"Capturing Life"

Teach and Learn

For the past couple of months, a friend and I have been co-teaching a photography class for teens at our homeschool co-op.  Both my friend and I are passionate about photography so it’s fun to be able to share our enthusiasm with a  new generation of future photographic artists.

The first class we taught, last fall, had around 10 student in the the class.  We covered the basic elements of aperture, shutter speed, ISO, composition, and how to weave the many aspects of camera and vision together.  This second class we just completed had only 6 students in it and that allowed us to do more creative things.  We played with light, practiced macro photography, went on a field trip to one of our beaches nearby to work on landscape photography, and tried to give them challenges in order to grow their budding skills.  They definitely rose to the challenge.

(the above image was taken by one of our students who was waiting for his turn to use the trigger for the speedlight.  He happened to click the shutter button at just the right moment, capturing the speedlight as it was being triggered by another camera, to illuminate this photo)

Whether it was the weeks we worked on portraits and lighting with speedlights, umbrellas, reflectors, and direct flash, or the weeks we spent playing with macro and landscape photography, they embraced each new topic with creativity that was fresh and fun.  (this photo was taken by a student using a point and shoot camera on it’s macro setting.  She worked at it until she had the exact focus and composition she was after and the result is a captivating macro photo)


Watching them, I began to realize that, while I was there to teach them, they were actually teaching me many things.  Their creativity knew no bounds as they moved around their subject by lying on the floor, getting nose to nose with it, shooting up at a subject above them, looking down on their subject, jumping in and out of each others pictures, moving lightstands all over just to see what happened with the light, and having a “can-do” attitude about everything they tried.

(this photo was one where they had been moving the lightstands around, trying to see how quickly light would fall off their subject.  They created a very mysterious and striking image)

The results of their “play” taught me to remember the fun that should accompany anything you love to do.  It also taught me to let loose of my worries about pictures not turning out, about not worrying that I do it all correctly but to try to just get in there, get dirty, and have fun.

(this photo has a great story that goes along with it.  12 year old Nathaniel used his point and shoot camera on Manual, set this flower outside on his deck, used a small flashlight to light it with but when he realized the flashlight just wasn’t giving off enough light, he went and found a more powerful one.  The results are a very well exposed image with the added bonus of having captured the moon in the background (the blue “spot” above the flower”) and the bokeh from the streetlights near his house)

I’m excited to see where these kids will take their new found craft, what they will choose to do with it in their lives, and how it will help them write the story of their life as they age.  I’m also excited to see just how much more I can learn by watching them for they, in truth, became the teacher and I became their student.

*Note: All 4 of these photos were taken by the kids in our class. Click on each photo for an enlarged view of it.

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2 responses

  1. Karen S.

    What a terrific experience you are giving the students, Sandy, sharing your knowledge and letting them experiment! I know Jonathan benefitted so much from your input.

    March 28, 2012 at 4:11 pm

  2. That sounds like so much fun for teacher and students. Hope you continue to do this with them.

    March 29, 2012 at 9:23 am

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