Two Dudes, a book and an accordion

Two cool dudes waiting for a wedding.  Travis (tall dude) and Damien (small dude) waiting patiently in the pouring rain.  The rain broke at a very tight 30 minutes for the ceremony to take place. (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2015, Yorktown, IN.

Two cool dudes waiting for a wedding.  Travis (tall dude) and Damien (small dude) waiting patiently in the pouring rain.  The rain broke at a very tight 30 minutes for the ceremony to take place. (c) Rebecca LaChance, 2015, Yorktown, IN.

As promised...

This week's blog post contains some photos from my son's wedding.  I went as Mom, not as Momtographer. Obviously, I could not resist a few snaps!  (*cough* I had 2 cameras in my bag.)

Having spent the last six months in a business mentoring group that is probably 90% professional wedding photographers, I have learned a great deal about professionalism amongst their ranks.  They take great pains to dress in recognition of the life event they get to document.

Imagine, if you will, my audible gasp to see the photographer show up in cut-off, rolled up denim shorts, a too-tight flamboyant yellow tee-shirt and dirty sandal/sneakers.  Obviously, this woman had no clue about honoring the importance of event!  And...she did not show up for the contracted "bridal prep" pictures.

{Pardon me whilst I type a review on Yelp...)

I was randomly taking photos in the bridal prep room.  I was intrigued by the lightfall on the calla lilies and wanted to see what I could do with it.  As it turns out, this may be the only picture of the bouquet.

I was randomly taking photos in the bridal prep room.  I was intrigued by the lightfall on the calla lilies and wanted to see what I could do with it.  As it turns out, this may be the only picture of the bouquet.

Damien is 7 years old.  He took the chair photo with my Nikon D7100.  He used my Sony A6000 to take this cake photo.  I think the boy has a future in photography!

Damien is 7 years old.  He took the chair photo with my Nikon D7100.  He used my Sony A6000 to take this cake photo.  I think the boy has a future in photography!

Book Review

As most of you know, I am a "learn-a-holic".  I am thrilled by the challenges of delving into new knowledge, new wisdoms. So, I was really pleased to stumble across this photography book by Roberto Valenzuela.  I did not know anything about him.

 I was sold on the book by reading the Foreword by Skip Cohen.  If Skip Cohen writes a glowing announcement about you, you MUST be good.

"Picture Perfect Practice: A self-training guide to mastering the challenges of taking world-class photographs" by Roberto Valenzuela,  (c) 2012.  Notice all my sticky notes at the top?  They designate the exercises in the first 48 pages!

"Picture Perfect Practice: A self-training guide to mastering the challenges of taking world-class photographs" by Roberto Valenzuela,  (c) 2012.  Notice all my sticky notes at the top?  They designate the exercises in the first 48 pages!

What really gripped my pedagogical (and sometimes pedantic) mind is Valenzuela's approach to learning photography.  He compares it to being a musician. Perhaps because he was a classical guitarist for ten years before starting photography? 

A musician spends hours on daily focused practice. The musician doesn't buy an accordion* (aha! weren't expecting that one were you?) and then pull it out once a month and expect to be good.  The accordionist practices scales, breathing, bellows movements, button movements with the left hand, keyboard movements with the right hand, all while reading and translating a foreign language printed on striped lines - daily, repetitively, for hours at a time.

Valenzuela's point is that photographers can't buy a camera, pull it out once a month (or less often) and expect to be any good. His system uses the same learning theory as music; break it down to the basics and then practice them until you can "play them in your sleep".

And his basics are not the standard, ISO, aperture, shutter speed that one reads ad nauseum.  The list of basics includes

  • geometry,
  • balance, 
  • parallel lines,
  • symmetry,
  • color elements,
  • depth,
  • shadows,
  • silhouettes,
  • reflections,
  • patterns and repetitions
  • plus so much more.

Once you have ingrained the basics you can instantly apply the tenets to any photographic situation that presents itself. You have trained your eyes and brain to interpret scenes in a different "key".

 Reportedly, this is the same system he used to teach himself photography. If so, he practiced his way to multiple international awards.

I don't need to win international awards but I do constantly want to improve. I'm willing to practice his system.

 How about you?

Did you guess?

* Yes, I played the accordion for many years. Surprise! I finally quit because, as a teenager, I just knew playing the accordion was the most uncool thing one could ever do in one's entire lifetime.  

(I can't believe my parents actually bought my totally made-up excuse; the ever burgeoning "girls" were painfully constricted and pinched through the bellows movements!  Oh pullease.......)

As I read the description of accordion play (above) I was - for the first time in my life - cognizant of the neuromuscular skills and brain power required to play!  Geez-o-pete!  If I had kept playing I could have enlarged those neuronal connections enough to win Nobel Prizes! Talk about your multi-tasking! Quick, get me another accordion!

Okay, so now...I am developing those neuronal connections through photography.  Is there a Nobel Prize for photography?

Until next time

So, once again, we scroll to the end of another post.  Thanks for coming along with me. I always enjoy your company. 

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.  I do enjoy chatting with all of you.  And don't forget to share on your social media!

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with gratitude,

Rebecca

Expect the best, anything else is an adventure!