Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Year's Resolution #4: Learn a Skill

For New Year's Resolutions, I like to focus on four areas: spiritual, physical, social, and mental.  I've previously blogged about my resolutions for everything except Mental because I wanted to take a few months to learn a skill and then report.  So!  First skill is Photography...

I started off going to the library and finding some books on photography. I enjoyed this book by John F. Schaefer, who highlights pictures and techniques by Ansel Adams.  It reviews the history of photography and covers a lot of the specifics of film.  But it also covers focal length, aperture, depth of field composition, point of view, framing, using color, photographic themes, developing a strategy, etc. with all these really awesome photographs by Ansel Adams.  I thought it was a bit over my head but helpful because it was technical enough to actually define what in the heck aperture was :).

And I watched some videos on YouTube.  I really liked a photography seminar from B&H, where Frank Doorhof talks about Being Creative and Getting the Shot. He says you should know your technique, your equipment, and your basics but most of all be different.  He shares an analogy that I thought was insightful.  
"If we hang a painting on the wall, how do we do this? We take a nail and we take a hammer. We hit the nail on the head with a hammer.  It goes into the wall, and we hang the painting on the nail, right? Now you have to start realizing that the nail and the hammer, that's you're Cannon, your Nikon, your Hasselblad, your whatever.  Your iPhone. But the picture if it hangs on the nail, you don't see the nail anymore...  The gear doesn't matter and the lenses make the image."
You mean I can learn and practice on anything?!  I really do think that's what he meant.  After all, he said you should know your technique, your equipment, and your basics but most of all be different. I can do that!  I don't have a lot of money right now to invest in a camera or equipment or post production software, but I can practice technique with anything and grow into the rest.  Most of my beginning pictures were nature because 1) spring is in the air and 2) I live alone so flowers are my friends :).

Then I searched the internet for some good photography sites.  I found this great article by Kristin Dokoza on shooting everyday.  She says,
"The iPhone has given me a sense of freedom, a carefree approach to photography that was slowing me down by only using my Canon. I use the same principles of creating a beautiful image in camera on my DSLR as I do with my iPhone. With a lot less pressure of nailing the shot! Shooting daily with your iPhone should be fun and a great way to strengthen your creative mind."
iPhoneography would be perfect for me because I don't have a DSLR and it would still give me a chance to practice.  There's groups, websites, and Instagram users that make up daily prompts to inspire that day's photo.  I figured it would give me a starting point and I collect a picture everyday practicing skills like lighting, cropping, composition, angles, color, and storytelling.  Here's my first month...


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