Friday, May 30, 2014

Three Weeks in May

by Deanna


When I received an email from the photography instructor with whom I enjoyed and learned a great deal from on my trip to the Smokey Mountains last fall stating he would be having a Nature Photography 3 week class in May, I jumped at the chance to take instructions from him again.  The class was held 3 Saturdays in May.  Two of the three classes were trips to local forest preserves to enjoy the early spring wildflowers and practice our photography skills with the 3rd class being a review and a critique of our work. 


Lou’s gift is his outstanding teaching capabilities and the delight he receives when he sees growth in his student’s work.  He gently critiques our work, giving praise and also suggesting ways to improve our images.  Lou is a huge advocate of using a tripod, a practice that I find hinders my love of the freedom to move around quickly. The aging process, along with the ability to hold my camera steady will eventually catch up to me and someday I will be forced to use a tripod.  Admittedly by using a tripod it provides me to take that necessary time to set up a shot, study it, and grants me the ability to step away and revisit the image prior to snapping the shutter.  


In the critiquing of our work Lou is constantly reminding us of  the 4 main ways to improve our photography.  He entitles it BELS

  B = Background
  E = Edges
  L = Lighting
  S = Subject




If I stop and remember these 4 simple steps it does have a great effect on the finished photograph.  When I consider my subject and where I place it in my image, check the edges that I don’t eliminate something that may be necessary, keep the light balanced and watch the backgrounds (which I constantly struggle with) the likelihood of a better image is present.   

Growing and continuing education keeps my awareness focused on this passion I have of photography.  If you have an opportunity to take a class, get feedback, I encourage you to take the leap.  It's fun, it's challenging and it's invigorating.   

13 comments:

Dotti said...

Oh, there are some beauties here, Deanna! And you're so lucky to have this resource available to you. Yes, I can see where using a tripod more would slow us down and make us look at the 'big picture' so to speak. I'm so glad you were able to do this, it sounds both educational and inspiring. Now I want to go out and shoot with B-E-L-S singing from my lips.

Carol said...

You're preaching to the already convinced! I am a big believer in classes. I have learned so much by talking the leap - it lets objective people take a look,and find things that it's hard to see on your own, and allows you to learn at the next level. ( and there is ALWAYS a next level). It's also fun, and enriching to be in a room with people with common interests,or in your case, in a forest!) I have a friend who researches and sets up a class with a local photographer when she goes on vacation. This way, she gets access to some local places that most vacationers would never find, as well as learning while she plays.So glad you are doing this, and your pictures are great!

kelly said...

deanna these are lovely! and you can just tell that these were well thought out shots. your class sounds wonderful and yes, the growing and learning...it's just the best part of photography. happy weekend!

terriporter said...

This sounds like an amazing class and that Lou had so much to teach. I'm with you about the tripod -- I feel it gets in my way but I KNOW I would take clearer and better focused photos if I would use it. And I can see how it would really make you slow down and concentrate on your subject. All of these are beautiful but that last shot with the amazing bokeh . . . sigh! I have not had the pleasure of taking this kind of hands-on class but you make me want to research and find something like this. There is always so much more to learn!

Cathy said...

Oh the dreaded tripod... I know, I know, but boy I too feel like it gets in my way. But your images are so clear and beautiful. And maybe slowing down is what it is all about. We talk about that a lot here. I have never taken a hands-on class. Some day...

Ida said...

Oh toting around the Tripod is a pain. - Love your shots. The Frog is so cute, yes I'm weird because I find frogs cute.
Love your flower shots, so pretty.
Taking classes would be fun and a chance to learn. I tend though to want to just relax with my photos and not have to worry about the "technical" details. I'm by no means a professional just a photographer having fun.

CarolHart said...

Your images are stunning Deanna and I agree with you, participating in a live class session provides so much growth in our work. So, the tripod thing. I have felt the same as you and then Brian suggested I try a monopod as it allows a bit more freedom of movement and you know, I like it. Recently I had the opportunity to witness chickadees fledging the nest and fortunately I was prepared with my 70-300 zoom lens, which is a bit heavy. So, I used the monopod to help steady my camera. Got some great pics! Mine is made by Manfrotto if you are interested in checking them out. Great post. Have a great weekend!

leigh said...

Beautiful shots Deanna! I'm so glad you passed along what you learned. The BELS tip is a fantastic one and one I will definitely be putting to use.

Viv@within the Frame said...

Great photos and tips Deanna, I use my tripod all the time in the house as light can be so low, it can be a pain but it does mean that I have more control...

Cathy H. said...

Beautiful images! I love the frogs, his texture and his reflection! Also, love the bokeh on the last one and that one heart-shape. I've never taken classes in person, only online. I'm such a chicken. I need to be brave and do this! Thanks for the BELS tip!

Barb Brookbank said...

Wonderful images, Deanna! I love the frog and the last shot so much! I agree about hands-on classes - they're the best! I must admit I seem to be in the minority here - I use my tripod 80% of the time...

susan said...

Gorgeous shots Deanna! Thank you for sharing the BELS tip, too!

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

That last shot is sooooo fabulous. I'm not a tripod user either. But if I was my images would sure be sharper.

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