Our beginner’s class actually started the night of the advanced class graduations. Some of these new students had traveled two days from the eastern part of Bhutan to take part in our class! By the afternoon, everyone had arrived. Our coordinator, Sherub, helped to get the new students settled and ready for class today.
Day one of our beginner class started as they always do, with us dividing the students into groups based on which school and what region they come from, then by mixing boys and girls in the group. We made it a point to separate friends in the different groups. Learning a completely new skill set hard, and we plan to stretch their boundaries anyways this week, so why not get started by throwing in a bit of social unfamiliarity into the mix?
After groups were chosen, we handed out cameras and began the lessons. We started by going over the basic controls, functions and buttons on the camera, and where to find the battery and how to install the memory card as well. By the time we were two hours into the lesson, these guys knew the basics of ISO, shutter speed and aperture, and were making good exposures inside. It was time to take them outside and get them started.
While we were in class, a reporter from Kuensel, the local newspaper, came by to do an interview with Fred, Arthur and Mike, as well as a couple of the students for an article they were writing about the program (here’s the link if you want to read it for yourself). Meanwhile, our students went out to begin making their first exposures, and when we reviewed them tonight, we all thought that this was the best first set of images we’ve seen from any group yet! Our students were playing with exposures, shooting close up, creating interesting compositions, and getting it right all on the first day! It was pretty great and I think a great deal of the credit should go to our rock star TAs (the advanced students who were chosen to help with this class). These guys jumped in right away, had their arms around their new students and were explaining to them in Dzonkha so quickly and efficiently. Their assistance was amazing, and the images our beginners were making were a testimony to that!