Yesterday I went to a photography class that my husband signed me up for. It was on the north side of Chicago, which, even on a Sunday morning, was an hour drive from my house. I don’t go to Chicago often – maybe a few times a year. Even though I have lived here most of my life, I am not a very urban person. The neighborhood was really cute – lots of shops and churches. The classroom was on the second floor where we sat in a small studio/loft room with wood floors and high ceilings.

Our instructor was an Irishman named Will. He had a great accent and a dry sense of humor. Photography is not something that can be learned in a day, so he did a nice job of hitting all the highlights. A lot of the terms he used were ones I had learned from long ago when I worked in a darkroom. In the digital world, some things have changed, but you would be surprised how few are drastic changes.

We took some boring pictures in the classroom to see the difference in shutter speed and f-stops. We took a picture of the lights in the ceiling and learned how to trick the light meter in your camera. They don’t look like much, but we did learn something and how it can be used for photographing more interesting subjects.

We took breaks every two hours because we all had to feed the meters. At lunch time, we were given the assignment of going outside (BTW, it was in the teens yesterday) and photographing subjects using a shutter speed faster than 1/60th of a second. He said the subject matter was less important than getting the shutter speed right. I left with two other woman and walked around the neighborhood. These are some of the pictures I took.

After freezing outside, I had lunch in a local tavern with the woman I met from my class. These women were younger than me and recently married. I was the only suburbanite and the only one with kids. It was nice to get to know new people with different backgrounds and careers. Photography was our common link and that sparked our conversation.

We headed back to the classroom for another three hours of instruction. I walked out of there with more knowledge of my camera and photography in general. I have some new tricks that I can try on my kids sports shots, portraits and other subjects of interest.

All and all, it was a good day. The only bad part was the unavoidable traffic back to the ‘burbs with all the Bears fans. I highly recommend finding a day class in a subject that interests you. It was good to take a break from every day life and have some “me time”. All the laundry, paperwork, shopping and kids activities will still be there tomorrow. Or, if you are lucky like me, your husband will do it all while you are gone.