Photography 101

In May, I had the opportunity to attend a basics photography class, taught by Amber with Fife Photography, with two of my dearest friends, Lessye and Payton.  And I learned a lot!  Here are just a few of the general lessons I learned.

Lesson #1: Just because you have an awesome camera doesn't mean you're an awesome photographer.
What?! You have to have skills? Lame. So, my dreams quickly got squashed.  But, seriously, it's so true! Whether you've got a point-and-shoot, or a DSLR, if you're shooting in automatic, you can get the same results.  But once you actually understand what the deal is with shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, that's where you can build your skills and become exceptional.

And I've definitely seen this mentality from other people, and even myself.  You think it's all about being creative and if you've got a great model, setting, and lighting that's all you need, but there really is more to it than that.  Knowing the basics of how to get the camera to do what you want it to do is where you can truly make anything come to life.

Lesson #2: Now you will critique everyone's pictures.
 One of the unexpected bonuses to the class was that Amber would show us how to look at pictures, see what was good and bad in them, so that we could build our knowledge of what makes a great picture.  And now having that knowledge, makes me feel like a mean, hypocritical judge.  When I look at pictures taken by people that I know have fancy cameras, I judge.  Sure, I'll be the first to admit that I may not be able to take a better picture than what they took, but how could they possibly have under-exposed their picture?!  Or why do they have such a distracting background?  And the subject's eyes aren't in focus!  *gasp*  It's awful, but ignorance was bliss.  Now every photograph is subject to my judging eyes.

Lesson #3: You have to practice, practice, practice
So, the class is done, and Payton, Lessye and I are all inspired to take moving, emotional pictures that capture the moment perfectly.  So, I try...and I fail.  And I quickly run back to my security blanket of automatic mode because at least my pictures don't turn out blurry and unfocused..  Then, I'll warily go back to manual and adjust the settings, and then I get one great picture.  So, I try again.  I mean, I can't let all that money spent on the class go to waste!  So, over time I know I'll be presented with numerous different situations where I need to adjust my settings slightly, and hopefully I'll soon know how to quickly adjust the camera settings to get the best picture, instead of having to think real hard before snapping the shot.

Now, I am, by no means, any better at taking pictures now, than I was before; in fact, I feel like I got worse, since I try to avoid automatic mode and try to apply the lessons, so recently my pictures sometimes turn out all fuzzy and dark.  But, knowing is power, right?  And I'm confident that with time, my lessons will be totally worth it.  In fact, I hope to take more classes when my schedule opens up.

Making Dreams Come True

I cannot express how excited and proud I am that Jason and I just booked our first solo overseas trip! We both really want to travel together before we settle down and start a family, and we decided that there are three major trips we want to take before that happens, plus all other random trips that arise 1) Hawaii, 2) Mediterranean Cruise, and 3) Australia & New Zealand. We figured Australia and New Zealand will obviously be the most expensive, so we're planning that as our last big hurrah before settling down and that will give us more time to plan and save for it. So, that left Hawaii and the cruise. And since we're too late to find an available time to use my family's timeshare in Hawaii this year, that left the cruise!

So, for our one year anniversary/honeymoon we are going on an eastern Mediterranean cruise, which I have been dying to do since I was in middle school. It may seem a little silly that I'm this excited about booking the trip, but it means a lot. It's the first trip where it will just be the two of us. It's the first trip where we are 100% financially responsible for all expenses (yes, this is the one area where our parents have sweetly continued to spoil us even after we left the nests). And finally, it's one of our first steps to achieving some of our lifetime goals as a married couple. You so often hear of couples that say they want to travel before having kids, but then it never happens. And I'm pretty sure that Jason and I could easily and very quickly fall into that category. So, booking this trip makes me feel so much more confident that we can actually achieve the dreams and goals we have created for ourselves.

We had initially planned to take a trip with my parents, but had differing numbers of vacation days available. So, one week while my mom was horribly sick at home, she unbeknownst to me began searching for great cruise deals for Jason and I, after booking a trip for her and my dad to Thailand!! Yes, the Cam family LOVES to travel. So, she found us a deal that would get us airline miles, a $100 inboard shop credit and a guaranteed balcony stateroom for a fabulous price! We were sold! So, we get to land in Rome the morning of our anniversary and spend a couple days there, then ship out!

I truly don't take for granted all the opportunities I've been given to travel. And I tease Jason because before we started dating he had never been out of the country, and now, after the cruise we will have been to 7 different countries in just over a year!! I'm proud I get to help him become a world traveler, Cam-style!

A Baby's Coming!!!

After approximately three months of planning and prepping, my super excited mom hosted a beautiful shower for Lessye.  And it was fabulous!  She initially picked the color scheme of purple, black and white because that's what the baby's bedding was going to be.  But.....the bedding changed, haha!  Nevertheless, it was beautiful!
Another recurring theme was all the children's books!  My mom wanted to help Lessye build up her library, so there were lots of popular children's books with their stuffed character counterparts.  So cute!  Everyone was able to write notes to Lessye and Zoey in the opening pages of the books.
Of course, the food was outstanding and there was plenty to go around.  There were cream-filled strawberries, tiered cheese slices, chocolate mousse, spinach artichoke dip, warm cranberry brie, punch, and a yummy cake from Raspberries 'n Creme Bakery.

We played some games and had a fun watching Lessye open all her gifts.  We certainly hope she enjoyed it!  And I absolutely can't wait for Zoey Marie to make her entrance into this world!