Week three of photo school has started and I still couldn’t be happier with how things are progressing.
We spent all of last week learning Lightroom, a digital photographer’s darkroom. Hardcore film photographers like to disparage digital, often claiming that it’s too easy to make alterations to the image. This implies that film photographers do nothing to their images but print straight from the negatives; nothing could be further from the truth. If you ever take a look at the instructions Ansel Adams wrote up for the proper development of one of his famous, incredibly beautiful landscapes, you would be astonished to see the complexity and sheer number of steps he took to ensure that his images look the way that they do.
So what if digital photography makes this process easier? We still develop our images, but with software instead of chemicals, on a computer screen instead of a darkroom.
The long and short of Lightroom is that it is where I now organize my files, develop them (addressing such things as color, tone, contrast, brightness, clarity, vibrance, saturation, noise, sharpening and more), set up images to print, and create slideshows to display my work. Our instructor says that Lightroom is truly a photographer’s best friend and I am beginning to agree with him. We will be able to do 90% of what 100% of our pictures need in Lightroom alone; Photoshop will be the final touch for only 10% of our images. Who knew?
It is awesome.
To learn Lightroom, you need a bunch of pictures to work with, so we were given a very creative assignment to complete in order to furnish our libraries with files: The Alphabet Project.
Our directive: Go out into the world and find all 26 letters of the alphabet. No snatching up letters from signs or billboards. The shapes have to come naturally from objects, nature, architecture, etc…
We were released for lunch last Wednesday at noon and told to come back by 3 pm with our 26 letters.
And it was hard.
Surprisingly, we all came back with all the letters! I re-shot a bunch of them over the weekend because I’m a bit of an anal perfectionist, but I did manage to find all 26 letters in just 2.5 hours. Some of my classmates and I drove to Back Bay where we figured we’d find more creative shapes and, amid high winds battling a short dress I had on, I ran around the city scouring the streets for letters A to Z.
Here are my results, the alphabet, à la Julie:
This was a great exercise, and not just because I am now thoroughly acquainted with Lightroom. I learned to really SEE things, not just for what they are, but for their forms, their shapes and colors and reflective properties and all the other attributes you notice when you start to look at the exquisite detail of the world that surrounds you.
Today we printed our alphabet posters, so now I’m in need of a large frame and a place on the wall to hang my first photo school project.
It’s a good life!