Sunday, October 26, 2008

learning. spending. learning

I was contemplating on whether to go on a vacation or get into a photography workshop. I chose the latter. Fast forward to two weeks and here I am, submerged in information and a lot more magastos.


The first day of the Jo Avila photography workshop was info overload for me. Although I do understand how the f-stops, aperture, and ISO work, I'm still at a loss on how to make these work together to help me come up with a decent photo. Well, as Sir Jo says, it takes time to be good at photography. So the impatient me just sighed on that thought. I'm so not used to taking routes the long way, but if I am really gonna get serious with photography I have to be a lot patient and keen about it.

Sir Jo opened our eyes to many things about photography - those what we don't know, and those what we thought we knew but we really don't. And before we got to the second session of the workshop, I already knew that it was worth it learning from him. For starters, I highly recommend his workshops. Aside from the fact that this man lives and breathes photography and that he draws from his experience in teaching about the art, he's a very good teacher - a far cry from the Adarna profs (those equipped with voices potent enough to make you doze off) I've known in UP. He's got a good sense of humor that won't make you feel offended - unless you're a La Sallista (because he's an Atenista).

I'm a sleepy-head, but I didn't feel sleepy during the workshop sessions. That counts for something.


He gave us an assignment to shoot portrait of our loved ones (or of our friends), using lens with focal length from 85 to 105mm, applying any of the five basic lighting methods, without the use of flash, and to shoot in RAW. I'm fine with all the requirements, except that my camera kit lens' max length is only at 55mm. I asked Sir Jo on what I'm gonna do about it and he told me to just improvise. (He always say, "it's the indian, not the pana.") That's what I thought, too. But eventually, I changed my mind. After trying to improvise, I got frustrated and...

I went to Hidalgo St. in Quiapo, alone - with my camera gear and all - to buy a 55-200mm lens. The nerve of me! I spent a huge amount for a zoom lens, notwithstanding the fact that only exactly a month ago I splurged on a #$%@-worth camera gear. And only a week ago, I bought a camera bag... paid for a workshop... yada-yada-yada...

But truth be told... I cannot calm down unless I get these gear.

I was able to use the lens for the assignment. And boy was I happy. Only, I still haven't figured out how to avoid camera shake while trying to minimize noise at the same time. Maybe it's the nature of my Nikon camera to produce all that noise. (Yeah, right! Blame it on the gear!)


The second day of the workshop was mainly about photo post-production: color management, use of Photoshop (and I thought I already knew how it works!), and some important points about photography that Sir Jo gave to wrap up the workshop.

On the first workshop day, I've realized how little I know about wielding the camera. On the second day, I've learned how a lot little I know about Photoshop and color management. I didn't know that I have to calibrate my monitor once every six weeks. I didn't know that I have to match the color profile of my photo with that of Photoshop... and that of my printer... and that of the paper I will be using. (did I get that right? hmm...) And it's only now that I've understood why the photos that my printer churns out are dark while those on my monitor are just fine. I also learned that you can't blame Manong Developer at the mall for coming up with your prints not the way you like them. It's your fault, not his - for you should have done color management prior to handing him your files and saying, "please print as is."

The wonderful thing about Sir Jo is that he's not madamot in imparting what he knows about photography without making lazy-spoiled students out of us. He teaches us the basics, gives us great tips, and then allows us to discover more by ourselves. (Hey, at some point, one must get the hang of fishing all by her onesy!) And then instead of asking for favors in return, he encourages us to pay the learning forward. Oo nga naman, spread the love. The more good photographers, the merrier. Another great thing about this guru is that he keeps his doors open for his former students to learn more from him, or to refresh on their learnings by attending his classes for free. I could go on and on about the values added to learning from Sir Jo, but let me wrap it all up with this: getting into a photography workshop under Jo Avila is one of the best investments I have ever made not only on photography, but also in learning more about learning: be patient, use common sense, know the basics, and experience is the key to mastering all these so go get some action.

I've talked to a fellow amateur who attended another workshop (from an institution I won't mention here) for 2/3 the fee and I've realized that the fee that I've paid for Sir Jo's workshop, altough a bit higher, is so worth it. Like in the sale of a product, you get after-sales support with Sir Jo. For free. Think about that.

Oh sure, Sir Jo brags about him being a good photographer and him being an Atenista. Let him be, he earned it. May ipagmamalaki naman, so why not?

As for me... I still have long way to go, baby! A long, long way to go before I become even half the photographer my teacher is.

In the meantime, I'm gonna shoot, shoot, shoot!

And yeah, from this point I'll try to make do with the gear that I have.

In the meantime.

Until I get my bonus. Haha!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

from a fixation to another form of addiction

I've just attended the first half of the photography workshop that I enrolled in. More than being a good source of learning, it was fun. (And it helps a lot in my recovery from my melodrama. It works like shopping - it takes your mind off your present jones and makes you feel good.)

it was the right decision for me to take the workshop, for I could go through all the readings materials I have on photography, but would not be able to properly grasp the concepts of the craft. And our instructor is so good, he helped me understand what seemed to be mumbo-jumbo of f-stops, exposure, focal length, etc. that I read in my photography mags and books.

The downside of this learning process, though, is it makes my wants escalate. I'm so into photography that I intend to add more stuff to my present gear - new lens, filters, cleaning kit, new bag...

*bitch-slaps self* ... must... wake... up... from this...
If this is the "rehab" I'm asking for, it sure is expensive.

But I'm loving it. And from now on, I'mma keep shooting. Watch out!