“Hit or miss, trial and error, better luck next time, try and try again, next time make sure you’ve got film on your camera before you shoot, okay?”
These expressions best describe the emotions, the frustrations, the experiences you’ll have as you start to learn about photography. Some experiences you’d rather forget, some missed shots you’ll regret forever but just like life, photography is one activity where learning means building up through your experiences, growing by stages ... As rock star Alanis Morissette said in a hit song many years ago, “You live, you learn!”
Select your shots
One stage that you’ll go through as the photography bug hits you, is indiscriminate shooting. If you see something, you shoot it. If it’s out there, you shoot it. If something moves, you shoot it. You buy some more film, you shoot again ... As your skills improve however, you’ll become more selective in your shots. Your standards will become higher, and you’ll also realize that you don’t have enough money to buy all the film you need or want! (The high cost of film and processing, and the immediate results are some of the reasons why digital photography is such a big hit these days.)
Example of sequence shots
Remember our discussion of types of pictures and sequence shots? A sequence, as the term denotes, is a series of pictures of one subject, shot one after another. A photo sequence may or may not illustrate a certain idea or theme, but the series of pictures provides the viewers with more visual information about your subject. (Later on, you will learn that you can create a photo essay out of sequence shots.)
The pictures below are a sequence of a senior class having their yearbook picture taken. I shot these pictures way back in 1992 with my beloved Canon AE-1 Program camera fitted with an FD f/1.8 50 mm lens with a yellow-green filter, and power winder. After I shot the formal class picture, the fun began. If you mouse over each picture, the caption will appear for a few seconds.
“Thoughts on graduation day” (photo essay using sequence shots with captions)
In the following pictures, I asked my Class 1990 yearbook staffer Eric to pose by the dike at the back of Rizal High School in Pasig (formerly credited in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s biggest high school). I was on the 3rd floor of a building with my beloved Canon AE-1 Program camera fitted with a Vivitar Series 1 70-210 mm.
I wanted to express the contemplative mood and loneliness a senior normally goes through as graduation time comes near. I just wanted two elements in my picture - Eric and the still waters of the Marikina River flowing behind the Rizal High School campus in Pasig City. The first two pictures of the scene below were the ones I needed to express what I wanted.
But then, I saw the tugboat coming from the left. I switched on the power winder of my camera. I shot about 20 frames all in all as the tugboat passed Eric and created ripples on the water. Serendipity! I had a photo essay that could be used to illustrate life cycles, transient moments, peace and serenity, consequences and change!
|We have spent four memorable years here in our beloved school, and the days leading to our graduation day have seen a thousand questions tumbling in our hearts and minds. Where do we go from here?|
|Will our names be remembered? Will our friendships last? Will our friends still be our friends? Life oftentimes has a cruel way of frustrating our dreams, of crushing our ambitions, of ending our friendships …|
|The saddest truth in the whole universe is that time changes everything.|
|But our friends have made a promise always to remember …|
|Slowly, the half-forgotten lyrics become clearer and they bring us back to our high school days …|
|Indeed, we have promised always to t remember. We can always remember. We must always remember …|