Major Project: Moving the Finish Line

Throughout my learning project there were many different emotions and feelings towards the process!


Excited and eager to learn! I found a YouTube channel by Mike Browne to follow, started a Pinterest board, read many articles and started taking some pictures.

Middle 1:

Nervous but learning and motivated by the growth. Felt a little like I didn’t know what I ws doing but there were articles I read to help me take it one step at a time and I continued to take pictures. Signed up for a Coursera class!

Middle 2:

Frustrated with not knowing what to do or if I am on the “right” track. Turns out, there is no right track! I realized that I really enjoy watching videos and then trying to emulate the lesson from the video. I learn by being hands on and talking with someone who knows about what I am learning about. Also learned that the Coursera course wasn’t for me! I think it had great potential but that one I signed up for just wasn’t want I needed or wanted as part of my learning process.

End: Back to being excited and feeling like I have more tools to move forward! I am no where near done but am excited about using what I have learned to continue learning.

A collection of the good, the bad and the ugly photos from my learning throughout the semester can be found in the video below! Some were taken with my iPhone with a few Instragam filters added and the rest were taken with my Canon Power Shot SX20 IS.





No More Manual Mode!

Going to rewind a little for you and head back to the week off I had over Easter. I was excited to have some time to sit down with my camera and try to sort out some of my issues. I thought I had so I set out on a little bit of a back road adventure in search of some old farm buildings. Here’s what I ended up with:

Yes you are seeing that right, I went from orange picture problems to white pictures!

I had the chance last week to sit down with the janitor at my school who also works as a photographer and finally got my camera troubles sorted out! You can check out his work on his website: Larry Burkowsky Photography

Breaking news: It wasn’t a camera problem, it was a user problem!

When I started my project I really wanted to learn how to use my camera in the manual setting. This goal of mine is part of what created most of my frustration with my camera. Through my conversation with Larry I learned a few important things:

  1. My camera is best suited for outdoor photography, especially if I am planning to shoot manually. If I am wanting to shoot inside I need to set my camera to auto and let it do the work, as suggested by Larry.
  2. I need to switch from using Manual more to Av (Aperture Priority) and this is going to take some time. I am still not sure I have it fully sorted but The Difference Between Manual and Aperture Priority has me on the right track. Still lots to learn!

Larry showed me how to look at my shutter speed and focal length together and that there needs to be a balance between the two. That’s my next step, figure out how to do that in the right way. Thus, my project is done for now but not forever!

A few snaps that he took while showing me how to adjust shutter speed and focal length:

Rule of Thirds

As much as I am a bit of a perfectionist and like things to be organized in order, I also like odd numbers and sets of three, five and seven when it comes to things like hanging pictures, decorating my house and the volume on my radio/tv. I think this is why I have always been interested in pictures that fall under the idea of the Rule of Thirds in photography. Prior to this project I had never taken time to sit down and learn about the rule but just pieced together parts I have read, seen or heard and tried to apply it to pictures I have taken.

I have continued to view different videos on the Mike Browne’s YouTube channel to help me build my photography knowledge. This week I watched his video around the Rule of Thirds.

Prior to watching this I had always thought about thirds in terms of horizontal thirds and never made the connection between the horizontal and vertical as was mentioned in the video.

Some other Rule of Thirds resources I have checked out:

I am still having some Orange Picture Problems with my camera but with some time off this week I am going to go sit down with my manual and see if I can get that sorted so that I can get back to taking some pictures. In the mean time I will continue feeding my Pinterest addiction and learning new ways to use my camera!

I also started my online course this week so will share about that experience later on in the week!


Orange Picture Problems

I was all set up to sit down with our wonderful school janitor this week, who also works as a photographer, to learn a little bit more about my camera. Since doing some playing around on my camera I have somehow managed to turn all my pictures into a not so beautiful shade of orange. I am really hoping that I haven’t done something to wreck my camera! I have looked through my manual to try and figure out how to get rid of the orange but had no luck. I will let you know how I make out. Cross your fingers for me that I haven’t done something to ruin my camera!

However, life had a different plan for me and I ended up at home sick for several days this week and am working on getting better. Sadly, I missed out on my meeting with him! Lucky for me he is wonderful and I know when I have a chance to chat with him, we will be able to reschedule.

In the mean time I will share a little bit about what I have been up to!

  • I have finished reading my cameras manual. Not too sure I totally understood what I have read but I feel like as I continue to work through my project I will have a bit more background knowledge to keep me going.
  • In the spirit of Open Education Week I have signed up for my first course on Coursera and I am really excited to get started.




My Morning with a Photographer


©Sheri Dee Photography

I was so excited for Friday morning last week! A friend and fellow teacher, Sheri of Sheri Dee Photography, also works as a photographer and she was so kind to let me come in and sit through a photo shoot of hers this past week. When I began this project I had immediately thought of approaching her to see if she would share some of her knowledge with me. I will be visiting her a few times throughout this project!

When I arrived she had her basement set up and ready for her clients to arrive. We talked a little about the equipment that she had and then it was time to get started. It was really interesting to watch how she positioned her subject and how conscious she was of the lighting and what she wanted to accomplish. In my head I was thinking, how is she managing all of this and capturing the perfect moments of a fairly busy, not to mention adorable little one year old? Clearly, she has spent a lot of time practicing. There it was, my reality check that I mentioned in my previous post. This goal of  mine was going to take quite a bit of time and quite a bit of practice.

What did she teach me?

  • how to change the aperture on my camera
  • how to adjust the shutter speed on my camera

After talking with Sheri about how she started and has developed I have some homework to do! Her #1 suggestion was to become very familiar with the manual of my camera. I am about half way through and realized this is probably where I should have started.

My goal for the upcoming week: take 5 pictures each day and use each one as a building block in connection with my reading from the manual.


Learning is a Process – Who knew?

I am feeling a little stuck when it comes to my major project for the term. I have done some experimenting and have begun to take pictures to experiment but am feeling like I am not gaining a lot of ground. It’s possible that I might not be allowing myself the time to grow and get to know my camera! I am trying to remember that and enjoying the journey.

shutter speed tip
Photo via Our Fifth House

This week my goal was to begin to understand shutter speed. I quickly discovered that shutter speed and aperture went hand in hand but what I didn’t understand was what they were, how they worked and how I could control them. I  started with a few of the spaces that I have begun to collect information around photography. I added a few new pins to my photography board on Pinterest. I really like the quick and concise “quick tip” pins that you can find on Pinterest. I’ll talk more later about how those are perhaps giving me a false sense of growth!



I know that I am a visual learner and need to be hands on. From there I headed off to the Mike Browne’s YouTube channel to help me better understand shutter speed and aperture. When I had read the post from Our Fifth House, that I found through Pinterest, I really enjoyed that she said to just start playing. So that’s what I was going to do, I mean how hard could it be really? I had checked out tons of pins on Pinterest and read all the quick tips I could. I’ve got this I thought!

Did anyone else watch that and feel like he was perhaps speaking another language? I felt so lost after watching that video and felt like somehow I had failed. Truthfully though, how hard had I really tried to understand that I was about to explore? I had fallen into that trap of wanting instant gratification and needed to rewind a little. This is going to take me time and I need to find a space where I am comfortable with being involved in a process. Working on it!

If you’re following along on my project, you’re going to notice a little bit of a theme. I really enjoy cooking and decorating and will likely always have pictures that relate to those two things! So that night, I decided to get supper cooking, watched the video again along with a couple others specifically about shutter speed and aperture on their own.  As supper cooked it snapped away, trying to adjust the settings on my camera in different ways and see that results that those adjustments made. I certainly noticed that the adjustments made changes to the photographs but now I need to understand the meaning and purpose behind those adjustments. 

Check out my Flickr album for shutter speed and aperture and let me know what you think!

Shutter Speed and Aperture

I was kind of feeling defeated after this little amateur photography session but I know that learning is a process and doesn’t happen all at once. I mean, was I expecting to be a professional photographer in a matter of a couple  months? I needed a bit of a reality check to get myself back on track and be realistic with my learning. This week I had the opportunity to visit a friend who works as a photographer on the side and sat in on a photo shoot that she did. Stay tuned for my reality check and highlights of my experience in the next blog post!

Photo Storage – What Works Best?

After last weeks adventures in learning what ISO means and taking a few photos I quickly realized there were a few steps I needed to take before actually taking some more pictures.

First things first…

How and where am I going to store all these photo?

I wanted to be able to have the photos somewhere where I could share them through different social media platforms such as Twitter, WordPress, Instagram and Facebook. I had initially placed them in my Google drive but I didn’t like how they were organized there and how they would be shared. From what I could understand, I wouldn’t be able to go to my Google drive and share directly to wherever I wanted. If anyone knows different than this please let me know! After some brainstorming of what might work best, I remembered Flickr and that I had created an account a couple years ago. So from there I set out to learn a little bit about Flickr and where better to start then YouTube.

Photo Credit: Perry Gerenday Photography via Compfight cc
I started with the video Why You Should Use Flickr as a refresher and it reminded me about a few things about Flickr that I had known before. Such as that I could create albums, change privacy settings and share photos. Towards the end I was following along on my phone getting all the settings set the way I wanted when I realized that the video was out of date with the version of the app that I had just downloaded. Had I looked a little sooner I would have seen that the video was from 2013. Perhaps taking Howard Rheingolds 5th Social Media Literacy  – critical consumption into play would have been a good idea prior to viewing! Not to suggest the video is “crap” but rather, not relevant to what I needed at the time. So some parts were relevant, others not as much but I was moving in the right direction!

Now that I had that sorted I needed to add some photos. It didn’t take much figuring and I had uploaded the photos no problem. I couldn’t remember how to take a screen shot so I headed to YouTube again and used this short screen shot tutorial to help me out!


While I was searching YouTube for videos to get me started with organizing myself on Flickr I was also awaiting a password reset email. Who remembers passwords from accounts you haven’t used in 2 years anyway? One day I will get this whole password memory thing down pat!

Next I watched this video about how to create albums and share them.

YouTube is such a great learning tool, especially for someone like me who maybe isn’t quite patient enough to read when I want to know something right away! This video was great in that it showed me how to create and share an album. The sharing feature Flickr provides was the whole reason I chose to go with Flickr and I have a great feeling about the organization that it’s going to provide me for this project. My first album, Exploring ISO is set up and ready for a few more photos to be added this weekend! I am hoping to get out to enjoy the great weather this weekend and take some more pictures exploring ISO.