My friend Amanda taught a photography class Saturday. I was the only one who didn’t have my camera in manual mode by the time class rolled around, but I’m trying. We stood clustered in the shadows of Gilbert’s Liberty Market, listening as Amanda patiently and kindly explained aperture and a handful of other technical photography terms.




(Look at how long her hair is again!)

Manual photography to me is a lot like math and poetry. It is completely overwhelming and makes me feel like I don’t get the bigger picture. (No pun intended.) So it was by complete surprise that after 30 minutes of listening, asking questions and playing with my settings that I actually understood what aperture meant.

I was sent home with some homework — don’t just slap on the fixed 1.4 mm lens and be okay with the blurry results. Instead, play with the aperture and see what I could do. With weekend food prep on the list, here is one such experiment:





Far from perfect, but I’m starting to get it. I will tell you, watching the others in the photography class made me wish I had a better camera. I’m dreaming of an upgrade, a tripod and a more functional camera bag.

And most certainly a handful of hours with my new photography mentor to figure out the rest of the buttons. Er, settings.


*Additionally, two other lovely items to point out from this adventure:

1. Have you had the cafe au lait in the giant bowl at Liberty Market? If you live in the East Valley, enjoy mild coffee and a warm breakfast, and like to feel French on occasion — may I suggest ordering one of these to sip on the patio? Delightful. I wish I lived closer and could just this more often. (Side note: I envision a kitchen with many cafe au lait bowls one day. This is actually something I’d consider collecting.)

2. I love that my girlfriends can take one look at me, figure out something is brewing and come up with just the right things to say to make me go home and think, feel loved and be prepared to make a change for the better.