This post is going to be a combination of posts 4 and 5, as I’ve recently had a lot of complications with working on my In-Depth. Specifically, I contracted COVID and was forced to isolate myself at home for two weeks. Between my quarantine and the intense fatigue that comes with COVID, this has made working on my photography nearly impossible for the past few weeks. Recently, my isolation period ended and I’ve thankfully been able to return to school, but I’ve been left with intense fatigue. My mentor, who is my dad, was also impacted by this since he caught COVID from me.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve accomplished very little during this time, but I’ll do my best to update you on what I’ve been able to do so far.
Feb 13 and 14:
This was in the last few days before my symptoms started. Taking advantage of the beautiful snowy weather, I went on a walk outside and took some photos. I found that the most challenging photos to take were ones that captured a subject taller than me, as I had to support the camera more to point the lens toward the subject and was, therefore, shakier. During this photoshoot, I also worked with snow for the first time, and I found it quite challenging. I spent a lot of time trying to capture the patterns of individual snowflakes, but they would always melt before I was prepared to take the photo. With that being said, I was able to take a lot of pictures that I’m somewhat proud of. Here are some of the photos I took:
On the first mentoring session since my quarantine, my mentor and I mainly discussed the planning for each of my three photo collections. Specifically, we discussed problems that I could run into with each collection, as well as tips and tricks to solve those problems. Here’s a description of the collections, issues, and solutions:
- Collection One
- Theme/idea: forest/moss/nature
- Issues: limited lighting in the forest, collection very dependent on weather permitting photography, subjects might be hard to capture as they’d be moving (if I want to photograph insects)
- Solutions: bringing flash, planning out a collection for weather that would create lots of natural lighting
- Collection Two
- Theme/idea: make a little figurine and take pictures of it in different places throughout the city
- Issues: people getting in the way of photos
- Solutions: look for more secluded areas to take photos, wait for less busy times of day
- Collection Three
- Theme/idea: nostalgia/little toys/art supplies/childhood
- Issues: lighting is tricky inside
- Solutions: take photos during the brightest point in the day, set camera settings to accommodate for a darker photography environment
How to Have a Beautiful Mind Questions:
- How to listen
A key component to having good communication skills is the ability to listen. Not only does listening promote a smooth conversation, but it also allows the participants to pick up on cues on how each person is feeling based on what they’re saying. When practicing listening skills, you should always focus on not only refraining from interruptions but also really focusing on what the other person is saying. Personally, I tend to space out when I’m having conversations with people, especially if I’m more tired. Therefore, whenever I’m having a conversation with my mentor, I try my best to use active listening skills such as really paying attention, not doing anything that might distract me from what my mentor is saying, and asking for clarification if I missed something that he might’ve said.
Right now, my mentor has been giving me more independence to explore photography on my own, but I do need to ask some further questions about how to properly use flash and different lenses since so far, I’ve only worked with very basic settings.
Through my meetings with my mentor, I’ve been able to develop new points of view on what makes a good photo. Before I started this project, I tended to only view photos with high clarity and high saturation as a professional, but as I’m learning more with the help of my mentor, I’ve been able to realize that different settings incorporate different tones, moods, and appreciation to photos and that there’s not really one straightforward recipe to follow to take a good picture.
So far, I haven’t found a place in which my mentor values drastically differ from mine. I think the only minor difference that my mentor and I have is our favourite subjects for photography. While we both really enjoy nature photography, I also enjoy taking photos of random objects I find around the house, especially on a macro scale that can capture lots of different angles. My mentor, on the other hand, favours close-up photos of different textures that can be found in nature.
Here’s a list of some questions that I asked to check on facts and details:
- “So, you’re saying that the use of a tripod will help with the focus for my photos because it removes the complication of having shaky hands?”
- “And natural lighting is better than artificial light because it can be less harsh and provide a stronger light source?”
- How to ask questions
Speaking of questions, let’s discuss the necessity of including questions in conversations. Adding questions into a conversation has many purposes (clarification, keeping the conversation going, etc).
**NOTE: I haven’t been able to have as many meetings with my mentor in time for this post, so I will also refer to past conversations to answer the questions.**
- Ask questions and record them. Why did you ask these questions?
- “Why did this photo turn out so out of focus?” – this was about my struggle with capturing a clear photo of a snowflake.
- “Would you say that this photo conveys a melancholy mood?” – I was discussing one of the photos that I took and wanted to know if I was communicating the right emotion.
- Ask for an explanation for a certain skill you are learning. Discuss what happened.
- I asked for an explanation for why ISO is an important part of photography, and my mentor was able to explain how ISO is a great way to control the brightness of the photograph and therefore create more versatility.
- Ask a multiple-choice question. Why was this useful? Explain.
- I asked my mentor whether he thought that mushrooms, moss, or insects should be the focus for my first collection, and he thought that moss should be since it’s the most readily available to photograph. This was useful, because it gave him lots of options, while also letting him know what I was asking for.
- Ask the speaker to clarify their underlying values for doing, thinking, feeling the way they do.
- When I asked this of my mentor, he said that his views on photography are reflective of the classes he took, and also his love for the hobby since it’s a huge stress reliever for him.
- Six Hats Conversation
“I had a lot of trouble with the focus for this photo.” – blue hat
“That does make sense, since you took the photo inside after dark, so you had to rely on artificial lighting.” – white hat
“So I need to better adjust my settings inside or wait for a more optimal time of day?” – white hat
“Yep!” – blue hat (ending conversation)