By Steve Polston
The photography class I opened Tuesday night at Whiteland United Methodist Church’s Under the Sun Café has been a good experience so far.
Nine of us adults met to discuss as colleagues what our challenges are: both technical and artistic.
We traveled this morning to the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art specifically to challenge ourselves with early morning harsh spring light. OK – that was my idea, to willfully seek the challenge.
But here they all were at 8:30 Saturday meeting me in the parking lot next to the greenhouse. I knew they were ready for the challenge because they brought their questions, smiles and cameras.
What was beautiful about the light this morning was that it was so white and stark against the deep blue and clear sky.
What was challenging about it was that the landscapes – those images you compose because the overall scene is so overwhelmingly beautiful – had deep shadows. Sunlight beaming into the edges of the lenses provided lens flares. Automatic settings had cameras and photographers juggling contrast, ISO, flash, sharpening and color correction.
It is tiring to the eyes to shoot in such strong light.
For me, maintaining enthusiasm over a two-hour walk when it’s difficult to see detail became easier when I stopped to chat with one of my colleagues.
She challenged me to shoot up past a blossoming bush toward a pine tree, placing the pink against green.
I challenged her to go against instinct and shoot the blossoms at right angles to the sun. The oblique shot can bring out detail and add tone to color.
In my two hours – which I spent mostly below the Oldfields mansion and gardens – I saw no fewer than 10 other artists and photographers not associated with our class.
The artists brought plenty of cameras, tripods, easels and reflective white boards. Most days with tolerable weather are like that at the IMA.
An art colony forms like a flash mob, with clients needing portraits shot for wedding and baby announcements mingling with professionals knowledgeable about one of the best free outdoor venues in the nation.
The ultimate challenge at a spot like this to is to shoot with the idea that you only will show a few images.
I challenged my colleagues to bring me five images in the next 48 hours so that I can prepare the works for a slide show and photo share at Under the Sun Café next Saturday night.
For myself, this will be challenging. I shot 250 images this morning. This article contains 12. I don’t know which five I will bring to the photo share.
Which do you like?
To see more of my words and images, click here and here.