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I tried something different last weekend.
Mindful of the fact that I've frequently enjoyed going out on a walkabout with another photographer, or with someone who is sensitive to my photographic mood and viewpoint, and with no such muse immediately available, I chose to go out on a group shoot with the local San Diego DSLR club.
Normally I like to work alone, so I was somewhat shy and apprehensive. Plus it was a rainy day with almost no sun breaking through, not weather I would normally choose for outdoor work.
I need not have worried. I was immediately welcomed as a comrade in pixels and after a group pose we wandered off individually and in small groups around Liberty Station, the former Naval Training Centre that is being converted to an extended retail complex. The architecture is pretty amazing, long open corridors with arches and lamps, old style brickwork and decorations, peeling paint on the not yet restored areas to offer lots of texture and variety ... fun! The lack of sun was actually a plus, as the contrast between the light and shadows was not so extreme; I soon stopped mentally complaining about the weight of my tripod and put it to good use for some HDR shots of the long walkways that came out splendidly.
After about three hours we adjourned for lunch and swapped stories. Being a newbie, I was expecting something of a show and tell, and brought out my tablet, plugged it into the camera and was able to show off my shots in glorious 10.1" size (unprocessed of course). Others were not too eager to expose themselves in this way; as one member put it: when you upload to the club gallery for the shoot later and we all have a chance to comment on it, you'll discover the shots you missed. Yes exactly, lots of them! That's where the learning experience came in for me.
Doing something different and putting myself on the line is a way to expanding my skills and work. I welcome it and look forward to the next opportunity.