Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Best Anniversary Gift thus far...

-A dog biscuit making kit.
-Travel Bingo cards.
-An Iron.
-An over sized brown wool sweater which made me look like a giant turd.
-A tablecloth.

These are some of the gifts my dear husband has chosen to give me over the years at various celebrations- anniversary, birthday, Christmas. I told him awhile ago, it’d be better if he just picked out a card.
He’s come a long way, because for our last anniversary he bought me a ticket to a day long photography workshop. That workshop was yesterday. The deal was all inclusive. He’d watch the kids, take them to violin lessons, feed them, prep for a friend sleeping over, and make dinner, while I spent the day playing with my camera. For this anniversary, I gave him slippers.
Let’s just say I thought I got the better end of the deal this year.

I was the youngest by far and the only female in the class. Most everyone else there enjoyed landscape photography, except for the guy who specialized in photographing fungi. (no kidding- there are apparently fungi photographers out there. ) So when I announced that I simply like to take photos of kids and family, they marked me as a young chick who should probably use a point n shoot. I hate to say it out loud. I hate to admit it, but I’m pretty sure these gents didn’t think I could operate a spoon, let alone a digital SLR Nikon. I felt like I had fallen back into the 1940s and shown up with an apron tied around my waist.

It was clear, there was a lot of testosterone in the room. Clearer yet, when the gentleman wearing suspenders in front of me popped open his laptop to produce a screen saver in which a woman in a black thong left her big breasts bumping into all of his screen’s icons. (By the way, dear sir, I don’t mean to be a prude, but that’s just downright ugly. That woman needs to put on a proper bra and put her boobies back where they belong- not around the icon you click to open up Internet explorer. Might I recommend that perhaps one of your very beautiful landscape scenes would do nicely instead?)


Just before the class began, the same gentleman, who looked like Alfred Hitchcock after 2 too many servings of kidney pie, pulled out what appeared to be a large lens from his camera bag. I was behind him and couldn’t see too well. He took the lens cover off and all the older men around him laughed hysterically. Then it became clear- he was displaying a coffee mug which looked like a lens. At this moment I began to think the workshop would turn out to be as fun as a dog biscuit making kit.

Over the course of the day, about 9 hours of workshop talk, the tempo picked up and slowed from time to time. I admit, I learned a few things, but not as much as I would have liked. As I told the instructor early on, I was there because I have trouble getting enough light and hence sharp images. ‘Overcast skies, inside shots, dark areas tend to be a big problem for me and I really think I need to invest in a 2:8 lens- or lower if prime‘. To be frank, dear husband was hoping for me to learn in the workshop that in fact, no more lenses are needed. He hoped that I’d realize I simply don’t know how to work my camera. Turns out, this is not the case. Thank goodness. I believe it’s time honey, to start budgeting for a new lens. One that will allow for more light.

Additionally there was a lot of talk about photo shop, post processing, digital editing, light room, and HDR manipulation. I don’t have photo shop. In fact I don’t have any editing software really. (Wish I had, but so far it hasn’t been in the cards). They argued away . Philosophizing on post processing, they declared that it’s ok to creatively edit photos as long as you’re not a journalist. “Painters have done it since the beginning of time!” one man justified. “If the queen wanted her buns to be smaller, the painter made them smaller.” Man alive, I began to wonder if they could explain away the world’s problems with photo shop. It just seemed like cheating, All too fraudulent to me.

Then they wandered into discussion of why a tripod investment is good. For the same price as one of their tripods I could buy three tractors. They advised that carbon fiber tripods are a "must" as carrying around an entire 2kg of weight in a tripod all day would just make you "miserable". I had to ponder what the heck they'd do if they had to haul a stroller, diaper bag, 3 lunch boxes and a 'bun bun' around. Obviously, their version of wildlife photography and mine are miles apart. Listening to the others spew their wealth of knowledge on photography made me turn around to see if Alex Trebek was in the room. There was so much know how going on it was hard to tell who was instructing at times.

In the end, I am grateful for dear Matt to have been so thoughtful with the workshop. So kind to offer a day off from the kids, errands, violin lessons, homework, sleep over preparations, and dinner. In the end, I was glad to add a few feathers to the plumed hat. The tricks and tips were handy, even if they were few and far between. I was glad to not have to sit behind suspenders guy and his nasty screen saver anymore.
Most of all though, I was grateful to come home to this….


They missed me and I missed them too. That’s what made this anniversary gift the best ever!
Thanks babe.

3 comments:

Fat Pilot said...

Happy anniversary guys! The class sounded interesting....you probably didn't learn much because your pics are AWESOME. And the fact that you DON'T photoshop is plain amazing. But then again, you never surprise me with your talents. Enjoy your day :-)

jamie said...

ha ha ha ha ha. I love this post. Glad you had something worthwhile to come home to. If you ever figure out the low light dilemma let me know. For me the only thing that works is opening up to 2.8 to let in more light, or lowering the exposure of the picture. For the record, I think you're great with your camera!

mandy said...

Thanks Jamie and Shellie
Shellie- you're too sweet. Techincally speaking and honestly aware, my photos are probably close to awful, but luckily, I'm not concered about technicality!

Jamie, that means a lot coming from you. I so wish I could do another day to play with the camera as you hosted in Guam- I learned way more and the enviornment was so much nicer! :)
Thanks again!