Photo101: Bliss

Bliss is all around us in Hawaii; it’s hard to choose an image to best illustrate the theme.

I took this photo today on the beach in Waipi’o Valley. The fifty or so people who live here have no power, water, sewage, phones, cell or TV coverage. But, somehow, they have all they need.

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Photo101: Home

It begins with Home. This is the first theme we were given for the Photography 101 Bloggers U.

Even in the most challenging environment, in this case the floor of the Kilauea Iki Crater which last erupted in 1959, a seed from the ‘Ohi’a tree, nestled in and began to thrive. It found a home.

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Photo101 Blogging U Challenge

I am very excited to participate in the WordPress Blogging U Photography 101 photo challenge. During the month of November (beginning tomorrow, November 3) I will be posting a photo every day on my blog; the image to be inspired by a different theme provided each day and will be tagged “Photo101.”

This dovetails nicely with my desire to work on becoming a better photographer. With focused practice and learning tips and tricks from other participants, my fingers are crossed for good results.

If you want to follow the challenge on WordPress, you can see all the participants’ submissions by tagging “Photo101” in your reader.

Gratitude: Bloggers and Their Blogs

One of the items on my retirement “To-Do” list is to become a better photographer. I purchased a nice DSLR that I hope will help me take my photos to a level beyond the images I get from my point-and-shoot camera or my cell phone.

Despite—or, maybe because of—all the bells and whistles available to me on my new camera, I still find myself reaching for my cell phone when I want to take a picture. It is so easy to grab it and shoot. I don’t need to think about the correct aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. The results, while not great, are usually at least acceptable. When I pick up my DSLR camera, I feel overwhelmed with all of the possible setting combinations. If I take a photo and I’m unhappy with the result, I have no idea what went wrong. If it comes out well, I am equally perplexed as to how to recreate it.

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Because of some upcoming trips, I feel that I can no longer ignore my “grown up” camera. I really need to learn about its features and capabilities, and what all the mysterious dials and buttons do. I must finally wrap my head around the concept that a larger f-stop number indicates a smaller aperture opening. That a bigger aperture shortens the depth of field, while a smaller aperture will bring the background and foreground equally in focus. That the shutter speed and aperture settings work together to stop or blur motion, or allow photos to be taken in very low light or in extremely bright settings. Yikes!

Where do I go to educate myself? Blogs, of course.

Just as I have favorite blogs with cooking and entertaining information, travel tips, book reviews, opinions on politics and world events, and ones that make me laugh, make me think, or just make me feel as if I’m reading a letter from a friend, I am now reading blogs to help me learn more about my camera and how to take better pictures.

I continue to be amazed at the level of information available in the blogosphere. I am in awe of the generous souls who are passionate about what they do and have worked hard to become proficient, who now take the time to share their wisdom and talent with an unseen universe of strangers. Even if they have been able to monetize their blog, or hope to do so in the future, the information is still free and available to anyone who searches for it. Granted, the content on some blogs is questionable or just plain wrong, but I have found plenty of blogs that are well-written, beautifully designed, and full of information and inspiration.

I don’t know what it is that makes someone want to share so much of their knowledge with others, but I’m very grateful that they do. Because they blog, I have become a better cook and entertainer, I have read books that otherwise I might have missed, I have learned about different parts of the world, and I have had my mind opened to various points of view. I have also “met” quite a few interesting people that I wouldn’t have if not for their blogs.

I know that whether or not I become a better photographer is up to me but I am thankful to those who have helped me gain the tools I need to improve. I consider each post a gift and I am grateful that they placed it on their blog for me to open.