Yesterday I went to the National Cathedral in DC for a “Photo Safari” with an architectural photographer. It was a class through the Capital Photography Center. I was pretty excited and nervous beforehand, because I’m such a beginner (despite taking photos for several decades) and I was worried that my lack of knowledge would be, well, embarrassing.
Fortunately, the instructor, E. David Luria, was a gentle teacher and helped me figure out how to use my camera (a Panasonic Lumix) to achieve several different effects with the stained glass and other intriguing challenges of taking photos in a large cathedral. Unfortunately (partly due to time constraints and partly due to a really lousy tripod) I was unable to take many really good pictures.
The lessons I learned were invaluable. I know it seems basic to most people but I have now learned how to use the shutter speed to achieve the color saturation that I want. (Duh.) I have begun to realize that photography, like all art, is a series of mechanical choices. The art comes from the decisions you make; where to point the camera, focusing, shutter speed and all the other tricks of the trade.
This morning I spent some time playing with the shutter speed. That was my moment of art today. The rest of the day’s art will have to consist of the mundane, vacuuming up golden retriever dust bunnies (or are they tumbleweeds?), cleaning, shopping and figuring out what’s for dinner.