On this misty morning I headed North toward the beautiful San Francisco bay, to meet with fellow instructor Ellie Stone to teach Aperture Academy’s first Blooms and Butterfly workshop! There was rain in the forecast and a chill in the air you couldn’t shake; we gathered in front of the conservancy of flowers in Golden Gate Park to conduct the tradition of introductions, giving the us (the instructors) a good idea of where the students are comfortable photographically. Lucky for us, the conservatory opened it’s door for us right when it started to rain, we grabbed a quick group shot before heading inside to explore.
Currently, there is a butterfly exhibit running through the beginning of March, with over twenty species to photographic including monarchs, Western swallowtails, red admirals and the impressive cecropia moth. We set our ISOs high to obtain a fast enough shutter speeds to capture these beautiful insects. The conservatory is home to many plants and flower as well, with plenty of space to move around to make a perfect shot. We made our way in to the other parts of the building, exploring the vast array of plant species that call the rainforest home.
There were plenty of aquatic plants as well, along with a couple of fountains which gave us an opportunity to practice shooting with longer shutter speeds. With the available light on this beautiful Saturday, at ISO 800, ƒ/3.2 my shutter speed was 1/60th of one second- essentially stopping the water. At ISO 800, ƒ/29 my shutter speed ended up being over one second long- giving the flowing water a creamy, pulling look adding an interesting element to the image. We try to remind the students to get as many different shots by changing the angle of their camera and themselves, taking a step back & then zooming in to change of the depth of field, or one of my favorite tips: shooting from the hip! I had one student stretch his arms up and over a plant and just take a snap to see what he would get- It turned out to be a great shot!
Ellie and I left plenty of time to go over images in camera at the end of the workshop for an opportunity for instant feedback! I saw so many fantastic images on the backs of everyone’s cameras, utilizing the fundamentals that we taught that day. The rule of thirds, symmetry & asymmetry, as well as practicing different DOFs : ) All in all the day was a success, and all photographers left with full memory cards and smiles on their faces!
Until Next Time,
Ellie, Alicia and the rest of the Aperture Academy.
P.S. If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.