Tuesday, May 14, 2013

115/365: IR/Lev XI - Moment of Zen

Confession time: I have trouble with backlighting. The Wife is a whiz at it, and during Imaging USA this year, I briefly got to speak with Hanson Fong about his use of infrared and he started gushing about backlighting. But I normally struggle with it. Haven't developed my lighting skills enough, it would seem. But the Austin skyline beckoned, and the only way I could possibly get this shot would be to deal with serious backlighting from the sun. I took a flyer, and it worked. Not without a whole lot of post-processing, mind you, but it worked.

infrared, Canon 50D, levitation, zen, Austin skyline, Lisa On Location Photography, New Braunfels, San Antonio, San Marcos, Austin

The problem is, I learned this on my own (not that I have backlighting down, but I'm slightly more competent now than before with it). I took two photography courses this semester, and worked my butt off in them, but they taught me zero new technical skills. I learned more photography technique and technical skills in the one photojournalism course I took four years ago than in the three fine art photography courses I've completed, combined. There's something seriously out of whack with that. One fine art photography major quietly complained toward the end of the semester how he wanted to know how to stop fast action, like with sports, but that hadn't been covered in the 4-5 courses he'd taken. Without thinking, I said "Set your shutter speed to 1/800 or faster, with a wide open aperture to blur the background and adjust your ISO accordingly." He looked at me for a moment with a mixture of shock, elation and frustration, then said, "See? That's what I wanted to know! Why can't they teach us anything like that?" The professors in the photography department may say, "See? You learned." The trouble is, everything we learned, we learned on our own. Several times students went up to the prof in both my classes with questions on how to accomplish something technical, and were dissuaded from pursuing that line of inquiry because, "That's covered in X class you'll take next semester/year/whenever." That's not a good way to teach photographers, and one of many complaints I have about the program overall. No thanks, I won't be taking those courses. If I have to teach myself, I'll do so on my own and save myself the stress and expense.

Camera: Canon 50D 720nm infrared modified
Lens: Canon EF-S 10-22mm
Lisa On Location

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