A length of black velvet is pinned to the white board in the front of my photography class. Light falling on black is different than black reflecting light. Until every student understands this, Mr. B plans to leave the velvet up.
Through our classroom windows, autumn has begun. I can’t resist snapping its photo while I listen to talk about F Stops and shutter speeds — when one doubles, the other halves. I write this in the front portion of my journal and then quickly flip to the back where I keep notes on poetry. I know Mr. B is about to say something brilliant again, in his Irish brogue, and I want to capture every word.
Think of light as water. Imagine filling your bucket with light.
He pauses to scan the room. Are all his students as captivated as he’d like them to be? Last week he spoke about the camera lens and I wasn’t prepared for the poetry: Each time light passes through glass, it loses resolution. After he said that, I imagined he understood about tribulations in my life.
Somewhere in Germany glass is cooling. It is cooling very slowly, he tells us, as he roams about the room, glancing at the photos each of us have on our computer screens. Mr. B stops to look at my screen, nodding at my photo of the pulley and the rope. I like to think it is my shot of quiet tension, but it could be years before I understand enough to write a poem about the dust and fray. Lately, I’ve not been able to write poetry, but I have been taking notes.
Mr. B weaves his way to the front of the room. He answers questions about compression and histograms before returning to the story about that German glass. The best glass, he says, takes twenty-two years to cool. Outside our classroom, four lanes of traffic suddenly race by. He pauses to let the noise subside. I flip to the back of my journal and carefully record his words.