in Photography and Art

Beyond the Basics

Last night was the second session of Warren Mitchell’s Beyond the Basics photography class. Mackenzie is in San Diego, so I was without a partner in crime.

Warren has been discussing important pieces of photographic equipment. Last week he stated that “photography begins with a tripod.” That’s fine. I have a tripod. This week he advocated nice tripods. I don’t have one of those, and shooting during the past few days has helped me understand the ways in which my tripod is barely adequate.

Last night, Warren also stressed that “lens hoods are absolutely essential“. I don’t have one of those, either.

J.D.: “Photography kinda seems like an expensive hobby.”
Class: Knowing laughter

So far, I find the class rather overwhelming.

When I took computer classes in 1999, the assignments sometimes intimidated me. We’d get an assignment like “implement an address book C++ using a doubly-linked list and appropriate classes – use inheritance” and my heart would sink. How could I possibly complete the assignment in a week? Linked lists were scary!

(Of course, linked lists became less scary with time, and as each week progressed I developed a solution to the problem in time to complete the assignment, and usually earned an A.)

These photography assignments are equally daunting. The final project especially so: we’re to develop a two-minute-seventeen-second slide show to accompany Louis Armstrong’s version of “It’s a Wonderful World”.

At the end of last night’s meeting, we shared the prints we took last week. Our assignment was to photograph trees. Here are four of my photographs (click a thumbnail to open a new window with a larger version of the image):

[photo of root shaped like alien] [photo of a tree in a muddy pond] [photo of woods with newly green field] [photo of mossy oak bark]

Our next assignment?

Warren: “I want you to get closer this week.”
Student: “What do you want us to shoot?”
Warren: “Patterns.”
Student: “That’s it? Patterns?”
Warren: “Patterns. And rain.”

At least I have more photograph ideas involving patterns than I did photograph ideas involving trees.

As I was driving home from the photography class, KMHD played a haunting, beautiful rendition of “Autumn Leaves”. “Autumn Leaves” isn’t one of my favorite standards, but the singer, Eva Cassidy, had a strong, clear voice that spoke of heart-ache, of love lost, never to be regained. The acoustic guitar accompaniment was perfect.

Autumn Leaves
(English lyrics by Johnny Mercer)

The falling leaves drift by my window,
The autumn leaves of red and gold.
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold.

Since you went away the days grow long,
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song,
But I miss you most of all, my darling,
When autumn leaves start to fall.

I’ve heard of Eva Cassidy before, but I’ve never paid her much attention. Perhaps I should.


On 17 January 2003 (08:30 AM),
Paul said:


Eva’s huge here. I think she lived in the D.C. metro area and her CD’s are everywhere. If you have a hard time finding them I could get them easily for you.

I enjoy hearing about your adventures in photography. It makes me ache a bit to get back into it. Amy Jo is (was) quite a photographer but hasn’t done any for a few years–she’s a wiz in the darkroom (especially B & W printing).

What format are you using? 35mm? For me I really like the high fidelity large-format stuff. I’ve got an old 4 x 5 camera sitting in a box somewhere. My dream is to have a huge darkroom and make large prints from 4 x 5 or 8 x 10 negatives. Then the hobby gets really expensive.

Take care,

On 17 January 2003 (06:32 PM),
Vitginia said:

J. D. Don’t know your personal email so this will have to do. Your pictures are great. Makes me jealous that I can’t be in the class. You see you might ask Warren Mitchell if he ever gave a class called Your Art on Note Cards or something like that. Small World!!!

On 18 January 2003 (01:15 PM),
Aimee said:

JD …

Would you ever consider sharing your photgraphy??? I am especially interested in Mossbark and Alien Root …


PS. By ‘sharing’ I naturally mean selling and/or giving …

On 19 January 2003 (08:42 AM),
Jeremy said:

The photo of the tree is fascinating. It was Jennifer’s favorite. How much can you blow it up? Can you make a nice 8X10? I really like the one of the field and the one with the bark. Excellent work. Your new nickname is Ansel.


On 19 January 2003 (12:07 PM),
J.D. said:

I’m flattered by all of your compliments. Thank you.

Yes, I can make enlargements of these photos. If you want one, just let me know. I’d be happy to give you one.

I feel like I should be paying people to take them.