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glamourpuss

Teaching a 12yr old

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Some friends own a dive shop and have recently started homeschooling their kids. In addition to their general studies, they are trying to encourage them to branch out a bit and learn something fun that interests them. Their son is taking a video game design class and their daughter expressed an interest in underwater photography, so they asked if I would teach her some things. Despite having relatively little experience teaching, and even less experience with 12 year olds, I said "sure".

Our first class was this week, I put together a bit of a lesson plan on underwater photography basics and composition. I soon realized that I over estimated the attention span of a 12 year old and quickly changed plans. I decided for the first day we would just focus on 3 things… getting close… being patient… and shooting up. We then went for a dive to practice. Things were going pretty well at the beginning and I kept reminding her of our 3 goals, but things pretty much went out the window as she got caught up in the excitement of the dive. I realized that just setting her loose with a camera and no goal or project was a mistake. Never the less… she had a lot of fun, and wants to go again, I'm just not really sure how much she actually learned.

So I'm turning to you wetpixel to see if anyone has any ideas on exercises or activities we could do to put into practice some of the theory.?

For example I am thinking of taking down a toy or something that she can focus on and having her take pictures of it at different distances to show the effect of a large column of water and the importance of getting close.

Keeping in mind that she's only 12, and is using a point and shoot without a strobe, does anyone else have any ideas? She dives for fun without me, so I want to keep our "classes" educational, but still fun.

 

Appreciate any suggestions.

 

 

 

 

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My old underwater photography club had a "dry" session in which we had to creatively photograph a plastic "Nemo" hiding in dried flowers. If you used plastic flowers and a weight you could try it "wet" and "dry", looking for the most exciting way to photograph the fish; I suspect, however, that being in the water is what most children want to do...

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Ya, definitely looking for underwater activities. But thanks for the suggestion.

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Not certain what she learned? She learned it can be a lot of fun! Seems like a good start.

 

When I add something new to my rig, I learn some about it and practice with it in a pool setting with objects such as the toys you mention. Non-floating toys can be connected to floats with string to provide objects 'floating' in the water column and can be used quite shallow, which matches her non-strobe setup.

I would think learning 3 things is a lot for one session with a 12 yr old. Heck, its a lot for an adult. I would try going for one topic only for one session. For example, shooting up vs. down for one session. Then expand that to shooting up and down from varying distances for the next session, which provides a reminder of the first session and brings something new to the next one.

 

Learning can be compared with building a brick tower. Each new brick rests on the foundation from the brick of the previous session. Trying too many bricks at once, before the motar cures, brings down all the days efforts into a confused mess. Math classes tend to start with Algebra, then Geometry, then to Trig., then to Calculus over a series of yrs. Try teaching a bit of all of them at once and its just a confused mess.

 

Just my 2 cents...

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Yes that's exactly what I learned... 3 things is too much. That's why I'm looking for ideas on practical activities we can do. The pool idea is cool, but unfortunately not an option. We'll be doing things in the ocean, but can easily find a sand patch.

 

It's a learning curve for both of us.

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I am often asked by novice divers how do get into underwater photography. I tell them first become a good diver. If you don't, adding the complexity of underwater photography makes you a bad diver and a bad photographer. You can live with being a bad photographer, but not with being a bad diver.

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Thanks drsteve... while I completely agree that becoming a good diver is important in underwater photography, I also believe that nurturing young minds and getting them excited about the wonderful world of diving is just as important. As I mentioned her parents own a dive shop so she has a lot of opportunity to dive and improve her skills. I'm hoping to supplement to her homeschooling, with some lessons in underwater photography.

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I went on a day workshop with Maria Munn. We spent the morning playing with the camera on land; learning how to use the various setting, learning how to assemble the underwater housing, taking piccies of toys etc. The afternoon was spent in a pool taking shots of a variety of underwater themed toys.

 

She has written a short book available in e book and hard copy - "Underwater Photography for Compact Camera Users" - much of the day was based on the principles in it. Perhaps you could do chapter for each session?

 

I do agree though that diving skills need to come first as good buoyancy is a key requirement for photography....

 

Have fun ;)

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Point and shoot with no strobes means available light. I would suggest her shooting you in a variety of silhouette situations and then trying to get a photo of you with your face lit correctly using just the sun. That is enough of a goal I think for a couple of dives. After that see if you can find a scene with some relatively big things in it to play around with.

Bill

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Available light shoots, easy scenes, colorful images, motivate the kid with nice results.

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