Teaching the Next Generation

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Teaching the Next Generation

I called my son into the studio the other day. He wasn’t too keen on leaving whatever game it was he played on his computer, but he walked up the stairs. He saw that I was setting up some photography equipment and assumed the worst. Yet another turn in front of the lens so Dad could test out an idea. We have been there many, many times. He just wants me to get on with teaching the next generation.

Over the years, we have discussed a few odds and ends of photography with one another. We have touched on the basics as opportunity supplied a teaching moment. The deer at the cabin, easy targets for the camera, but be patient. Wait for better light, better angles, and a better pose. The hummingbirds are different. They move fast. Focus on that branch they keep going back to for a quick respite. Now, be prepared with that shutter button  for when one moves into frame. Why would we place these large satellite dishes towards the bottom of the frame? Because they are pointing up at an empty sky, searching.

There are stories to tell, techniques to understand, and an artist to awaken. The last few years have been rough. If I am honest, I have not had the temperament of a teacher. I have been seriously lacking in patience, vocabulary, and willpower. That fog is beginning to lift and he is ready to learn.

He saw his selenite crystal and began wondering if this was going to be different. When I handed him my backup camera, he lit up. When he is truly interested in something, his rushed excitement becomes a still eagerness to learn. He listened intently as I walked him through basic camera terminology. When he snapped that first photo and he saw the magic of the setup, it was like throwing gasoline on his creative fires.

Have I waited to long to start teaching him? Perhaps. Then again, he has stood in the starting blocks long enough waiting for the pistol to fire. Now, sprinting to the finish line of his first race, he hears every word I speak.

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