Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Taking A Class And Watching A Fight

I am always up for learning something new.  I was lucky enough to be able to take a flash class at the Julia Dean Photography School in Venice beach for the day.  Most of my photographs use natural light so I wanted to take a class to use a flash the correct way in certain situations.  It was very informative with both technical learning in the class room and a few assignments in the field.

I love people watching in Venice beach.  We all had a partner and an assignment to go out and practice using a flash for a fill light.  My partner and I walked down the boardwalk and I found a spot where he would be sitting in the shade for practice.  He sat there and I started taking his photograph and playing with my camera settings when this man approached us.  He stood pretty close to me and was obviously out of it.  He couldn't focus on me and he smelled like death.  He tried to tell us how to get the best shot and how to compose it to make it look interesting.  I didn't like how close he was standing next to us.  My partner was nice and said, "oh yes, thank you for that information" while I backed away and waited for him to leave.

He left and we continued our practice taking photos of each other making sure we remembered everything technical we learned in class.  About a minute after meeting our new stranger "smells like death" friend, my partner pointed behind me and said, "hey, isn't that the guy that just came up to us?"

I turned around and sure enough, he was in a fight with a Venice regular, "Mr. Muscle Man."  I don't know if that's his name but I see him each time I am there and he does have muscles and I am pretty sure he's a man so that's what I will call him.  As soon as I saw them fighting, my instincts kicked in.  No, not to break up the fight but to take photographs of the action!  They first wrestled to the ground then popped up with a few punches here and there while a crowd formed.  It got pretty nasty when "death breath" started flicking his blood on "Mr. Muscle Man."  I kept snapping away, forgetting what I was there for.  Shortly into the fight, my partner said, "ummm...ok, you want to practice over here?"  Practice?  What?  Oh yeah, I forgot that I was taking a class and we were on an assignment.  Eventually I had to pull myself away and put my technical brain back on.  I felt like a kid at the park wanting just a few more minutes to play.  I pouted a little inside and broke away from the action.

After our outside assignment was up, everyone gave their CF cards to the assistant to upload on the computer so we could all share what we did on the big screen.  Uh oh, I didn't expect for that.  While everyone followed the assignment correctly and had three pictures on their card, mine was full of the fight that, at the time seemed more interesting.  I tried to hide and not give my CF card to the assistant, but he remembered me and asked for it.  Of course I was first to be critiqued since my name starts with an "A".  Julia flipped through my images trying to find the flash assignment and then said, "what is this?" I had to say, "oh, um...yes I slightly veered off the assignment for a few minutes."  A little embarrassed, she was kind enough to look through them and give me feedback on each one and the class thanked me for capturing the moment.  I felt a bit of relief after that.

I am glad I took the class.  Very informative and Julia is a wonderful instructor.  If you are in Southern California, I would recommend looking into their program if you want to learn something new about photography.

Here's the sequence of the fight until I was pulled away...
My money is on "Mr. Muscle Man" to win.


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