Part 2 of the course seemed at first quite daunting. There are seven practical exercises which took some time to plan and arrange. I found this focus on technical issues extremely valuable. I had been using my camera for a while but I particularly appreciated a practical approach to learning about the effects of different focal lengths. I hadn’t realised the effect on perspective achieved through different lenses and the exercises helped with understanding my camera.
I recall a photography day-course that I attended with a local studio photographer and how amazed I had been that he could tell me, from a distance, where to stand to get a particular view with a specific lens. It is interesting to see me beginning to develop this kind of understanding.
On starting Part 2, I had favoured using the aperture priority setting on my camera; it seemed to come the most naturally to me; and so I particularly enjoyed this part of the course. I enjoyed the exercise on shallow depth of field particularly and enjoyed looking at the work of Kim Kirkpatrick since his use of a shallow depth of field and an industrial setting appealed to me. I attempted to improve the balance of my shallow depth of field images following my tutor’s feedback on exercise 2.6 and I feel that my reflection had a significant impact on my learning about and use of this technique. Please see my re-worked exercise 2.6.
The course notes, in relation to technical skills, tell us that our aim, as photography students, is to achieve a ‘level of mastery’ (over the lens), and that this means ‘a practical understanding, gained through exploration and practice, not just a theoretical understanding'(course notes p40). I had spent considerable time reading about photography, including the technical elements and workings of cameras, prior to starting this course. I find that I learn best and can more confidently put my learning into practice, if I have a theoretical understanding beforehand. I am not one of those people who learns firstly by experimenting. However, I completely agree that I will not achieve my potential and will not achieve a ‘level of mastery’ without a serious commitment to practice and experimentation.
In terms of my learning following this part of my course, I feel that I have made progress with assignment 2. My use of a combination of lens techniques is very different to my approach to the Square Mile assignment. The re-working of assignment 2, done much later in the course, showed me that, with increased learning, my approach to previous briefs will change. I look forward to re-viewing my work in the light of increased knowledge in the future.