Open Wide the Shutters of a New Year

I didn’t expect my desire to aspire to get off to such an invigorating start. 

I put my focus word for 2013, aspire, into action just a few days into the new year. The dictionary says aspire means “to desire with eagerness.” 

And I’m eager to learn more about taking photos this year. To prove it, the camera parts are scattered all over my couch. 

Battery, two lenses, lens caps, strap, cords and of course, the camera. This week I decided to buy a real camera. 

To graduate from the lean, sleek, silver little point-and-shoot Nikon I’ve been using, I’ve purchased its much more sophisticated big city cousin. The somber, all-black, worldly-wise, ultra-serious Nikon D3200. With a 55-200 and an 18-55-vibration-reduction lens. 

I actually have no idea what that means.

Over the holidays I saw some amazing photos on blogs. Blurred backgrounds and razor-sharp focused subjects. Tiny items shot up close with total clarity. 

I fell in love with the photos. So I showed them to my super-talented photographer friend Brittany and asked her how I could learn to take beautiful photos like that. “First of all you need a better camera," she said. "With a separate lens.”

Oh. It sounded expensive. I was disappointed for a few days, then I asked her the most economical way I could attempt to imitate the photos I so admired. 

She found me a beginner transition camera with an after-holiday sale price with an extra-big discount on a second lens. As I thought about buying the camera, I also thought about what I might aspire to. Take aim and shoot for. And the possibility for my artistic self to blossom filled my heart. 

So I took a deep breath and bought it.

Now I had camera parts and a manual filled with acronyms and initials that mean nothing to me, sitting on my couch. 

I thought I’d dive right in and follow the instructions on the first page of the manual. 

Three steps with diagrams on the proper way to attach the straps to either side of the camera. I figured this couldn’t be too difficult since it didn’t involve anything electronic. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

I tried to attach the first strap but it got twisted. I couldn't get both ends of the folded-over strap through the tiny loop. I attached it incorrectly and had to start over. Three times. 

Thirty minutes later, I finally had both straps attached. I was already exhausted and hadn’t even turned the camera on.

I managed to charge the battery since it was very similar to my point-and-shoot camera, inserted the memory card and turned on the camera. 

Up popped the first screen to set the date, time and time zone. I did it! 

I even went a step further and formatted the memory card. Then I attached the lens and the directions said I would hear a clicking sound to indicate it was properly attached. 

I didn’t hear anything so I got worried and thought I better put the camera down. I decided I’d had enough for one night and would wait for my expert-friend Brittany to arrive.

My afternoon of photography lessons were hard work, with Brittany posing scenarios for me to slow down shutter speed, let more light in, zoom in or out. 

I fumbled my way through, clicking wrong buttons and feeling quite lost, but I’m excited. 

It's always this way in the beginning of anything new. This newborn year is full of possibilities. 

And I wonder what it may hold for me. 

But for now, first things first. I need a sassy camera bag. 

Those canvas, stodgy, black bags aren’t for me. I haven’t quite found what I’m looking for, but I’ve been scouring websites for a sophisticated, elegant, cosmopolitan camera tote. 

I'm thinking maybe something in red?


  1. Red sounds great! What fun - a whole new world waiting for you in pictures! Looking forward to seeing the results in future articles! Have fun!

  2. So funny.... You always express things perfectly!

  3. Love it! Can't wait to see your new "point of view"...

    1. Yes, I wonder what that will be! But even looking at old things through a new lens should be exciting!

  4. In another year or so, you will be just as super-talented as I am... :-)

    Even though I was present for most of this, I still find reading your post super hilarious! Looking forward to the photography of 2013!

    1. Only with more photography lessons from you!

  5. I love this post! You're inspiring me to expect and hope for more from this year. Can't wait to see all your beautiful photos.

  6. So glad you got the D3200. I love it, and I am looking forward to hearing more about your learnings.

    1. I love this! We can learn together and compare photos! The best kind of sisterhood!


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