Drawing With Light Pt. 2

Last April 5, we decided to have our photography lessons in Ang Bahay ng Alumni. My plan was to have my Portrait Photography weeks after putting in practice items I learned from the first lesson. I needed to master the specifics of my camera in order for me to set it on given situations that are specific to lighting (my weakness is exposure). Plus I need to get more comfy in Manual Settings … but it pulled me back sooner than expected.

One week after Basic Digital Photography, I took Portrait, plus Still Life, and Landscape in one day. It was, as expected, information overload. I had to be fast in setting my camera on manual for exact conditions – that, unfortunately, emphasized the very little time I practiced between lessons One and Two. Nonetheless, I was able to pull off some noteworthy snapshots.


Portrait Photography:
After the one and a half hour lecture, we were sent to the field for practice. Sir James brought  his friend to be our model and I was also paired with another student. I’ve had issues taking portraits before, but I soon realized that I was good with tight shots rendering heightened emotion or drama (basing on how big the eyes the subject has). Although I find myself challenged with exposures, balancing my aperture for the right amount of depth of field became my concern.

I found that I could manage my exposure if I cheat via notes. However, depth of field is a little trickier because I had to keep adjusting my aperture. Outdoors can muffle your renditions (shaded outdoors, under a tree, harsh sunlight especially during noon and cloudless skies), and there are no notes to follow when plagued with that. You sort of just have to play it with eyes and meter your ISO, Aperture and Shutter Speed on your own. So in order to make good on my exercise, I decided to just focus on portrayals (classic portrait and candid photos – by the way, I suck in photojournalistic portraits. I need to practice on that). Somehow I found my niche by playing my strengths.

I eventually made a few of my shots meaningful and direct. None of them suffered light deficiencies but a few were over exposed.

I brought back a hundred snapshots (which was a tall order for the day) and ended with ten applause; don’t worry because one student only had two out of her one hundred. Sir James is very efficient in examining our products.

Still Life:
By this time, I was already running on backup power. I had a long night and the class is becoming quite strenuous because of the long walks while listening to lectures– U.P. is obviously enormous and I was secretly thanking my very snug shoes.

Back in Ang Bahay ng Alumni, we were allowed in the currently running exhibit that had several paintings and sculptures from local artists and students. Again, I recognized my need to practice my depth of field … and my eyes checked. Coming from the outdoors and moving the session indoors simultaneously can be taxing to the eyes. I had challenges with my own blurry eyes and the very many spectrum of colours that suddenly busted in front of me – outside it was green green green and inside a series of dynamic, vibrant and chaotic colours.

I was able to take back around 30 pictures, and this time seven was approved.

Backup power is spent and I’m a walking zombie. Sir James decided to continue gallivanting farther. I wanted to lie down in the middle of University Avenue but decided to drag myself past my aching head, feet and strained eyes. I just needed to get through the day because there’s no denying, I’m loving it.

This time the frequency of shots have lowered and I was simply and randomly taking whatever’s in front of me. Again, I had to work on my depth of field and exposure. Nonetheless, I took back seven good ones out of twenty five.


Eight hours later, we closed our lessons at Cordillera Coffee (still inside the campus). Reviewing my day as Sir James reviewed our photos, I realized that this is much better than spending weekends pickling my liver with alcohol like everybody else. I eased my aching back and feet pondering how long it will take for me to better my craft and I soon locked my eyes in my arm. Funny, I’m sun kissed. I haven’t even had a decent time on the beach and here I am with a darker shade of brown. Oh well, at least I have a nifty story to share in case someone brings it to my attention. But to answer the question: I only have to take into account that I frequently practice, and I should get the results I want soon enough.

May it be Portrait, Still Life or Landscape photography, I have much to iron out. Although there’s no pressure given this is all but a hobby. Next stop: Editing.


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