A sharper focus

By: By Sherry Matthews - smatthews@clintonnc.com

The transition from automatic focus photography to learning shutter speed, aperture and manual settings was challenging, but students in Kelly Jones Shutterbugs 3 class said it was an opportunity to step way outside their comfort zone and learn lessons they’d never really thought about before.

With cameras armed and ready, the third level class took field trips, walked outside their classrooms at Sampson Community College and took steps on their own to hone a set of new skills that the avid photographer, they said, would eventually want to try — even if they eventually went back to auto focus.

“Shutterbugs 3 was an enjoyable class,” noted Kimberly Cannady, who said that Jones, as instructor, had worked diligently to teach the class advanced modes photographers can apply to enhance their photographs.

“It was a great learning experience.”

Silvia Tanner agreed. “Kelly sort of opened the door for us and said it’s OK to venture outside our comfort zone, explore those settings and take the picture.”

And venture out they did, practicing in the field what they were learning in class. To do that, they had to change those camera settings from auto focus to manual and begin to play with shutter speeds and aperture settings, sometimes getting blurry results but learning in the process.

“It’s stepping into different waters for sure,” Jones said, “but the students wanted to see what they could do with a variety of settings. The end results were really good.”

Many turned to their creative side, using shutter speed to slow down the action of things like water being poured into a glass. Others turned to macro photograph getting upclose and personal with inanimate objects like flower petals. Still others tried their hand at using a tripod and capturing a sunburst or that perfect sunset.

Jones said her goal for the class was to successfully use manual mode to take photos, adjusting shutter speed, ISO or aperture to get the perfect exposure triangle, something she believed was accomplished by the small group.

In all, students said they walked away from the class with a lot more knowledge about their camera and a deeper love for the art that is photography.

“I believe all of us in the class had a great experience learning as we participated in class projects, going on field trips to practice with our cameras, but mostly discussing the camera’s ability to capture the moment you want in the photo,” Cannady said.

Tanner said she loved the exploration of new things, something Jones urged. “I just loved the class and the excitement Kelly has for teaching us.”

All agreed that the class was fun and a learning experience, and one they hoped SCC would continue. In fact, many are hoping for another level.

“Hopefully there will be a more advanced class to teach students white balance, metering, flash and so much more that a photographer and the camera can do to produce the perfect picture,” Cannady stressed.

For now, at least, SCC is gearing up for the next 10-week photography courses they currently provide — Digital Do’s and Don’ts, the first level class taught by Sebrinia Johnson and the one everyone must take before entering the second two class taught by Jones, Shutterbugs 2 and Shutterbugs 3.

Jones said the Shutterbugs 3 class will require a DSLR camera and tripod. A point and shoot camera, she added, will not work for this class.

For more information on the classes, call SCC at 592-8081 and ask for the Continuing Education department.

Calling one of her final exam photos for Shutterbugs 3 ‘Fall Begins,’ Kimberly Cannady shot this photo using the technique of blurring the background. ‘The log cabin is the background and sets the scene with a bokeh effect using the aperture mode and focusing on the acorns in the foreground,’ she wrote about her picture.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_5-Fall-Begins.jpgCalling one of her final exam photos for Shutterbugs 3 ‘Fall Begins,’ Kimberly Cannady shot this photo using the technique of blurring the background. ‘The log cabin is the background and sets the scene with a bokeh effect using the aperture mode and focusing on the acorns in the foreground,’ she wrote about her picture.

‘Snap’ seems an appropriate name for this creative shot taken by Shutterbugs 3 student Silvia Tanner, one of her five selections for the Sampson Community College class’ final exam. The photo was taken on the Wilmington waterfront. The focus, Tanner said, was on the old camera with the background blurred for effect. ‘I loved this shot,’ she said.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Tanner.jpg‘Snap’ seems an appropriate name for this creative shot taken by Shutterbugs 3 student Silvia Tanner, one of her five selections for the Sampson Community College class’ final exam. The photo was taken on the Wilmington waterfront. The focus, Tanner said, was on the old camera with the background blurred for effect. ‘I loved this shot,’ she said.

Selected as Silvia Tanner’s best photo was one she called ‘Welcome Home,’ depicting old chairs and a table as the focal point of the picture. The photo was taken in Roseboro, and Tanner said she liked it because of the angles of the chairs and the overall feel looking at the picture gives you.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Tanner-2.jpgSelected as Silvia Tanner’s best photo was one she called ‘Welcome Home,’ depicting old chairs and a table as the focal point of the picture. The photo was taken in Roseboro, and Tanner said she liked it because of the angles of the chairs and the overall feel looking at the picture gives you.

Chosen as Kimberly Cannady’s best was this photograph of the USS North Carolina. Calling it ‘Bursting in retirement,’ Cannady said she selected the photograph because she was able to capture a sunburst between the towers of the battleship, a difficult thing to do. ‘It was an accomplishment,’ she said.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_2-Bursting-in-Retirement.jpgChosen as Kimberly Cannady’s best was this photograph of the USS North Carolina. Calling it ‘Bursting in retirement,’ Cannady said she selected the photograph because she was able to capture a sunburst between the towers of the battleship, a difficult thing to do. ‘It was an accomplishment,’ she said.

Using one of the skills taught in the Shutterbugs 3 class, Angie Herring got a dead-on macro shot of this beautiful purple flower, showing the stamen and the pistils as well as the flower’s overall character.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Herring-3.jpgUsing one of the skills taught in the Shutterbugs 3 class, Angie Herring got a dead-on macro shot of this beautiful purple flower, showing the stamen and the pistils as well as the flower’s overall character.

A beautiful night along Wilmington’s waterfront was another photograph captured by Angie Herring. Using landscape mode, Herring was able to hone in on beauty of the night, complete with the boardwalk, the calming water and the sunset as the backdrop.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Herring1.jpgA beautiful night along Wilmington’s waterfront was another photograph captured by Angie Herring. Using landscape mode, Herring was able to hone in on beauty of the night, complete with the boardwalk, the calming water and the sunset as the backdrop.

Bridget Bradshaw’s final exam photo, entitled ‘Beads, was a creative piece taken in her dining room using some of the lessons she was taught in her Shutterbugs III class. She used manual settings to capture the photograph, showing Depth of Field. She also chose her focus points manually.
https://www.clintonnc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/web1_Beads.jpgBridget Bradshaw’s final exam photo, entitled ‘Beads, was a creative piece taken in her dining room using some of the lessons she was taught in her Shutterbugs III class. She used manual settings to capture the photograph, showing Depth of Field. She also chose her focus points manually.
Shutterbugs 3 students step out of their comfort zones to learn advanced skills

By Sherry Matthews

smatthews@clintonnc.com