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Whenever I’m at the beach, my soul feels just like this little girl jumping up and down in the waves. It reminds me that I need to feel like that more often.

This past week, I had the opportunity to be on the photo team for the school’s drama department. It’s my second year on the annual team — and despite how crazy-full the week is — shooting 1000 pictures a night, followed by culling, evaluating, editing, learning from mistakes, then turning in the best 5 (only 5!) to the team leader (for the lobby poster. We’ll use the top 70 per cast for the DVD) and starting over with a new cast the next day — I love, love, LOVE it! Photography fills my soul in an entirely different way.

I learned a lot on the photo team this year — about photography and myself. I’ll spare you the details (which may make you question my sanity, although I’d just blame it on cold medicine and sleep deprivation) but here’s one of my ah-ha’s:

My soul loves photography so much that I’m determined to learn everything I can about it and to do it every chance I get.

Which brings me to Chapter 3 and our weekly photo lesson. But first, I must share my gratitude for anyone reading this post, because making my weekly photography goal public has (finally!) made me make photography a priority in my life. It’s been at the bottom of my list for too long. (And if you suffer from the same disease of putting your personal goals last, I highly recommend committing to a goal publicly – even if it’s just to one person who will hold you accountable. Not new advice, but I can now tell you personally, it works.) Thank you!

Okay, here we go, Chapter 3 Assignment:
(from the awesome book “Nikon D7000: From Snapshots to Great Shots” by John Batdork. It was a lifesaver while shooting in a dark theater this week!)

  • Check out which automatic “scene” modes your camera has and take pictures using the different modes.

Hey, that’s not so hard, right?

Remember, these automatic modes are there for a reason and there’s no shame in using them! Their purpose is to use the settings that are usually best for that scene. For example, portrait mode creates warmer, softer skin tones. Landscape mode enhances the blues and greens — colors that are often found in landscape pictures and uses a small aperture (making everything in focus — not just what’s closest to the camera.) Sports mode uses a fast shutter speed to capture the action with less blur. See? It’s not cheating, it’s useful. And, if you want to learn more – you can use the information saved with each picture about shutter speed, ISO and aperture. When you understand what settings your camera is using automatically, you’ll know what to do if you want to adjust them by shooting manually. (Or you can happily keep using scene mode, take great pictures, impress your family and friends and not worry about it. It’s all good.)

Feel free to link to your pictures from this week or ask a question. Or just tell me — what makes your soul full? (Because I’m curious that way and I’d love to hear from you.)