Elizabeth Willis Barrett
I wrote in my thechristmasexperiment.com blog about my four-year-old granddaughter, Bella, wanting to know how to play the piano after one lesson. It reminded me of the time in Ireland when I wanted to do the same with photography. We had taken a trip to China the year before with Gilbert’s Sister City program and two of the men in our group were very good at photography. They each had a much nicer camera than I had and I figured that I was missing out because my camera was a point and shoot. So before we went to Ireland, again with the Sister Cities program, I insisted on buying a Canon Rebel. It was a lot of money for me to spend on a camera especially when we were also paying for the trip, but since I’m in charge of the minutiae of our family finances, I bought it anyway. Now my pictures were going to be phenomenal, too!
Unfortunately, I didn’t have time before the trip to practice with the camera and my reading up on its functions during the long plane ride to Belfast didn’t help much. At least I knew enough to choose the auto setting and I took pictures of everything: doors, castles, cathedrals, grass, water, children.
At one of our stops I saw a member of our entourage taking pictures with an over the top camera. “Ah,” I thought. “He can teach me everything I need to know in a few minutes and my pictures will turn out better than what I’m seeing on the view finder review.”
So I took my camera to him and asked him to teach me. I can still see the quizzical look on his face and as I think back I realize what an idiot I was. He might as well come up to me sometime while I’m playing the piano solo “Charge of the Uhlans” and ask in a hopeful voice, “Do you have a minute to teach me how to play the piano?”
Playing the piano takes many years of learning and practicing. So does photography. I wanted to know something without paying the price.
That happens often to all of us, I suppose. Whether we want to learn the piano or photography or how to post a blog or how to be a good friend or grandparent or even how to be a sober individual, it takes learning and practicing and we have to be willing to pay the price.
One of the things I want to be is a good photographer. I have a lot to learn, but I’ve taken some classes, bought some great books and hopefully, some of you out there won’t mind me asking a few questions. I’ll keep them simple.