Yesterday we went on our photography workshop. It ran from 10am to 4pm and took place at Mountstweart, a National Trust building on the Ards Peninsula about half an hour from where we live. We got up early to walk the dogs before we went and left them with Kong toys stuffed with treats and promises to be back soon (I hate leaving them so it was with both excitement at our impending camera mastery and a feeling of guilt at leaving them alone on a weekend that we set off).
There were 12 of us on the course and it covered the basics of SLR and Bridge cameras and what all the different functions do. As with most courses these days, it started with that horribly embarrassing bit where we all have to say who we are and why we're there. 'Hello, I'm Nicola and I'm an artist who wants to learn how to take my own photographs that I can then use as a reference source for my paintings'. I did manage to pass one of my cards out to a girl on the course with a Boxer dog who said she'd love a painting of him so you never know!
Now, I certainly didn't come away from the course as the next David Bailey (or whoever the latest photographic genius is these days). The bits where we have to checks ISOs against shutter speeds and aperture size still confuses me somewhat but I got the gist of it (and S understood it all so he can explain it to me again and again) The most important thing though, the thing I most wanted to learn - how to take a shallow depth of field with the subject in focus and the background blurred - well, I learnt how to do it! Whether I can actually put what I learnt into practice is an entirely different matter but at least I know how to do it in theory.
We spent the first part of the course listening to a presentation and then practising the different functions of the camera and then after lunch we were let loose in the grounds of Mountstewart with our cameras and check list of things to photograph to show the tutor we had been listening. Then we had to hand over our SD cards and he put them up on his computer so we could each see what we'd done right and find out what we'd done wrong. I did have to admit that once we reached the lake with the ducks and swans I completely forgot all I'd learnt and reverted to point and shoot on automatic all over again!
Anyway, here are some of the photos I took on the day, unedited and in all their amateur glory!!
|The trunk at the front was supposed to be in sharp focus - oops.|
|I think this is my favourite of the day.|
|Even the swan looked impatient with how long I was taking to get the shot!|
It was quite ironic that the most important thing I learnt on the day was that the thumbwheel on my camera for increasing and reducing certain levels isn't working properly and using all the functions properly is causing my batteries to drain completely flat within 20 minutes (I changed batteries 3 times during the day!) I'd never have known that if I'd kept on just using the automatic point and shoot settings so I now need to leave it in to a camera repair shop before our trip to Krakow next month.