A few years ago I was really into photography, I really loved taking my DSLR out and playing around with the different settings, after a while I knew most of the settings and got quicker at getting the photo I wanted. Most of the time its easier however to take photos on my phone camera, I always have it with me, its lighter and I can play around with the settings when I’m bored. However this has meant that I’ve forgotten a lot about my actual camera settings and get more frustrated when I do try to take photos, its too easy to stick to automatic settings.
My friend is getting married to my brother in September and has asked me to take the ‘getting ready’ photos before the wedding, so now I really need to get back into practice with it. We don’t have a huge amount of time to get the photos done so don’t want to spend it faffing around with the camera settings! Soooooo I booked myself onto a photography course with Westland Place studio photography in London. I had originally booked it for back in March, however it was the really snowy weekend and I wasn’t too sure about how the trains were going to be running so asked if I could swap my day to June. They were lovely and agreed to let me swap at short notice (thank you!).
So last Saturday I hopped on a train and headed down to London, thankfully the weather was better this time! As I got close I got a fit of nerves, worrying that the others would be much better than me, I would look stupid etc to the point where I wanted to turn round and run away. Its one of those stupid feelings that hits at the worst time. Anyway I forced myself to go reminding myself I had paid for this and would be so annoyed later if I quit!
The leader (Mark?) introduced himself, gave us a quick idea of where we would be going and we set off. It was a casual informal mix of walking tour and photography course, we were encouraged to keep looking out for anything that was photograph worthy and to take our time if we saw anything interesting. As we went along Mark would point out how to look at things differently, different angles, how to use our surroundings.
We started off at St Mary’s of Woolnoth Church and Leadenhall Market and walked to the Bank of England, then along to St Paul’s Cathedral across the Millennium bridge and finished by the Tate Museum. For me it turned into a little bit of a Harry Potter film set session, as well as learning new skills!
Mark mixed in a little history and culture lesson, telling us about the history of St Paul’s and the architects who designed buildings. Its the kind of thing that would fascinate my Dad (he’s a Surveyor) but those details tend to drift from my mind, hey I was focusing on practicing the photography skills 🙂 It was still interesting to hear about the background of the different places that we were visiting.
Its was great to be able to get out and practice using the manual settings on my camera, running through aperture, ISO and shutter speed until I can remember it all again. Its a bit of a balancing act trying to get the three in the right amounts to get the photo that you want, so thank goodness for digital cameras at least you can take hundreds and review them quickly and delete any you don’t like. It must have been so much more of a challenge when we relied on film cameras?
Although Saturday was sunny and hot (I really didn’t need the jacket I’d taken with me) there were still puddles around from previous showers. Usually I don’t like rainy wet days and puddles etc, but Mark gave me a few ideas of how to take interesting photos using reflections, so I’m actually looking forward to taking my camera out after the next rainy season!
Have you ever been to the Millennium bridge and noticed the tiny paintings on the floor? I had noticed it before but never known what they were. A street artist named Ben Wilson paints the chewing gum that is dropped on the bridge. An interesting way to make something gross kinda pretty!
I’m so glad I didn’t drop out, this tour was definitely worth doing and I feel a little more confident for the wedding. Let the practice begin!