Not as easy as it looks



Mind’s eye, originally uploaded by ken.udle.

Friday’s class introduced us to documentary photography. Unlike studio or landscape work with their contemplative processes, this is more immediate, more spontaneous. Here the object is to capture images of life as it happens. You might even be making a statement on an issue that’s important right now. The thought process is very different and as I found not nearly as easy as I thought.

With landscape I can stand there, take in the scene, consider the light and choose the best location for my camera. Once the tripod is set up, and the settings set. Sometimes I just stand and wait for the best light. I don’t care if people see me with my gear. Often an hour or two can pass without notice from the same scene.

With documentary photograph, the advice was keep the camera away from your face, hanging around your neck is good. Aim from the waist, use a remote cable release. Use semi-automatic and allow room for editing. On my first attempt at this type of photography, I took 126 pictures 110 of which were either too blurred or were not framed to capture anything of use. After a while, maybe at the computer, I realized the people around what I thought was the subject are as important if not more important to the image.

I have two weeks before the next class – time to get out and try this again. I have to admit though I enjoyed taking these pictures much more than I expected.

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