My Ideal Weekend – Photo Shoot One Day, Photo Course The Next

Now that school is done for the year, you might ask how I’m filling my time.  My tag line is “I’m Not Happy Unless I’m Learning”. True to that saying, I’ve been seeking out opportunities to grow as a photographer and person, and I had two perfect examples this weekend.

howtoin10_20150502_web_0076On Saturday, I did my first public photo shoot.  The Whitby Library hosted an event called “How To in 10”, which is a festival dedicated to learning new skills in max of 10 minutes each.  Several libraries across Durham Region are hosting the presenters, with the Whitby Library kicking things off.  It was a fun event, with everything from cooking healthy to playing guitar chords to studying astronomy to making a home for pollinators in your garden.  I had the pleasure of photographing the festivities.

There is a lot of planning that goes into any photo shoot, and this was no exception.  Connecting with your client, exploring their needs and wants, discussing any requirements or limitations all make for a successful experience.  You need to explore your venue, seeing how the light plays in the space and understand how people will be positioned.  You need to bring the right gear and know how to use it.  But most of all, you need to be out of the way, taking advantage of how people naturally interact, rather than expecting them to pose for you.  It was a terrific experience.  Now the hard work of processing the images begins.  That’s this week’s task.

Orion

Orion

But first, I had the marvellous opportunity to attend Henry’s Astrophotography 101 course today.  I’ve long held a fascination with the night sky and now that I can take pictures, I wanted to learn how to take pictures of that night sky.  The first thing you learn, however, is that none of the traditional photographic rules apply.  Rather than properly expose, you always, always underexpose to preserve the details in the data.  Most of your photographs will literally be pictures of nothing.  And from there, rather than find the one perfect shot and develop it, you take tens, maybe hundreds of shots and use software to combine them into a final product.  Even then, you’re not done until you repeatedly adjust blacks, whites and midtones in Photoshop.  Any one final, beautiful object in the sky can take hundreds of images and hours of work to capture.  But the result is SOOOOOOOO worth it.  And you don’t need a telescope to make the magic happen.  Even a 50mm lens will work.  Who knew?

Next week – a trek to Lynde Shores to look for cardinals with members of one of the photo groups I belong to.  And planning will begin for the next big photographic adventure.  I love summer.

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