This weekend I took part in a “Town and Country Photo Hike” class taught through Furman University’s Continuing Education program. The course was taught be photographer Diane Hopkins-Hughs, and I was looking forward to getting some new tips on photo composition, and learning about new places to shoot in Greenville. Ann Martin also helped lead the class. This session was the “town” portion, and we would be exploring the downtown Greenville area. Next session will be the “country” portion, where we head out into the Upstate somewhere.
In most of the classes I’ve taken there is a wide range of abilities and skills. You have some folks that really are just starting out, and you’ve got some that seem like they are taking the class just to show off how much they already know. Even if the class turns out to be a very beginner class, as this one did, I try my best to stay out of that latter category. I just don’t want to be that guy. Even when a class doesn’t turn out to be quite what I expect, I always try to find something to take back from it.
Our group of ten included folks with DSLRs and a good bit of camera experience, some with point-n-shoots, and some with 35 mm cameras. We met at Heritage Green behind the Art Museum and started out, walking toward Main Street, and eventually down to Falls Park. Lunch was a picnic at the park, and we slowly made our way back to the museum later in the afternoon.
My problem was that I’ve photographed this area so many times that it was difficult to come up with some new vision, some new perspective. It was a challenge. I took a few photos, but was really stymied. At Falls Park, I didn’t take a single photo of the bridge or falls – Been There, Done That.
I talked with a couple of my classmates along the way. One was taking shots for an “architectural alphabet.” She was taking pictures of buildings and elements that seemed to form letters. The end of a handrail formed the letter P, a traffic light formed an E, etc. It sounded like a great idea, and I may have to try that, too.
One interesting thing we did was to head down a couple of alleys that most might miss. I did get some interesting shots of old brickwork and warehouses.
I did get a couple of favorite shots from the afternoon. One was of a man painting a sign on the side of a building. His attire seemed more colorful than his artwork…
I also liked this impromptu keyboard on the side of a building. The white stripes were bits of plaster left from a previous building. Someone had painted the black patches to form the keyboard…
I also climbed the stairs looking over the Piazza Bergamo and spotted this nice repeating pattern of tables and chairs…
Did I learn anything from the class? As far as photography is concerned, not really. However, I did get some ideas for new shots, and that’s always a good thing. Below are the rest of the photos that I took on this excursion.
Here is the route that we took on our walk…
2 thoughts on “Town and Country Photo Class”
Great blog! The class was a little different than I expected. As a rookie, I was very happy to be in the company of folks like you that I could learn from. However, I was hoping for a little more instruction. I’ll know next time. Looking through a lens did help me see the town I grew up in much differently. Sorry you didn’t get out of it what you had hoped. Perhaps the nature hike will be different. Although you look to have all the knowledge one needs. Well I guess we all can learn something new everyday. Your shots are great. I was happy to see that I took some similar ones. Of course they don’t look like yours. It was great meeting and talking with you.
Jennifer – it was great meeting you, too, and I am so totally going to steal your architectural alphabet idea! (I’ll give you credit, though.) I’m looking forward to seeing your shots.
As for the class, like you, I was hoping for some more direct instruction. I’ve been familiar with Diane’s work for a long time, and was hoping that she would share more on technique. I didn’t know what Ann would bring to the class, but I was hoping it would be more background on the city.
I guess we’ll have to see how things go with the “country” excursion.