Sometimes you just can't make this stuff up.
Tonight was the second night in my two-night Composition photography class, the night where we all share our homework with the other students and teachers. Wasn't too impressed with this class, overall... maybe it's the teacher (scattered), maybe it was her lesson plan (lacking interactivity) but, anyway, I did learn some stuff, just not a complete loss.
One of the students in the class was a 60-something guy who is a convert to digital photography from film. Ironically, he's in a digital photography class but he pretty much treats his digital camera as if it isn't digital. He never connects it to his computer, has no idea how to attach digital photos to an email, and the idea of post-editing in Photoshop or Lightroom just blows his mind. Such is his technical ineptitude that he shared his digitally taken photos as a stack of 5x7 prints that he printed by connecting his memory card directly to his home HP printer. Overall, he was a real distraction in the class, constantly interrupting to yap about some piece of random information or off-hand terminology that had nothing to do with the subject at hand but was aimed to demonstrate his own *knowledge* of photographic techniques.
However, he went from plain annoying to plain weird this evening, as he shared his "homework". I place homework in quotations here because he actually didn't do it, he just went back through pictures he took in the past and brought them in - all 200 or so of them and most of them of his golden retriever through various stages of puppy-hood: doggie's feet, doggie's nose, doggie sleeping, doggie swimming, doggie playing ball, doggie eating... you get the picture and I am digressing.
Aaaaanyway, the reason for this post is because, in amongst the snooze-worthy doggie photos, were some truly awesome macro photos of bugs and insects. Super close-up pics of wolf spiders and bees and praying mantises (manti?), with amazing close-up details of beady eyes and furry legs. I don't like bugs but I have to say I couldn't take my eyes off these shots, they were so cool. So, we got to talking about how the heck he managed to capture these creatures with so much crystal clarity. I mean, bees fly, spiders dart, and praying mantis heads tend to turn around in circles and all of them don't particularly respond well to having a 100mm camera lens shoved in their general direction. Yet, there was not a single motion blur, not a little out-of-focus hair. Given that this guy is an amateur and not an award-winning photographer from National Geographic, we all wanted to know: how the heck did he do it?
The answer was that the bugs were not alive. Fair enough you say, the dude it taking pics of random dead bugs. Ahhhhhhhhh but you're missing the vital, creepy detail, folks: these were not randomly expired creatures. The guy was zapping them with his electronic bug swatter, killing them dead, and them posing them optimally on leaves, in flower petals etc... and then taking his sweet time to get the perfect shot, with the perfect "still life" model. That's right, he was killing the creatures for the sole purpose of taking pictures of them.
Jeez. Some folks have way to much time on their hands, don't they? And, also, of course, WTF!?