This documentary photography project has proved to be quite the challenge. To using a manual camera, not understanding the subject matter and losing an entire day of photos, and dealing with the finicky weather; I’m very happy this project is done! The end result was very rewarding, but it took a couple of days to get there.
The biggest challenge of this project was learning how to use a manual camera quickly and translating those new skills into good pictures of people. I took two photography classes in high school that taught me about composition, framing, and utilizing lines and color to get the best picture. One of the courses was a black-and-white film course that taught the basics of taking pictures and developing them. However up until this point, I have never learned how to set the white balance, or how to change the shutter speed and f-stop in accordance to each picture. It was a huge challenge for me! Remembering what increasing the shutter speed and the f-stop will do to each picture had me confused at times. Luckily I took notes and brought a condensed version of them with me while shooting. I found that practice definitely helped develop this skill.
Another challenge I faced, as did the other students in this course, was the fickle weather. Over the course of the week, it ranged from raining-cats-and-dogs, to winds strong enough to blow someone away, to a cold, but fairly pretty day. Even with this nasty weather, I am very glad I did not wait to the day before to shoot pictures and was able to take pictures on different days. Granted my first 100 pictures were unusable, due to not understanding the subject matter (I’m still not sure how I missed that part!) and technical issues, but it gave me more practice with the camera. I feel much more comfortable using a manual camera and I am very happy with the pictures I took!
Out of all the pictures, my favorite one is below. It is a picture of an older man walking towards Acorn. This was taken around 8:30am on Thursday and I think the soft lighting from the early morning sun enhances the tone of the photo. I really like the perspective and how I framed this picture; the angle is what gives it a strong depth of field. The detail from the black fence and brick also draws your eye towards the end of the street. I think the variations of color in the brick add to the photo and that is why I focused the camera on that, as opposed to the details of the man.