Your story, Class of January 2017

The 3rd instalment from AYWMC students who have been working their way through A Year With My Camera during 2017

Alison Sackett

Before AYWMC I was a keen amateur who invariably took photos on auto, who had put away the DSLR and moved to a compact camera but was continually disappointed with the results.

AYWMC has given me back my photo-mojo! I swapped the heavy DSLR for a new mirrorless camera and will now shoot mainly off auto. It's encouraged me to take more photos again and thus improve (and specifically I now understand and can successfully use exposure compensation).

BEFORE: Gorgeous subject and great use of colour, but no clear focal point and inaccurate focus

BEFORE: Gorgeous subject and great use of colour, but no clear focal point and inaccurate focus

AFTER: focus is spot on, beautiful layering, accomplished use of aperture to control depth of field

AFTER: focus is spot on, beautiful layering, accomplished use of aperture to control depth of field

Doing the course has been life enhancing for me in ways that I didn't imagine when I first signed up - thank you Emma!

I set up the Somerset AYWMC meetup group. We organise meets approximately every month to local places and as many members as can, tend to come along. They are a great group of people and we've had such a laugh each time we meet up. We also always end up learning things from each other. I would now classify them as friends.

The Somerset AYWMCers - the first meetup group, inspiring another 15 to date, around the world

The Somerset AYWMCers - the first meetup group, inspiring another 15 to date, around the world

How would you describe AYWMC to a friend thinking of joining?

A great free photo course that comes in easily understandable bite-size chunks with a very friendly and helpful associated Facebook group in which to post your homework.

Follow Alison on Instagram


Nancy Milburn

When I started the online course, I owned a Nikon D3100, a Panasonic LUMIX zs20 and my little ol' iPhone! I found while I liked the Nikon, I didn't know anything about manual settings so only would shoot on auto! Pretty much the same for the LUMIX. My fall back was the iPhone given the convenience of size.

After my year (traveled some during this period so not able to do all the exercises), I now have a better understanding about aperture, shutter speed and DOF. I'm definitely more aware of composition before I shoot a photo. Ihink about where light is coming from, shadows, creating reflections and rule of thirds. Before I just shot a view! BUT full disclosure, my staying on manual 100% is still a work in progress! I find when traveling that I don't have a lot of time to set up the shot and I still need to think about which settings to use BUT this is what I'm learning from AYWMC!

This is a wonderful self-paced group and no pressure JUST encouragement. You will have an opportunity to learn and experiment each week with the lesson topic starting with the very basics and moving thru to more difficult topics. Having a place, Facebook, to post your work as well as view the work of others is very rewarding.

You can catch up with Nancy's travels on her travel blog:  https://europe17blog.wordpress.com/


Sarah Knights

The exposure triangle at last makes sense (previously it had been double Dutch). At long last I know when to use AV, TV and manual is no longer a disaster, in fact it is my mode of choice. I am now able to capture images which had never been possible before.

Instead of thinking I cannot possibly capture that image, I now have the knowledge to try and get a result. Not a perfect images but something to work with and develop instead of having a go with no result and instantly give up. AYWMC has enlightened me to think outside the box and set challenges that I would have never dreamed of.

BEFORE: atmospheric shot spoiled by camera shake and distracting highlights on the dog's bed

BEFORE: atmospheric shot spoiled by camera shake and distracting highlights on the dog's bed

AFTER: pin-sharp focus on the eye, close crop for an engaging, intimate composition, perfect exposure

AFTER: pin-sharp focus on the eye, close crop for an engaging, intimate composition, perfect exposure

I can now capture images in low light, use long exposures day or night. Use depth of field. Use shutter speed to freeze or blur motion. More ideas for composition, think about direction and colour of light. And most important if my image doesn't turn out how I want it to, I have the knowledge to change my settings to get what I want, although usually not first time, but practice makes perfect.

Without AYWMC I would not have begun my photographic journey. My camera would still be just an acquaintance and not my best buddy, although I wouldn't say I know it inside out, but who over the last 9 months I have learnt to work with and love. Thank you so much Emma for enabling me to see the world through photographers eyes and giving me the knowledge to capture those images.

AFTER: Beautifully executed flower portrait. Don't miss the tiny visitor.

AFTER: Beautifully executed flower portrait. Don't miss the tiny visitor.

How would you describe AYWMC to a friend thinking of joining?

AYWMC has been the game changer for me. It has all the information in a clear, concise, easy to understand format. Even though it is online you are not alone, with Facebook and Instagram there is always someone with good advise, you just have to ask. Give it a go, what have you got to lose.


Stephanie wetherhill

AYWMC is the most wonderful supportive community of like-minded people. A safe space for learning. And a nutritional space where my learning and eagerness is fed well. I want for nothing in this group.

Before I did the course, me and my camera were like foreign exchange students: eager, interested, inseparable, but didn't speak each other's lingo when it really came to it!

AYWMC has taught me to understand my camera. I used to want the latest thing. I'm not bothered now. My "beginner" sony a230 is just fine as it is. It does exactly what I want and if I get it wrong it's not the camera's fault. 

BEFORE: Beautiful daffodils, but an unimaginative viewpoint and high contrast lighting

BEFORE: Beautiful daffodils, but an unimaginative viewpoint and high contrast lighting

AFTER: Masterful handling of light to create an atmospheric portrait

AFTER: Masterful handling of light to create an atmospheric portrait

Since I started, I can slow time, capture more of nature in slower shots. I can capture an atmosphere and I am more creative in what I try to communicate through my photos.

This course helps keep me mindful when the rest of the world appears to be going mad. I can drown out the world, forget the stresses and fully immerse myself in my hobby at a pace that works for me. To be able to learn without such strings is liberating and to learn in this way is priceless.

Follow Steph on Instagram

 


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