Day 5 – Lessons in lighting.

I woke this morning feeling very dehydrated. It is amazing just how much having a two beers with a meal instead of just the one can dehydrate you. A litre of water and one breakfast later and I was beginning to feel human again. We then sat down to review the book covers that we had shot the previous day. It was during this that I realised that my taste in photos seems to differ quite significantly from everyone else’s. Of the images selected as favourites, I had written in my notes that I thought they were very pretty, but not doing much for me. This wasn’t to say they weren’t good images, but that I did not feel they fitted the extract of the book that I had read. When it comes down to it, whether we like something or not is purely down to personal taste. My taste seems to differ from the group.

I will say this on the subject of personal preference: Jon showed us the covers of the previously released editions of the novel and I vastly preferred any single image that was taken yesterday to any of the previous ‘official’ shots.

We then sat down to talk about composition and genres. For me this is going to be the real meat of the course. I want to improve my composition whilst on site and not be relying on cropping in post production so much. I also what to find which genre suits me best, so that I can begin to develop my skills in that area. Jon then talked though the rules of composition, explaining how something as simple as the way a face is turned can have a major impact on the emotional feel of a shot. This is a new concept to me and it is something else that I will have to start considering when shooting.

For lunch we made or way to the main square for a seafood lunch. Despite being an island boy and having plenty of fishermen in family and having been a fishmonger myself, I have to confess that I am not a seafood person. Plates of sardines, whitefish and prawns were brought out. Then they moved onto the ugly stuff. Sea anemones which were to be scooped out and eaten. Then something resembling my worst childhood nightmares was brought out. It had the look of a lobster with its front claws and tail removed. Completely armour plated, I expect to see it in a sci-fi movie attacking Arnold Schwarzenegger, not here on my dinner plate. Despite my eyes telling my stomach to dive for cover, I tucked in with everyone else. After all when in Rome….. I can’t say it was my favourite meal, and I won’t be rushing back for seconds, but as a one time thing I was interesting.

Afterward we went into the main square to start learning about how we can influence the light around it. Using rudimentary reflectors made from gold and silver wrapping paper, and a couple of Mikes t-shirts, we looked how we can bounce light to fill in shadows, or add colour depending on the colour of the reflector. At one point Jon was stood against a wall, shades on and this sliver reflector throwing this great dappled light on him. It had kind of a rock star vibe. Combined with all the cameras pointing at him this must have been the impression that we gave because one of the locals came to ask if Jon was famous.

We split into groups and each took turns at shooting, posing and holding the reflectors. I had a lot of fun shooting and doing portraits. I’ve a feeling that shooting people is going to be the road I end up going down. This makes it even more important that I break through that confidence barrier and start approaching and talking to strangers, and getting them to allow me to photograph them. I think this is going to prove more difficult for me then anything technical that we have done so far.

In the evening a group of us went to a bar named Taros to watch the sunset. This is where a couple of us had gone on the first night. After a beautiful sunset we went for a meal at a restaurant called after 5. I spent the night chattering away to Christ and Claudia about art and the course. It was good fun and I wish I could do this more back home.

Tomorrow is a free morning, then we will go out to shoot black and white images – something I’m really looking forward to. Then later in the afternoon, we apparently have a surprise.

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