Archive for the ‘Learning New Skills’ Category

learningI am slightly obsessed with learning. I was the only kid in my grade one class who was excited about homework. I couldn't wait to get to university to take classes on theoretical physics and African history pre-colonization. As my boyfriend can attest (he had to implement a 'no books in the bed' rule when I moved in), I usually am nearing the maximum number of books my library will allow because I want to read every book written about all the subjects I'm interested in - of which there are many.

Constant learning has been essential to the growth of my creativity. As I mention in my booklet, 51 Ways to be more Creative Every Day (don't have it yet? Sign up for email updates on the right side of this page!) learning helps us grow, and growing is energizing. It gives us new ideas to play with, new methods of exploring those ideas, and new ways of seeing ourselves and the world we live in.

I've satisfied my thirst for knowledge and understanding in many different ways, from formal education, to library books, to courses and workshops (in person and online), from extensive Google searches in my living room to immersive hands-on explorations on other continents. I love teaching myself - I learned to speak Spanish and to swim with more ease and efficiency without an instructor - and I tend to try to figure things out on my own before asking anyone for help. I often get to the point, however, when I know that I can't get farther on my own steam and need to take advantage of the work that someone else has done to become an expert. (more…)

travel photography

Since I've been practising DSLR photography (you can see other posts about my learning process here, here, here, and here), I really wanted to bring my camera on our trip to Turkey, Egypt, and the UAE. We were both a bit nervous about having it with us because we'd be very sad if it were lost or stolen, but I figured it was worth the risk. It's not every day that I get to practice taking photos in cities other than my own, never mind on the other side of the world.

I wasn't totally sure that my skills would be good enough to make a difference in the quality of the photos but it turned out that, skills or no skills, the camera made a huge difference. And since I wasn't sketching or doing any other creative activities, composing pictures gave me the opportunity to keep my creative muscles engaged.

The biggest thing I learned about travel photography was, (more…)

My latest photography adventure happened on Canada Day. I don't think I can remember a July 1st that wasn't sunny and warm and this year didn't disappoint. We spent the day in a park surrounded by good friends and later went home to barbecue. We set up a slackline, hung a swing in a tree, played frisbee and bocce ball, coloured, played music (my friends did while I took pictures), and drank boozy blueberry lemonade. We couldn't have asked for a better July day.

This was my first time turning my DSLR on people instead of objects and it was pretty challenging. I ended up with a lot of grumpy-looking faces - not because my friends were in bad moods but because I often managed to catch them between smiles. And whereas I had been used to shooting in aperture priority, this time I switched to playing with shutter speeds to capture motion. I wanted to see what I could do with both blurred motion and with crisp action shots.

Bright sunny days like this one are hard to capture since they tend to overexpose the shots and since the shade we were in tended to make everything too dark. I spent a lot more time playing with editing after the fact as well - and as usual I learned a lot!

learning photographylearning dslr photography


I'm stepping out of my comfort zone again to show you another experiment with DSLR photography. I interviewed a local chocolatier (the blog post will be published here soon) and she gave me a box of chocolates to try. More beautiful than most, these chocolates lend themselves to photography thanks to their vibrant colours and unique shapes and textures. They taste pretty good too!

Here's the story of a beautiful box of chocolates told in pictures.

DSLR photography - chocolate

Even the box is beautiful. It's inviting me in...

DSLR photography - chocolate

This is the magical view you get when you open the box. (more…)

Orchid 8I bought by first DSLR camera in January and I'm slowly learning how to use it. I'd like to do a regular series where I talk about what I'm learning and share some of my photos. If there are any seasoned photographers out there it would be great to know what you think!

The Orchid Show

An annual event put on by a group of orchid enthusiasts, this year the show was held in a beautiful greenhouse outside the city - a big improvement from last year's school gymnasium. Since this was my second time attending I had an idea of what to expect, but was still blown away by the incredible variety of colours and shapes that these plants manage to create. There's so much to look at it can be overwhelming, and hard to decide what to take pictures of. I decided to jump right in, shooting anything that caught my eye - and there was a lot! It took some patience since the place was pretty crowded and everyone had a camera of some kind (most people were using their phones). I gave myself permission to take my time, fiddling with settings and trying different angles, often taking a dozen shots of the same flower. My patience paid off - I was really happy with how a lot of the shots turned out. I've shared some of my favourites, as well as some tips that I learned along the way.