March 22, 2011

Learning Curve

Saturday night my photography class took a field trip to Fremont Street. A dozen of us gathered under the dome at Plaza, cameras and tripods in hand. What a ghost town that place was, it's kinda eery during construction. I expect the renovations will breathe new life into the joint, but I digress.

Our first task was to snap photos of the Golden Gate by shooting at lowest ISO and adjusting the white balance to daylight.

Our first assignment was to shoot the "Red Barn" and I thought I had my shot locked up, but my instructor quickly pointed out that the neon was overexposed. I didn't even notice my huge oversight. I was completely blind to it on the display. I had to try again.

After adjusting my exposure compensation I was able to better expose the neon. Downside was that a few bums took up residence and I couldn't duplicate my shot. I worked around them the best I could.

By the way, everyone was interested in what we were doing; I had 5 people come up to me alone. A dozen people with cameras on tripods draws a lot of attention. I also had these clowns jump in and model for me. "Work it."

The next assignment was to get a shot of "The Flame" sign from the top of the flame all the way to the bottom of the arrow and have every tube of neon lit.

I did it, but I'm really disappointed with its sharpness.

Our last assignment was to shoot "the Milkman" with the neon properly exposed and show that even though it glows bright red it is also painted white.

My camera doesn't have much for flash compensation so I did the best I could. I was so focused on that I didn't pay much attention to composition. Bummer.

We were free to shoot whatever after that...

Although, I'm not terribly proud of my shots from this outing, I took a lot away from the experience. As it turns out shooting at night took me out of my element. I had never used a tripod before and I quickly learned I much prefer to shoot on foot. Night shots, at least for me, require a different thought process and skill set to achieve the ideal shot. There is a definite learning curve to this photography thing after all. I got my money's worth out of this class on this field trip.


Jay said...

I think those shots are great. I would think these shots would appeal to the masses...but I'm not sure if that is what you would want (if that makes sense)?

I happen to love downtown, so these shots are something special for me. I wish you had a shot or two of the good old El were so close to it, too! haha But I'll live...these again, are great to a downtown Las Vegas fan like me.

Is the class already over? It sounded that way with your closing's nice to hear you enjoyed it.

Kellee said...

Thanks! It's just that there are flaws that I shouldn't have overlooked. I'll get better with practice.

Yeah, I'd love El Cortez shots, too. When we went over to Fremont East they wanted us to keep close together as a safety precaution.

I'd like to give it another go, maybe mid-week? Saturday night during March Madness was a bit too crazy... for photos, anyway.

Nope, there is still a month of classes to go.