Top Ten Lessons Learned Plus One I Didn’t: Photography

My Year-End List-Making Bandwagon-Jumping

1. Adapt to your subject. The best thing I did this year was take a Sports Photography course to capture my active family.  Some people don’t like to stop what they are doing to have a camera pointed in their face and usually those people are three-year-olds.  I understand, Dear Child.  I’ll try to keep up.

Rain Day _MG_2128 _MG_2407 _MG_5745

2.  Speaking of courses, formal on-line classes work for me.  I dreaded the start of every class this year but they were always worth my precious nap time and dwindling energy.

3. It is easier to clean your child’s face than to retouch every smear of yogurt.

Cindy Lou Who


Cindy Lou Who


4. Know my equipment. I have a Tamron 70-300mm lens and on this lens is a button and the letters “VC”.  By reading the manual I learned that VC stands for Vibration Control technology.  Intrigued, I tested its functionality then and there and couldn’t believe the difference one little button made.  This year I started paying more attention to my equipment and its nuances.

5. Clean my equipment. I was certain my Canon 50mm lens was broken.  Nope.  Just smudged.  I have a 4 yr-old and 9 month-old.  Everything gets dirty – why did not I apply this truism to my equipment?


Mustache smudge. How hip.

6. Equipment is important but not more than the doing.  This is one of my favorite photos of the year and I didn’t even shoot it: an iphone selfie taken by my friend Seth.  From the Brewers tee and pink onesie to the polar opposite expressions of he and Farrah, it tells a story and captures a summer’s perfect moment.  “Just” a selfie but a treasured one.


7. Light, light, light. This year I never stopped looking for light.


Here is Arlo watching television.  God, I love television Arlo.

More! IMG_6182 _MG_3978 _MG_5081 lace up shoes _MG_0965

8. Speaking of light, this year I learned to better use reflective surfaces by realizing that they are all around me.  White sheets, white walls, shiny floors and the dryer door, for example. _MG_0861 _MG_5950 _MG_9262 _MG_2166

9. Get out of the way.  The perfect place for me to walk that day at the Christmas tree farm was on the cleared path right behind my friends.  The perfect place for the photograph however was for me to be way off to the side, ankle-deep in mud, holding a tired baby while fielding questions of about reindeer poop from my firstborn.  There is nothing worse however than a shadow mucking up Golden Hour’s light, so I stepped aside and was dearly rewarded.  Check yo self before you wreck yo frame.

Christmas Tree

10.  Accept that which is given to me.  I consider a camera a luxury and if I were alone in this dark, cold world, I’d still be using that Sony Cybershot that I couldn’t give away for free last year.  My husband Kris thinks differently though and I, his happy recipient.  Not only does he ensure we have the best of everything, he keeps adding to the arsenal.  Like classes, I dread learning a new lens, a new filter, a new anything, but not only does our family history become better documented with these additions, I become smarter and more creative with every push out of the nest.  Also in the plus column?  He is not afraid to stand in front of those magnificent lenses.


Now for The Lesson I Did Not Learn:

I do not shoot RAW.

There you have it.  Now you know.  For the record, I know I *should* be (or so everyone tells me, over and over), but I refuse to do it until I can figure out how to break Aperture’s nasty habit of changing the imported RAW data every time I open the photo.  And let’s not mention how much time it takes to open Just to open it — already imported! — just to open it, say, like, the next day when I realize I forgot to smooth over my crow’s-feet in my profile pic.

I can’t do it.  There’s too much to figure out and I just didn’t get to it this year.  TEAM JPEG!




I’ll just have those crickets send me off to bed then.  Good Night!  May your shutter get clicked lightly and often in 2014!


11 thoughts on “Top Ten Lessons Learned Plus One I Didn’t: Photography

  1. 1) I shoot RAW for client work and the occasional personal thing – like if I’m shooting something that tends to be over/under exposed or shooting landscapes (to draw out every last detail), or something particularly important *just in case*. Otherwise: all personal stuff is JPEG. Takes up less space in storage and to me, for everyday stuff, I don’t need that level of technical capacity backing up photos of us just baking cookies or whatever. So no judging here ;)

    2) Dirty secret time: for personal stuff, I also shoot mostly in P or A rather than Manual. Manual is great for manipulating difficult shooting situations and frees you up so much, it’s an important skill to have, but when shooting kids it is next to impossible to shoot constantly in Manual. I used to make myself do it and realized I was missing a lot while I fiddled with settings, no matter how fast I got at it. So there’s that as well.

    The more I learn the more I realize I still have to learn, but that’s the fun of it to me. So shoot away, the key is to always keep learning and exploring! Great shots! :) Share where you take classes! I joined a Photo Group here but it isn’t exactly what I was expecting, I need more outlets…


  2. I enjoyed reading this post and seeing your lovely images. Oh, how I love that photograph of your son with his construction vehicle. It’s a knock-out. I think still lives are my forte; I really struggle to get in there and capture those magic moments with my kids. Maybe looking at your work will push me to try a bit harder. For the record, I only very occasionally shoot in RAW. Can I still join Team jpeg?


      • There’s a Team JPEG movement just waiting to happen, I’m sure of it. Its time is nigh. NIGH!

        As to the drool, not long at all in that football hold. I’m pretty sure I even got to taste it given the angle of the shot. Mmmmm…drool.


  3. Pingback: MMM: The Owl Tree of Pheasant Branch Park | Black Panty Salvation

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