When I studied jewellery at Cardonald College I realised that I enjoyed Black and White photography. The course was split into different modules and I enjoyed experimenting and developing my negatives in the dark room. It was like magic seeing the image appearing on the paper! This was back in 1999-2002 but unfortunately after leaving college I never had the time or access to a dark room to do more with black and white film photography.
Then while studying at DJCAD from 2003-2006 I began to realise that taking photos of my jewellery to archive my designs and commissions was really important and it also helped to bulk up my portfolio. So I got myself a wee digital camera and just took images with the auto mode. Over the years at art school technology was advancing and after graduating I decided to get a digital SLR camera to allow me to take more professional shots of my jewellery for my website and online shop.
My camera, the Nikon D5000 is a fantastic camera if you know how to get the best out of it. But again I was just using the auto mode as I didn’t know what all the functions meant. I kept on meaning to do a night class at Dundee college but never got around to it. Then a friend told me there was a photography class starting at the DCA, Dundee which showed you how to get the most of your digital SLR and helped you understand the functions. I decided to sign up.
So earlier on in the year I took part in the 8 week photography night class at the DCA, Dundee called the Blue Sky Photo Club. The classes were split up into different areas of how to use a digital camera and run by Ross Fraser McLean, (a self taught photographer based in Dundee) check out Ross McLeans site to see his work.
The class had a mixed level of photographers, some had already attended Ross’ classes before but others like me were complete beginners and wanted to get out of using the auto mode. Each week we had homework to do so it was a great way of making yourself learn as you had to go away and experiment with the camera.
The first weeks homework was to take photos which represent your own self portrait and to take pictures of objects or shapes that created the letters in your first name.
Here are the photos I took of the letters that represent my name GENNA. This was quite challenging but also fun to try and spot anything that looked like a letter.
My self portrait images were pictures of my work bench, my sketchbooks, some food, my computer with my phone and camera. My friend Jennifer Robson is a fine artist and had done a sketch of me so this also was a self portrait as literally it was! and I also used a photo of a reflection of me in a glass window. These images can be seen in Picasa in the Blue Sky folder.
Unfortunately I’m not sure how to create albums inside albums so the images aren’t split into separate folders for each weeks homework but should be in order.
The week 2 was taking photos which were over and underexposed by experimenting with the aperture compensation mode.
Week 3 and 4 was day and night photography. The aim was to take the same shot and same composition twice, one during the day and one at night. I focused on scenes which were quite mundane during the day but came to life at night.
Other images I took can be viewed in the Blue Sky Photo Club album in picasa.
In week 5 Ross had a load of words crumpled up in a bucket and were were to pick out a word and take 5 photos representing that word. My word was FAST. This allowed me to experiment with the shutter speed to capture movement and blur, and try panning. I think this one of the taxi has worked quite well.
Other images can be seen in picasa.
In week 6 we were to experiment with flash. There’s a really cool technique where you press the shutter butter down while zooming the lens back and forward. This creates some awesome effects. Flash is also good at saturating the colours making them brighter.
Some weeks were really busy with me running my business, exhibiting and working part time so I sometimes found the homework really hard to do in a week. During week 7 I was exhibiting away from home for 5 days so didn’t have much time to experiment with the homework which was Black and White photos. More can be viewed in Picasa as you can see from the photos there I was exhibiting at the Royal Highland Show, that is why I have photos of tractors.
And the final week, week 8, Ross wanted us to print out our favourite pictures which we had taken during the time of the photography class.
More can be seen on picasa.
During the time of the class I definitely learned a lot about using my camera and I now use the manual mode!