Getting schooled.

I have had a Pentax K-r for a little over two years (I wrote about it once here). Because I have a little more time on my hands these days, at some point this past January I finally decided to hunt for a class on how to understand the ins and outs of a DSLR.

I found a class at the Genesee Arts Center’s Community Darkroom. I noted when the next round of classes started, laid some heavy hints on my husband, Bruce, and for my 55th birthday, he paid for the class tuition as a gift.

I want to say right up front that it is a very good class. On the first day the instructor showed me how to change the aperture settings and blew open all sorts of neuro-paths and avenues for me. And each class has been like that; I learn or hear something that solves a problem, answers a question or makes a connection that I have been unable to solve, answer or make on my own via trial-and-error or using the manuals that came with the camera and lens.

There are seven students in the class. I am one of two with a Pentax, and apparently, I am the one with the cheapest camera body. The instructor doubts that it’s an SLR (it is). He doesn’t think it has a mirror in it (it does). He says there are work-arounds for its deficiencies and that it can do nearly everything that we will be discussing in class, so not to worry. Thus far, however, no deficiencies have arisen.

Well. Except the one. And that would be me.

Our most recent class was a field trip to the Lilac Festival at Highland Park. We were to take photos using different aperture and shutter speed settings, different metering modes, and using various “rules of thumb” (sunny 16, cloudy 11, etc.) and our palms as light meters, adjusting white balance where necessary. And I did. All of the above. For two and a half hours. I took 99 photos.

Our instructor asked that we use the software that came with our cameras to transfer the photos to our computers, and send him our best results and/or problematic photos with questions via email. In the past, I have made that transfer with Picasa or Windows Explorer, but the Pentax platform allows me to see more information about the photos, or so I was told, and I do not doubt that, so I used the Pentax platform to make the transfer.

Unfortunately, I am an idiot. More accurately, I did something idiotic, I know not what, but I was in a hurry and I did not transfer any photos. Instead I deleted them all. And some of them were good! I just know they were. Some would have raised questions and concerns I need answers to. Others would have just made me look like a natural-born photographer and might have elevated the status of my lowly Pentax K-r in the eyes of my instructor. But no. They are gone. All gone.

Which left me with a conundrum. How to make up for 2½ hours of lost work in the space of a busy week? With iffy weather? Our field trip day was sun and clouds, threatening rain and mugginess — a variable weather day that tested our technical prowess at aperture, shutter speed, and ISO settings. I had no hope of duplicating that set of conditions in the wildly fluctuating weather patterns of this season.

An aside: Did you all where you are skip spring and go right from a bitter winter to summer? Because that seems to be what has happened here. I don’t like it. I don’t like it one bit.

So yesterday morning Bruce and I got up early and took the dogs for a walk in Highland Park. It rained. There was no sun and so no sunny 16. I managed to duplicate a few shots, but many of the flowers that had been fresh on Tuesday were done in by that day’s unseasonable heat, and there was far less light. I took the camera out again yesterday afternoon for that daily dog-walk to capture a few images in the sunlight we had between storms. I managed to transfer all of them (184 this time) to the computer without losing one, and then humbled myself and sent the instructor some images and an apologetic email. And that will have to do. Because someone has to clean up all the gobs of fuzz and the dust bunnies from the felt sewing. And I think that someone is probably me.


About pattiblaine

Raised under the name of Snyder in the upstate NY town of Vestal, I've worked as a typesetter, a fast food salad bar tender, an art reviewer, a waitress, a part-time nanny, and a very-bad-with-phones temp. Once upon a time I was all-but-thesis toward a Masters in Art History. Now I'm just a mom with a lot of fiber squirreled away throughout the house. We call it insulation. In 2013 I completed a life-long learning program at Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School, and am a postulant toward the diaconate in the Episcopal Diocese of Rochester, NY. In addition to coordinating volunteers for the soup kitchen, I volunteer as a tutor at a deeply impoverished city elementary school, and am a docent at the Memorial Art Gallery.
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2 Responses to Getting schooled.

  1. dawnk777 says:

    If you buy one of these memory cards, it comes with a program called image rescue, which can retrieve deleted pictures, if you haven’t used the card again. Hubby is a newspaper photographer and occasionally deletes pictures he ends up needing. It has saved his butt a few times! He uses it all the time. He bought a Lexar memory card at Walmart that came bundled with the program. Probably you could find it at Target, too.

    I’m so sorry you lost your pictures. That is annoying. I love lilacs, too. The pictures on your blog look nice to me!

  2. dawnk777 says:

    Oh yeah. Here near frigid Lake Michigan, we have had a hard time getting summer weather. we’d have a day or two of warm weather and then it would go back to being cold again. Today is in the 70s and it’s quite muggy, which is a switch.

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