Sunday 9 April 2017

One Day Photography Workshop

The Old Sun Inn is an ideal photographic subject

Today found us enjoying the warmest day of the year so far, and what a day to be out and about in Saffron Walden with my clients, on a one day beginners and improvers photography workshop. Only ever taking a maximum of four people, I like to keep the workshops small so that each person can have the attention they require. Sadly today one client was unable to make it at the last minute, and one place had remained unfilled, which meant my time was divided between these two lovely people. One had been given a gift voucher as a birthday present, the other had been promising themselves a workshop day for a long time. Both, however, had the same aim -  to understand more about their camera and to feel happy about moving off auto.

After spending a while in the classroom getting to know the desires and needs of each of the attendees, then looking into the basics about the exposure triangle, it was time to get onto the real practical nitty-gritty.

First, it was about getting to grips with handling the camera - here, a Sony Alpha 200 which had been put to one side in favour of a point and shoot which "appears to give me just as good results, with less mucking around" but was given a second chance for the workshop.

Here a reflection of the landmark golden bunch of grapes which hang in the market square, was spotted high up in a window and was lined up for a photo on a Fuji M-X1. The strong sunlight caused a slight issue with this otherwise great little camera as it lacks a view finder.

Woaaahh!! Don't lean back any more!!!

As well as trying out camera settings, which today was mostly concentrating on understanding aperture, there were also opportunities to look at different aspects of seeing a picture and the beginnings of the art of composition.

...The art of looking, and simplifying an image.

...The art of looking where perhaps you wouldn't normally look for a picture

...The art of creeping up on the subject.

OK this one wasn't going to go anywhere but gave an ideal opportunity to spend time looking for the best angle to view, and the place which would give the best lighting, given the powerful sunlight creating great contrast.

By following the Town Trail, it provided the opportunity for the local to see and learn new things about Saffron Walden, and the visitor, who was new to the town, to discover what a photogenic place our north Essex town is.

Finishing up at the impressive St Mary's Church, with the clock saying it was time to return home for lunch, this left time to spend the rest of the afternoon reviewing the images from the day, learning from the successes, and valuable lessons from the failures too.

In the words of Magnum photographer Chris Steele-Perkins:

"Study and theory is useful but you learn most by doing. Take photographs, lots of them, be depressed by them, take more, hone your skills and get out there in the world and interact."

The reactions at the end of the afternoon were greatly encouraging...

"Well I think I know which camera I'm going to use from now on. Just a shame I'm working tomorrow and won't be able to take my camera - I'm itching to get going with it now!"

"I shall take my camera out on my dog walk tomorrow and try out all I have learnt today."

Thank you both for being such lovely company - I'm just delighted I can pass on a measure of enthusiasm for the art of photography which I have enjoyed for so long.

And what of these sugary confections?
I actually use them as a teaching aid and clearing up at the end of the day, discovered this lady who was enjoying them so much that she didn't want to fly away home!

If you missed this workshop (and want to find out how the Skittles get brought into the teaching!) there will be further opportunities throughout the year to join another one day workshop. Just keep an eye on my website, Facebook or Twitter.