One of the things on my to do list this year was to enroll in a photography class with a view to improving the images I take for the blog. I did attend a short set of classes earlier in the year but I was out of my depth and I struggled with trying to grasp concepts such as ISO and f-stops which the others in the classes seemed to understand instinctively, so the impact of the classes on bettering my photography was minimal.
I am still imprisoned in the photographic automatic cage, by that I mean I let the camera make all the decisions about the best settings to shoot a scene on and I am afeared to escape into creative shooting mode. This is becoming a problem as autumnal gloom cuts down on available light and I have no idea how to counteract this by twiddling a few dials on my camera. And then there is my almost total lack of post-shooting editing skills as Photoshop *hangs head in technological shame* remains, for me, one of the mysteries of the universe that I have come nowhere near to unlocking.
So, it was back to night school for this photographic and Photoshop challenged blogger. I enrolled in an evening digital photography course in Dublin’s IADT (Institute of Art, Design and Technology). The first class was last Tuesday and so far so very good. The class is small, a disparate group, each of us having different aims or at least different ways of expressing what is I suspect is our common aim – to take better pictures. Our tutor Aoife Giles is an enthusiastic communicator passionate about her subject who managed to convey at a subliminal level her wish that we will all travel further along the road to greater photographic knowledge.
I learnt very little about my camera or about taking photographs at last week’s class but quite a bit about the history of photography which I found extremely interesting. I was fascinated by the camera obscura (known apparently to the Romans and the Greeks) and the idea of transforming a room into a camera obscura by blacking out (obscura is Latin for dark) all light sources and then cutting a small hole in the material used to black out the windows; a view from outside is then reflected back (upside down) into the room via this small aperture. I am not explaining that well – but if you would like to have a go here’s a link to a video which shows how to turn a room into a camera obscura.
I suspect improving my photographic skills will be a slow process but maybe by the end of term the digital photographic jungle will be a little less of a scary place.