Monthly Archives: April 2010

It’s Official

I’m a nerd. Now, those of you that have known me a long time will not be surprised by this comment. For those of you that are surprised, let me just say that it’s only because we haven’t known each other that long. I try hard to be cool (who doesn’t??), but my nerdiness does shine through on a regular basis.

Last night was Week 2 of my Certificate in Digital Photography course. On the way to class, I wasn’t as excited as I’d hoped. I’m really, really busy, and I was feeling tired and wanting to go to bed. Boy, am I glad I didn’t skip the class! Last night we focused on Exposure – lighting, shutter speed, aperture (the size of the hole that the camera takes the picture through) and sensitivity (ISO – film speed). You wouldn’t think that talking about that stuff could take 3 hours, but it did. In fact, we went over the allotted course time AND didn’t get through everything.

I think the most exciting thing for me last night was taking a picture with my camera set on Manual. Now, for most photographers (at least semi-serious) this isn’t anything to get excited about. But for me, who’s always used idiot-proof cameras, it gave me a real feeling of empowerment and excitement. Not only did I shoot in Manual, but I understood how and why!
The other simple pleasure for me was the critique of the photo that I submitted for the Week 1 assignment. We were told to take a picture of an ordinary object in an unusual way. I had a lot of trouble with this assignment – I just couldn’t get inspired. On Sunday, while photographing Jack Jack in the backyard, I started taking pictures of an orange tennis ball among the grass and dead leaves. I did a recomposition shot (focussed on the ball, kept the shutter button pressed halfway down, and then re-framed the picture so the ball was in the lower left quadrant of the frame). It turned out well, but I kind of thought it lacked inspiration. Well, the teacher said he thought it was quite good, so I felt good about that.

Next week we’ll be talking about creative composition of photos, and I can’t wait to see what I learn from that!

An ordinary object

Photographed to be made unusual . . . Not sure if I achieved anything breathtaking, but it was fun shooting tennis balls!

The And Police

Yesterday my mom, Old Dog and I made the road trip to go pick up my niece from my brother’s place (four hours away, one way). This weekend is the company-sponsored Family Fun Day, with all kinds of games and activities for kids, a petting zoo, entertainers, lunch and awesome prizes. Every year for the past four or five years, my mom and I have taken the kids, and this year is no exception.

The road trip was pretty uneventful. Farley chewed on a bully stick for most of it (say, 6 hours) and stayed away from my seatbelts (last time I made this road trip with him, he chewed the back seatbelt for four hours, in the old car). He was a pretty good dog, and he enjoyed the ride. Mom and I listened to satellite radio and talked about all kinds of stuff.

The trip home was a bit more entertaining, since Tashie asked every 20 minutes if we were there yet. I used to laugh when TV sitcoms would show kids asking that every five minutes. Now I know better. It’s not funny! But some of the conversation was funny. Like my niece informing me that the year is “two thousand ten,” NOT “two thousand and ten.” She told me that if I say it the wrong way, the And Police would come and arrest me. The And Police? Wow, I guess her teacher is zealous about how the kids say the year . . . mom and I laughed so hard we cried (which isn’t completely safe while driving at highway speed). Something about the solemnity of how she said it made it hilarious. It probably loses a lot in the re-telling . . . so I guess you had to be there.

My Furkids

The Old Dog, looking pensive
That’s not ‘tude, that’s just how he rolls . . .

The grace & elegance of a princess

Haughtiness defined.
All shots taken with my Canon Rebel XTi, with a 28-80mm lens (f2.8:4.0). I used a lens hood due to the brightness of the sun, and shot on TV with a shutter speed of 1/160. I have already learned from my photography class, and am having fun experimenting!

Great Class!

So, besides dogs and reading, one of my passions is photography. I’m a novice photographer with a good camera – which can be a dangerous thing! I’ve had my Canon Rebel XTi for 2 years now, and have had a ton of fun with it. I now have four lenses for it, as well as an external flash and a cordless remote. I’ve shot everything from pets to people to plants to buildings. Even though I’ve gotten lucky and had some good shots, I’ve been wanting to take a class for ages.
Well, I finally did it! I finally took an “Introduction To SLR Photography” class the other night. It was a 3 hour session, and not at all expensive. It was taught by the owner of the local photography shop and studio, and he was excellent. I’ve read many websites and books about aperture, shutter speed, ISO and more, and never really understood any of it well. The way that this fellow taught the class put it all into perspective for me, and I can finally try out some of the other settings on my camera, instead of letting it do everything for me.

He had a great handout for us, which I supplemented with my own notes too. He had several examples of how changing one setting can totally change a picture, which was very helpful.
I got home on Tuesday night totally pumped about taking pictures. Last night I took a few quick snaps of my dogs (well, the two youngest) and am pleased with what I got from just playing around. If you’re interested, check out my photography website at The latest pictures are in “My Dogs 2010.”

Next week I start a 6 week class all about digital photography. It’ll go into lighting, composition and more. I can’t wait!

Walking The Dogs

Last night I took Farley for a walk, and convinced my mom to come too. She has type 2 diabetes and is very overweight, so she’s trying to make changes to her life. We did a short, slow walk, because that’s what she could handle (and the old dog is too stiff for much more). Then I took Grace & Jack Jack for a more brisk, challenging walk, so that they could get some fresh air too. I’d had one of “those” days, and I needed the air to blow out my bad attitude.

Anyhow, Jack Jack is in long coat because he’s going to be shown in June by a handler. He decided to find the muddiest spot, with the most dead leaves and twigs, and roll around like a buffoon in it. He is now filthy and full of stuff. But he was one HAPPY dog! I washed up Grace & Jack Jack up as much as possible, and the water was just disgusting when I was done. It was seriously almost the consistency of mud! Full baths coming on Friday (or maybe tonight).