This week I went back to school. Temporarily, anyway. I am taking a photography class through Informal Classes at UT, in order to improve my technique.
The nice thing about digital photography is the sheer limitlessness of it – you can take as many pictures as your memory cards can hold in search of the one or two perfect shots, without worrying about the cost of processing all the excess. Actually my technique is quite a bit better than that, percentage-wise, but there are still a lot of photos I leave in my archive (or *gasp* delete!) compared to the good shots I eventually add to my portfolio or upload to my Flickr account.
Still, I am aware that there is quite a bit of ‘theory’ that I am not up to speed on – the proper use of f-stops and shutter speed comes to mind. A lot of what I do is based on feel, having taught myself through experimentation. I want to become a better photographer and in order to truly do so, I need to learn the technical aspects of the craft as well.
This applies well in music – many of us have musical talents, and the number of people you’ll meet who are amazing artists that learned by ear is just insane. However, a lot of those people are unable to progress beyond that point because they have not learned any of the theory – how to read music, how to recognize a chord. It doesn’t make their music any less beautiful or valid, but in some ways it can limit them. This is what I try to impress upon my nephew, who is amazingly talented and wants to get a music degree, but prefers learning by ear to understanding the theory.
Perhaps I will drag out my music theory books and dust off some of that knowledge as well. These next couple of weeks, however, it’s photography. My first assignment: lines and shapes.