Sunday, June 6, 2010

Junction Final Thoughts

Junction was an absolutely incredible experience. I feel incredibly lucky to have had this opportunity to see so much of Texas that I would not be able to see without being a part of the Junction Group. Towards the end of the trip, as excited as I was to see the next place we were to photograph, I was ready to sleep in my own bed, spend time by myself, and spend a day doing whatever I wanted.

Finishing the Junction experience, I was overwhelmed from the amount and level of photography that was expected of me. Now that more that a week has passed since the class ended, I can objectively look at my experience and say yes, I learned so much about photography.

On Friday I went up to Armadillo Camera to pick up 13 rolls of film. I sat down at the light table, peered through a loop at about 500 slides. I threw away about half of those. Looking at the slides, I saw the progress through my trip, I saw what I need to still work on, and I saw again the beauty and magic of the trip.

1. My first day at Junction, I was terrified to screw up my film. While I shot digital and film the entire trip, the first couple of days I was so reliant on getting the exposure correct first with my digital and then shoot with my film. By the end of the class, I was shooting confidently with my film without the assistance of my digital. Going through the photos, the exposure was spot on and there was less bracketing in the slides as well from the beginning to the end.

2. My biggest issue was camera/subject movement. Granted, we didn't have many wind-free days, but one aspect of my photography that I still need to work on is patience. I know that will only come with time. In Junction I was just so excited, so anxious to get that shot, I wouldn't wait for the wind to slow, or my tripod wouldn't be as stable as I could have put it. Bugs are also hard to shoot. I shot a lot of pointless images of beetles on petals that I should have ignored altogether because beetles don't stay still. Butterflies and caterpillars and spiders do, but not beetles, especially ladybugs.

3. When I took Wyman's Special Problems class in the Fall of 2009, I threw away so many slides. In a 36 exposure roll, I probably had 2 really good images. I thought that was a great ratio. After Junction, and after looking at all of my film, I can see how much I have grown. In a roll of 36 I kept probably 15-20 shots and of those, 5 were great images.

4. I learned how to identify a good subject to photograph, and it truly showed in my film. I have so many subjects and points of interest. I moved around so much, constantly looking. Once I knew I had my shot, I moved on, I didn't linger. I found a new subject and once I got my shot, I moved on, again and again and again.

5. Velvia Film. In the Special Problems class I don't think I truly appreciated the film as I do now. Then again, I was shooting "Contrast of the Llano Esticado" in Lubbock, not the entire southwest of Texas. I can't get the color from Mason Mountain out of my head, how right after the storm the sky just opened up and the ground was rich with water and color. The color... I just can't get over it. I don't think I will ever find something so beautiful again in my life, but I won't give up the search to prove that statement wrong.

6. I learned exactly what it takes to get that perfect shot. I was on my hands and knees, my belly, chest deep in water, straddling cactus, and so many more, but after looking at the shots I got from the positions I put myself in - it was worth it. It was completely worth it.

I learned a ton about photography and if you are in any way interested in photography, Junction is definitely the class to take.

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