Sunday, June 29, 2008

Week 4

Wow... it is hard to believe that a month has passed already.
Week 4 was another full week. I learned about zone system for color, visual design, infrared photography, macro photography, color image developing in Adobe Lightroom, printing photos, critiquing photos, and multi light studio photography. But the highlight of the week was being able to print up some of my photos.

Thursday I had the whole day off from class so I got up at 4:30am and drove north. I took some sunrise pictures and drove around back roads taking pictures. I got home around 11, took a shower, cooked lunch and crashed on the couch for 2 hours. Then went back out in the evening to take more photos in town. A good day of 400+ photos.

Friday night after class we took a classmate out for her 30th birthday--dinner and bowling. Just imagine 20 photography students in a bowling alley with disco lights... and lots and lots of cameras. The bowling was definately secondary.

Saturday morning I participated in a peer to peer critique. It was interesting to see what other people have been taking and meet some people from different groups. Then in the afternoon I jumped in the car with 3 other girls and we headed 2 hours north for the Augusta Rodeo. It came highly recommended as a great place to experience Montana and shoot a rodeo. Needless to say there were A LOT of us there with cameras. It as almost embarrassing to be one of the people that had a camera. Saturday evening was the local street dance and Sunday afternoon the rodeo started about 2pm. And it was HOT... in the 90's sitting on the edge of an arena holding a black camera for 3 hours. But it was so fun. Another 400+photo day can't be bad. And I bought myself some boots.
This week will be a light week as we get a 4 day break for the holiday. I am heading to South Dakota for a cousin's wedding and to see family. It should be lots of fun and I will have a lot to photograph.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Week 3

Another week has whizzed by. To recap all that happened this week I will start with Monday when I had a 4 hour class on Business and Marketing (this class makes me so nervous). They throw around a lot of big numbers about how much it will cost to start a business and then tell you all that you need to do to market yourself... ahhh... scary. Then I learned about creating black and white imagies in a computer class for 4 hours. Which was followed by 2 hours in computer lab. Yep... another 12 hour day.
Tuesday I had to sit through a Nikon camera rep's depressing presentation. And I shoot Canon, so it was incredibly uninteresting and he wasn't a very good speaker. I could only handle 3 hours and then left early. But I had the afternoon off to catch up on some reading for classes. My friend Amanda and I took a drive about an hour north of here to the Bison Range (we didn't see any bison because we were too late to get in) and Nine Pipes National Wildlife Refuge. It was fun to be out shooting for a couple of hours.

Wednesday we had a class on digital cameras in the morning and wildlife photography in the afternoon... both excellent classes.

Thursday the Canon rep was here for his 4 hour presentation. He was a much better speaker and I was a little more interested in my brand of camera system. In the afternoon we had a 4 hour class on studio lighting. It was interesting but it was also the first time I was so tired in class it was hard to focus.

Friday we had 4 hours in the lighting studio playing with the lights and equipment. I had a lot of fun and could see myself doing portraits. In the afternoon or Photo Studies class learned about creative techniques and then went through an exercise on figuring out our styles. I felt like we were released creatively. It felt good to do some of the creative side of photography and not just the technical stuff. The real treat for the week came that evening when the Canon rep brought a bunch of gear for us to try out. At one point I had about $7,000 worth of equipment out on the street trying it out. I loved trying out the different lenses and cameras, but I am also realistic that it will be quite some time before I can have any of those expensive toys. That evening a bunch of us went over to someone's apartment where we had a Canon vs. Nikon dart game going on. Canon is totally winning and it looks like the game is going to continue through October.

Saturday slept in for the first time and had absolutely no plans. It was good to take a break. In the afternoon a couple of girls from my group called and asked if I wanted to go hiking (and taking pictures, of course). We went for a 3 mile hike with all our gear. It was so much fun. Then in the evening I went downtown with another friend to take night pictures. I filled a 4G memory card in one day... nearly 400 photos.

Today has been a day of catching up on laundry and the details of life. But I did manage to squeeze in a 12 mile bike ride with Cora and her boyfriend. I think I have had more exercise in the last 2 days than I have had in the last 6 months. Oh, and the weather has been fantastic! 70's-80's perfect for adventuring.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photo of the Day

This is a photo I shot in color and turned into black and white for a class. I really like how it turned out.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Old Friends and New Friends

It was getting late last night when I was writing so I didn't get to telling you about Saturday.

A couple of months ago I connected with some college friends via Facebook. They were living in Spokane, Washington. A mere 3 hour drive from Missoula. The only catch was that they are moving to Virginia this month. So I hopped in my car Saturday morning for a little road trip.

Matt and Jessica Roberts are good friends from college. We spent 4 years together at Sterling College and then had the privilege of going to Russia the summer after our sophomore year. Jessica even pulled out her photo album of our adventure in Russia. I wish I had a picture to put up here of the three of us back in the day. We were a site, that is for sure. That summer I remember telling Jessica that she and Matt were going to get married one day... and they admitted that they fell in love that summer. They were married a week after we graduated from college and I was able to attend their wedding. Over the years we have been in touch off and on. The last time we saw each other was our 5 year college reunion...7 years ago.

It was such a fun day catching up on our lives, the lives of other friends we have kept up with, and meeting their kids, Karis and Lucas. We went to an amazing park for the afternoon. Here are a few pictures of my old friends and new little ones.

The best part about seeing Matt and Jess was that the 7 years didn't seem to matter. We were able to pick up where we left off and enjoy one another just as before. I am a little sad that they are moving so far away. But hopefully it won't be 7 years before we meet again.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Week Two

Week two wasn't quite as a shock to the system as week one. But we were quite busy.

We learned about outsmarting your light metering systems in your camera and white balance in Photo Studies. Then had our first Lighting class and started to learn about reading light. We also had our first Business and Marketing class (the only class that really makes me nervous). We had a history lesson in Visual Studies and learned about meta data tagging in Image Capture Edit Manage class. There were two Field Help sessions this week when we were able to sit down with an assistant and our camera and make sure that we were getting all the information right. And we had a lab session for our computer lessons. But I can't forget the 4 hour lecture we had on Lenses. The most important lesson about lenses is that there is no perfect lens. Now I have to figure out how I can get a couple more lenses to I have a good lens system for my camera.

And Week Three they are supposed to really ramp it up... I still am not sure what that means.

Today was a beautiful day in the 70's and I was able to go out and take some pictures. Here are some that I liked.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

New Toys

My tripod system came today. Now I can start using it. I am excited to use it, but my experience with tripods in the past have been a love/hate relationship. They allow you to shoot a lot of things you might not get to otherwise, but they are heavy and slow to set up.

We'll have to wait and see how this relationship goes.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


We are already 11 days into June and it snowed today! Not just a few flakes, but the white carpet covering the hillsides surrounding town. I actually had to use my windshield wipers to clear the snow off of my car windshield this morning. I am quite baffle by this. I understand that I am living at a higher elevation, but this is crazy. I have been wearing my winter clothes I brought for fall. I even broke out my orange wool coat this morning so I wouldn't freeze to death on the 7 minute walk from where I park (it's free) to the school.

Classes are going well. It is amazing that nearly all of them are 4 hours long, but don't really fell like it. I feel fortunate that most of it has been stuff that I have heard before (but not necessarily used). It makes grasping the concepts much faster. Although I do have a feeling that any day now I will be in over my head and really have to start practicing harder. My most current delema is what to do for meals each day. I don't want to eat out, but sandwiches get old really fast and there is no microwave or refrigerator at the school for us to use. AND I am already carrying what seems like 25lbs of gear each day (especially if I have to bring my monster laptop). Any ideas?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Week One

One week. A lot can happen in one week.

I met a lot of new friends, including my housemates - Cora, who owns the house, and Erich who is here for an internship this summer and Cora's friend's little brother. Both are great and easy to be around. Although there are days when I don't see them because of our schedules. (I will try to get pictures later).

There are 100 students in the Summer Intensive portion of RMSP's Career Training program (the first 11 weeks of my stay here). We are divided into 6 groups. I happen to be in Group A. The only thing I can tell that this effects is that I almost always have a 9am class. Group A has 17 members ranging in approximate age from 18-65. I would say that the majority of us are 25-40. I have connected with a girl, Amanda, who is from Portland. She and I generally hang out together in whatever is happening. There are some fun personalities and people from all over the country.

My days are very full with 4 hour classes, field help sessions, lectures, and lots of note taking. They warned us that week 3 is when things really start to ramp up. It makes me tired just thinking about it.

Thursday we only had an afternoon class for a couple of hours so two other group a's went with me to a wilderness preserve just south of here. We had fun just doing something different and taking some pictures - even if the pictures weren't great. Here is one that was nice.

It has been a great start to my new adventure. Stay posted for more news and a new web page that I get to put together for class.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Checking In

That would be bringing my own caffeinated beverage, Amy. But thanks for the fun visual. The chairs are still terrible in the lecture room... but at least they added tables so we can lean on them if necessary.

Tomorrow I am heading out to take some pictures with a couple of classmates at 6am. Anyone want to join us? It has been raining every day and cold enough that I wore a long sleeve t-shirt and jeans today with a jacket. I am ready for summer to come back.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Ready, Set, Go!

Well, I feel orientated.... sort of. The day was full of introductions and tours, excitement and nerves. I had a good time and get to start with my first photo studies class at 9am tomorrow. And they had no coffee or cafinated beverage of any kind today... I came home with a headache and backache (from the chairs). I am taking my own tomorrow!

To be continued...

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Welcome to Missoula

I am here! Yesterday I left Boise about 10am. I wasn't in a huge hurry. My goal was to get to Missoula before dark. Traffic wasn't too bad and I stopped to stretch a few times. Misty thought I should have a picture of my weighed down car. The kids really thought it was great to help pack the car. It was hard to say good bye as I had anticipated. But I did manage to tear my self away.

The self portrait is at the top of White Bird Hill about half way between Boise and Missoula.

I arrived in Missoula at 7pm, noting the WalMart and Safeway stores as I drove by. I knew my roomate wouldn't be home so I found the key, let myself in, unpacked my car, drove to WalMart and Safeway for food and other important items before I crashed at 10:30pm. I couldn't keep my eyes open to meet my roomate. So I didn't actuallly meet Cora until this morning. She is very nice, but just had knee surgery on Thursday so she is a little out of it. A couple of her friends came by to take her to church and invited me along. After church we went to lunch and they drove me around Missoula to show me how to get around. Once we got back to the house I made another run to WalMart. I think I have been to WalMart more in the last 24 hours than I went to WalMart in Boise in nearly 2 years. I did spot a Target, so I will have to stop there later to see if they had the things I couldn't find at WalMart.

And this is my room. Note the Japanese futon... it is always good to be able to pack your bed in a duffle bag. Thanks Kim and Ryu for your help to get my futon back to the US. Then there is all of the stuff that still needs to be unpacked, but I just don't quite know where to put it. I have a closet, but no dresser for clothes. I guess I will probably end up hanging everything up in the closet.
Tomorrow things kick off at the school... 8:30am orientation. I will let you know how it goes.