I’ve long wanted to commit to a photography course, but hadn’t made the time to do so. However, over Christmas I found out that I won copies of ‘A Year with my Camera’ workbooks which is run by Emma Davies and this was the prompt for me to sign up for the online course! The AYWMC course has start dates every three months and I just sneaked in time to join the course in January.
I’ve only ever done a couple of one day photography workshops which were helpful for me to get together with other beginners, to learn about the science of a DSLR camera, so I’m not completely new to the jargon of shutter speed, ISO, and aperture (all aspects of photography which you learn in the first four weeks of AYWMC). The AYWMC course explains all of these so it’s perfect for the beginner. AYWMC supports people to get off shooting on the ‘auto’ setting, which is where the camera decides the settings for you.
What I’m hoping to get out of this year’s course is to recognise how I can use these different aspects when I’m out and about taking photos, because it’s so easy to take a under or exposed photo, feel demoralised and then quickly change the dial to ‘auto’ to get a better photo. There’s no shame in using the auto setting, but I want to be less lazy in how often I revert to this! I also want to feel less self-conscious when taking photos, and there was a great blog post written by Emma, which has really helped me already.
On AYWMC, emails from Emma come out every Thursday (which works great for me as I’ve finished work for the week and means that I actually remember to complete the homework on my days off!). They explain a concept and assign some homework, which ensures that you have understood the lesson. Some lessons are longer than others and include links to an accompanying blog post which reinforce the learning. ‘Homework’ photos can be posted in the closed Facebook group page so you can see the photos from your classmates throughout the world (and there’s about 6000 of them!).
The only downside about the Facebook group is that a minority of people ignore the posting rules, so you can receive hundreds of group notifications when the group first starts (but you can turn them off, and it does settle down after a few weeks). I keep an eye on the group, but I have set up a second Instagram account to share my homework and other photos that I am proud of, and there are a few people on there that have done the same.
The first four weeks have been about the different technical aspects of photography that you have to learn in order to understand how a camera works, which sounds boring, but knowing there are essential, and doing the homework does help you to make a practice of using your camera regularly, which is half the battle.
Emma also has a monthly photo challenge not connected to the course – #1day12pics which runs on the 1st Saturday of each month, and also before the course started, shared a list of 30 prompts for #make30photos which I’m working through over the course of the year, these are shared on my AYWMC Instagram account.
I’m going to keep track of my progress throughout the year here with a bi-monthly post to recap my learning, and hopefully see some improvement in my photography over the next 12 months.
This month’s photos interspersed in this post range from the mundane photos of an Xbox controller, to some stunning views of Mellon Udrigle beach on the west coast of Scotland, and even my failed attempts to capture a sharp focus of the Super Blood Wolf Moon!