The scenic hour-long drive from Kamloops to Barriere always has me wanting to pull off the road and take pictures, but for the two previous Sunday mornings stopping would have made me late for the two-session class I was leading and 18 enthusiastic photographers who would have been left wondering. I remembered being told, “Once photography enters your bloodstream, it is like a disease”, and I am sure they would have patiently smiled if I loaded my morning’s images into the projector and said, “I couldn’t help my self”, after all they had “photography in their bloodstream” too.
The class wasn’t so much about photography as it was about “demystifying” the digital camera. My goal for the two-day session was to help participants become comfortable and familiar with their cameras. I wanted them not to be afraid to push all the buttons, scroll through menus and change default settings as they explored each function.
We discussed controlling exposure, understanding the histogram, and manual metering. Then we talked about the relationship between the aperture and the shutter to better understand depth of field. For those interested in scenic photography I included a section on photographic composition, and finally there was time set aside to consider selecting lenses, tripods and presenting information about other accessories that enhance the photographic experience.
I know that some felt overwhelmed as we examined the myriad of features available on their modern cameras. As camera technology advances and more options are added new users will certainly feel intimidated, but as they use their cameras and become more familiar with the possibilities they realize the added options give more and more control over picture making.
Interactive lecture classes like this one are more demanding than the usual photography classes that assume participants already know how their camera functions. In my opinion that assumption often has participants going home without understanding camera basics, and although they can read their notes on panorama, portraiture and scenic photography most revert to using the camera in it’s point and shoot Program modes. What a waste!
I always enjoy these types of sessions where eager learners ask lots of questions and are demanding of information that will help them to pursue their particular interest in photography and I get to really delve into the mechanics of this amazing pastime. To me there is more than just aiming the camera at some subject, and, depending on technology, to magically transform that passive action into a photograph. And that was what I wanted the two sessions to be about.
In this study group I was fortunate enough to have active photographers Jill Hayward and Shelly Lampreau sitting in. They were not only were responsible for organizing and advertising the two-day class, but jumped to help when I wasn’t able to get to someone right away. It’s people like Hayward and Lampreau that make an interactive workshop all the more valuable to learners and I extend my appreciation to them.
The class was filled with serious people that really wanted to learn about photography. I had a great time and I thank everyone for inviting me, and there is a plan to get together again in the spring and do a day of scenic photography in Wells Gray Park.
During the class there was an announcement that Barriere photographers will shortly be starting their own photography club. Those interested can now connect with others on the Barriere photography club’s Facebook page.