Day of the Dead Best of Week Photos: Norma Hawthorne

How do you go through over 2,000 photos and select the best 20? Each day, Day of the Dead Photography Expedition participants culled through and selected their best 10 to 15, which we presented for review and discussion.  By the end of the week, we had about 100 photos from which to choose the best 20.  A difficult task.  If we wanted feedback about choice, instructor Frank Hunter was there to help.

This was a breakthrough week for me. I thought I was doing pretty well using the aperture priority setting on my camera. From the first day, Frank said, This is a week to experiment.  I want everyone to use manual mode at least part of the time.  I confess, I struggled with this.  But, the more I practiced, the more I understood how to control for light, shutter speed and “film” speed.  There is no actual film in a DSLR, but the camera operates like there is with the ISO setting. (I still have a lot to learn!)  Practice, practice became my mantra. Frank’s expertise and  gentle coaching style was something I appreciated and he was always accessible to answer questions.

I loved the night photography in the cemetery, taking portraits of village friends, and experimenting by taking photos of people through glass display cases in markets and at private homes.

Let me know if you are interested in next year’s expedition.

Here are Norma Hawthorne’s Best of Week photos.

1_Fruit Through Glass-9 2_Chocolate Shop 20a_Josefina at the Altar 13a_Man@Xoxo 13_Sunset@Xoxo 6_Zapotecs-7 21_Lupe 25_Sister 12_Illuminated Grave 7_Comparsa Niña 24_Abuela At Gravesite 16_BicycleRider 4_Masked Woman 21_Ernestina 14_XoxoMourners 20_Mother&Son 2a_XoxoBicycle 3_House in the Campo 3a_ForSale 26_Reflection

A few key concepts that Frank taught us:

  • Turn the auto focus off and focus manually as best as you can for night photography
  • Take five frames of the same subject using the same aperture and ISO with a different F-stop for each to see the light variables
  • Experiment and don’t be afraid to make a mistake — this is an art form not a science
  • Look up and look down, there are photos everywhere

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