All right, so, what’s all this about photography practice?
I’ve always had an artistic eye and mind. The reason I didn’t truly embrace an interest in photography for so long in my life is because I never had the camera — and yes, you can take great photos with a crappy camera (and believe me, I did), or terrible photos with a great one (. . . believe me, I do!), but I always felt like I didn’t even have the option of professional-quality equipment. My father has an old machine from Japan in the seventies, but it uses old-school film, and I was not going to learn pro skills on that.
Photography has vaguely been on my mind as a future career option, whether it be full time or just a source of side income, for a while. But I don’t want it simply to be a hobby anymore, so the moment back in September when I suddenly came into owning my first DSLR — the big, bulky type of camera whose lenses swap out to various sizes (it’s the one pictured in my previous post on Shuffles) — of course I immediately contacted my French friend Bertrand, who is starting his own “photography lessons on the streets” company in Paris. Coincidentally, he was about to make a brief trip to Chicago shortly thereafter, so he very graciously offered to practice his teaching skills on me while he was here.
|Bertrand in action — camera war!|
It was awesome. We wandered the city all day Saturday, exploring its colors like blind men just getting their sight back. I managed to see the lesser-explored, and very colorful, area of Pilsen in the city, with a photographer’s eye as Bertrand taught me some basic (but much needed) techniques on aperture and shutter speed. The next day was the morning we participated in the Diabetes Walk with my trainer Debbie, where the famed photo from this post came from. He was exceedingly patient, encouraging, and informative. (Very, very important traits from any teacher in any subject, in my opinion.) I really got a crash course over that weekend!
|My good friend Shannon (the one who got me the sweet neck strap)
and her prize pumpkin
It was also during this weekend that I confirmed my one concern about DSLR operation: its requirement for both hands.
You see, a DSLR doesn’t have the zoom lever that little point-and-shoots do. In order to zoom, your left hand has to twist the lens itself.
So what started out as a photography lesson also started proving to be great neurological reprogramming material as well. After practicing regularly since the acquisition of my fondly named camera, Bertronica, I have finally begun mastering the zoom with my left hand!
I’m not suggesting you should go out and invest in a huge camera if the only pictures you take are fuzzy shots from your old flip phone, but if you happen to have access to an SLR (non-digital, like my father’s) or a DSLR, consider taking it out for a spin and practicing it wherever you go. Just make sure you always wear your neck strap. 😉
Besides, it doesn’t hurt to have some nice pictures, either.
To our healing,