****This is NOT a sponsored post.****
I took a photography class three and a half years ago with a photography school recommended by a friend. Two and a half years ago, I upgraded from a point and shoot to a DSLR camera as I became more and more frustrated with the limitations of the point and shoot. However, while I am not a complete newbie, I have acres and acres of potential growth as a photographer.
I “met” Paul several years ago through the expat blogger/twitter community several years ago, but this lesson was the first time we’d met in person. I’ve been enjoying his photography on facebook since then, and I was really excited for him when he launched Noodle Photography last year. I really enjoy work–his photographs of Thaipusam over the past two year were one of the reasons I was excited to go and take my own pictures this year. When I decided I wanted to do a refresher lesson before heading off to Cambodia (especially since my vacation is all about the photography), Paul was the first person I thought to ask.
We met in the Botanic Garden as my two favorite things to photograph are landscapes and my children. We began by going over the basics–how to navigate through the camera’s mechanics, and how to adjust settings.
Then we began with some shutter speed priority photography.
I would normally have deleted this photograph of a runner “invading” my shot. One of the things that Paul and I discussed today, though, was that everything doesn’t have to be perfectly crisp for it to be a good photography. Rather than the runner “spoiling” the shot, I can look at the jogger as demonstrating the difference in speed between the movement of the tai chi practioners and herself.
This gardener was a great subject to photograph because both he and the water were moving. We shot him at a variety of shutter speeds looking at not only his movement but also the water spraying from the hose. This was my favorite of the pictures.
Our final shutter speed priority skill was the idea of panning with my moving subject to keep it still while blurring the background. I’m a rank beginner at this, but if you look at this picture full screen, the walker is (mostly) still while the background is starting to blur. This is a skill I want to practice over the next 10 days; I think it could result in some great shots.
We then moved to aperture mode and the landscape shots using my tripod (which meant we also reviewed tripod use).
Unfortunately, clouds were starting to build as we began. But that lent itself to talking about how to get this sort of brooding sky shot (as opposed to one with far less grey).
A classic Angkor Wat shot is the temple reflected in the water. So as we were talking about various skills, I used the reflection of these plants in the water as my subject. This is my favorite of those shots, as you can see the early raindrops hitting the pond in the foreground, but where the reflection of the plants is still pretty clear in near the shore.
We then got under cover as the thunderstorm that had been threatening finally broke.
The rainstorm provided a good opportunity for Paul to talk to me about using exposure lock to help get the shots I want. After he walked me through it several times, I managed to get this shot on my own, keeping the shot exposed for the tree closest to me.
We also did some work with depth of field, using things like the menu at Casa Verde, and each other as subjects and what effect things like exposure lock, zoom, and distance from subject can make three shots taken from the exact same spot look very different.
Finally we talked about how to best utilize my time at Angkor Wat–because this is a solo trip, I have the luxury of spending a half hour or what have you on a single carving or sitting at a cafe in downtown Siem Reap, playing around with settings and experimenting.
I think the best recommendation I can give is that I’m walking away feeling like I have a better grasp on things, a few new skills to play around with, and more confidence for my upcoming trip.
Paul is a great instructor. He explained things at my level–didn’t spend overly long on things I understood, but wasn’t using terms or skills that are out of my reach. He was willing to stop and review something I was struggling with, suggest new ways of doing things, and never imposed his artistic voice on my own. If we can align our availability when I get back, I hope to work with him further to continue to improve my skills.
Noodle Photography can be found at the following places
Facebook (Not only his photography and courses, but articles of interest, recently he recommended an exhibit and so forth. He gave Kelly and I tips when we asked for help with Thaipusam photography here.)
Twitter has even more links to articles, so I follow him on both FB and Twitter.