It was just last week when the event decided to grow some legs. Not sure which exact day it was but I had an email titled "HELP." Enclosed was a lengthy message, a friend, wanting to throw in the towel. This person had become, like many, mesmerized by the gear. That beautiful new DSLR, with its many mysterious features. Buttons, knobs and dials everywhere but no clue what each of those things were there to do. This happens to many new photographers in the world. They see this beautiful camera, run out to buy one, swear to themselves that they will become an awesome photographer only to end up locking that amazing technology permanently in Auto mode. After a few days, weeks or even months of shooting in Auto, they wonder why on earth do their photographs still look like shit.
This is the fork in their road.
The frustrated do one of two things. The first is throw that expensive camera back in the box, never to pick it up again. The other and the road less traveled is to actually learn photography.
Little did the first person know, is that no matter how many thousands they spend on a camera, that tool (cameras are simply tools) will not magically make beautiful images. Fact of the matter is, if you or someone you know, goes out to buy thousands of dollars worth of camera gear, only to leave it stuck in Auto, well, you are better off saving that money. Working a 500, 1000, 3000, 10 or 20,000 dollar camera in Auto will get you results not much better than that of your new iPhone. And I'm not knocking iPhone by any means. I think to day, there are four iPhones in our home. And you know what? They take perfectly fine photos for what they are, point and shoot, full auto digicams.
Now, you've taken the road less traveled, the road to learn the art. Down this road is progress. You've taken that road, you've learned every single aspect of the camera, composition, technique, exposure, light and every fundamental of photography 101. Like the light at the end of the tunnel, you actually see progress. You've thrown the kit lens into the recycle bin, purchased a decent prime, you are actually making photos that look awesome. Those who head down this road find satisfaction and fulfillment and continue down this road. Ah, but this road is longer than they imagined. The path of education and development are endless. You either reject this fact or embrace it. The elite embrace the fact that you must continue to move forward, continue to learn and progress, or die.
My friend, Joei, was about to give up, before she could I offered, rather than a return email, a chance to work with her, hands on. This would allow me to see what was being tried and how I could physically show her how to adjust for her mistakes. She accepted the offer.
It was this same week that another friend of mine, a seasoned event photographer, had called me about some lighting questions, questions about strobes, Pocketwizards, TTL and even some gear questions. I decided to extend the invitation of my hands on event to him as well. Greg also accepted the invite.
Feeling that this could be very educational, while being fun at the same time, I decided to throw the invite out to only a couple more people. Being that it would be my first ever hands on, educational photo walk, I didn't want the crowd to be overwhelming. There was no formal agenda and wanted this time out to be more of a test run than anything else.
The plan was for the group to meet at La Citadelle, a cozy, quiet coffee shop right in my hood, 16th and Pine, in Rittenhouse Square. Those to attend were coming from all directions. Two would be coming from New Jersey, one from West Philly and the last not far from my digs. I had requested that everyone arrive at noon, packed with their camera and any other gear they wanted to use, or learn to use, for that matter.