October 16, 2010

31 Days

Not shot manually but a recent fav of our Rockstar

I've been planning to get to know my Digital SLR better since we purchased it six years ago. It's ridiculous really. Instead of taking the time to play with the manual settings I've taken the easy route time and time again: set the dial to automatic and snap snap snap. I've been happy with my photographs most of the time but I know I can take them to the next level by using the manual settings. So why haven't I done so? Good question. I don't have an answer to it but I will share my snapshot background with you.

In high school I took two photography courses and fell in love with the challenge of taking a perfect (for me) photo. I spent hours in the darkroom at school developing film and my parents being the amazing people they are set up a darkroom in the basement for me. I applied to attend college to become a professional photographer, was accepted and then the night before my acceptance was due I changed my mind. I don't regret the decision one little bit: I wasn't entirely convinced that photography was what I wanted to spend the rest of my life doing and I wasn't ready to move away from home just yet (needed another year). Eventually I came to the realization that spending time behind a camera photographing people and things was a perfect hobby for me but wouldn't make me happy in the grand scheme of things, I needed to work with and care for children to feel fulfilled.

Unfortunately after I made the decision not to pursue photography professionally I sort of set it aside for a number of years. I always had a simple point and shoot camera in my backpack in my early 20s and took a zillion shots of friends and family but rarely did I take the time to compose an excellent shot. In the last few years I've spent a little more time shooting random bits, landscapes etc but more often than not I catch myself thinking *I wish I had my camera with me*. Now that the Rockstar is here I'm pulling the camera out almost daily and trying to take it with us when we head out and about. I'm in the habit of wearing the camera so now I need to get back into the habit of using the manual settings.

It hit me this morning that it has been nearly 15 years since I took that the advanced (high school) photography course so I really shouldn't beat myself up for not remembering the details, of course I learned on an old school SLR but let's not go there, I'm dating myself. Side note: the fact that I am able to use the words "dating myself" is a little bit depressing. Rather than dwelling on what I don't remember and don't know I've decided now is the time to start from square one to relearn how to use manual settings and refresh my composition skills as well.

While searching for something completely unrelated (moments after making the decision to stop talking about it and to start learning to use the camera properly) I found this 31 Days to a Better Photo Series over at life with my 3 boybarians. This series is going to deliver the kick in the ass I need to get started.

Expect some upcoming posts focusing on my mission to improve my photographs! Hopefully I'll have some cool pics to share with you.


Lois said...

Good for you J.
I can't wait to see the fabulous pics that I know you are going to take.

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way! I don't have a DSLR yet, but want to get one. I'm afraid I won't know how to use it manually either, and not take full advantage of what it can do. I'll have to check out the link you provided, thanks for sharing!