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The Gift of Learning

January 28, 2020

The opportunity to learn something, anything, new is powerful. When I think about grasping a new skill or broadening my understanding of a topic I get really excited. For someone my age learning keeps things fresh. I wish I had been this interested in filling my brain when I was in school. My early years, K-12, came relatively easy for me. Sure, I had to put in the time but always managed to squeak by with mostly A’s with a B or two. I still hate math but science fascinates me, history gives me the chills, and reading….well, audio books make that so much easier today. I enjoy writing, yet I ask myself why it’s taken me so long (over a year) to offer up another blog post?

It’s a new year, a fresh start and it’s time to dive in and make this happen on a monthly basis. There, I said it. Commitment, right?

Something that has brought me great joy over the last couple of years is sharing my love of photography with others. This will not come as a surprise to those of you who’ve had conversations with me. If you’ve ever asked me, ‘How’s the photography going?’, you’ve undoubtedly received that look where my eyes light up and off I go. Sorry, not sorry!

Beyond the casual conversations, I discovered quite by accident, that I love teaching others how to use their DSLRs by learning to shoot in Manual. Every holiday season, cameras are given as gifts and every year the proud owner powers up their new toy, flips the dial to Auto Mode, presses the shutter button and away they go. Most first-time DSLR owners never take it off Auto and while they may capture pleasing images, they have missed the excitement of setting up the shot and creating art. This very thought spurred me to offer group lessons early in the year and I’ve shared hours of enjoyment with enthusiasts who are ready to begin their own love affair with photography.

We tackle all the tough techie stuff in the first session and then, much like a foreign language, we dive right in and start using our equipment. Each week we continue to practice with balancing the elements of the exposure triangle as we add depth of field and composition in subsequent weeks. By the second week, we are experiencing AH-HA moments throughout class and that makes me jump up and down. I’ve seen the lightbulb go off as someone calculates their settings and captures a perfectly exposed image. It brings me immense joy to see these students grow in their craft.

Learning is a gift and this elegant form of art allows us to continue learning as new techniques are discovered and developed. I have my own love affair with photography and each time I reengage with my camera and gear to learn something different, something artsy and ‘outside the box’, my love of the art grows deeper and deeper.

What will you set out to intentionally learn this year? Perhaps the better question is, when will you do it?

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