Friday, February 6, 2009

Photography 101

This puppy was very patient with me...

I finished my first college photography class today. It might not seem like such a big feat, since most of you have taken many years of college and other specialty courses.

However, I haven't taken any kind of official schoolin' since cell phones were the size of boom boxes.

So, convincing my brain to retain any type of new information that wasn't offered via "Ellen" or "Chelsea Lately" was a challenge.

But, in the past couple of years, I've really started to get back into photography and, since I'd only ever taken photos on the automatic settings of any camera, thought it might be beneficial for me to learn how to use the dreaded manual settings that all real photographers use.

Color wheels and aperture/shutter speed settings aside...I think I actually learned a thing or three.

Like...when leaning against a wall to take a photo of, say, statuary (for my "Texture" assignment), it's wise to check for large trails of ants that might also be using the wall as a favorite travel route.

Thankfully that was a "dance" witnessed by only myself, the ants and the Korean lady next door.

Trust me, I checked this wall very well for wildlife before asking Oscar to pose later for my "Portraits" assignment.

I also enjoyed checking him very well...for balanced lighting.

I'm very professional with my models.

I took this photo behind an old rundown carwash.

What I learned from that was...when entering a fragrant outdoor carwash restroom, it's best to make sure the camera that you have slung over your shoulder doesn't slam into the doorframe as you try to slide casually in without using your fingers to touch any part of the bacteria-ridden doorknob.

While attempting my "Pan Motion" assignment (having to shoot something in motion, while having the background blurred, but the subject clear), I learned that it's best to smile a lot when you're taking random photos of complete strangers out enjoying their day.

It lessens the chance that one of them will turn around and attempt to punch you in the neck or lower regions.

I also learned, while doing my "Peak Motion" assignment (freezing a subject during a peak action...not easy at all), that skateboarders must be made of steel, fiberglass or Dippity Doo...

Because I can think of no other explanation that would detail how they are able to leap, twirl, and flip high in the air and then come crashing down on their elbows, knees, and heads (without one of them losing a face-plate, like the Fembots on the "The Bionic Woman"), then get right back up, laugh...and do it all over again.

It's insanity I tell ya'....insanity!

So, my first quarter is finished and, since I actually learned something, I've decided to take the advanced photography class that starts next week.

Of course, that depends on how I did on the final photography project and the written test we took today (I hate tests).

However, as a personal milestone, I was actually able to figure out the YouTubes that all the kids have been using lately and, without the aid of a full team of technicians standing right beside me, uploaded my final photography assignment (below) to the Interwebs.

We had to do a project based on a word of theme, so I chose "Curve"...subjects or locations that had a curved element somewhere in frame.

I'm no Ansel Adams or Olan Mills yet...

But, I'm tryin'.


Rev. Gabrielle Michel said...

Olan Mills! You are so funny. I love your photography Ken. It's really good. Congrats!

Vampire Hours said...

Thanks! I'm glad you like the pics. I had a lot of fun taking them for the past month.

Anonymous said...

Very nice work, Ken. And... I want that puppy!!!

Anonymous said...

Wow Ken, great photography, I'm very impressed, and the curves vid is really inspiring also. Love the Skateboarder... =o)

Vampire Hours said...

Thanks Mike! You could probably just steal the puppy from the store on Melrose. They didn't seem to pay much attention to them and, to make it even easier, they were out in the open by the back door (which was also open). Happy Hunting!

CB...I'm sure you could find the skateboarder hanging out on Venice Beach. Happy Hunting to you too!

Brad said...

Great shots. Makes me want to go read my camera manual. I'm stuck on 'auto'.

I DID NOT look at Oscar.

I know the rules.

Vampire Hours said...

Thanks Brad. I should actually read my camera manual too(and the Dummies version sitting on top of it). And...I will. One day. Hopefully. Maybe. I'm sorry, what were we talking about?

You can look at Oscar, you just can't covet.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ken... very nice work. I guess that simulus package from last year that sponsored your travels and.. now pursuing your endeavors, really paid off. Next time you're in my neighborhood (westside/venice) for your next photography project, give me a ring for coffee. Nice work on Oscar.. I mean the lighting.

David (devildawg)

Anonymous said...

Oops.. bad spelling or typo.. I meant "stimulus package"

Vampire Hours said...

Thanks, David! So nice to hear from you. Didn't realize you lived in Venice now. If I get in that area for another shoot, I'll definitely let you know. As far as a "stimulus" package, if only that were true. Maybe one day...gotta keep hope out there. =)

Andrew S. Brown said...

I like your photography. Especially the puppy. The model was really cute, but he/she's no Zora...

Vampire Hours said...

Yeah, the puppy is very cute, but Zorra still gets to keep her blue ribbons.