28 Mar 2008

Photography tuition by the sea

My students Tony and Dave with RNLI Lifeboat man 'Tattie'

It’s been a busy week here in Bonnie Galloway. Quite apart from having several hundred photographs to sort and catalogue, I have had students with me for the last two days as well.

On Thursday pals Dave and Tony came for a shared day’s tuition. Dave has been to me before on one of my weekend workshops. This time he and Tony wanted to take things several steps further by doing a mini ‘assignment’ that would present a challenge. They felt they wanted to be ‘pushed’ a little, and could I arrange something.

I spoke to the local RNLI lifeboat secretary and got permission to take Dave and Tony along to the lifeboat station down the river here in Kirkcudbright Bay. One of the lifeboat crew members was able to join us for the morning and he proved to be not only great fun, but a willing and interesting photography subject.

The plan was to treat the morning as an assignment for an imaginary magazine editor who wanted a photo essay on the station and the lifeboat man. After they had got over their initial nervousness, both Dave and Tony did a fantastic job. They managed to find a couple of really good ‘key’ pictures and then set about gathering a whole range of really worthwhile peripheral, or detail, pictures. These included everything from the crews’ lifejackets hung in a row on the wall, to the winch that pulled the boat from the water into the boat shed, the inscribed plaques listing the number of rescues and rescued people, and shots of the boat’s powerful engines. By the end of the morning, they both managed to put together a really comprehensive photo essay, and everyone had a great time doing it. We went through the pictures together and did critique comments and advice during the afternoon

Today I have had Phil with me. He came up from Yorkshire for the day. Although he had taken up photography only 10 months ago, the moment I saw some of his work, it was obvious that he has a really good eye for a picture. He was less confident about composition and the workings of his camera, though. But we could soon help with that.

We spent the morning indoors as the rain lashed the windows and I went through each aspect of the camera controls with Phil. After lunch the sun broke through and we set off to my favourite little beach and cove. The light was truly spectacular, and the place presented a perfect situation to work on composition.

Phil was in seventh heaven shooting away happily. Whenever he had a query I would explain a few shortcuts and tricks. By the end of the afternoon, he was fully converted to the idea of the Manual ‘M’ settings on his little Canon 400D and wondering why he every bothered with the auto settings. I think we might be seeing more of Phil in the future

So another busy week comes to an end – have fun with your camera over the weekend.
Above: My student for today - Phil, at work on the coast near my home here in Galloway.
Below: One of the photographs I took during the afternoon - the light has been spectacular.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

I love the idea of a photojournalism project - what a great way to structure an individual tuition day or weekend. Definitely something for my next visit!