Living in America and not working for almost ten months has made me realise that having a hobby wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Growing up in England, I had many likes and interests but I never really had something that I was passionate about and could keep me busy without costing a fortune (apparently shopping isn’t a “real hobby”). I needed something that would take me out of the house and help me explore our new local area. Something that would keep me busy and perhaps be useful for this blog. And what better way to challenge myself than heading back to school!
So I did it. I enrolled in a local community college and signed up for a photography class. What have I got myself into?!
Going back to school as a mature student (in age, not mind-set) is a big deal to me. I had always been the “normal age” when I was at University and I was a little scared as to how I was going to feel returning later on in life. I know I’m only just over the mid-twenties barrier but I still feel incredibly old every day when I walk into that classroom full of 18-year-old children, and being on the wrong side of the whiteboard for the first time in a few years is just as terrifying!
I knew that I had experience being a student, 5 years of it in fact, but I couldn’t predict how much the kids in the class were going to annoy me! Was I really that obnoxious when I was a student? Did I turn up 30 minutes late, meander in listening to loud music and not apologise or give good reason for being late? Probably not but after spending a few years teaching in the U.K. I know how frustrating it is for the teacher when someone speaks out of turn, doesn’t hand in an assignment or no one puts their hand up to answer such a simple question. It feels like you’re talking to a room full of aliens that don’t understand a word of English. And I’ve been at the front of that classroom as well! Frustrating is the word, along with many others that working with teenagers has taught me to only say in my head.
So anyway, classes started at De Anza College in September with basic instruction into the history of the camera, different types of cameras, and file types used in photo storage. A slow start, but useful. Progressing through the term, we have started to move into composition and producing an image using different settings on the camera. A little more interesting and challenging.
I was able to practice the skills taught in class during my parent’s visit to San Francisco over the past two weeks. This is something that I felt I really needed, as learning the theory of a practical skill without actually physically doing/seeing it is really tough. We visited many different areas, including Yosemite National Park, The Golden Gate Bridge and Napa Valley. I am very lucky to have patient parent’s who didn’t complain once at having to wait for me to try every different setting on the camera for each shot!
Although the majority of my photos at the moment are not blog worthy, some have slipped through the net and are actually pretty good, even if I do say so myself! I am particularly impressed with my skills at the Golden Gate!
After starting this class and spending a lot of time working with our amazing wedding photographer, Richard Murgatroyd, this summer, I have really begun to appreciate how much skill goes into producing a beautiful photograph. The eye that is needed to correctly align certain objects, the thought that it takes to source the perfect background and everything else that makes us say “oh wow!” when we scroll through our Instagram feeds intrigues me. I’m not saying that I am aiming to become a professional photographer anytime soon; I just want to be able to take good photographs on our adventures, rather than having my husband ridicule me for my out of focus, blurry images that we have found on the camera in the past. But let’s see, you never know where things can take you. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Have you recently embarked on a new adventure? Are you thinking of taking up a new hobby? Do you have any ideas of places for me to go and explore in the Bay Area? Please let me know!