Always learning

I’ll admit to being a teacher’s nightmare. It’s not that I was a discipline problem (I was so scared of my own shadow that causing trouble was the last thing I was apt to do) or even that I intended to be difficult, but I truly did not have a clue about the positive effects studying would have on my class performance or test results. From elementary through high school, I managed a pretty solid “C” average based solely on what I retained from classroom sessions, Cliff’s Notes, and occasional pre-test cramming.

I enlisted in the U.S. Navy shortly after I graduated from high school in 1969 and, via a combination of entrance assessments and my bootcamp “dream sheet,” ended up qualifying for Photographer’s Mate “A” school (an intensive 10-week course that covered the basics of several still cameras, black & white film and paper processing, motion picture photography, and aerial film processing). My study skills had not improved in the few months since high school, and I still consider it a minor miracle that I graduated from that course. Time passed, I earned a promotion or two and, in due time, was transferred from my initial duty station to a new command where I was nominated, and subsequently selected, to attend an elite summer-long photographic quality control control (QC) course at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Talk about being out of my element…slide rules, logarithms, formulas, chemistry, film sensitivity, sensitometry, densitometry…oh, my! I don’t remember much about that course except the mentoring I was fortunate enough to receive from our class study group. Without their help, I would never have survived that QC course but, more importantly, their influence and encouragement became the foundation for my subsequent educational endeavors.

Forty-plus years later, I definitely get the connection between studying and practicing and results, and I now appreciate the effort teachers put into preparation and presentation. Thus, I acknowledge Kim Klassen’s hard work in developing and presenting the year-long Beyond Layers e-course. The first couple of months have been amazing and I am definitely looking forward to the rest of the year.

Still, there’s a bit of a disconnect between what I see and hear and my ability to apply those lessons to my own images. The photo that accompanies this post is a case in point. As much as possible, I tried to duplicate Kim’s setting and subject matter (imitation is the best form of flattery, isn’t it?), but the end result isn’t quite what I was hoping for. It’s too busy, too contrasty, too (fill in the blank)…just too much. But even though the image and the post-processing isn’t quite what I imagined, I thoroughly enjoyed the process. What fun it was to see the effect of actions, layer masks, and adjustment layers on a single image!

Image: Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens; 1/125 sec @ f/4.5; ISO 200
Post processing: Pioneer Woman Soft & Faded action, Kim Klassen’s Happy Heart texture, and Hue/Saturation and Gradient Map adjustment layers

7 thoughts on “Always learning

  1. I love this image. You made me laugh with your description of yourself as a student! I’m loving Kim’s class too – but I am discovering that I can’t really imitate her art either. I wonder if that’s actually more about putting our own stamp on our art rather than imperfect learning? I know all the techniques take practice (more than I’ve been giving them!) but I think we’ll all end up with our own version of it and I think that’s part of the fun. šŸ™‚

  2. I don’t know what you were hoping to achieve, but it looks great to me…and I have that Reader’s Digest gardening book!
    Alison xx

  3. Exquisite image!
    Isn’t Beyond Layers so much fun? šŸ™‚ Hubby and I are enjoying it a lot, and even if our style is so different from Kim’s, we are learning some new tricks šŸ™‚ and that’ what is important to us.
    Have a happy weekend!

  4. Always learning – that is a good way to approach life, yes? And the “disconnect” may be there in the beginning, between what you want the result to be and what the actual result is – but it is only through the trying and experimenting that we eventually “get it”, developing our own style.

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