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Week One

Learning About Elements of Design, Photoshop, Shutter Speed and Aperture, and How to Use Our Cameras.

This week we were introduced to a lot of information. Steve Acesta, our instructor for the digital portions of the course, introduced us to the elements of design and photoshop, as well as instructing us on aperture and shutter speed. We were able to use our digital cameras to shoot pictures of whatever we wanted. We uploaded these pictures onto the computers at The Sawtooth and got to experiment with Photoshop. I have mixed feelings about Photoshop. I like a more natural aesthetic and I try to keep my photos as close to the original image as possible. For me, the effects on Photoshop seem contrived. There are some cool things that they can do, but they just don't appeal to me. However, learning how to utilize Photoshop is still very helpful and it's possible to create images that wouldn't appear otherwise. For instance, I took layered three photos on top of each other and made two of the photos very opaque, so there are layers of shapes and colors that create a very cool image. Unfortunately, I didn't have the foresight to bring a thumb drive to class that day, so I'll just have to remember to upload that image to next week's blog.

We were also given rolls of black and white film! This weekend I'll be shooting around campus and Winston to see what I can come up with. We'll be developing the film on Monday and making prints. I think I'll be able to bring one of the prints back so that I can scan it to my computer and upload it, too. Monday we'll also be using the pinhole camera we made today. There are a variety of ways to make this type of camera, but we used metal popcorn tins and painted the inside black (so no light is reflected inside the camera). We drilled a hole in one side of our tins, which is where the image and light will come in. Then we made miniscule holes in a strip of metal that we aligned with the hole in the tin. This is the aperture of our camera. It will project light and an image onto the photo paper we secure to the inside of our tin. Using these cameras is fun, but also tricky, because you have to pay very close attention to how much time you expose the paper. I did this in high school, but it didn't turn out well at all, so I'm looking forward to learning how to do it this time.

Though much of the information is familiar to me, I find that I have been developing bad habits. For instance, on my digital SLR, I shoot in manual mode so I can change the shutter speed. But I never change the aperture. I've limited myself by making the shutter speed do all the work and not exploring what changing the aperture will do for my photos.

I think this class will really expand my creative horizons and cause my photography to evolve. It will also change my lazy habits and make me look at photography in a completely different light.