SnapShop and Up North

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here and here), I recently finished an online photography course by Ashley Ann Campbell. I started following her blog over a year ago and that is how I discovered the course. She offers courses for DSLRs and iPhones. I also think Ashley Ann is amazing! I love her blog and when I grow up I want to be like her. Haha, well I actually want to be myself, but there are so many qualities that she has that I hope rub off on me just by reading her blog, especially once I start having kids.

Chris and I got a DSLR about a year before we got married (meaning we both wanted one, but it was silly for both of us to get one assuming we would eventually get married, so he got it for Christmas and I used it). When we first got the camera I made an effort to learn how to use it and I researched the different elements of shooting in manual. While I learned a lot in my research (and practice), I didn’t really understand how everything worked together or the short-cuts of my camera. So I usually shot in aperture mode because I liked controlling the bokeh (background blur) or I just stopped taking pictures. There were times our camera would go months just sitting in its bag in the closet. And sometimes I think I avoided taking pictures because I also dreaded the process of putting them on my computer. I know it doesn’t take that long, especially because my photo editing software can edit multiple pictures at once, but from some reason it always sounded daunting.

I signed up for Ashley Ann’s class because I wanted to really learn the basics of my camera. I also hoped I would take more pictures if I knew how to use it better. Ashley’s course was split into three sections: rules/composition of taking a good picture, how to shoot in manual, and extra aspects of photography. While some of the information I knew, I learned so many more new things. Ashley Ann has this amazing way of explaining the hard things in simple terms. While I still have a lot of practicing to do, I feel like I can shoot in manual and not get terrible pictures. Plus, I like the control I have over how the picture turns out.

One down side of the class (or me) is that I didn’t have a lot of people to photograph and it’s hard to practice in our apartment because we don’t get a lot of natural light. But when we went to Michigan to visit my parents I got to practice a lot. So I thought I would share pictures from my trip along with what we did.

We went to my parents for a long Labor Day weekend. This is our third year visiting over Labor Day, so it seems to be a tradition now. We spend the first day and a half at their house where we caught up with friends, saw my grandma, went shopping, and got my hair cut. Then we headed up to our family cabin on Lake Huron. Our first day there we went into Mackinaw for our annual mini-golf tournament and did a little shopping (we got an ornament for our Christmas tree) and got fudge/ice cream/caramel apples at Kilwins. I only took iPhone pictures because it was rainy out.

CWL - Mackinaw

On our way home it started pouring! In 2-3 hours we got 3.8 inches of rain. I think that is more than Fresno has gotten all year. It was so intense that it flooded the creek behind our house and rose above the bridge. Here are some regular versus flooded picture… Crazy!

CWL - flood 1





When the rain stopped we went down to the beach where the creek drains into the lake. Chris was loving life digging out the creek to make it wider and flow better, Olivia was making creations and running all over the beach, and Greg was riding the tube down the creek.

CWL - Beach 1

CWL - Beach 2





The next day we went to Ocqueoc Falls. Growing up we went here a lot. Over the years they have invested more money into it, making it more of a park, so a lot more people go now. I felt bad for Chris because he wanted to swim in the falls so bad, but we decided it was a bad idea incase he slipped and fell.






The rest of the weekend was filled with hangout time on the beach, riding the Seadoo, watching The Office, awesome sunsets, shooting BB guns, and playing Settlers of Catan. We have been dying to buy this game since we became obsessed with it a month ago. My mom bought it for us at the mall right before we went up to the cabin and we got my family hooked on it! We even got my dad to stay up until midnight playing, which is a miracle. They liked it so much that my dad asked “so whose game is this?” and my mom asked if they could keep it and buy us a new one. Proud moment.










CWL - Shooting Shaving Cream


This shot it me impressing Chris with my accurate shooting skills. There are three dents below the USA logo from three shots I took in a row. The first two didn’t break the can, but the third did.


Overall it was an amazing weekend and an amazing online course. I look forward to practicing with my camera more. I know I need to be diligent about planning practice opportunities, which really means I need to get over myself and ask people if I can photograph their kids. That for me takes personal growth as well as photography growth. I’m also daydreaming about new camera equipment, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m not there yet. But hopefully soon because I already have my eye on some expensive stuff.


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