Ever wondered what a Verlocal experience is like? Jen gives us a walkthrough!
Permission to repost by: Jen Baxter
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It’s 6:30pm as I show up at the Rose Garden in Golden Gate park to meet theVerlocal group for my first local adventure in the city I grew up in. It’s calledLearn to take Professional Quality Photos and even though I’m a confident photographer who has traveled all over South East Asia, India and Europe, the same nervousness and questions buzz in my head. Do I have the right camera? What will the other people be like? Did I wear the right shoes? It’s a typical cloudy and overcast San Francisco evening and the light is a little flat and dull for our session. We’re meeting during “the golden hour”, which in photography, is the hour just after sunrise and the last hour before sunset when the light is soft and diffused. The hour just after sunset is sometimes called “The Blue Hour.”
There are four of us with our instructor Johnny. Everyone has a DSLR ready to go. Johnny puts us all at ease with his friendly demeanor as he explains the basics in a simple and clear way. We start with the camera in P-Mode, (Program Mode) which is almost automatic mode. This makes it simple for everyone to concentrate on the composition tips he gives us so we don’t have to fiddle with the camera too much. Johnny knows his stuff as he explains some basic compositional techniques like the rule of 3rds, having a clean background and finding an interesting angle or perspective to shoot from. He reminds us (an important reminder) that we need to pay attention to everything in the frame. Sometimes I break most of these rules, but it’s essential to know them so you understand when you’re breaking them.
We wander from the Rose Garden to the area outside the DeYoung Museum. Johnny has an easy going way of explaining the technical side which makes it easy to follow along. After shooting a little in P-Mode we all begin to play with aperture priority mode and shutter speed where we did a little panning so by the end of the class we were all shooting in manual mode. He helped everyone adjust the ISO, aperture and shutter speed like pro’s. At each stage, Johnny sent us off to shoot so we could see the effects of how our cameras captured the light at each setting.
As we end the class, Johnny hands us a pocket sized laminated card that not only summarizes everything we talked about, but also easily fits in our camera bags! That alone was worth the price of admission. After class, looking at my pocket size cheat sheet and flipping through my photos, I thought about who I would recommend this class to. It’s a good experience for anyone who has a DSLR that wants to move out of auto mode and start getting creative in manual mode. The Verlocal mission of providing local adventures for people to rediscover their city feels like it has promise and potential for interesting experiences.
Verlocal is a marketplace of activities that appeals to both locals and travelers by offering unique experiences and learning opportunities. Please check out the details for the new iPhone Photo Adventure I’m leading.
Article written by Jen Baxter
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