Trading in My Purse for a Camera Bag: Lessons in Photography

By Carole Burns

The recent Platypus Workshop sponsored by the Diederich College of Communication taught me many things about video editing.  The piece that stuck with me, however, was something I had to learn on my own—I needed more experience with my equipment. My good friends Dan Johnson and Jennifer Janviere make beautiful pictures. They see stories in faces of individuals walking down the street or sitting in a doorway. I see similar stories in landscapes and nature. The big difference between Dan, Jen and me is the fact that their pictures could fill multiple art gallery walls. Mine are more suited for the external hard drive I’ve purchased.

Experience and knowledge can go hand in hand with photography. Of course, I know that just using my camera more will not improve the composition, it will assist me in knowing what aperture and shutter speed settings I should be using.

I attend any class that I can on the art of photography. With every opportunity, I add to my knowledge of the craft. I have traded in my purse for a Nikon D5100. It now rides shotgun in my car as I travel from place to place.

I am thinking of designing a camera rack than can be attached in the center console of my Toyota Rav4. Much like the riffle mounts in the cab of a hunters pickup. I figure if they can create a seat belt for dogs, why not a safe way for photography equipment to travel?

Storytelling has become such an important part of my life, that I know I need the imagery to accompany the narrative. Will I become one of the many citizen journalists?  Probably not. But I would like to be someone that can capture a moment in time and make it count. In order to do that, I need to make sure the subject at the other end of the lens is in focus (focus and frame), set to make an impact (rule of thirds) and the most important part of the composition (tight is right). Add to this list depth of field, lighting, and being aware of the background, and I may just be able to make a photo that even Bill Frakes would be proud to show off.

“Like” the Wakerly Facebook page to follow my progress! I may never reach the heights of my friends, but I will document much of life as I see it—and that in and of itself could be a very wild ride!

Carole J. Burns is the Director of the Wakerly Technology Training Center at Marquette University. Follow her on Twitter @burnsy1217.

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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual authors and do not represent the views of Marquette University or the Diederich College of Communication.

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