Saturday I did what I have been promising myself for a long time, I took an all day photo course so finally, maybe, perhaps, if I paid close attention I would actually learn how to use my cameras on any setting other than automatic.


Jan 31, 2012by tracey Comments


Saturday I did what I have been promising myself for a long time, I took an all day photo course so finally, maybe, perhaps, if I paid close attention I would actually learn how to use my cameras on any setting other than automatic.

I found a course through  New York City Photography Workshop.  It was seven hours and promised to be small; five people max,  so we would all get individual attention.

I was very keen to finally figure out my NikonJ1.  My friend the  photographer Tim Clary did give me a lesson, but I’m not too quick with these things and I couldn’t keep bugging him forever.  He suggested I might want to go take an all day Nikon course, but those are in hotel ballrooms and I think they just read the manuals out loud.

So Saturday I headed off to Crosby Street to the Jeffrey Apoin Studio, to hopefully, finally, maybe learn how to use a camera.

On my way out of the house something told me, that little voice of common sense or the one that says you might not want to be humiliated, take your CanonG11. So, despite the fact I didn’t feel I needed to learn how to use it, don’t ask me why I felt that way, since there is not one button on it aside from AUTO I understand, but I took it with me anyway.

On the way down I started getting nervous, see, my Nikon, while apparently very trendy, is the Ashton Kutcher camera. It is slick and sleek much like the Ashman himself.  And it also comes in a wide variety of colors, including pink.

Would you buy a camera from this man?


I don’t have a pink camera, I have white one.

My Ashton Nikon in white.

That’s already bad enough. I had these images of the four other people in the group all sitting their with their big SLR’s and there I would be with Ashton’s camera. I had visions of Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde, sitting in the law class at Harvard with her pink computer.   There I would be the lonely, photographer in training with a camera that comes in pink. Nobody would take me seriously. And despite the fact it has multiple lenses, Ashton’s camera might not be able to do everything the others can.

Looks kind of like Barbie's camera.


Blessedly there was only one other person in the class, Sergeant Oscar Hernandez of the New Jersey Police Dept.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret –  Police Sergeants do not have pink cameras. In fact they don’t have cameras that are even made in pink. Oscar had exactly what I thought people would have a nice, big solid Canon. He had a man’s camera, a photographer’s camera. I had one that might cheat on Demi Moore.

Oscar's camera. Manly and strong. The kind of camera that won't let you down.

Jeffrey is a very good teacher and a very patient man.  He taught both Oscar and me a lot. The problem was and is the Ashton Kutcher camera does not like to be used with manual settings.  It likes Ashton to do all the work. There is even one really annoying thing where you can’t take the light meter down below a certain number.

Jeffrey helping Oscar with his real camera.

Now mind you before Saturday I didn’t know the difference between an ISO and an IPO or F-Stop and a Pit Stop. I now know some of these things.

I have them all written down.  But Ashton for some reason does not want me to use my new found knowledge.   He wants to choose my settings.  And if I try he argues by putting up a red box that says, No, I’m Ashton and I work this camera.

The lens looks professional.

It got very frustrating. So much so, that even Jeffrey who really knows his way around a camera said “I can’t really teach you on this one as it prevents us from doing the simplest of things. Like changing light and shutter speed.”  To keep the sleek, night club friendly look there are very few exterior buttons, when you want to do anything except for a few very simple functions you must go into the settings that are all computerized and it’s really time consuming, confusing and annoying.

Jeffrey finally said, “Let’s just work with the G11, that one won’t  get in our way.”

We had to take multiple shots of this playing with the light.

Lucky I listened to that little voice.  By the end of the day I was understaning things that had confounded me for years.  I was a little frustrated as Oscar’s camera could do everything.

I was even more frustrated because I really like the way the Ashton model looks, but for a long steady, relationship I may have to abandon  him for something a little more mature, reliable and predictable.;  a camera that does not need to have their way all the time. A camera that lets me learn how to use it and make my own decisions.

I’m glad I took the course. I emailed Jeffrey tonight and said I think I need another one, no matter how good the teacher you can’t learn photography in one day. I also asked him what he thought might be a better choice for me if I decided to call it off with Ashton.

The real lesson is something I knew, never count on playboys or movie stars for anything other than amusement and good looks and real cameras don’t come in pink.

Still life taken with my Canon G11. For some reason Ashton didn't like the rocks.


Still life taken with my G11. Ashton for some reason does not like rocks.