Saturday, June 27, 2015

Dieter's Photo Lesson at the Zoo

(All photos by Emily)
This morning (Friday the 25th) after only getting a few hours of sleep Dieter (who’s staying at my house for the seminar) was up and ready to go.  Prior to his arriving in America I asked what else besides martial arts did he like to do and as it turns out we had a common interest in photography so we decided to go to the Ft. Worth Zoo to take photos and see the animals.  Emily who also has an interest in photography was also eager to go so we spent the afternoon at the zoo.

Right off the bat you could tell there is a huge difference between Dieter’s and my approaches to photography.  Dieter was outfitted with the packs for the various lenses, the adjustable tripod thingy, the sun deflectors on the lenses, all hooked onto his belt with quick release clips etc. etc.  Then there is me with my camera and my long range lens shoved in my pants pocket.

Who do you think got the best photos?  Of course Dieter.  He knew more about the subject, he was better prepared with the equipment, he had more control over his equipment (referring to adjusting his camera to different setting to get better results).  Once again Dieter was eager to share his expertise with Emily and I and he coached us on taking better pictures.

To me this is how we should approach our study of the martial arts and Modern Arnis in particular.  GM Remy passed onto us a living art, one in which there is room for growth and individualized expression in the art.  How boring would it be if we all tried to be Remy clones; if we all tried to speak with Remy’s tonal inflections, if we all tried to teach in the demo format that Remy taught in, if we all stayed with practicing only as we thought Remy taught it.

We were all there to practice taking photos and the subjects were the animals.  However we each had different animals or birds we liked to use as subjects.  We had different equipment with different settings all achieving different results in our photos and yet often times we were shooting the same subject.  Just like each of us learning a lock, or applying a lock, or a disarm, or a drill etc. etc.  Sure the technique might be the same but you could really tell a difference once it is applied, just like viewing a photo.  Some are photos are good but some are really WOW!  These are the ones that can really move you, just like most locks hurt but then there are those that put you on the ground with tears in your eyes.

It would have been boring if Dieter explained how to take a photo and then set it up, focused it and set the settings on the camera and stepped away and said “OK now go press that button” click.  Instead it was “Emily, do you know the Golden rule (referring to the rule of thirds)?  Here let me show you”.   Then after she took some photos he would say let me see and compare the pictures, make some suggestions and move on.  By the end of the day we all had a great time showing off the pictures to my wife and talking about them and again the education continued.

Through Dieter’s guidance today Emily and I learned more about operating my camera as well as how to take better pictures.  While it would have been fun (and probably painful) to play with arnis all day, and there will be plenty of that for us this weekend, taking a break from all of the martial art talk gave us a different lessons to be learned and fun memories for all.  


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