Secret January Project Revealed…

Secret Revealed…

So, probably not that many of you are actually dying to know what my latest secret project is, but I’m gonna announce it like it’s special because it’s special to me. 🙂

For the next several weeks, I will be taking…



Oh yes…I’ve been wanting to take photography lessons for the last several (I can’t believe I’ve had to wait this long) years.

As a quick photography-love recap:

  • I’ve loved photography since I was a kid.
  • I can’t even remember how young I was when I got my first camera but I took it with me everywhere. I remember having to wind the place the film. I think I was in elementary school.
  • I took my first photography class in 5th grade. We learned how to take photos and develop our own film in dark rooms. One of my photos won Photograph of the Year. They said they’d hang my photo in the school forever but I haven’t been back to check.
  • I wanted to take photography classes in college but couldn’t afford them (heck, I could barely afford food!) or the camera the class required
  • I wanted a DSLR for a few years (after extensive research) but had to save up for the longest time before I finally got one.

So, on the one hand, photography classes been a long time coming, and I wish I would have done things sooner. On the other, having waited so long and worked so hard for my equipment and the opportunity to do these photography classes, I feel like I really, really, really appreciate them.


I knew class would be going pretty late tonight so I fueled up with a Kashi TLC Honey Almond Flax granola bar. I love these bars, but I may have to have a bigger snack and lighter dinner so I’m not quite so hungry in class. I was able to pay attention in class, but I did notice I was pretty hungry.

I wasn’t sure what to expect our first day…or for any of the classes really. Last week I received an email with some welcome info and a class packet PDF. I printed out the PDF and boy was there a lot of technical-looking stuff on there! (At first glance at least). I wondered if the class would be fun, would the instructor be nice, would I learn a lot?

Well, I can say after completing my first class that all my expectations and hopes were happily met. We have a friendly group of students, a gem of an instructor (who gives great examples that really help me understand the concepts), and yes…I’ve already learned a lot (in one class!).

Today, for Week 1, we learned about some basic functions of the camera – Aperture, Shutter Speed, and ISO and how these affect Exposure.

We learned how to adjust these functions on our cameras and how adjusting these affected our photos.

My favorite trick I learned today was controlling the aperture. By learning how aperture works and how I can adjust it, I now know how to increase and decrease the blurry backgrounds seen so commonly in food and product photography. Since most of my photos are food-related, I find this especially helpful. I would like to grow my photography skills outside of food, though…I’d love to do portraits, action shots, and especially some nature photos! I love taking pictures of everything really!

Here are some practice photos I took using my new aperture skills:


Closed aperture.


Open aperture.

Same camera, same lens, totally different photos! I used to think the lens made a big difference in how my photos came out. Now I’m learning that I can control, much more than I originally expected, how my photos look.

There’s no way I can recap what I learned in today’s class in a blog post, but here are some starter tips:

  1. Learn what the different functions mean/do. Get a book. Research online. Read, read, read! I’m serious. I have 2 books on photography but I haven’t read them. I wish I would have, but I’m learning now at least. If you aren’t taking classes, try to learn yourself.
  2. Once you understand what the functions mean/do, fiddle around with your camera and see how adjusting certain functions affect your photos. Take photos, adjust, take more, adjust…note the difference as you go.

We took some practice shots in class and even got assigned homework. I know most people don’t get excited when they hear “homework” but I learn best when I’m hands-on, so I really think the homework assignments will help me improve and grow. I left class super pumped and excited about photography.

I can’t wait to learn more! Week 2 class won’t get here soon enough! 🙂

I know there’s so much more to learn and so much more I want to do with photography.

Here are some photography goals I have (big and small, in the near and far future):

  • Learn how to control my camera (instead of relying on the default settings)
  • Learn various photography tricks and special affects (capturing lightning, fireworks, etc)
  • Learn how to take pictures of Bailey (and other moving objects)
  • Learn the lingo. It will be so much easier to research online or discuss photography with other photographers if I understand what they’re talking about.
  • Improve photography
  • Get photos on and other similar web sites
  • Start some Flickr Galleries
  • Get some freelance photography gigs, hopefully a few food-related!

I’m sure some more goals will pop into my head since you guys know I’m a pretty goal-oriented person, but this is a nice start.

Did I mention I was excited about my photography classes yet? I am SO EXCITED!

Hubby-Prepared Dinner


Hubby was in charge of dinner tonight and had it nearly ready for me by the time I got home.


Parmesan-Dijon Chicken with scalloped potatoes and a veggie medley with some Moscato (thanks Megan!) to drink.



I used to LOVE these scalloped potatoes but today I just thought they were pretty good. They were a little too margarine-y tasting. Now, the chicken hubby prepared was DELISH! I can see this being a new staple chicken dinner in our house. The veggie side was basic – just frozen veggies zapped in the microwave with a tiny dab of organic butter.

What a great dinner to come home to?! Nice work hubby!

I had a couple pieces of dark chocolate for dessert. SImple but hit the spot!

France? Moi?

In other news, Fab’s Guest Post on Budgeting has me thinking…you know, it’s been over 10 years since I’ve been to France and I’d really like to go back. Like…this year…go back. I’m gonna do some research but if things work out, I’m hoping to go to France for my 30th birthday! Wouldn’t that be a wonderful way to celebrate?!

I want to hit up the patisseries, visit my exchange family (or families), find some neat shops, visit some interesting restaurants, hit up some tourist spots, maybe even take cooking classes or visit the farmers markets (something outside of the box). I’m excited, but I need your help!

Does any one have any tips on how to go to France affordably? Any recommendations on Bed & Breakfasts or unique restaurants or shopping or anything to visit?! HELP!

17 thoughts on “Secret January Project Revealed…”

  1. Wow, that's such a fantastic example of what a difference once setting makes. I've always wondered how much I could learn in a photography class, compared to just fiddling around on my own… that is if I ever get a new spiffy camera. Thanks for sharing… and I for one am most definitely looking forward to more Bailey pics!

  2. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORAY! what a fabulous secret 🙂 i was getting eager to find out what you were doing with all the secret projects you've got going on…(this one, the fabric, etc.)

    I am excited that you will be getting to do something that you've wanted for so long- how rewarding!!!

    p.s. in a few weeks, i'll be taking my first Zumba class. Any tips/encouragement would be greatly appreciated- i am TERRIFIED!!!

  3. Oh how fun! I'm taking photog classes as well and working on getting more pics on tastespotting! I've also just picked up some photog books to supplement the class. How long is your class? Have you checked out "food bloggers unite?" they have good tips and tricks. Also, have you checked out blogography? They are doing a bloggy-photography challenge that I want to join! I can't wait to see how your class goes! I'm about to sign up for yet another one and can't wait!

  4. sooo excited for you! YOu know….the best way to see if you really know something is to teach someone else how to do it………. hint hint 😉

  5. Great posts today!
    1) Glad to hear about the photography classes. I used to train photographers but I switched professions so I'm back to just enjoying the art. Your photos always look great. My advice, continue to shoot, shoot, shoot! The more you shoot on manual the better photographer you will become.
    2) Kudos to the husband for making you a nice dinner.
    3) I was in Paris last year and had the time of my life. My trip to Europe actually consisted of France, Germany, Belgium and Prague (the best city in the world in my opinion!) I stayed in a nice reasonable hotel in Paris that was in a great location (I'll have to look the info up and send it your way).

  6. Oooohh my gosh! So jealous of the photog classes, HOW FUN! I was just looking on the Light Factory's website last week to see what classes they offered. So so fun, can't wait to see all the neat tips and tricks you learn! 🙂


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