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2003-02-19 - 3:51 p.m.

In Which We Go to Class

In an effort to Take Advantage of Our Community, The Scientist and I are taking a continuing education photography short course through the university student union. It meets every Wednesday from 7-9 p.m. for five weeks. Our first class was last week and it went well. The instructor looks like an aging hippie (tie-dyed shirt, long grey ponytail) and is a professional photographer.

The class focuses on the basic principles of photography, using your camera, and how to set up a good photo. We don't have any darkroom time, but that's ok because we don't plan on developing our own film.

Last week we learned how to hold a camera for horizontal and vertical photographs, how a camera works (just the basics), the basics about film (black and white and color), and some tips and techniques to take better pictures, even if you leave your SLR camera on the automatic mode. My brother is a photographer (currently looking for a job as a newspaper staff photographer) and it was fun to call him up after class and talk about what our instructor had told us.

Tonight I think we're scheduled to learn more about the manual settings on our cameras and also to watch a slide show of our instructor's work while he tells us how he achieved the photographs. We wanted to take pictures this weekend (our optional homework was to challenge ourselves to take an entire row of vertical pictures and to try out three kinds of film) but we never got around to it. I'd like to at least finish the roll that's in the camera now and shoot a couple of rolls of black and white to test out how I like various b&w film. I forsee many pictures of our cats in the next couple of weeks.


My second book club meeting was last night. It went really well (as did the first one). Flux was such a provocative book for all of us (we are all women in our early to late 20s) that we had a lively 2-hour discussion.

As the host, I went to Whole Foods and got a cantaloupe, two apples, two pears, some rustic country bread, a bottle of red wine, and three cheeses (a triple cream French cheese similar to Brie, sheep's milk Brie, and a raw milk Swiss). In the end, though, I remembered that another person was bringing garlic bread so I saved the rustic country bread for us as well as the Swiss cheese (The Scientist picked it out so I thought he would want to eat it), pears (they weren't ripe enough), one of the apples, and half the melon. Someone else brought a lasagna and I baked the last of the Valentine's Day cookies, so we had a whole lot of food.

The Scientist and K.'s husband T. were going to play chess together during our women-only book club, but they enjoyed the food (with our blessing) before they left (and after they got back, for that matter). I enjoyed leftovers today, eating the other half of the cantaloupe (sublimely, perfectly ripe) for breakfast and the other apple and rest of the soft cheeses (which were very popular) for lunch (plus a cookie or three for a snack). The Scientist will enjoy the pears later in the week as they become properly ripe.

With all the cold and snow (just flurries, nothing like what the East Coast was slammed with) the fresh fruit was wonderful. I had flashes of eating fresh fruit bought at the market for breakfast in Hawaii when I went there in high school. That and watching Blue Crush recently have made me long for an ocean beach. There are some really cheap airfares to Florida right now, but the timing is still bad. The Scientist is hoping to get another job interview in the next month or two and if he does I'll go with him so that would be our spring travel. Unfortunately, it wouldn't be a beach town.

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