It’s been a long friendship- almost 30 years, and I’m sure if you ask Sharon, when we first began our adventures together, she would point to a conversation at the first Pearl River HS holiday party I attended in 1986( she might not remember the year). There I discovered that she could do more than theater make-up for our school productions and that in fact, she had had a long history handling the production side of many of the school’s plays and the more we talked that night, the more excited we both got about our future as a theater team.
I can’t remember a time we stopped talking to each other, a time our egos got in the way when we shared leadership or when we had favorite kids in common. In fact, we aren’t related by blood, but we share Kaplan and often kids, without knowing that would instinctively mix us up, calling her, Ms. Kaplan and for us that was always a compliment.
My earlier years directing high school theater, pre- Pearl River were great and yes, I was part of a great team but it was very different with Sharon, given the fact that our theater collaborations always spilled over into our teaching lives and even though we never got to collaborate art/English officially in an elective as we walked the parks of Rockland we kept planning our ideal art/ELA elective. We both loved teaching in the classroom with kids and learning in the classroom as kids.
So, it’s not at all unusual that 10 years after my retirement I would be back in a classroom that Sharon’s teaching. In fact, I’ve been in her classes before, actually ever since I hung up my film cameras and embraced the digital, she has been there to share her expertise.
Sharon comes from a family of photographers: her father, her son, her nephew, HER! and given that she knows how I learn, what kinds of challenges I need, I knew even before this latest set of classes that she had my back.
So here’s what I learned this time:
She offered a two-day class with a day in between for some homework, digestion and reflection: Photography and the Elements of Art.
Now I can honestly say I love the arts but Fine Arts I choose to love as a fan, and even though I feel comfortable with a camera in my hands, I am all instinct. I’ve always wanted to move beyond and begin to understand design: Color, Lines, Space, Shape, Value etc…. and yes, that’s what Sharon offered this time around. I can’t say I found it easy, in fact, I did push back a bit especially yesterday. A-symetrical, balance, passive, active- WHAT???
Sharon let me flounder for just the right amount before she made her way to me and offered a gentle whisper… try this… find a subject that’s interesting… now what? It did take time, more time than usual to find a groove and understand what it was I was doing but yes, it happened.
Okay, so what did I learn?
I pledged to really move off automatic and program…to Aperture Priority more… I pledged to use my macro lens more. I found it all easier this time. f-stops etc.
I have a better sense of setting up a more interesting picture in my viewfinder after all, it’s all about the photographer know matter which camera she uses.
It was a pleasure for me to watch the rest of the classes love Sharon’s way of teaching and take advantage of their time with her. I consciously didn’t hog her time so that everyone felt she was there for them as well.
I added some new programs to my collection:
Snap Heal made for Mac- good for erasing things in images and only $15.
I downloaded a trial run of Nic photo editing software now owned by Google and made very reasonable- $150. Sharon is probably laughing now if she’s reading this. She is almost 100% sure I will never use it. Actually, I would love to prove her wrong but I don’t spend much time processing my pictures beyond the basics because the image is only a piece of my approach to telling my stories in the 21 century. But maybe this time…
In between the two serious days of study Sharon created a one-day iPhoneography workshop for a maxed out group of 12. Wow, amazing hats off- teaching 12 different adults, most with iPhones but even there everyone had a different versions and everyone needed help her help. Well, I didn’t need too much after all, I love my Apple products, but hey, I did learn a lot of cool things
I now know how to snap a picture without even opening the phone. I was tapping on the camera image on the front screen, I should have been pulling down. YES!
We opened to the preferences and started clicking a few things open and found our way to the camera’s dashboard and hey, I learned about HDR and when to turn it on, I found the flash- never used it. I saw Slo-Mo, and the Panorama option and we played.
We played with Painteresque and Snapseed apps for processing iPhone pics.
So it was a great and glorious 3 days in very cold AC, in humidity, in rain… it didn’t matter. I was learning from a friend- What could be better!?
See you next week for lunch at Strawberry Place.