Photography like any art requires practice. A lot of it. Then some more just for fun. Musicians continue practicing even after they have reached a level of game that prompts the public to pronounce them masters of their art. Photography is no different. I’m used to seeing the utter frustration in some student’s faces as they try to get a technique right, see a scene in a certain way. Usually the results are less than perfect. It’s how the photographic student deals with that frustration that matters. Do you give up and sell all your equipment while in a huff…or do you plod on, working again and again at the same technique until it finally clicks.
A case in point is my new attempts at interval time videos. The first results have been abysmal. Worse than. I’ve made rookie errors that people would expect a professional photographer not to make. But I’m not going to give up. If anything, it’s made me more determined to succeed. This is a technique I want to not only learn, but perfect (thankfully I don’t have any clients asking for it just yet).
It’s with some satisfaction that I could see light bulbs going off for some of the students this weekend in the Drakensberg. I’m fortunate that most of the students on the monthly Drakensberg tour are people that I have already met at the Thanda workshop at the beginning of the month (the Berg workshop is a side operation that I am sub-contracted to teach by African Impact – the same group that organize and run the Thanda Photography workshop). This means that I have the luxury of being able to refine techniques with the students with a two week interval between workshops. Questions fly and mistakes are rife in the first workshop. By the end of the Berg trip though, there are less simple questions, or the questions that arise are more complicated and more considered. This is a success for me. It means that the photographers are thinking about what they are doing when they depress the shutter. It’s amazing how few photographers are capable of doing just that…thinking before they release the shutter. The result was a set of image that we looked at last night of which a number were quite simply, breathtaking.
Practice makes perfect. The joy of photography is that you never stop practicing. A photographer who becomes complacent in their art, is also a photographer who stops learning and starts stagnating. A student who doesn’t realize this should consider another hobby or profession. I will never know enough, I always want to learn more.
A little bit of housework as well (need to get my mind back into gear after a brilliant weekend in the mountains. There was perfect weather for once - although I am currently writing this sitting at Witsieshoek in the middle of a cloud). There is one more space available for this coming weekend’s workshop on flower photography. Please contact me asap if you would like to take part. New workshop will also be posted within the next two weeks, so keep an eye on the website workshop page and in the Photo Writing for updates.