Going back to school: taking the camera off automatic

Santa brought me a really cool camera for Christmas, a Nikon D5100.  I have been using it in the fully automatic “idiot” settings ever since.  Before the Nikon era, I used a good quality point-and-shoot digital camera, but for a long time I have yearned to do more with my pictures.  I signed up for a photography class and have been blown away by all there is to know about my fabulous new camera.

I used to love school….until law school.  (I have yet to meet anyone who says they liked that experience.)  This class represented a return to FUN school.  For the past two Saturdays, I have been sitting in a small room with one great teacher and six new friends trying to figure out the secrets of f-stop, shutter speed, ISO, white balance, flash compensation, composition, lines, rule of thirds, and so on.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  It’s overwhelming and exciting.

I have a month to get ready for our Rome trip, and I want to keep using the camera in manual mode.  Practice, practice, practice.

I am attaching some of my “homework” shots.  First, an exercise in framing:

Next, we were told to get a photograph in low light without a flash.  I was amazed at how much color and light I could get just by changing the settings.  This room was very dark.

Next, we learned about the rule of thirds.  I tried to put the cat’s eye at the intersect point.

We were tasked with a “story” shot.  The photo should need no explanation.

Genene seemed to make her way into a lot of these.  This photo is one of my first stumbling attempts at a panning shot.  By sheer accident, the composition is in a rule-of-thirds.

We learned how to stop action.  This little girl was quite the hotshot on the high board, and I got her in midair. 

As I said, Genene seems to be my favorite model, and everyone in the class liked this one.  It wasn’t a particular assignment.  I just thought it turned out nicely.

And finally, I am partial to these macro close-ups.  After last year’s punishing drought, we have been blessed with life-giving rain this year, and I went out after a shower and got this one. 

I carried my camera everywhere last week and received some gentle mocking from people at work for coming into the office toting a backpack like a schoolkid.  That’s what I am.  I took over 800 photographs.  I didn’t love any of them…..but it’s a start.


The Rambling Razorback: first thoughts

While Greg and Genene are off at Girl Scout camp, I am experimenting with what I hope will become a new format for my vacation blogs. I decided to call it Rambling Razorback for all the obvious reasons: I’m a Hog fan, and this blog will be about my rambles, in both senses of the word.

For now, I am just experimenting so bear with me. This blog will be about family.

My daughter, Genene


My husband, Greg:

Our travels together:



The food we like to eat (too much):


The sights we have seen:


The walks together through the world and through life: