Manual mode

Iowa Central camp gives students practice in old-school photography

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
As the students attending this week’s Iowa Central Photography Camp wait for a 30-second time exposure to pass, photographer Roger Feldhans, of Pomeroy, moves one of his many light painting wands across their field of view. Feldhans taught the photography technique Friday to the campers.

One of the first things the 18 campers at the Intermediate Photography Summer Camp at Iowa Central Community College learned this week is what that mysterious “M” means on a digital camera’s dial.

Here’s a hint, while their results were, at the end of three days, magnificent, that’s not what it stands for.

It means “Manual.”

“On the first day I had them learn how to use the camera in manual mode,” Iowa Central Photography Program Director Rochelle Green said. “From there we let them just go out and take any photo they wanted.”

That first collection of images became the teaching tool for refining their skills during the next two days of camp.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Kyler Crouse, 15, of Fort Dodge, works on getting just the right angle Friday during an Iowa Central Photography Camp photo safari to the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.

“We learned about composing in the camera,” she said. “How to take more care in composition, how to use light and shadow.”

Rachel Moody, 13, of Manson, has been an active photographer for over a year.

“I started using my phone then I saved up money to buy a camera,” she said. “I really get into it.”

During the camp, the students got to visit different places to take pictures. Some of the photo safari sites included downtown Fort Dodge, John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, the Fort Museum and Frontier Village, Dolliver Memorial Park and the photo studio at Iowa Central. They even got to see a 4-by-5 view camera in action.

Moody’s favorite subject is people.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Rachel Moody, 13, of Manson, at right, shows fellow Iowa Central Photography Camp participant Addi Hindt, 13, of Gowrie, the portrait she just made of her inside the General Store at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village Friday.

“I like to do portraits,” she said. “I like to see how people have grown and matured.”

This was her first camp; she said she was learning and learning a lot.

“I’ve been able to manually set my settings,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for kids to come learn new things.”

She was trying to decide which photo safari setting was her favorite. The Fort Museum was giving downtown some serious competition.

“Downtown was my favorite one so far,” she said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Most of the participants in this week’s Iowa Central Photography Camp get their cameras set up for a lesson on light painting in the studio.

Kyler Crouse, 15, of Fort Dodge, was attending camp for the second time.

“I came here last year,” he said. “I wanted to try it again.”

Crouse is planning a career as an architect, a field where photography skills might come in handy.

“I’d like to be a photographer on the side,” he said.

He’s drawn to landscapes and nature photography; the photo safari to Dolliver was a hit with him.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Iowa Central Photography Camp participant Anna Fisher, 15, of Fort Dodge, found an interesting subject in the rafters of the visitors center at the Fort Musuem and Frontier Village as Brooklynne Peterson, 12, of Harcourt, steps down from the high vantage point. The trip to the Fort was one of several photo safaris during the three-day camp.

Rochelle Green had help teaching from some of her Iowa Central photography students, including Evan Price.

He was impressed with the students and their work.

“It’s amazing,” Price said. “This is a group of really confident kids. It’s amazing how quick they learn. I’m just watching their pictures, the improvement is really cool.”

Price, who’s already a working photographer, isn’t worried about the competition if the students enter the field.

“I hope they all do,” he said.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Iowa Central Community College Evan Price, of Fort Dodge, records video of the Iowa Central Photography Camp participants as they enjoy a photo safari to the Fort Museum and Frontier Village Friday.

One of the students last adventures took place in the nicely air-conditioned studio.

They learned about light painting from photographer Roger Feldhans, of Pomeroy. The technique, which is done in darkness, lets the photographer “paint” with light using various LED light wands and other tools.

That manual mode knowledge came in handy.

“You want your shutter speed set to 30 seconds,” Feldhans said. “Your aperture should be f/8 and your ISO set to 200.”

At the end of the three days, Green had looked over a lot of images produced by the students. Their work made her smile.

“This is one of my most focused groups,” she said. “Every student seems highly motivated. There’s a lot of focus on photography as a medium.”

-Student photo
Anna Fisher found a object with a round hole in it to make this image of the street at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.

-Student photo
Brighton Jensen found an open padlock and bright blue doorframe to turn into art during the camp.

-Student photo
Chloe Speck photographed an old camera with some flowers in the studio at Iowa Central.

-Student photo
Grace Smith discovered an interesting old safety sticker on an old bike during her photo safari wanderings in downtown Fort Dodge.

-Student photo
Kyler Crouse discovered the beauty of black and white for an image he made of a building in downtown Fort Dodge.

-Student photo
Grace Moody photographed her friend Addi Hindt in the old jail cell at the Fort Museum and Frontier Village.