I'm an Amateur, and Happy To Be One

I had a Canon Rebel 35mm back in the day. (Hand up the one who remembers what film cameras are.) Lurved the thing, right up until I got tired of lugging it around. By then the digital was invented and we invested in a toss-in-your-purse-and-go variety because carrying a huge camera, and a diaper bag, and a baby, and a purse was not my idea of a good time.

When I got camera envy this year and decided that an upgrade was in order, I got my loverly Canon Rebel again - this time in digital. (I no longer carry the baby or the diaper bag. And leave my purse a lot of times when I have the camera.) I played with my toy all spring and summer and could fill albums with the pictures that I've taken. In the plural, albums. Not even kidding. (Where are the a picture is worth a thousand words people? My mortgage would have been paid off in a single day.)

When I saw that the local arts center was hosting a photography class I figured it was high time I learned to use my new baby. All those years of the 35mm variety are some kind of craptacular photos. Poor Becky, all her baby pictures are excellent quality crap. I just have no idea what all the bells and whistles and knobs and buttons are for.

So I'm taking photography class, and in essence I've deduced that I'm paying someone to tell me to read the manual already. And also to take pictures. But it isn't like I needed someone to tell me that.

In all fairness, the instructor is more than willing to help us when we need it, but she subscribes wholeheartedly to the notion that you learn best by doing. While I love that idea myself and employ it frequently with my children, it's not so fun when it's employed on me. I took about three dozen photos today on about three dozen different settings, but have no idea which setting was which, nor which was better than another, nor even what I was doing. I was simply being snap happy because that's what everyone else in the class was doing and I am good at keeping up with the Joneses.

I also like to procrastinate, which means that at midnight last night I was trying desperately to gain comprehension of things like aperature settings and ISO numbers while learning where they are on my camera. (Get this - we're not allowed to use the automatic settings on the camera. I know!) I can see me now, trying to get a spontaneous photo of Micah, and taking five minutes to set the numbers and turn the dials, and asking him to do that over yet again.

The good news is that the class instructor said that it takes years of practice to actually learn all this so that it's second nature. At least she'll understand when I'm the class moron that doesn't get it by the end of the 5-week session.

There is a huge bonus to the class, though, and it has the potential to save me about $350. The art center has the best tree ever and I've been in love with it since before I knew my right hand from my left. I tracked one down and just a sapling is the above stated price. Like that's gonna happen. I am not opposed to asking for a branch of said tree while I'm there and starting my own tree from the cutting. It might take a few decades for it to reach tree status, but I can be patient when I have to.

If I take pictures of the entire process, that should be a double bonus, right?


Michelle said...

Wow. Five years? I want a "real" camera, and I want lessons, but ummm I want lessons that are lessons, ya know? I hope you learn a lot. But I have ot say that I don't think your pictures are bad at all!

designHER Momma said...

you are doing what I want to do. I desperately need camera lessons. I'm pretty sure it's not the camera, it's the monkey behind the lens that's screwing things up...

Unknown said...

I would love to get an SRL... but I'd live on the auto setting:) I purchased my simple non-SRL camera with the goal of learning the manual settings and then upgrading... loooks like I'll be on the point-n-shoot for a while:)

Stephanie said...

AM I glad to hear it takes 5 years to get comfortable with those new cameras. I to have the new Canon Rebel and as much as I love the pictures I'm producing I just know this little baby is capable of so much more! I';; keep playing with all of those settings until I hit that second nature status you mentioned!

Roger Miller said...

I finally got my wife the camera that she always wanted (a Canon Rebel DSLR), after going through three smaller point and shoots. She loves it and plays with it as much as she can, which is what a friend of hers told her, and your instructor told you, to do. Of course, her friend didn't charge for the lesson. :)

When I get around to finding time to post again, I'll try to throw some of hers up. I like to brag. :)

Oh, and I love the photos you put up here, so I don't think that you need the classes, unless it's just for a little bit of adult interaction, in which case, take the advanced class next.

tiarastantrums said...

I keep trying to take my Canon Rebel out of auto mode - and every single picture stinks! Goo dluck - I gave up trying to figure my camera out