Thursday, February 28, 2008

March 2008 Activity -- Photo Safari

March 30, 2008
Photo Safari -- Afternoon Cherry Blossoms at the Tidal Basin
3:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Cost: $54/person
This photo safari promised photography instruction during the peak of the cherry blossoms. We were to meet in the late afternoon to take advantage of the late afternoon sun at the FDR Memorial and then to move with the sun behind us along the Tidal Basin toward the Jefferson Memorial.

We met for lunch before the activity -- at Cafe du Parc next to the Willard Hotel. With one preggo, one sickie, and one open-house-haver-that-day, it was a much drier dilettante meal than usual. We made up for it in cheese. Prolly some of the best onion soup, ever. There was a bit of a lengthy discussion about things that should not go in (certain body parts) that was pretty hilarious. We had such a nice, lesiurely lunch (er, dejeuner) that we lost all track of time (er, merde!). So we hailed a cab -- which was all but slowed to a stop for the short drive over to the FDR Memorial -- Cherry Blossoms and Cherry Blossom Traffic were in full bloom. Amanda called the instructor from the cab to let him know we were we got there about 15 minutes late, only to see that everyone else in our class had schmancy cameras with huge lenses. The four of us with our point-and-shoot numbers felt a little red-faced at first, but our instructor assured us that he could teach us to take better pictures even with those cameras.

The instructor, E. David Luria was funny and cool and had some great tips including:
1. Hold the camera correctly (holding with two hands makes for a steadier camera and a better picture)
2. Get CLOSE! (don't think you need everything in a shot -- focus on what's important and move in)
3. Mind the composition (place the elements of the photograph in a way that makes the photograph interesting.
4. Determine the best angle and time of day for shooting.
5. Keep your verticals as straight as possible.

Ansel Adams Lonsdale took to this activity like (insert funny analogy here). Once our instructor assured her that she was not SOL due to dead batteries (yes, Ansel -- they do sell camera batteries in DC -- a place known to attract a camera-toting tourist or two), she was on fire. She was a bit show-offy, what with her black and whites and sepia tones and all, but the woman can take a picture. Amy cornered the market on the composition aspect of things...pointing to the perfect shot of a kindly gentleman bent over and giving us a full moon. Nicole was great at getting close to her subjects and even got down on the ground for a couple of shots like a true pro.

We all decided that we took away some great advice as to how to take better pictures and we also learned about the features on our cameras and how they could help us do that.

Very worthwhile class with the bonus of getting to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. The favorite photos that each of us took are shown above and below this posting.


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