We’ve just concluded a week-long photography course, yesterday.

My journey into photography has been extremely long-winded.

The family owned a relic of a camera, one that came back along with us from Germany, in 1970. It must have decided to stop functioning around 5 years or so later, and we didn’t bother to get another one.

Not until 1989, when I bought a point-and-shoot film camera, soon after I began drawing a salary. I remember being extremely frustrated with the results, which were light years away from the National Geographic pictures I had come to admire, in my granny’s collection of back issues in Siolim.

When I got to the UK, a friend showed me his Nikon SLR (F16, I think) film camera, & I handled one for the first time. i remember accidentally clicking while trying to focus, and was very embarassed, but he was cool about it. Anyway, he showed me examples of his work, in his albums, on his walls, and I was hooked. I wanted to take pictures like that.

But the prospect of buying film, and the cost of developing it, the not-knowing-how-it-turns-out-until-developed,  put me off.

Until the digital revolution happened. Suddenly cameras were everywhere, and you didn’t need to break the bank to buy them.

I started again with point-and-shoot equivalents, which worked well initially, but I yearned to take better photos.

My wife is witness to the countless trips we made to camera stores all over the UK, the magazines we bought, the websites we visited, the advice we sought from friends, acquaintances, strangers.

Then we bought the first SLR I ever owned, and is still the only one I own: the Canon 350D.

Better pictures became instananeously possible. But there were all the dials, the buttons, and I wasn’t sure how to use the knowledge I gleaned from manuals, books, magazines.

So I went on an online course in the UK. Which helped. I went on a Big Cat photo shoot, which was loads of fun.

But I still fretted. I wanted to do better.

When we heard of the course advertised by Prasad Pankar, we decided to just do it (a la Nike).

And boy, am I glad we did.

So many things have become so much clearer. I am more conversant with technical terms, like aperture, exposure, metering, shutter speed, white balance. And more importantly, I feel better equipped to actually use this knowledge to better effect.

The time spent by Prasad on encouraging us to adopt the right attitude, to have a positive outlook, was well-appreciated by us all.

I look forward to the monthly meetings, and can’t wait to try out all I’ve learnt in the last week.