various concepts that are integral to taking pictures that are technically correct. Or proper. And I make the distinction between technically correct/proper and Artistic because at this time I am not looking to learn about the latter, but focus upon the former. This is due, in no small part, to the fact I don’t believe I’m particularly creative (“artistic” if you will) and as such I should first focus on mastering the intricacies of everything else.
I don’t know if this is the best route. Or the correct route. But it is a route. It is me getting off my behind and doing something positive and that in itself is a marked change in direction.
And so it was that not too long ago I enrolled at my local camera shop in a five-week course (meeting once a week), which discussed the very basics of modern digital photography. And starting this coming Saturday I will be enrolled in the second five-week course they offer, where we will be taking bigger and deeper steps into the world of photography.
In addition, I have picked up a three-volume set of books by the renowned photographer Scott Kelby. I haven’t yet started them, instead waiting to finish my second course with the local camera store. No particular reason.
But more recently I came across yet another educational opportunity that looked quite exciting. Exciting because it was online. Live. And free. Let me repeat that last part: FREE!!
Say hello to John Greengo’s Fundamentals of Digital Photography via http://www.creativelive.com.
creativelive.com is actually the brain-child of photographer Chase Jarvis and was explained on http://www.photographybay.com as “…a new online learning resource for photographers and other imaging professionals…” The site hosts live video instruction covering various topics, many of which are above my head and outside the scope of my needs. However, John Greengo is offering a 10-week course (2-hours each, Wednesdays from 1400-1600 -5UTC) covering much of the basics of digital photography. I was able to watch the first session as a recording on the website, but it was really a Welcome to What We’re Doing thing. The second course, broadcast this Wednesday past, concerned the camera itself and the various types of cameras, sensor sizes, settings, etc. Next Wednesday we move on to lenses and so on and so forth.
Granted it means planting my butt in front of a computer for two-solid hours each Wednesday, but I take copious notes while he instructs and there is an opportunity to ask questions via a live chat feature. In addition, if one decides they would like to have the entire 10-week series for their very own, they can download the series for USD79 while the 10-week courses are being offered, afterwards it’s USD129.
But hey…. it’s free. It’s educational. And even if they cover tonnes of things I already know I am very certain they will also cover stuff I don’t know or offer a new twist on things I already do. I have to tell you….. I’m very excited about all of it. I enjoy taking pictures. But I’d like to enjoy taking better pictures. Smarter pictures. And the only real way to get better is to both practice and to learn.
And I think I’m getting the learning part covered these days.