Fred begins every class with a talk about photography as our ability to write with light. But like writing with pen or pencil, it’s not the “writing” that is important but what the author or photographer is trying to say. Using Gandhi as an example, Fred likes to ask the class if anyone knows whether Gandhi Ji used a pen, pencil, or paintbrush. Of course it doesn’t matter what he wrote with because his words were powerful. However, there was a time when Gandhi was a boy and he first had to learn how to write and THAT is where we begin.
On our first day of class, we always dive straight in. We only have two days of class time by the end of which we need to be comfortable shooting on Manual mode with intentionality. So we jump straight in. The first thing we do, after we’ve assigned each student a camera, is to go over the controls. Then we cover ISO (the sensitivity of the camera sensor), aperture and shutter speed. By lunch the students are learning how to read the light meter in their camera and combining the three elements to make good exposure. Of course, we are getting widely mixed results but progress is success.
After lunch the students are sent out for more practice and given the assignment of shooting portraits of their classmates. After a long morning of technical talk it’s refreshing to get outside and the students are instantly spread halfway across campus. Hanging from trees, climbing through the bushes, playing in the fountains, and jumping off the stairs, the students take off and are immediately exploring with their cameras. And while they are just learning, their talents and creativity are already beginning to show!