With the nature of what I am doing, learning my camera has been critical. I was getting nowhere on my own and it was frustrating. I've seen videos of what this camera can do, and although I'm not trying to lean into photos ('cause I find the meditation in writing, with photos only meant to accent that), I still want to take pictures as well as I can.
It's a fair statement to say that I've come right unglued a few times as I learned quite quickly that I have a spectacular ability to take shitty photos. There was only one thing left to do...
"Enlist help. Now!!"
Knowing Jackie was the photography teacher at the high school, I couldn't think of a better person to ask for some lessons.
"She's legit, maaan! Le-git!"
I asked her, and she was in. It was that easy.
The first bit of time we got into camera stuff was after we went to do the skateboard thing at Daniel's. We came back to my place to pick some berries on the way back into town. When the berries were done, she played around with my camera a bit, checking it out, and doing some setting stuff from whatever we were talking about in the moment with what my intentions were with the camera. The first proper lesson was on the morning of July 9th.
(That's an easy day to remember...it's the day of the last Grateful Dead show in 1995.)
Starting to learn stuff...
We went down by the water and stood in the shade on the corner of the path. We had some laughs for sure, but the resulting change from what she showed me was immediate.
When we were talking about this triangle thing of the three foundational things to know, the understanding wasn't really sinking in for me. I expected that, so I was more trying to remember the functional mechanics of what she was showing me. From there, I was just gonna kind of work backwards on the understanding part through deconstructing the process while I put in the time takin' zillions of photos.
Those zillions of photos?? Most of them, shit!!
Lighting and action focusing on her marker...
Of all things, to help with my understanding, I figured out how to talk photography through the language of food and ingredients. Jackie had never thought of it like that before, but what I said made sense to her, and it opened a new avenue of communication that made things even easier.
As I eluded to, the lesson was casual. We met her by her place, and then we walked the few blocks to our little shaded perch by the water where we got into the lesson for however long.
Our first session wound down with my brain's ability keep retaining because I started realizing that new information was starting to cover up the functional aspects of that triangle, so I didn't want to learn anymore yet. After that, we packed up and made our way back.
Now showing me action, but playing with the Shutter-Aperture-ISO triangle for richer colours...
Between the whole skateboard thing at Daniel's, and then this photography session, I quickly discovered that Jackie's actually really nice. A very kind and easy going person. Aside from the obvious excellent-ness of that, it made everything easier to be able to learn from her too.
Shred Kelly and The Heavy Lighters was later that evening, and it was kind of a big deal because it was the first real gathering in Nelson since before all of this global madness for the past year and a half, and people were excited...me being one of them.
The Heavy Lighters...
I felt like I had no idea what I was doing when I was at that show. I was definitely winging it. I knew the three button combo to push, and then eyeball it from there. That was it. I anticipated the real test would be when Shred Kelly was on stage because it would be dark by the time that was done, and there would be all the stage lights added into that, so there would be a lot of contrasting stuff going on.
**This photo (below) shows the result of only one lesson with Jackie. I never would have done that on my own.
When I saw some of the results afterward though, even from feeling like I only bluffed my way along through it, I knew I made a really good decision to ask Jackie for help, because I had this immediate sense of optimism wash over me.
"Maaan, this changes things!!"
She just opened up a whole other dimension to what I am doing. In one lesson, frustration melted away into nothing, and was replaced by possibility. It's like emerging from a stagnancy and breathing fresh air that reinvigorates the senses. It got me excited to learn as much as I can from her before Fennario and I get in our van and get out there.
I'm psyched! Thanks for helping me up my game, Jackie.
Jackie Zelt Photography on Instagram
Shred Kelly on the Web
The Heavy Lighters on Facebook