Not that the camera I used before this week squirted water through a hole in the lens when I pressed the button. But yesterday, I actually held in my hands a Canon that was too heavy to be mistaken for a water toy. This was at The Hub’s photography workshop for beginners, and I was one of his participants.
For months, he’d been pushing me to join one of his workshops. But until yesterday, I never did for various reasons: The Tactless Child needed supervision at the computer otherwise she’d play Angry Birds until she’d dragged the mouse down to nothing; The One Who Spits, with no one hovering over him, has a tendency to eat earthworms and smear his poop (scooped out from his diaper) on stuff, including his own face; but most of all, I hesitated to join The Hub’s workshops because I was intimidated by his cameras.
See, I prefer simple cameras. I like the point-and-shoot ones that don’t present you with options other than to point and shoot. But then, of course, my photos would come out looking like they were taken with a really simple-minded camera, if they had minds.
The Hub’s cameras and lenses, on the other hand, belong to the big leagues. They’re black (though the longest one is in cream, maybe to appear more friendly?), heavy, and have all those buttons and dials. I thought, do you need all those just to take a picture? Ah, but The Hub doesn’t just take pictures; he creates art. (woot! woot!) Shameless plug: his photos have appeared in several glossies and broadsheets.
Anyway, there he was, rattling off numbers and such foreign-sounding words like Iso and aperture and…I forget the third one, but I know that the ideal number for that one is 1/125 for portraits. I wanted to whip out my pen and blue Corolla spiral notebook to take down notes but The Hub said to just absorb everything. So I did. He is a good teacher, and I’m not just saying that because I’m married to him. He managed to explain strange photography jargon in a way that even my technically virgin ears and mind could understand.
After the theory came the practical part. He told us to pick a subject and shoot away. The Tactless Child was on-hand to model for us (and she does pop some great poses and smiles. She obviously doesn’t get that from me). The One Who Spits, who’d been given a tub of water and some huge lego blocks to keep him from joining the workshop, was also nearby to provide subject matter and sticky entertainment.
At first, taking the photos was difficult. I had to consider so many things at once – is the Iso under 600? Is the aperture open at its widest? Is that thing (I still can’t remember it) at 1/125? By the time I’d adjusted everything, my female subject had gotten bored and posed for someone else and the male subject was drinking mud water using a lego block as a cup. I finally settled on taking pictures of the gate.
It didn’t go well. Half my photos came out totally washed out. The other half were just so-so. Apart from all the figures to consider, I found the camera (which The Hub graciously let me use for the workshop) too heavy. It seemed as if it got heavier by the minute while I was shooting. I also found it so hard to keep one eye closed for a long time while looking through the hole (see? I don’t even talk like a photographer). I tried opening both eyes while taking a picture but I went cross-eyed and the photo came out all blurry.
How does The Hub do it?
With practice and passion, I guess. He certainly does practice; so much, in fact, that he hardly notices it when he’s carrying two heavy cameras attached to a shoulder strap. And sometimes, when he’s in a particularly artistic mood, he gets up before dawn just to catch the sunrise in his lens. He’s developed a following in the photography world. These people think nothing of coming over to our house with photography equipment, and they and The Hub talk about the equipment (they talk about the equipment!) for hours.
While I don’t see myself getting that hardcore about photography, I did appreciate the opportunity to learn how to make my photos look more desirable. In fact, I plan to wake early tomorrow to take some practice shots. Good luck to me.