In-Depth Post #3

My mentor supports me in my ongoing projects, but also suggests many new things that I can try. I have access to many resources online where I can learn how to make specific things, and my mentor has recommended videos and websites for me to visit. During my mentoring sessions, after learning some new tips for crocheting, we spend a bit of time just working on projects together. I’m learning a bit about her work life, favourite hobbies and projects she’s made. I’ve also seen much more of her personality while crocheting; she enjoys discussing about things while she’s crocheting, like music or a TV show. So far, I’ve been working on a scarf, and am currently also crocheting petals for a white rose.

In-Depth Post #2

My mentor has been crocheting for many years, starting from when she was young. She was taught by her older relatives, and regularly crochets gifts for her loved ones. I’ve learned many small tips and tricks, like how to hold the yarn so that it’s more comfortable for a longer period of time, how to make sure your stitches are consistent and not too tight or loose. I’ve noticed how my mentor always takes it slowly when teaching me something new, making sure that I’m not too overloaded with information.

Introductory In-Depth Post

For my in-depth project this year, I chose to crochet. I have always liked to crochet and have always wanted to learn more about stitches, detailing and how to read crochet patterns. I was inspired by videos that I had seen online of people making their own clothing, blankets, crocheted stuffed animals, and more and wanted to be able to recreate them myself. I also participated in the knitting and crocheting leadership project last year and made a few scarves to donate to a homeless shelter. 

In-depth 2022 Post #6

Hello and welcome to my final blog post for my in-depth mandolin project!

 

What are you going to prepare for in-depth night?

For the in-depth night, I will be preparing a mandolin tune. The song I have chosen is “Caledonian Laddy” which is a fiddle tune. The song is quite fun and cheery because it was made for dance. It is Scottish folk song inspired which I find interesting because I feel I have spent less time learning about folk music and would like to try more. I will play the tune once through at a medium pace because it matches my skill level and because the tune wasn’t designed to be played incredibly fast.

What elements will you capture?

The song will show how I have grown to become comfortable with my instrument. I have chosen it because it was the first full tune I started working with, so I can show the most improvement. It shows my improvement in the skill I wanted to improve in the most, picking. It also shows how I have learned about new mandolin music because it is Scottish folk music which I had never listened to before this project. I hope that in my performance I can capture how I have improved my skill because I can play a clear and smooth version of the song.

How will the audience interact with your presentation? 

The audience will be watching and listening to my performance of the song. While they are watching and listening there are different parts of the performance that I hope they notice. The audience will be able to notice the clarity of my playing of the notes which has been something I have been working to improve on throughout my project. I also hope that they notice the happiness of the song which was what draw me to it. I wanted something that was fun to play for the performance because it is a celebration of my achievements so far. The audience will also get to see the way I play. They will be able to see that I use the proper picking pattern and proper fretting hand placement which have been two important components of my learning.

What was a highlight for you and why?

The main highlight for me with this project was learning about the community of people who play the mandolin. It isn’t as popular of an instrument as others, so I found it really interesting learning about all the people, programs, and music in the community. I don’t think this would have been able to be a highlight for me without my mentor’s vast knowledge of all kinds of mandolin music and resources, so I am extremely grateful to him.

Here are links to some mandolin songs I have found and enjoyed through this project:

Summer’s End – Sierra Hull

Lemons and Tangerines – AJ Lee & Blue Summit

Over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Chris Webster

Another highlight of this project has been the moments when I reach points in my learning where I can apply the skills to actual music. Practicing skills can be tedious and repetitive but the moment when you play it in a song and hear it come together makes it worth it. I find that in the moments I feel proud of myself for my improvement and impressed that I can actually make music with the knowledge I have gained.

What was particularly challenging and why?

One challenge I encountered throughout my whole project was knowing what direction to take my learning next. I created a plan before starting the project but as I learned I find other routes that could be interesting and found that some routes weren’t possible. Being able to choose what I learn is something I find very exciting, but it also leaves room for a lot of choices I have to make. One reason this was a challenge for me was that I felt like sometimes, I didn’t know enough about my skill yet to make decisions. It was hard choosing songs or techniques to learn when I didn’t understand how challenging they could be. I also found that sometimes I wouldn’t know all the directions I could go with a song. Luckily, throughout the project, I was able to turn to my mentor. He was able to offer me options and information which have helped me make decisions with a better understanding of what I’m choosing.

Where might this skill take you next?

This skill has definitely inspired me to want to continue to learn new instruments. I have enjoyed my time learning the mandolin and I want to continue to improve at it, but it has also shown me what it’s like to learn new instruments. The guitar was the first instrument I learned, and it has been challenging for me, but I have found that learning the mandolin, though it did have challenges, has been much more enjoyable because I didn’t have to start at music ground-zero. Through listening to the music with mandolin in it I definitely have grown a liking for the banjo which could be an interesting next instrument. The mandolin is also commonly an accompaniment instrument so in the future if I were to meet guitar, fiddle, or other folk instrument players I would love to play with other people. I feel like an opportunity like that would improve my creativity in music. This is because my mentor has talked about his experience with finding a tune and just riffing around with it with other players for hours. I have never been able to do this and think that I could learn a lot about the mandolin from something like that.

Learning Update:

The past couple of weeks have been focused on refining the tunes I have been working on. I have been practicing “Caledonian Laddy” every time I pick up my mandolin to prepare for in-depth night. I feel very confident in the first couple of lines of the song, so I need to spend more time focused on the last lines to bring them up to the level as the first. I have also been practicing “Cold Frosty Morning”. My mentor recorded an audio clip of him playing it, so I have been using it to improve my consistency as I play the song. I have also been learning a modified A minor scale to better understand that tune as well. To wrap up those tunes in the next couple of weeks I want to continue to constantly practice “Caledonian Laddy” and learn the chords for the two tunes to expand my chord knowledge on the mandolin.

 

Thanks for reading!

In-depth 2022 Post #6

Hello, my project is coming to an end! In this post, I will discuss what I am going to prepare for In-Depth Night.

Progress Report

Since the last post, what I have done is I washed an entire bike. Indeed, I scrubbed every inch of it very diligently, including the frame and tires.

Video: I also started replacing the brake pads on the purple Nevada bike.

Obstacles/Frustrations

I would say the main obstacle I have now is finding enough time to work on in-depth! I need to put a lot of time in. At least I know exactly what I must/want to do. I will need to devote as much of my homework time as I can to in-depth starting now!

Mentor

I have not had another mentor meeting yet, but I have met with my mentor and I have been communicating with him. For example, I had to borrow the brushes again to clean the tires, and we talked a bit then. David remains greatly supportive of me. I think I will squeeze in at least one more mentor meeting that I already have a bit of an agenda for.

What was a highlight for you and why?

One of the highlights was certainly witnessing and participating in taking apart my mentor’s friend’s bike that day—disassembling the bike. It gave me true in-depth knowledge about each part, and it was lots of fun to see all the different parts laid out when we were done. In other words, it was both an educational and an exciting new experience for me, which is why it was a highlight for me.

What was particularly challenging and why?

I think adjusting/repairing gears is a sub-skill that is particularly challenging for me; I certainly need more practice with it! This was particularly challenging because I do not have a bike stand, so I have to turn the bike I am working on upside down, which confuses me a lot. Additionally, before this project, I had never tried adjusting gears before, so I only know how it works and I did not have hands-on experience with it yet. I remember having to bring a bike over to my mentor one weekend afternoon because I was struggling with the front derailleur. With that particular challenge, I had threaded the cable incorrectly, so if it were not for that, I probably would have been able to finish it on my own. Either way, I have had challenging experiences with adjusting gears so I need some more practice with that.

Where might this skill take you next?

This skill might take me next to a summer job at Trek! But that is only wishful thinking if I do not act. I have David’s support and he said he talked to the store manager, to who I can send an email. I think I will do that as soon as In-Depth Night is over. Apart from that, this skill will take me now to a point where I have knowledge about bikes and am handier with them, which should help and save me a deal in the future.

In-Depth Night

What elements will you capture? How is the audience going to interact with your learning centre or stage presentation during in-depth night?

I am going to do/perform one or two sub-skills that I am confident in so that the audience can stop and watch what I am doing and then I can hook them into my presentation. As of now, I think I will perform adjusting brakes, although I still need some more practice to feel fully confident with that. I would also like to practice more with adjusting gears before In-Depth Night so that then I may also perform that sub-skill. I could set up a little routine for myself where I continually go in a loop:

  • Make brakes out of adjustment
  • Adjust the brakes until they work well
  • Make gears out of adjustment (front and rear derailleurs)
  • Go through the procedures of adjusting the gears until they work smoothly

I could continue to do this while at the same time keeping an eye out for possible interested audience members. I could say hello, smile, and make eye contact with them and then I could start my presentation. My presentation hook line could be, “Would you like to know how to keep your bike out of the bike shop?” or something along those lines.

In my presentation will be a run-down of points on how to keep one’s bike out of the bike shop. I will have this written out already. For example, I will remark on how good brakes should look and work, and that if they do not look that way, they need to be replaced. I will be using the bike in the bike stand to point at while I explain. It can be a short presentation (of how to keep your bike out of the bike shop) before it turns into a conversation. This is where the audience will/can interact with my learning centre during In-Depth Night. If they are the curious type, they can ask me questions anytime while I am talking, for example, when I am talking about how to maintain your brakes so you can keep your bike out of the bike shop and I am saying that they need to be replaced if they look like so-and-so, they might ask, “How do you replace brakes?” Then I will take that as a cue to go down that route, explain to them, and maybe even show them how to do it. Throughout my presentation, I could give information in a very forthcoming and enthusiastic manner, until the audience member appears satisfied, and they can leave, or somebody else comes along. At that point, I can say “Thank you for checking out my learning centre, please enjoy the rest of the night!”

This is where I have come to regarding thinking about what aspect I will share with the audience during the in-person In-Depth Night on May 31st as well as how I am going to present it. I still need to do more preparing and practicing, but it should go fine! See you there!

In-Depth Blog Post #6

In my previous In-Depth blog post, I showed my step-by-step process of how I built my computer from scratch with help from my mentor Lucas. After I installed all the necessary components, Lucas helped me download windows on to the finished computer. Although there were bumps along the road, such as accidentally plugging the wrong cables to the wrong components, I was able to overcome these difficulties and continue to succeed. This week, however, Lucas and I had some more relaxing meetings where we fooled around with the different Linux software options on my computer.

In order to download the software in safe manner, Lucas showed me a special program that divides your hard drive into smaller portions where they act as their own separate computer. He told me that this program is one that he constantly uses in his computer science classes at BCIT. With the program set up with a secondary “computer” on it, we downloaded the Linux software Ubuntu and played around to get a sense of what a device with this software running it would be like. Once we started it up, I observed that Ubuntu is shockingly similar to MacOS. This was not a huge surprise as they did originate from the same kernel, Unix.

Fortunately, the special software Lucas showed me to create a secondary “computer” is very easy to get rid of so I can remove the Ubuntu software whenever I feel as though I will no longer want to experiment with it. As for now, I have been spending a lot of time playing around with this software and experimenting with its settings to see what can be done with it. To be completely honest, I don’t even fully understand how this software works as I have not fully explored it, however, I should be able to comprehend its complexities by the time of our In-Depth night.

With In-Depth wrapping up in the coming weeks, Lucas and I discussed many possible ways I can demonstrate my learning throughout this long period of time and came up with a simple display. Initially, I thought of creating a posterboard to show my classmates each individual component within a computer, however, after discussing this possibility with Ms. Mulder, I finalized my presentation by removing the posterboard. I will now be brining my built computer to show the inside and outside of it while pointing out the individual components. Instead of a posterboard, I will have the information on cue cards so that I can share my knowledge with all the TALONS program parents. The audience will be able to interact with my display by being able to see the insides of my computer which will have the components labeled for further understanding. Fortunately, the case that I purchased for the parts has a glass siding which will allow for the components to be protected while the audience looks in.

Overall, I am very happy with how much I have learned throughout this year’s In-Depth experience, and I could not have been able to get so far without my mentor, Lucas. He has been extremely helpful and patient with me when I struggle to understand the complexities of a computer and I am very thankful for that. Furthermore, I am looking forward to sharing my gained knowledge with my TALONS classmates and their parents in the upcoming In-Depth night!

In Depth Post #6

As my project was mainly focused on creating physical things, I’ll be displaying my crocheted works on a table at in-depth night. To showcase my skills, I will also be working on a project as the night goes on. Audience members will be able to stop by my table and observe the various patterns and details of my projects. A highlight of my project was when I was learning how to make granny squares. They can be used for various things, and it is an important skill to have when crocheting. The most challenging part of my project was finishing many of my projects. Crocheting can become very tedious and having to do the same thing for hours can be relaxing, but also mentally taxing at the same time. Over the course of this project, I had done things that I didn’t think were possible. I can now make my own clothing, stuffies, blankets, and more. In the future, whenever I have spare time, I’ll now easily be able to pick up a hook and yarn and create any kind of magical thing. My project teaches me many valuable skills; I’ve learned to be patient and precise when crafting something, particularly when following instructions. It has also taught me that to create a good project, you have to spend many hours of consistent, careful stitching. 

In-Depth Post #6: Reaping the Harvest

Progress Report

Since last post, I have finished modelling my kendama, and now need to map its UVs, set up lights and a camera, and maybe animate it. I am very happy with my results, as they are smooth, and without artifacts or strange creases. I also made sure to use the technique I learned from my mentor of making sure that the model is able to first bevel properly, and then subdivide if needed, rather than using subdivide and edge loops and creases to bevel and properly harden edges.

One challenge I came across while making the kendama was making concave cups for the sphere to fit into. I first made them by taking a preset sphere, the UV sphere, and then lining the diameter up with the rim of the cup, deleting half the circle, and merging the vertices along the circumference with the vertices along the rim. This caused a few problems. Firstly, very terrible looking artifacts were created due to the fact that I was now displaying the inside of the sphere as the outside edge of the cup, so I needed to flip the faces. Also, the UV sphere makes a pinching effect near it’s poles, due to the way the faces and edges are arranged, and that was not ideal.

In the first picture, you can see all the lines converging to that point.

In the second picture, with a metallic shader, you can hopefully see the creases that creates along the surface.

To fix this, I used a different technique of making a sphere, which is to take a square, subdivide so that it has the same number of points along it’s circumference as the rim, apply that subdivision, and then use the “to sphere” tool to make the points more spherical. This created a sphere without poles, which looks nicer when shaded. I then needed to make sure that this more unusual sphere with curvier lines fit properly with the edge.

Here, you can see the cube, subdivided once, twice, three times, and then what it looked like after using the to sphere tool.

Here’s what it looks like shaded.

Here’s the problematic nature it has when cut in half (It’s lines of circumference are wavy), so I needed to edit it a bit and flatten some of it’s edges.

After doing all of this, I realized I needed to make sure the ball fit in these cups, and was made properly too, so I ended up just making the ball with the subdivide and to sphere technique, then placing it so that it rests on the cup, then cutting off that portion of the ball and using that. This turned out to be a lengthy process, as I had to make each of these changes and updates to each cup each time I made them. Next time, I would make this faster by going through the whole process on one cup, trying to think ahead for each challenge I might run into, and then replicate it for the other cups, rather than problem solving through trial and era with every cup. Moving forward, I am going to watch some more tutorials on UV unwrapping, and try to figure that out so that I can finish up making the kendama.

In-Depth Night

The highlight of trying to learn blender for me was modelling objects. This was probably influenced a bit by who I had as my mentor, as he was a hard surface modeler, and so this was the area of blender that I was most encouraged towards, and had the most support and help in learning. Besides that reason, I like the geometric visual problem solving of editing meshes, and it is a fun challenge to try and get better and faster at modelling by learning the many keyboard shortcuts for using tools and making edits.

For those reasons, I have decided to display the object modeling skills I have learned for my In-Depth night learning center. I plan to do this by setting up a table with my computer and an external monitor, which I can use to display my modelling on a larger screen. I have a few ideas as for how to use the screen. My first idea is to use the monitor as a second screen for my computer, doing my modelling on the monitor and having other notes or information on my laptop. The drawback to this way of doing it is that for the audience to see the computer, and me to face them while talking, I would have to be sort of half turned towards the computer, and half turned away. The solution to this would be to use the monitor as a mirror of my screen. That way, I could face my laptop towards me and my monitor towards the audience, so that I could work on my laptop while still facing them, and they could see the changes on the monitor. I will also have a keyboard, mouse, and charging cable.

At this table, I will sit and model objects. I want to be able to finish a few models during the in depth night so that I can take requests and suggestions from viewers, so I will make sure to practice beforehand and make sure I know the tools that I will need. As I model, I will find points to explain and tools to point out to those at my station. For instance, I might come to a part where I need to move an object precisely, and show how I can lock it to and axis by pressing the letter of that axis (x, y, or z). I could even find a program that shows a virtual keyboard on the monitor as well as blender, so that the audience could really get understand and follow along with the keys that I am pressing to make each edit. By doing it this way, people can stop by and leave when they like, without having to sit through a scripted presentation, but still getting something out of it.

In-Depth Post #5: Tilling the Soil and More

Progress Report

Since last blog post, I have completed Blender Guru’s chair modelling tutorial. In this tutorial, I learned many valuable pieces of information, such as how useful using a blueprint can be. Before, when working on my own project, the headphones, I did not use a blueprint, and just made them by eye. In blender, blueprints are actual 2D planes that you can orient and scale in a 3D environment. That way, you can model the shape of an object one side at a time. Using a blueprint made modelling the chair so much easier, and with the basic form done quick, I could focus on smaller details, like bevelling.

From watching my mentor Robert’s hard-surface modelling for the CG industry tutorials, I learned that simpler is better; The less unnecessary points used, the better, as that means the render engine doesn’t have to spend as much time rendering, and you don’t have to spend as much time modelling. During the chair tutorial, I think this was driven home and emphasized. On my headphones project, I think I was too ambitious, making every detail I saw a literal change in the geometry of the mesh. However, while making the chair, the tutorial said to just do a darker shade of black for the hole in the screw, rather than actually making a hole. It doesn’t look perfect, but the screws are a very small part of the chair and don’t draw attention a whole lot. I think this attitude of not being afraid to cut corners when you can get away with it is useful for making projects feel more finish-able and like less of an endless task.

The chair tutorial also just served as extra practice and experience with blender which is very valuable in of itself. I was able to get more comfortable finding and using controls like constraining movement to an axis, moving the origin of an object, applying modifiers, and more. I also was introduced to new modelling techniques, like creating creases on edges to make them hard rather than soft, or shearing to rotate a vertex loop without changing its width. I also briefly learned new concepts, like creating cuts along the edge of the model to unfold it into a UV map, so that an image texture could be applied to it.

During my meeting with my mentor, we looked over this model I made as part of the chair tutorial and he critiqued and fixed parts of it. I was curious what he thought of different ways of bevelling or sharpening edges, as since I had begun modelling, I had seen it done many ways. First, while making my headphones, I had found I could use the bevel tool to change the object’s geometry to be bevelled. The problem with this, is that it made permanent changes that affected the base geometry of the model. So then he showed me how to bevel by weight with a modifier and weight properties for the edges that need to be affected. During this most recent tutorial, edges were often made hard by adding an edge loop near them, so that the subdivision modifier affected them less. He also adjusted edge softness by adding creases to them, similar to bevelling by weight. During my meeting with Robert, I learned that the most optimal way to do it is to never use edge loops or creases, and just add a bevel by angle or weight before the subdivision. That way, you aren’t relying on subdivision to make the model look how you like, and is used purely just to make more resolution if needed. He also showed me how to clean up the geometry of the model a lot to make it simpler, better for sculpting, and less problematic for the bevel modifier.

Before

After

Here is a render of the final model, and a video of the final model will be linked here in a day or so, as the rendering process is quite lengthly.

Mentor

One learning opportunity that Robert provided for me was being able to see a professional hard surface modeller model on object from scratch. While we were talking about the chair I had made, I mentioned something about the screw in it, and he offered to show me how he would model a screw, as well as showing me an add-on that automatically generates screws. Seeing him modelling the screw from scratch was a great way to expose me to some of the thought process that goes behind good modelling. For example, in the very beginning, when he first created added a sphere mesh that he would turn into the round top of the screw, he made sure that it was added with an amount of sides divisible by four, so that later it’s faces could be converted into quads, which are important for sound modelling. He explained it like playing chess. The better of a chess player you are, the more you think ahead and make your moves accordingly. The same goes for modelling.

When making the chair with the tutorial, I learned some new modelling techniques, which I went into detail about above. When I met with my mentor afterwords, he was able to reinforce this increased modelling skill by making sure that I was still making clean meshes with all evenly distributed quads, so as to reinforce what I had learned and keep me on the right track with my advancements in skill.

One opportunity to accelerate my learning is the resources and knowledge that my mentor can refer me to. For example, when I was beginning, and didn’t know many good modelling practices, instead of trying to explain it all to me in one video call, or leaving me to experiment and figure it all out through trial and error, he referred me to all of the videos he had made for this very purpose. That way, I could get all of that knowledge quickly and put it into practice, rather than finding myself stuck with big errors all the time. The same thing goes for all the add-ons that he knows about, that he can show me to save time, like look tools, which arranges a series of vertex into a circle, instead of having to insert a pre-made circle and fuse it to the existing model.

When Robert and I meet, we often look over a model that I have been working on, and he points out changes he thinks should be made. If nothing stands out to him, then I bring up questions I’m wondering about or problems I’m noticing, and we talk about those. I also sometimes ask him questions about his job, like how many people are in his division working on one project at a time, so I can get a sense of what the 3D animator career looks like, to see what types of opportunities my in-depth project is making for me.

Right now, something that has been going particularly well is seeing the difference that years of modelling expertise makes. When watching him make changes to the projects I have been working on, the resulting differences in the original and updated models are very obvious. It’s so helpful, because when I have been modelling for a while, and am starting to wonder if there is any point in trying to make improvements, I then go into a meeting and see how much of a difference good modelling makes. It encourages and reminds me to try and put an effort learning before just doing. My understanding is growing during those calls as I ask questions and he brings up points he finds important. For example, I now understand that there is no right way to model, and it really depends on the finished product you are trying to create. For example, there isn’t a right number of times to subdivide, but it instead depends on how close the camera will come to the object in the finished product. Similarly, there is not right way to bevel edges, as using edge loops and creases might work fine for a casual or indie artist, but in the industry there are standards and needs for compatibility with other programs.

During my calls, I get to see a bit into his life as a hard surface modeller. Like I said before, I get to hear about how many projects he has to work on at once, like how at one point he had ten, and had to start delegating because the emails and communication for each project was getting so hard to keep track of productively. I’ve also learned about the reasons he created his YouTube channel and discord server, like giving back to the community, and correcting modelling practices in other videos that wouldn’t hold up in the industry, like the creases and edge loops in the chair tutorial. He has learned about my other hobbies that led me to be interested in blender, namely stop motion animation.

Moving Forward

Moving forward, I am going to start another project of my own, and will be modelling a kendama. This likely won’t be too hard of a model to make, so I hope to work on shading, texturing, lighting, special effects, and other topics related to making a model look pretty once it is done. I haven’t found blueprints for the one I am modelling, but I have found pictures of the kendama head-on and top-down like this one, and so I will be using those when I model it.

In-Depth Post 5

In-Depth Post #5

 

Two weeks ago, I went out to play around with my camera and try some of what my mentor told me but without much knowledge. I wasn’t expecting much but I came back with a lot more knowledge, and some decent photos and I had fun taking them. I also got some experience using photoshop for the first time in a while to try and enhance the photos by making them brighter and more vibrant. I then showed the photos to my mentor, and we talked about what I could do to make the photos better the next time. This included adding more greenery, more leading objects such as out-of-focus plants and trees, and faster shutter speeds.

On top of that, he said to try taking the photos earlier in the day to get more light, he told me that based on where the sun is in the sky plays a huge factor in the amount of light the camera lets in. When I took my first photos it was around sunset, and they came out very dark even though it wasn’t dark to my eyes and I couldn’t figure out why. We talked about the camera angle and how I should try not to go for the obvious shot, this means to get low and angle the camera up or find somewhere creative to take the shot. Another major point he mentioned was that I should focus the shot on the landscape instead of the rider if the rider wasn’t showing off. This means taking a step back and shooting a wider photo so that the forest, the landscape and the trail can tell the story. On the other hand, if the rider is doing something impressive then it’s ok to zoom in and make them the focus and not worry so much about the landscape. Finally, he talked about not showing any dirt in the photo, he said to try angling the camera up or making hiding it with greenery to make the photo more appealing and intriguing.

Finally, there was a day when I could get out again when it was cloudy, not raining and I was free around three so perfect conditions for the photos. I got out to eagle mountain with my friend Bryson and we were going up to one of the best trails, Manhandler with many photo opportunities. Right away, I snapped a spoke on my wheel which meant I wasn’t riding anyway so there were more chances for me to take pictures. The first challenge I had was when I got up there, I quickly realized there was very little greenery just trees and dirt. It also ended up being very cloudy which meant there was still a lack of light.

Here are the first two photos that I took after photoshop. Firstly, another reminder that there isn’t much I can do to format the photos in the blog post, and they sort of just go where they want as well as the quality is greatly reduced in the blog site. With these two, I tried to think about making the feature look bigger which meant getting below it to make it look taller and steeper. I also tried to find somewhere where I could hide as much of the dirt as possible which ended up working quite well. Next, I thought about the rule of thirds which is where the rider and the feature take up around a third of the shot. Once I chose my angle, I then played with the settings firstly the shutter speed. I went as high as I could before it got dark which ended up being 1/150 of a second which is decent but not ideal. In the photos, you can see the slightest bit of movement however it isn’t very noticeable unless you look closely. To compensate for the light, I made the f-stop as small as possible and put the ISO at 1600.

In the third photo, I tried to incorporate a plant as a leading object into the subject. I think it did add a little however it could have been better with a little deeper depth of field because the plant almost isn’t noticeable. There’s also a lot more dirt visible although that is mostly due to the terrain, and I couldn’t find an angle to hide the dirt. As this was a slower feature I only used 1/70 of a second for the shutter speed which meant I got more light and didn’t need as high ISO so the photo was of higher quality. Finally, I tried to capture Bryson on the rock between the two rolls because the rock is what stands out the most to me.

In the fourth photo, I tried to make the trail the focus of the photo. I did this by showing both wood features as well as making Bryson smaller and on the side of the photo. Because of this, the trail acts as a leading line that takes your eyes all the way across the photo to where the trail leaves the frame. I also made the tone warmer in photoshop to make the two wood features stand out more as they were what I wanted to show off. I went with 1/200 of a second shutter speed this time as there was more available light and Bryson was going faster for the drop. There was no chance of hiding the dirt in this photo however I think the forest background sort of distracts the viewer and I don’t really notice all the brown dirt that you don’t want to see.

This was the final decent photo that I got from that day, I like it because of how green the forest looks. The feature isn’t anything too special however the moss on the rock stands out and I made the tone greener so that the forest looks greener and more vibrant. I wish I had chosen a different angle however as this one doesn’t show too much, and it would have been nice if the photo was brighter which I probably could’ve fixed in photoshop or a slower shutter speed.

Mainly what I noticed was how much of a difference the time of day made, I was able to shoot with shutter speeds up to 1/250 of a second whereas the first time I couldn’t go faster than 1/100 which made a big difference. I also found it easier to choose an angle to shoot from this time as I knew what to look for and what I wanted to capture. On top of that, I spent less time trying different camera settings as I had more experience with what each function did. Finally, the consistent cloudy sky made for a nicer picture as nothing was overexposed or underexposed like last time.

Something that I like about the way my mentor teaches is that he talks from personal experience with brands and what they are looking for with his photos. This allows me to learn how to take photos in a way that would be appealing to a wide audience instead of just what I like or what he likes. This is also beneficial if I ever wanted to go deeper into photography as a career or side hustle later in life. The best opportunity that I must reinforce new learning and accelerate learning is simply to get out and practice. I have many friends that I can take pictures of at a moment’s notice, and I learn best hands-on. This way I am also able to learn from my mistakes as well as find personal preferences and strengths.

As I mentioned, when I talk with my mentor, he is always talking about the perspectives of the people buying the photos which is a different perspective from last year. I also like how he speaks from the consumer’s perspective because when I am taking my photos that isn’t much of consideration, so I sort of get to see both views. So far, the method of progression has been going well where I take my photos and discuss them with my mentor. I’ve found it’s been working well to learn from my mistakes as well as continue to build from my strengths. My mentor has been very open about his professional life to me and exactly what goes into making his career work and he’s giving me as much information as possible about what I need to know. We have also had an easy time making connections about the places we’ve been and the trails we ride for example. Because we got to know each other a little I’ve found it’s easier to trust him and learn from him and I would think he has an easier time mentoring me because he knows me.