I'm taking an online photography course, a really fun one called "Slice of Life." It was recommended by Tea of Tea and Cookies last Christmas, so treated myself to the six-week course that began in February. It's very supportive and easygoing, everyone leaves encouraging comments when we post pictures to the Flickr site, and I'm learning a lot.
I am finding that several years of food photography has sharpened my eye for framing and taught me a bit about my camera, but still I'm learning from this course, all very interesting.
One of the basic lessons is to look for the light - where it comes from and its quality - as evidenced in this mosaic. Light is everything in photography. I'm also learning computer-related things, even though they are not strictly a part of the lessons - how to post pictures to Flickr, how to edit photos using editing tools, and how to make mosaics. So, I made this one using Picasa, something else I learned this week, editing some of the photos before making them into the collage.
I took this series of snapshots at Della Fattoria in Petaluma, where friend Bonnie, cousin Jan and I rested and feasted after a morning of taking bird pictures at a nearby refuge. The food was, as always, fresh, locally sourced and beautifully prepared. While I was eating, I was taking surreptitious pictures of the conversations going on around us. They made a fun collage of the experience.
Another bonus of the course is the chance to see hundreds and hundreds of other people's photos and how they interpret the six weeks of lessons. We get two lessons per week, so there are lots of pictures to examine, analyze and comment upon. All this for a mere $99.00 and a time commitment.
The instructor is Darrah Parker, a charming young Seattleite who has her own photography business. The students sign on from all over the world. It's startling to see pictures of winter in other countries when it's coming on for spring here; the mix of cultures is clear in the photographs as well. So, too, is the mixture of cultures right here in the US.
Slice of Life is a very personal photographic journey, teaching us the technical lessons through appreciation of our own lives and surroundings. I have enjoyed learning about the technical aspects but also beginning to see and appreciate my own world more clearly. It would be a great birthday gift for a pal, or even for yourself. It's like a café conversation with a friend - engaging, interesting and satisfying.