Fairly early on the morning of Valentine’s Day, the students who had attended the adult education Digital Photography Course at the Pinelands High School arrived at the Millstone Farmstall in Oude Molen Eco Village (my favourite place) for our final group session: a photo shoot out in nature!
Once we had assembled, our excellent teacher and professional photographer, Ian Walton, gave us a set of instructions on the types of photos he wanted us to try taking. These included portraits, landscapes and macro shots, as well as playing around with slow and fast shutter speeds, deciding whether to use the flash or not, experimenting with exposure, white balance and aperture settings, and playing around with different angles and modes.
I found it quite difficult to work my way through the list in any consistent or step-by-step way, and thus couldn’t put a tick next to each one to signal that I’d taken that kind of picture. But it did give me plenty to think about and play with as we roamed around the area.
After final explanations, Ian at last sent us off into the wilds around the Millstone Farmstall. I hooked up with a very friendly fellow-photographer and showed her the way down to the open field beyond the horse paddocks, from where you can see Devil’s Peak rising majestically up into the sky.
I had never been on the other side of the boundary fence before, and in fact thought access to this open space leading down to the wetland was restricted, so it was very exciting to find out that it wasn’t!
As it was cloudy, a bit blustery, and cold enough to wear a jersey, the quality of the light was quite different from that of the previous sweltering hot summer days. In fact, there must have been a bit of drizzle somewhere over the city, because we suddenly spotted a rainbow! It appeared and disappeared several times, so I was quite pleased when I finally got a shot of it. If you look closely, you will see a brown horse standing amidst the reeds on the opposite side of the river.
A mare with her very young foal was grazing near the wetland on the edge of the river. The foal was a bit skittish at first when I approached it, and hopped and skipped back to mommy when I came closer.
The mare, though, didn’t seem to mind all the attention from the roaming photographers and their flashing cameras, and so a couple of us got really close to them.
And thus I finally got my desired portrait shot, complete with blurred background. Don’t you just love the foal’s beard?? I think it’s so cute!
When there was a sudden gap in the clouds, I spotted the waning moon against the beautiful blue sky. Okay, you have to look really closely to see it, but it’s there alright, in the middle of all the deep blue. 🙂
On my way back to the farmstall an all-too-quick hour later, I finally managed to take a super-macro shot of this geranium, despite the gusting wind. Macro shots are really difficult when it’s windy.
To end off, we all met up again in the big room near the kitchen, chatting noisily and excitedly showing each other the photos we’d taken. Everyone had had a fantastic time!
We celebrated our completion of the course with some welcome cups of coffee and tea and plates of delicious, freshly baked scones with jam, and then said a very sad goodbye to each other and to Ian, who was heading off to Korea for a year with his wife. We hope they’ll come back safe and sound to teach us more about photography!