practice

Celebrating Teachers' Day at the 132nd APTS Meeting

On 31st Aug 2017, I presented The Trainer's Toolbox at the 132nd APTS Meeting. 

Though it was targeted at newer trainers, the veteran trainers affirmed that they learned something as well. Now, before you think that they were just 'being nice', allow me to explain how the meeting went.

As a new initiative suggested by the committee of APTS, member speakers will give a presentation that will be subject to evaluation. Feedback will be given at the end of the presentation so that the speaker can be alerted to any possible blind spots and areas of improvement. This was all explained beforehand so the member speakers will know what they are getting themselves into.

I started my presentation by expounding on apples as fruit associated with knowledge. With that information in mind, I had a small gift for each trainer present. As they, too, are teachers, I gave each of them apple-flavoured candy. I had considered actual apples but I found candy to be more portable and less perishable.

The presentation proper continued, as I covered points on how to make any training session impactful by utilising specific techniques and taking certain actions.

Though my presentation went slightly overtime, it was well-received and I was applauded for keeping a consistent, polished delivery.

This was deemed worthy of comment as most of my fellow trainers agreed that, should they have known that they were being evaluated, they would have been more than a little distracted.

In turn, I assured them that it wasn't anything close to natural talent but a result of constant, dedicated practice over many years and that they, too, can achieve similar results.

The areas of improvement mainly revolved around the content I was using - how certain areas could be clarified further, certain parts could be more concise and other parts could be expanded. 

There was also a very useful bit of feedback on providing more audience-related examples. As the audience that evening would be trainers, the examples and stories to be presented could be more related to training and improving oneself as a trainer.

All in all, it was a fruitful (pardon the pun) evening and I am glad that many of the trainers took something useful back with them. If possible, I'd love to give another presentation.

After all, one can never get too much practice.

With David Lee

There are No 'Talented' Photographers. There are Only Disciplined Ones.

Photography is not about how good the camera is. It's about how good the photographer is. 

This has been my belief since I started snapping pictures with a simple film camera when I was in Secondary One.

I didn't realise it then but the pictures I took of my Secondary School are priceless treasures today, especially since CCHMS now looks very different after the numerous 'upgrades' it has gone through.

From that simple film camera, which I believe I still have somewhere, I moved on into the digital age with a digital point-and-shoot camera. At that time, a 2-megapixel camera was about the best that a typical person could get without spending thousands of dollars. That's what I got.

As technology sped forward, cameras became loaded with more and more features as well as more and more megapixels, which, as it turns out, don't really matter when it comes to image quality unless you are printing movie poster sizes.

That's right, all those camera salespeople you've been listening to? They've been selling you what is effectively a useless feature.

I traded up into the prosumer level of cameras in the late 2000s. I got myself a Panasonic FZ28, which resides in my dry cabinet to this day. The reason I didn't go straight into the world of DSLR was that I didn't feel it was necessary to do so and that I didn't have that much disposable income at the time. The image quality of my Panasonic was pretty good as it was, the camera was light and fairly compact, and I was still learning the art.

It was only after a few more years that I felt ready to shoot with a DSLR. By this time, I had learned a few things:

1) To see the shot before making it

2) To follow the rules before breaking them

3) Above all, to be patient

To make use of what I've learned, I bought a second-hand Nikon D90 and have been using it for the past 6 years. In that time, I learned:

4) To work with light before manipulating it

5) To change settings according to the scene

6) To post-process photos without over-processing them

On Friday, after more than 6 years, I made my latest upgrade. I got a second-hand (though still new enough to have more than 10 months of warranty left) Nikon D7500 - a model that was just released in June this year.

In the few days that I've used it, I was able to tell why many people make constant upgrades to their camera bodies. My newest camera made it much easier to capture what I wanted to capture without having to constantly change settings or manipulate light and the surroundings. 

That said, an advanced camera can only produce results that are as good as the eye behind it. Without the years of conditioning and training to make better pictures, I would only have a great camera that produced pictures that were a little above average at best.

I still have a long way to go in learning photography and I hope that, some time soon, I'll be able to add another 3 points to the list of things that I've learned.

Curving Lamp