Beginning again with photography

Sometimes Mom needs a turn to be a learner in this school gig.

For the past two years, I’ve wanted to improve the photographic evidence of our lives but haven’t been in a season where I could do much more than read an occasional blog about it. I started being more mindful about light as a result, and even chose a light gray as the new wall color when we repainted over the tan so that light could be more reflective when taking pictures indoors. As I’m learning now, the gray walls are challenging me to find the right white balance setting to use, but they are a lot (LOT!) better than the brown.

And then…

Amazon announced that they were going to start charging sales tax on all purchases. I’d had my eye on a Canon Rebel, so I used the impending deadline as an impetus for the purchase. Call me crazy, but sales tax is a hefty chunk of change on a purchase like a DSLR.

Once in my hands, I promised myself I wouldn’t shoot on auto and spent the next 4-5 months in trial and lots of error. It was kind of getting old, actually. So I started asking people whose photography I admired about their method of learning. My cousin tipped me off to Nicole’s Classes.

I signed up for Photo 101 and began my transformative journey.

Week One has found me watching the online tutorial videos several times in an attempt to absorb all of the information. I vaguely remember learning about aperture and shutter speed in a college photography class, but it turns out there’s a lot more to a good picture and I wanted to really understand the equation that would yield a good exposure. Thinking this much about what a picture needs for good exposure is much harder than blindly pointing and shooting, hoping for a good picture. It makes my head hurt, but the results are looking better.

One of my big peeves this year has been how many pictures are on our hard drive that aren’t worth keeping or printing. My blogging and picture sharing/uploading has come to a near stand-still because it’s overwhelming and time-consuming to sift through the 300-500 images we record each month. So even if the quality of my pictures don’t improve, I’m grateful for this class because it’s helping me be more mindful and deliberate about what I shoot. I’m hopeful that 2013 will be a better year for pictures, though, both in quality and quantity.

Thankfully, I have four more-or-less willing subjects who understand that I’m trying to learn how to use my camera and need their help for my class. It was fun to spend a couple of hours in the backyard with them, trying to get things right. Here are some of my favorites (although not all are what I submitted as homework):

(Sam spotted a swallowtail butterfly just as I clicked this one)

(Ever my man-in-motion, Henry didn’t stop for me to take a picture of him. Good thing one of our assignments was to test fast and slow shutter speeds!)


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