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Who Knew?

December 3, 2011

I decided to take a photography class at our homeschool co-op.  Mostly because I have always wanted to learn how to take beautiful photos but sorta because I never really do anything just for me.  This would be just for me.

So I was one of three moms who signed up for the class with about 12 children, ages 10 to 16.

On the first day I was super excited and had September butterflies in my tummy.  Yay!!   Our teacher, whom everyone calls “Maestro,” (How cool is that???!!!) is a swashbuckling, acting, stunt co-ordinating, film making, professional photographer of a man who teaches at U of M, EMU, runs his own theatrical company and has umpteen degrees in diverse and fascinating fields.  He taught us all about the science of photography:  gnomes in our cameras open the shutter and have buckets of color and other stuff.

OK, there are lots of children in the class so the curriculum had to be kid-ified and easy to understand.  Aw, who am I kidding, it had to be dumbed down for me.

I visualized the gnomes and made friends with them in my head.  If we’re friends, my pictures will be amazing, right?

At any rate, I loved every second of it and after the first class I said to my dear, patient, wickedly funny husband of 24 years “I’m gonna go ahead and fall in love with my teacher, ok?”  To which he responded, very non-chalantly, “Whatever makes you happy, dear.”

The second week our amazing Maestro handed us his very expensive professional cameras to use in pairs to take pictures during our class time.  I was paired with an adorable little girl with curly brown hair, big blue eyes and skin like an angel.  How could I take the camera away from her so I could take my turn?  I couldn’t.  NOW How’m I gonna learn?

The third week I came to class, and did not dazzle the beloved Maestro with my brand new Nikon D3100 SLR with two different lenses and a bunch of accessories.  Oh, and an American Express bill for $800.  I justified that at 49 I don’t learn things as easily as I once did and I need all the camera time I could get.  If I loved photography I would keep the camera, if not and I stunk, I would return it at the end of the semester right before my 90 days were up.  Reason 7,489 that I LOVE Costco: generous return policy.

Week four, when talking about lighting and faces he used me as an example and although the whole scene is kind of blurry I do remember that he referred to me as a “pale red-head” and I ended the bromance in my head.  Pale.  Redhead.  Breaking up isn’t always hard to do, Neil.

I don’t remember if it was week five or week six that he told us about our assignment but soon thereafter he gave us a scavenger hunt.  Before I read the assignment I thought “Sa – weeeeet!  I have won four road rallies in my life time and I will RULE this assignment.  Scavenger Hunts are just like Road Rallies without the cars, right?  Those kids are gonna cry for their home schooling mommies when they see my work.”  Competitive much?


We have to take pictures of fifty concepts or emotions such as “pain.”  Pain?  Um, “transition?”  Ex-squeeze me…” longing?”  Fifty of these suckers?  Oh great, I have to think.  Mailboxes and flowers and VW Beetles would have been so much easier.  I’m so glad I broke up with him earlier in the semester because if I was still an adoring puppy I would have been distraught.  Now I’m only a little worried that he will hate my pictures and write me off as just another mom, with no vision and no talent.

I decided to really try.  I can do this.  I just have to have a plan, that’s all.  My plan?  I don’t care what the emotions are,  there will be poodles in my interpretations.  Lots of poodles.


I think I’ve found my “sweet spot.”

Poodles + Camera + Gnomes = I’m gonna LOVE Photography.

You know what?  After taking  roughly 1400 photos over four weeks I do, indeed, LOVE photography.  Who knew?

Next week:  Gnomes who shoot poodles and the women who love them.

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