Urban Photo Safari #1

I went to the rainforest Sunday. After a morning photo shoot and before Nebraska’s sad loss, some friends and I slipped away from the streets of Chicago that were slowly filling with a soft, white layer of snow into the Lincoln Park Conservatory.

It was so warm and humid beneath the steamy, green canopy that big, wet drops of condensation formed above and fell on our heads.

The rainforest inside the Lincoln Park Conservatory is a nice substitute to the jungles sprawling across Latin America. It’s also a great place for a photo lesson when the weather outside is frightful.

We started talking about this little “workshop” a few months back. It was one of the last warm days of fall–the day of the marathon. The heat drew buckets of sweat from runners and broad, silly smiles from spectators. After the three in our group crossed the finish line, we all got together to toast their achievement.

Sometime after that first toast, over a platter of loaded nachos, Cyrus and Ali signed on to an idea I had–A chicago photo workshop.   I’m pretty sure I was rambling on about how much I loved teaching photography in SE Asia and how I wanted to start something up in Chicago when Ali (Baj) piped in, “I’d be interested in a lesson.” Beside him Cyrus jumped in, “Me too.”

“Really? Great!” I said.

“So here’s what I’m thinking: informal workshops designed to be like urban photo safaris where the group explores a cool spot in the city.  Along the way, I’ll teach a little something, then give everyone the chance to practice what they learn.”

About a month later (I told the guys October would be nuts and we’d have to wait till November to arrange something) I received this email:

Hey Maggie,

I would love to take you up on that offer (if it still stands) on photography lessons.  Let me know what you’re thinking. /Ali”

Followed by Cyrus’ quick response:

“Keep me posted too!”

Sunday we were all able to meet. The guys were a little green, so we went over the basic functions of their SLR’s (single lens reflex camera’s–here’s a fun link“). By the end of it, they were able to manually set their camera’s shutter, aperture, and ISO for the correct exposure, understand how white balance affects their image, and identify a few exotic species of trees and plants 🙂

“Oh, there’s the rare electric tree,” Baj said, pointing in the distance.

“I didn’t know you could find those in here.” Cyrus said.

Yep, even the Lincoln Park Conservatory was decked for the holidays…