Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Shutter Journey

With an hour left to go as I'm writing this, today, the 1st of March, is my beloved Shutter Journey's 1 year anniversary.

10 months ago, I joined with Nicole's invitation what SJS founder Allan commented was one of the more challenging shoots to date. I was carrying a G11 which, very brilliantly I say, ran out of battery halfway. Still, I got some decent shots.

The first lesson I learnt in SJS was that your camera system did not matter. There were people who came to shoots with compact cameras, with handphone cameras and even with film-based toy cameras that didn't even give you an accurate view of what you were shooting (oh the horror).

But photography comes from the heart, as do all the arts on our good green(ish) Earth. When you have an idea of what your photography stands for, what it wishes to communicate, the story it wants to tell, then you may regret all you want that you didn't have your 1D, D3, a900 or S2 to capture that brilliant moment, but you will never need to regret that you did not capture the shot in the best possible way.

The second thing I learnt is that going for shoot after shoot after shoot has given my skills a chance to grow naturally, regardless of camera system. It's quite like how a pure diamond-crafted sword honed once a week will never be as sharp as a simple iron sword that is sharpened daily. Many images are not done justice to not because the photographer is bad, but because of the great barrier formed by electronic technicalities, ranging anywhere from "Why this white balance setting here?" to "Why use spot metering and not partial metering here?" I still don't know the latter, by the way.

I however, for one, don't see lessons in photography as the often-marketed "Crash Course to ABC". Instead these things just get some necessary technicalities out of the way (ISO, WB, metering, focal point, contrast, purposeful over/underexposure, I could go on) to free our eyes and minds to wander across the wonders of our environment. Only when we aren't preoccupied with the million settings on our cameras can we focus on what is a shutter-worthy frame. Because on the other hand, what good is a perfectly exposed photograph containing an utterly boring subject?

The last major thing I learnt is of course that there is no such thing as "aiyah buy one camera enough already. Kit lens is enough."

L i e s.

Naw I kid, although every word of that was true. The last thing I learnt was that quite simply, we aim to enjoy every shoot because we share and learn more that way. I'd like to see you try to get a lesson on f16 vs f20 out of a hungry, grumpy photographer who just missed his magical sunset minute after camping at the best spot for miles since after lunch.

I still have to thank the founders and moderators for giving me a chance to be part of the core team. Over the past couple of months I have learnt alot from every one of you, and I have to say, we form quite a tight group (Whatsapp group chat positively superglued us together).

With much thanks to Alvin even though I kinda didn't actually ask first, and much love to the missing mods Ruiping and Cass. You know I love you still. As a friend. A good friend. But just a friend.

For believing in my ability to contribute to this passionate group of carefree photographers, thank you Allan, Ling, Celes, Shela, Noel and Connie.

Happy birthday SJS. Live long and prosper.

No comments: