This weekend I gave two 3-hour photo lessons to two very enthusiastic photographers. It was fun for me, and I think they benefited from the time we spent together. Both Saturday and Sunday we started indoors covering techniques and composition. Then we moved outside to practice what was discussed, answer questions, and touch on other topics in the field.
Saturday was sunny, but when we headed to the Etna Library area the sun was softened by some high clouds. This allowed some nice flower photos that otherwise would be poor in bright sun. We photographed mostly with shallow depth of field to blur the background. I like this one because of the background colors.
And then there were some fast-moving bees to try to capture.
One simple thing I stress when teaching is that if the sky is not dramatic and does not contribute to the photo, try to eliminate it. Previously I had photographed the nearby barn with very beautiful skies, but this day the sky was white. So I practiced another simple composition tip — sometimes a piece of the subject can be better than the whole.
Sunday afternoon we headed to Hanover and the Dartmouth campus. The other option was Moose Mountain, but it was way too sunny for that. The woods are too contrasty for good photos with full sun. But architecture is often excellent on a sunny day. So we took some photos of buildings. I suggested focusing on details rather than trying to get it all in. And I pointed out that sometimes shadows are an important part of the composition.
I showed how to get a sun star. It is caused by diffraction (bending of light) at the edges of the lens diaphragm. It is strongest when the physical size of the aperture is small, which means both a large f/number and a wide angle lens. At any f/stop, the aperture is 10 times smaller at 20 mm than at a focal length of 200 mm. I wanted to create one at the very top of Baker Library, but a tree got in the way and blocked the sun. So I put the sun star on the top of another building.
We tried some panning. I showed how to create some motion blurs by zooming during exposure with a slow shutter speed.
While we were walking and looking for the next interesting subject, I got a few photos of people on the Green and along the streets.
It was a good weekend.