Balcony Lessons


During the Riverbend Fireworks, I had the interesting experience of meeting a young woman who was using her new Canon Rebel (not sure which one) for what was nearly the first time. She had apparently bought it from eBay, played with it briefly, and then set it aside until the night of the Riverbend Fireworks.

She asked me a few questions about what settings to use and I’m afraid I might have overwhelmed her with information. I was reminded of the conversations I had about 9 years ago when my own adventure with photography started with a good friend a colleague who was usually patient and willing to share information.

But I had the realization as to how quickly it becomes difficult to answer a simple question when the person asking it has no knowledge of the basics of photography. I also had the realization of how much I’ve learned.


I did my best to explain to her how she might select an appropriate aperture and what an ISO setting is and why a slower shutter speed might be beneficial. I also explained why turning off her flash might be a good way to prevent wasting her battery since it wasn’t going to help. I’m not sure I did a food job of containing myself or the information. After all, I think she was looking for a more definitive answer like, “when you’re shooting fireworks, use f/11.” I haven’t found the equivalent to the bright sun rule of “Sunny 16” for fireworks, but then, given the number of times the Sunny 16 rule hasn’t worked for me, I’m not sure it’s realistic to call it a rule.

In any case, I realized that I really need to find a venue to teach photography. I enjoyed that little 10 minutes of playing teacher more than I expected.
I am a big fan of learning by teaching–there is nothing that pushes me more to really work at something than when I know I’m going to have to teach it. I love the feeling of having something to pass on to someone else. Whether it’s work related, tricks on photographing fireworks, bird facts, or even something completely outside my normal areas of interest, nothing make me feel more alive than the feeling that I have something to share.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s