My In depth project went so fast! I feel like I just started a few days ago. It has been an amazing process and I have learned so much more than I expected. The past few weeks have been especially productive and I have met with Ivan once every week. For our meeting last weekend Ivan allowed me to choose our meeting place to test my learning and I chose Belcarra beach which worked out wonderfully. We headed out for the sunset and watched it set over Bedwell Bay. The sun set and we stayed out even longer, taking photos with longer exposures to make the ocean flat and still. For this I borrowed one of Ivan’s ND filters and experimented with shutter speeds. A little spider friend also came out and acted as an interesting subject to test with. For our next meeting Ivan is hoping to show me his antique camera collection and showcase how photography has changed over time. I am extremely excited for this lesson and I am conducting some independent research on the subject to prepare beforehand.
As I acquired the mentorship through the PDPC, Ivan has informed me that the club wishes that I give a presentation outlying the mentorship and showcasing some of the photos I have taken during sessions with Ivan. I am extremely nervous for the presentation but I am also excited to share some my best photos to some experienced photographers.
In relation to Chapter 9 of De Bono’s A Beautiful Mind I have been working to understand many large concepts of photography. As my original in depth goal was to work better with light in my photos, I have been working on the concept of creating a well rounded photograph that is pleasing to look at. This large concept includes composition, lighting and creativity but recently I have focused on properly exposing my images. Perfect exposure is a challenging skill to master and it requires an in depth understanding of aperture, shutter speed and ISO. To develop this skill I have been receiving a lot of help from Ivan who has many insights from his lifelong photography experience. One interesting piece of information Ivan constantly reminds me of is to underexpose while capturing sunsets. This is to preserve the colours of the sky. A famous quote Ivan loves to use while describing this is
“You can bring back the colours from dark but you can never bring colours back from blown out whites”
In relation to A Beautiful Mind chapter 10 I have learned many special alternate techniques from Ivan that I may have missed out on with a different mentor. Photography is an art form and because of this this there is no ‘best way’ to do it. There are many different beliefs on what makes ‘good’ photos and what makes ‘bad’ photos. In photography culture there are also many debates comparing film and digital shooting. Both mediums are notorious for disliking each other and this can create conflict between photographers. Luckily Ivan has done a great job on remaining impartial during teaching. Although he may be mentoring me in the techniques he uses, Ivan gives me freedom and always shows me the alternatives, allowing me to make my own decisions. A good example of this was during Ivan and I’s trip to Belcarra. We went down to the dock and he immediately set up his tripod at the base of the pier, looking out over the pier and water. I was initially confused by why Ivan would be content so far away from the water and all the fun stuff that comes along with it. I spoke to him about this and he explained that if we were right next to the water than our images would lack a subject. I understood this but decided to head out onto the dock anyways. Ivan encouraged me to go out and pushed me to try the alternative on my own. After shooting the water from the dock for a few minutes I realized how boring and subjectless the photos were. Ivan was right and I learned this valuable lesson firsthand. By giving me alternatives Ivan helped me learn important aspects of composition myself. If Ivan had acted differently in this situation and discouraged me from trying ideas on my own I would have missed out on learning this lesson directly.
Another example of a specific technique I have learned from Ivan is being selective in what you shoot. Although Ivan shoots digital, he understands how shooting film and having a limited amount of shots can be valuable. Throughout this project Ivan has been influencing me to stop shooting and to start thinking about the environment I am in to capture the best photographs. Another mentor may have had a totally different opinion about selective shooting and may have encouraged me to simply take hundreds of photos and choose the one or two quality photos I took..
For my presentation at In depth Night I am sticking to my original idea of a slideshow outlining my photos and different photographic aspects. For example I hope to have a slide showing four different pictures, all shot at different shutter speeds to illustrate my learning to the audience in a simple way. I could repeat this with aperture and ISO as well. I hope that my slideshow brings light (haha) to complicated photography ideas in a way that the entire audience can learn from. If everyone in the audience has even a slightly better idea of a photographs complexity, I will be content.
On our shoot at Belcarra I got this cool shot of a spider silhouette over the lake.
After the presentation is over I hope to still meet with Ivan biweekly. There is still so much to learn!