Learning to See
During the summer of 2009, I learned “how to see”.
As part of my graphic design course work, I took a digital photography class. To say that this experience opened up a whole new world of self-expression and creativity is putting it mildly. In the past, I had always been scared off by the technical aspects of photography – trying to wrap my head around exposure, focal length, aperture, shutter speeds and ISO settings just seemed like too much work. I was lucky enough to have a great teacher (thank you, Michael!) who had the skills to make concepts like the “photographic triangle” comprehensible. And as the course progressed, I began taking better photographs. And, more importantly, looking at the world around me in a different way. Once you learn to “see” as a photographer, you can’t “unsee”.
In January, 2010 I started a Project 365, posting my results on Flickr. While I failed in my efforts to take one picture a day for a year – life got in the way – I began taking my camera with me almost every day. I began thinking of photography as not just something with which to record the “big” moments of my life, but the smallest ones as well. I saw beauty and interestingness everywhere – in a trip to the grocery store, in shadows, in detritus found on the street, in weeds along the side of the road. And through an (almost) daily practice, my photography skills continue to improve.
And yet, I know I have so much more to learn. This summer, I upgraded my camera – moving from a simple Canon point-and-shoot to a Canon G11 where I now have the ability to directly control aperture and shutter settings, shoot in Camera Raw and other more advanced settings. I have started the Advanced Digital Photography class with the same instructor where I hope to move up another notch in my skill set and expand my artistic vision. I will share my learning experience here.
I am finding an online community of like-minded souls who share their unique vision of the world with the rest of us, putting their joys and heartaches, experiences and observations into their photos and the words that accompany those images.
I am grateful for new eyes.