/ photography

Manual mode

Sometimes you get lucky. Just as I was coming to understand what a mountain I have to climb in learning my new camera, イタチshelter began hosting Yuko Shimada’s Yona Yona Shoten, a pop-up indie bookstore. Then MN’s Masa came to visit and check out the books.

The result was that I got to spend a Saturday night learning about cameras from a professional photographer and a jewelry maker who knows a great deal about cameras and photography.

They drew me graphs, took practice shots with me, showed me how to hold the camera (hint: not like an iPhone). We even went through some of the Yona Yona bookstore’s photo books, talking about how the photos might have been shot.

Of course, great teachers alone do not a photographer make; it’s going to take a lot of doing before I can start to get results. But I am thankful to both of them for sharing their time and experience. They must have saved me months of trial, error, and bafflement.


Now I get to live in manual mode. It’s like learning to drive a stick. I’m in the lurchy and awkward phase, doing circles in the mall parking lot; lots of false starts and sometimes I shift from 2nd into 1st by mistake. But there’s no denying the joy of being hands-on, of doing the thinking myself, of physically feeling my way into the shot I’m looking for. My camera and I are bonding.