Trigger-Happy: Learning to Shoot With My Nikon D80 – Part 1

Nice! wonder where it is registered...
Nice! wonder where it is registered...
I took a photography course which I mistakenly had thought was taking place in Deptford! Just outside London and about 2hrs drive from where I live. Mea culpa! It was in Southwark an area outside the square mile that was the old City of London. Quaint place with lots of pubs and lots of history. There were five of us, all women in the class. Three of us had Nikon cameras – a D40, D70 and a D80 (that’s me), one Sony and one Canon. We met at the entrance of the London Bridge Mainline Station which is not the same as the London Bridge Tube Station. I got it mixed up and had to walk back where I came from to meet up with my group. Long long or what? Most stations have the mainline/overland trains and tube under one roof but with a million entrances so you need to find out precisely where you are supposed to go to meet people or which train to catch.
Anyway, our workshop was a wokabaut workshop which meant no classroom yipeee…That for me was a great way to spend a Saturday. I was of course late joining the group by about 10 minutes, was quickly forgiven and with smiles all around we set off.  Our wokabaut photography workshop was along the timeless River Thames and our instructor, guided us on our route which was packed full of great sights and subjects. Lots of families were out and about. It was an on and off sunny day with a slight overcast which came and went but did little to bother us. I had my umbrella so rain was of little concern to me.  This being London it is always a must to carry a small umbrella like having your purse/wallet – always with you.
Cruising on the Thames on a Saturday morning...
Cruising on the Thames on a Saturday morning...
Our first stop was a spot overlooking the Thames. The sight of the water was a really pleasant surprise for me.  Our first lesson was to set our camera dials to the ‘P’ setting and take as many pictures as we liked on that setting. No more ‘Auto’! I reckon ‘Auto’ is really a security blanket for amateur photographers – I am in that category. I guess we get so used to the liklik compact ones or as some call them ‘idiot cameras’ – don’t have to think about it -just point, frame and shoot – most people just point and shoot and so you know what the results are. Usually you end up with beheaded and amputated subjects! That’s what happens when you don’t frame your subject. Well, we live and learn!  As we were clicking away, I realised then why we were asked to have fully-charged batteries and spares as well because it was a very practical class – alot of peaceful bloodless shooting!  Oh yes and we looked like a motley crew of wannabe paparazzi. Well, hidden talents come in handy when you need them one day. 
Columns in 'P'
Columns in 'P'
Our next stop was in a building housing a small but impressive photo exhibition. I can’t remember the name of it. I had a quick look at some of the photos and was quite impressed. They were shots of ordinary things every day stuff but in their photographer’s mind these are transformed into subjects of beauty to behold. Our next lesson was to shoot this clown with the light infront of us. That was really something. With the lesson behind us I took these shots with the light behind me. This was an imposing sculpture. I estimated it to be about 12 – 15 feet high.
Dancing clown or....
Dancing clown or....
Court Jester?
Court jester?
Should have found out who the sculptor is of this impressive and imposing figure. It was right in our faces when we walked into the building. Quite clever that behind the blue is a grey piece which looked like bell bottoms or typical clown garb. I’m not sure whether it is carved out of one material or an ensemble of different materials pieced together to create this sculpture. I’m still wondering how it was put together.
Our next lesson was on ISO settings. We went through the Hays Galleria. Wow! the building was something else. Really lovely inside but lots of pigeons flying about which was a tad worrying because you didn’t know when they need to answer nature’s call and where. Nevermind, we went to a sort of arcade where we had our lesson on setting the ISO. We were instructd to increase and decrease the ISO settings on our camera to see what came up. I think I much prefer doing this manually but only when not in a tearing hurry to take a shot of something or someone. I think this was set on 200 ISO.
In 200 ISO?
In 200 ISO?
On our way into Hays Galleria I took these shots at the entrance. Quite an impressive building. I loved this shot – not part of the lesson though.          
An impressive building
An impressive building

 The next lesson, before we broke for lunch, was the setting ‘S’. Again we are instructued to take as many shots as we liked on different settings to see which one works best for us respectively, and we learnt what a histogram is. That was cool. A few years ago if anyone would have asked me what a histogram is I probably would have said something like, “never ‘eard of  ‘im”! Anyway, these are those funny charts that show up on the back of my D80.  I used to try to get rid of them – slow huh! Here are some shots on the ‘S’ setting. We were laughing, cameras clicking away – we must have looked a sight!   I was excited because I was learning alot from the workshop and discovering how much we each had  in our hot little hands.

We had to snap Ron whilst he is walking past...
We had to snap him whilst he was walking past...
There his is again! snap him! giggles, giggles
There he is again! snap him! (laughter)








  Then it was time for questions and sharing of discoveries.  Instructor and class take a short break to enjoy the sights and sounds along the Thames. 

Instuto and class take5!
Instructor and class take 5!

 On our way to lunch at one of the many Cafe Nero coffee houses in London, I took some shots of scenes and subjects  that interested me. I love photos of buildings. Here’s one I thought was impressive, taken in ‘P’

At low tide on the Thames
At low tide on the Thames
This is the end of Part 1. I’ll be posting Part 2 shortly so watch this space. In the meantime here are some more scenes along the river taken on my wokabaut workshop. 
Cruising...way to go!
Cruising...way to go!
Another cruise boat...
Another cruise boat...


Catch you in Part 2!

Author: islandmeri

Life is a journey which I enjoy. Here I share my passion for helping others, music, ideas, inspiring things, and interesting places and people. It's my cool hangout.

8 thoughts on “Trigger-Happy: Learning to Shoot With My Nikon D80 – Part 1”

    1. Sure SonyaSunny,

      Thank you for your interest in my photos.

      Which one are you interested in?

      Kind regards,

  1. Thank you for finding my post useful and for your comments. Photography does not need a degree, just perseverence and a lesson(s) on how to use your camera properly. Best wishes with your endeavours.

  2. Hi Kylie,

    I gave the website address of the company that conducted my photography workshop in Part 2 of my recent post. The workshop was very informal and informative. You can contact them. The instructor is a fine art photographer. Him and his wife conduct these tours and workshops. I know what it’s like when one turns to the internet for information. I think you’d have to subscribe to a photo guru’s website to download information. A workshop such as the one I took helps you to understand a little more about what all the dials are. Like one guru said it is not so much the camera as it is the artist behind the camera that makes a picture. Wow! that got me. So it pays to take a course to learn how to use the camera properly and the rest as you know comes from what your eye beholds to be the golden moment, the magical second or the twinkle in your eye that gets transformed into a vision of beauty and wonder. I hope you will have the opportunity to do a course. I am planning to do another one but more on a 1-to-1 basis. I am an amateur but love taking photos which I want to be the best. So I’ll also experiment on my own allowing the artist in me to find the aha moments for happy memories photowise.

    Happy snapping as well and all the best with your D60! Practice makes perfect. Power to you!

  3. Ok may be not I don’t know what happened. Anyway what I said was good on you for getting out there and doing a course. I’m learning all about my D60 and iI’m stuck with internet tutuorials and the manual.
    Happy snapping!

  4. Oops, Sorry for the double comment. I thought it didn’t work for some reason. Now I realise you must have to approve your commetns first.

  5. I would love to do a proper photography course. Unfortunatley the dot on the map iI live in doesn’t offer them. Good on you for getting out there and learning. I’m just learning all about my D60 and I’m stuck with internet tutorials and reading the manual.
    Happy snapping!

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