Saturday, March 19, 2011


In a completely unusual and unexpected move, I actually got to leave the house tonight... SisterJ took me out moon - I'm sorry - Super Moon shooting tonight; we drove down to the beach, where it was flipping cold, chasing the super moon with our cameras. (We're about five minutes from the beach here.) The moon was humongous, and brilliant, and a little spooky, even, and I was glad to get the chance to see it in person (you know, not on TV or through the windows or anything).

Unfortunately, after about three shots, my camera batteries died, and although SisterJ had extras, her backup batteries also refused to function, but through some mixed up finagelling (one of hers and one of mine) I bought myself an extra ten minutes or so of picture time. We left the house without anything, really - still in our pajamas, but with sweatshirts (and it was much too cold for just sweatshirts, at the beach, ladies: what were you thinking?) and shoes. You know, the basics of leaving the house. Minus all of the things I almost never leave the house without - like my bag with my back up batteries & inhaler and meds and money in it. The kind of stuff that is a little bit important, maybe, you think? Especially when the cold triggers your asthma, you big dope? (Whatever: I was actually ok till we got back in the warm house, and then I had a little issue, but at least my puffer was close by at that point.)

SisterJ didn't even have her license - I don't know why - it wasn't like we had to hurry, but we just decided to go and went: there was very little thinking (and obviously no planning) involved.

And, like most photo sessions lately, I was left frustrated by my inability to get what I see in my head translated into what my camera actually takes. I definitely need to take a photography class - I'm just trying to decide if I can actually do one in person or if I should try an internet version.... we'll see. It's on this year's agenda, though, for sure. Because (as my camera's little red battery light started flashing before it died the second time), all I could think was that if I really understood F stops, I'd be able to get this shot without it being completely grainy and/or blurry. I mean, some of it is my point and shoot, which is about five years old now and more than one tumble off my lap/drop from a child's height past it's prime. It eats batteries like they're candy, sometimes the lens won't open fully, and without all the fancy lenses and options that DSLRs tend to have, everything up close comes out blurry, and everything far away comes out with so much fuzz I have to run it through three programs to smooth it out. But some people can take awesome pictures with a point and shoot - I've even taken some great ones with it, so I know that if I knew what I was doing, I could make any camera work out for me.

So obviously the majority of the problem? Is not found in my equipment, but in me. I can't get what I want in automatic, so I mess with the settings, but I just wind up getting even worse than what I started with. I know just enough to be dangerous, as my Nana would say. Not enough to actually get it, but enough to think that I kind of get it, and so can take things into my own hands. I definitely need some learning, and this year has to be the year, because I am finally starting to save enough money that I can buy me some better equipment, and I don't want to spend all that money and wind up with the same bad shots... I'm going to conquer the camera.

But it's so frustrating to me because, usually, I am generally a good book learner - I can pick up a skill based on something somebody has written down. I am great at studying and memorizing and all that stuff - but it is not doing me any good when it comes to the camera - I need some hands on stuff, and whether that means actual hands on, or following along on an online course where i can ask questions and stuff, I'm not sure yet, but this is not a skill I can teach myself for some reason, so I need to figure out how I'm going to learn it. Anybody got any good suggestions? I'm open.

I'm uploading the moon pictures now, and if any of them comes out even halfway decently, I'll let you know. In the meantime, have a nice weekend, everybody.
In other news, I also want to say my good friend, who knows who she is, that following your gut is a brave and wonderful thing, and I know it will serve you well: I'm proud of you, and hope this will lead to only good things in the future.


Laurie said...

I totally missed the boat on all of that and never saw the moon. Doh!

Just checking in to say hello, and I am glad to see you writing, and am thinking about you!

Sue Jackson said...

How exciting, running out of the house like that for a fun, spontaneous outing! Even leaving all your stuff behind sounds like fun - freeing for a change!

I only caught a quick look at the Super Moon, but it did look cool.

Oh, and don't feel bad - it's very, very hard to get good photos of the moon. I've tried before.

Have you considered watching some how-to videos online? I've heard there are lots of good ones, not only on YouTube, but on other how-to sites as well. And Reader's Digest just wrote about all sorts of college courses available online for free - try searching for "free online photography class" or "how to take photos videos". Just a thought!