wins for the week: photography

photography light play

Happy day after Thanksgiving, friends! My blog is going live far later than usual because A) turkey, B) family time, and C) laziness. How do you like that combination? I mentioned in my post last Friday that instead of my traditional Friday five, I was going to focus on wins for the week. Traditionally, I share five things, but today I felt like sharing a little more in depth about one – photography! I mentioned over the last few weeks that I’ve been taking a photography class, so today’s wins for the week are all about photography.

I started my class on election day with Lynsey Strader Photography – arguably the best family, portrait, and wedding photographer around JBLM. Lynsey is fantastic, and she adapted to all the chaos and changes that resulted from COVID and Washington’s subsequent restrictions. Our class, rather than in person, added an additional hurdle of being held via Zoom. Let me just say, I don’t envy Lynsey’s position of teaching a hands-on photography class via Zoom, but she’s been incredible, challenging us with new tasks and goals each week. Slowly but surely, I’m putting the things together. Today, I wanted to share a little bit about the journey I’ve taken in this class so far!

Wins for the Week: Photography

Earlier this year, Ryan convinced me to chase my goal of better photography – if only for my blog – and encouraged me to invest in a good camera. I bought a Canon 6D Mark ii, and in my naivete, I expected my photos to be immediately better. Spoiler alert. They weren’t. I had to learn to do more than just change my camera to manual. Lynsey told me when I first bought the camera to never rely on auto if I could help it, so I’ve never had it on auto – not once. But the first time I took my camera out to Solo Point, I took about 400 photos, and I didn’t get any really solid images. They were over-exposed, underfocused…all the things. This is from that day:

lazy days at solo point

Then I started my class with Lynsey, and I started learning the function of my camera; ISO, aperture, f-stop…they started to mean something, and I started to adjust the settings. The second time I took my camera to Naches Peak, I took about 200 photos and got about 8 usable images that were crisp but still needed improvement. I needed to learn to focus on specific elements of the images, rather than having a super sharp image in entirety. These photos were from that day:

hiking near mt. rainier

family friendly hikes

Fast-forward a month, and I finally have somewhat of a grasp on the functions and elements of my camera. I’m still learning (a lot), but Lynsey’s challenges have given me a significant focus, as well as areas in which to grow. I took my camera to Staircase Rapids last weekend in some of the most difficult light – bouncing between very dark, to very bright, to a weird mix of the two. Of 200 photos, I got about 10 great images, including the following:

exploring the bridge

fall foliage hikes

This past week, Lynsey told me to focus on creative indoor lighting, shadows, and unique elements. So, I’ve slowly added different lights, focused on highlights and shadows, and I’m so excited with the progression! I wanted to share a few of those photos now, if you haven’t yet seen them on my instagram:

wins for the week photography

photography week 4

Honestly, in sharing my wins for the week, specifically regarding photography, I’m able to see the progression in not just my photos, but my editing skills, as well. I’ve learned to simplify, slow down, and actually focus (pun intended). I have a lot to learn, but this has been a big goal of mine for 2020. I shared last year how I edit my photos on my phone using Lightroom, but being able to engaged in real photography has felt like such a lofty goal – until now. I’m so grateful for Lynsey’s tutelage, and I’m so excited to keep learning.

Tell me – have you ever taken a class for a hobby you love? What are some of your biggest goals?