I spent yesterday at my photography class. It's the second of four five-and-a-half hour classes I've been taking at PNCA. It's the first time in, WOW, fifteen years since I've taken a class in anything. My ability to sit in my seat for several hours at a time seems to have greatly diminished, if nothing else. By the end of the class I am freaking-out anxious to get up.
The past couple of weeks have been so overwhelming! I won't really complain about or bore you with the details, aside from the fact that I haven't really left the house at all during that time, have been on a steady diet of CNN and other financial- and election-related news pretty much all day long (can't seem to turn it off), misread the book deadline I thought was coming up as the 15th of October when actually it's the 1st of October (double-take, whiplash, scramble), and my internet connection is still not working and we will now, after two weeks, need to switch companies completely, and start over. My new iMac is sort-of hooked up, though not really, since I have to wait until our internet service is restored before I finish all the registration and stuff, and the color on it seems to be in dire need of calibration. I think.
So I guess I am actually going to complain AND bore you with the details. Yawn.
But back to the digital photography class. We are learning SO MUCH. It's incredible how much I don't know, and how far I feel I have to go. Our teacher wants us to shoot everything in manual-mode, and, although I understand the concepts of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and white balance in theory, it's kind of like starting over, since I usually always shoot in aperture-priorty mode, and let the camera control most everything else. But I know I must learn how to understand and be responsible for all of these aspects if I ever want to get better. We are also learning how to shoot in RAW, and using software like Bridge and Photoshop CS3 which are both new for me. I am so behind that I think I have been using Photoshop 7, which doesn't even allow you to look at RAW images. So I feel insecure and quite far behind the curve, and that's never been more clear to me than it has these past two weeks.
Sorry. It's still boring. This really is how boring I am anymore. It's awful. We're all sad about it.
Yesterday in our class, we were supposed to go out during our lunch-break and take photos of familiar things and try to make them look unfamiliar. I was so focused on trying to get my settings correct that I wouldn't say these images are particularly inspired, or as abstract as I think our teacher was wanting us to shoot. But I love assignments like this, where you are really very consciously trying to change your perspective, and perhaps even photograph things you wouldn't otherwise think were worthy of being subjects. So I tried to do both: practice seeing something in a conceptually interesting way while really focusing closely on my technical settings. Or maybe I'm being too ambitious and I need to stick with the settings only until they become automatic, and I can see interestingly again. I did manage to shoot all of these in manual mode so that was one thing, at least.
I will say that it is so incredibly exciting to finally have the time and wherewithal to take a real photography class. I feel excited and nervous and overwhelmed and just happy to be learning all of these new things. Isn't the technology astounding? It kind of blows my mind. And we are constantly having to stretch out of comfort zones (and buy a bunch of new crap) to move along with it. This is so hard, but frequently so rewarding. But hard. And expensive. I try to remember how shaky I felt last year when I first got Big Black, and now that camera, or at least what I do with that camera, is as familiar to me as Small Silver once was, and it's funny how that just happens automatically, with time, even though you just don't think it will. You get there. One day at a time.
But then again, I never, ever thought that photography would be something that I would grow to love, or even care about. I never thought that it would become another language for me . . . another way to say it . . . another way to speak. I hope I get more confident. I hope I have the patience to deal with the computer, too.