Life time Student

My extended family is one of Life time students.  Going back to school, for any reason, has always been encouraged and supported.  Whether it was for a higher education degree or to just learn a fun new hobby.   Education was the best gift you can ever give yourself.  But taking classes and learning new skills does not necessarily mean needing to enroll at the nearest community college or University.  In every community there are hundreds of continuing education classes and programs offered by individual artisans and business owners.

In my quest to learn something new (and to cross it off my New years resolutions list!) I started taking photography classes.  Not because I want to become some world famous photographer, but because I wanted to take awesome pictures of my daughter playing at the park.  I was always a little disappointed with all my photos, it seemed that I was a pro at missing  “that perfect moment”… and just came away with a the back of a head, a blur, or worse a clip of a hand towards the side of the frame.  Putting together scrap books on Snapfish.com was disheartening.

sample pre-class photo. Still super cute… but not one to brag about.

Luckily a local photographer, and friend of mine, Amanda Star was putting together a fun year long class that she named Momtography.  This class is not designed for the budding professional photographer; but the mom on the sidelines of the game, in the audience of a dance recital, or just hanging around in the yard with a sprinkler.  This setting has made the whole experience a calm and comfortable one.  There are no silly questions, everyone there is happy to help work through problems, and we enjoy learning from each other.

Look it’s in focus! Centered! Great lighting! and it’s her FACE as I see it. First photo’s after the first class!

February 2012 marked the first class, and I decided to put together a fun little comparison of my photography skills pre-and-post.  Amanda started out the year by going through all the preset features in our wonderful point-and-click cameras.  We learned what each one was designed for, and how to incorporate them into everyday photos.  The best thing I learned:  do not feel silly taking “too”  many pictures.  The more you take the better! (Besides, there is a delete button for those you really don’t want seen.)

Full manual, you can even see the droplettes! It was fine as long as LJ was not moving

The second class she forced us all out of our comfort zone and turned the dial to MANUAL mode… yep full manual. Surprise: It was not as bad as I would have thought.  It has become my preferred shooting technique.

Since then everything has been a blast, from learning camera “tricks” to lighting to “Photoshop Elements”.  I am now posting, printing, and sharing pictures left and right.  The best part there are still 6 more classes!   Not only have I learned so much about photography, and how to use my camera.  All the extra research that I have done for the class has lead me down some wonderful venues that I can use in everyday life.

Learning composition, in an indoor setting, on manual

Picture on the move, can you believe that this was taken right after dusk?

Each time I pull out my camera I make sure to take way more pictures than I ever need, I try to do each of the techniques Amanda reviewed, and then sit back with a critical eye and wonder how I can make each shot better.  I have even been able to implement all these techniques into the photography used in my Sales listings, merging professional with personal.

I look forward to seeing the progression come January!  Now what will the next 6 classes bring?

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