Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Watch Out, Annie Leibovitz, Here I Come

Forget journalism, education and English: I should have been studying photography. Clearly, we should go to college in our 30s, or at the very least late 20s, when we are more fully formed humans with defined interests, passions and direction. What the hell did I know at 18? Are we really qualified at that age to determine a career path that will span our entire lives? Anyway, my weekend was great and I learned so much. I’m sure much of what I learned is what one might learn in a photography 101 class, but since I lack any formal education on this topic, I found this weekend to be quite enlightening. I was a sponge. I was that geek taking copious notes furiously and sending dagger eyes to annoying people who dared to interrupt the teacher to talk at length about their own personal experiences and brag about personal accomplishments. Every class has one of those. There were quite a few interesting characters at this conference, to say the least, including several people who had no concept of personal space.

I had a good balance of technical classes and compositional classes. I was a little uncertain if a composition class would be helpful. Can a class teach us to have an artistic eye and show us how to compose a picture? I doubt Ansel Adams or Annie Leibovitz took classes like this. And don’t we all have our own sense of style that risks being squashed if we are taught the “right” way of doing things? What if someone tried to convince Jackson Pollack that paint thrown around the canvas was not art? It turned out to be the best class I took all weekend and will completely change the way I look at taking a picture and will completely change the pictures I take. This weekend really ignited an already smoldering spark inside me. I am studying aperture values and shutter speeds like I am going to be tested on it. I can use phrases like “stopping down” and know what I am talking about. I am studying photos of famous photographers with a more critical eye. I am thinking about making the B&H Photo Superstore website my internet homepage.

I am in the process of turning my chicken-scratch notes, which fill up about half of one of those old-fashioned note pads, into computer notes. A few people have expressed interest in said notes and ideas and nuggets of knowledge. If you want to learn about the rule of thirds or implied motion or negative space or if you want to know exactly what exposure to set your camera to (aperture and shutter speed) to get those silky running water photos (ditto for sunrises and sunsets) then send me your email, if I don’t already have it.

And Burlington was such a nice city. I love a city with brick buildings, a pedestrian mall and waterfront access, from multiple points, no less. I didn’t have that much time to explore it: I was in classes all day, so I was limited to early evening walks. I would love to go back. I was going to explore it more after my last class on Sunday but instead hit the road so I could stop by my aunt’s house in New Hampshire. I was a nice break at the halfway point between Burlington and Northampton.

I missed the girls a lot while I was away. This was the most time I have spent away from them since they were born by a long shot. Naturally, the more the distance between us, the more angelic and perfect they became: I forget about all the pacifier tantrums and struggles to get them to settle down so I can dress them and diaper changing battles and just remember adorable, cuddly, innocent babies. I must say though I was underwhelmed by my welcome home. They didn’t seem excited in the least to see me. Granted, they were in the tub, but they treated my arrival back home in the most nonchalant way, like I just stepped out for a few minutes, and here I was again. I chalk this up to age-appropriate behavior but it would have been nice to get a few crushing hugs. Nicole gets a bigger welcome after a mere day a work!

My brother and SIL and the kids are coming up to Northampton with us this weekend to celebrate an early Easter. The Easter Bunny will visit out yard on Sunday morning and scatter some eggs around and hide baskets. Anyone have any good ideas for easter baskets goodies that don't involve food? I am going to make some cookies, I think, and have a couple of chocolate bunnies. But what else? Any springy ideas? Something original? Perhaps something that would occupy said children for hours on end? As I have said before, I am not above stealing your family's traditions,

Pictured above, there is a conservation area next to our house, which has lots of wide hiking trails. This makes me very excited! I picture al sorts of spring and summer and fall hikes this year. We took the girls for a mini hike on Monday before we left. Madeline loves to hike around. Loves it. She stops and collects rocks and acorns and pine cones. She climbs on tree stumps at jumps in puddles. She is such a little nature lover. Avery enjoys it to, but after a while, she prefers to enjoy nature from the vantage point of a mommy’s hip. Can’t say I blame her. I could get used to being carried, too.


Molly said...

I knew you were going to have a great experience with your classes!

When we came home from the weekend in Lake Placid, L&E barely blinked an eye.

For Easter, you have to put peeps in the microwave for entertainment. Put two on a plate, stick a tooth pick in each one, turn it on, and as they get big, they look like they're jousting. Lots of fun.

don't forget fresh bottles of bubbles in the baskets for springtime bubble blowing.

Amy said...

I am going with practial items for Lainee's easter basket this year. She's very into Tinker Bell so she's getting a TB beach towel, puzzle, toothbrush, etc. I figure these are things I'll need to buy anyway, why not kill two birds with one stone.
Have fun! I hope you have pretty weather for your Easter egg hunt!

Moving On said...
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Jeannine said...

How about some seeds and cute watering cans (could also add floppy sun hats)? Now that you have your home complete with a yard, you all could plant some seeds (flowers, veggies, herbs) and the girls could water them every weekend and watch the garden grow. Also, sidewalk chalk is a hit with my two and looks bright and cheery in an Easer basket. And don't forget a little stuffed bunny or chick. And a non-candy food treat that keeps with the Easter theme is Annie's fruit snacks. They are shaped like bunnies and have no artificial colors or flavors in them. My kids love them and think they are candy.

Whirlwindkim said...

I would relish your notes! I am a want to be photographer but my partner is a real one :) I've learned a lot from her over the years but am getting ready to take my first official course at our local community college at night. I'm with you; oh how I wish I could change career paths and go back to college now and study things such as this! My email is Many thanks and will enjoy seeing the fruits of your labor!

judy koll said...

Notes please!
I always put bubbles, jump ropes and side walk chalk (which can also be used on rocks and trees) in the little ones baskets.

Shelli said...

a) I SO want a camera playdate with you - I need to learn more!

and b) ARTS AND CRAFTS supplies! Always a huge hit for almost anything in our house - they can fill baskets easily!