Ten Best Essay: What I learned
In this block of instruction, I learned to better use the controls of my camera, what my camera can and cannot handle in terms of taking pictures in certain environments, and how much I need to work on my own inhibitions and shyness to take the best pictures that I can.
Firstly, I learned camera controls better. I had a basic recall and knowledge of the controls from studying for our test, but actually using them in the field and experimenting with them to get the best combinations for photographs helped embed them more deeply in my mind. Looking back on how lost I was in the beginning of the course as to the function of the different camera controls- aperture, ISO, shutter speed, etc., it’s almost humorous.
Secondly, I learned what my camera can and cannot handle. I realized that in the expense range that my camera is in and the level of professionalism that it may or may not have, I cannot take clear pictures above a 50, 100, or 150 level ISO reading. Any higher than that, like at 1600 or above in any lit situation, and my pictures will come out blurry, streaked, and pixelized. They were embarrassingly grainy to the point that I could barely adjust the coloring and contrast to matter- specifically, with the “rule of thirds” and “perspective” photos. Once I adjusted the light sensitivity, the pictures were much clearer, to the point where I almost couldn’t tell that they came from the same camera. They looked a lot more professional and I was very happy with the way my later photos came out. To recap, “Perspective”, “Silhouette” and “Rule of Thirds” were taken on the first day of the assignment, when I still didn’t understand reciprocity well on my camera. As such, they look horrid. The others, as I mentioned, are so clear because I drastically lowered the ISO from that point on.
Finally, I realized that I have a long way to go before I overcome my shyness with taking pictures in public and with human subjects. With “Rule of thirds”, I was so embarrassed and felt highly intrusive for asking to take his picture. It was mortifying because I felt like I was invading his personal space and interrupting his day, even though he said it was fine and didn’t act angry at all. It was scary.
I still don’t want to be just strictly a photographer, but I do want to focus my print major in feature and magazine writing, which means that I have to know how to take photos to go along with my stories. That means knowing how to interact with people that I want to take pictures of and not being afraid of the practice. That still might take some time- the thought and act of stepping from behind the lens knots my stomach up. But if it becomes part of my job, I’ll deal with it. Employers want well rounded journalists increasingly, and I don’t want to get passed over for a job because I’m shutter-shy.