Learn Something New Every Day

9 Jan

The new year started at work and it’s this frustrating time with lots of opportunity and a huge challenge. In December, it felt like all these little bothers accumulated, in part to not setting up better systems from the start. So I hope to start every January with a smarter Excel spreadsheet, cleaned out inbox, clear intentions. Yet, January has its own task list. There should be a month between December and January for preparing for the new year.

I used to have this thing where I tried to learn something new every Wednesday: a new word, trivia, anything. The photo above is the first to include a person. You can read about it here, where it’s explained that it was a long exposure (10 minutes) that caught the still figure of a man getting his shoes shined, but none of the detail of a busy street. It’s an example of motion blur in photography.

I learned about this in an all-day DSLR photography class on Saturday.

It’s pretty astounding what information a camera will save, mostly depending on the amount of light we let in. Tiny packets of time, as my teacher repeated.

I feel this photograph deeply right now. All this traffic, and yet all these still moments. Before the year ended, I decided I wanted a lighter year in 2012, one with open windows, less clutter so light could hit the corners of the room, a lighter relationship with everyone. Lighter paint on my walls, lighter layers on my back.

Going back to learning something new constantly reminded me how empowering it is. I feel like fear or stagnancy are usually based in assumptions. In my class, we learned how to control the settings of the camera so we can stay away from the automatic settings. And once I started looking for opportunities to learn something new, I felt like I was challenging assumptions all over the place. Sitting in a classroom again, with a really interesting subject I wanted to know, not just felt I should, was great.

It shed light in a lot of the dark corners: I’ll never be a better photographer; I just can’t figure out technical things; I don’t have time to be away from the baby for a full day; My solo work style has made it impossible for me to participate in a class or group work… All that positive effect from seven hours in the city.

A few fun places I’ve recently tried out, or my husband has, for learning something new:

Chicago Photography Academy

I Wish Lessons (Rob took a Scotch tasting class!)

Lynda.com (I learned about this so I could go to the next level in Excel, but also noticed it has WordPress and Photography assistance.)

Happy 2012. I hope you are enjoying the year already and looking forward to more!

One Response to “Learn Something New Every Day”

  1. Erin January 14, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    My computer died and I lost all my feeds- hate to miss one of your posts! I love that you took a photography class. I’m taking one at Alt Summit next Sat and can’t wait. I have only used my manual settings for the past 3 years of having our camera. And I love what you’re saying about challenging assumptions- it’s nice to expand and grow, isn’t it? Happy New Year!

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