I'm very happy with how the Spring Celebration went. We had a total of 232 entries into the big giveaway which surpassed even my very hopeful goal of 200. I've contacted the first place winner already so be sure to check your in-box. It's kind of weird to not have the Giveaway to be promoting. I spent a lot of my free time the past month promoting it via forums, blog posts, visiting other giveaway sites, etc. Perhaps now I can get some knitting done!
It is nice to be able to blog freely for the first time in awhile too. I really enjoyed showcasing the participants in the Celebration and because they had all been so generous with donating prizes I wanted to give them the longest exposure possible on the blog. But this meant I couldn't post any of my random thoughts or pictures I've been taking with the still new camera.
I started my digital photography class 3 weeks ago at the Creve Coeur Community Center. They are through the Photo Resource Center and are taught by K M O'Donnell. I have already learned so much and we are just getting started. I'm also taking the intermediate class which goes through June so I have a lot more to be learned which is exciting. I also plan on taking the PhotoShop class in the Fall. I just bought PS Elements for around $50 on Amazon with a $20 rebate. I'm still debating whether buying the whole package will be worth for me as an amateur photographer or not. My teacher said as a student you can go to St. Louis Community College and get the whole deal for $250 which is a huge discount from $600 retail. I will probably wait for the class to decide if there is enough of a difference that I will miss having the whole package.
My favorite part of the class is when we do critiques. Everyone brings in their best 4 shots of the week. We talk about the composition and the teacher shows us how she would make them better in Photoshop. From watching her doctor mine in class I have taught myself a few things in GIMP that I didn't know you could do. GIMP is a free download that allows you to do a lot of the same things you can do in PS but with more steps and less frills.
I've shared my favorite shot from each week here. I posted more in flickr if you care to check them out. The top one is from the Scottish Festival on Main Street in St. Charles. There were some adorable girls dressed in costume chasing chickens around the reenactment area. This is a nice portrait I caught of the girl completely unposed. I put this one in black and white in GIMP and I blurred the background which was distracting since there was a dude in a kilt sitting with his legs spread out directly behind her.
The next one is from the Busch Wildlife area about 20 minutes from my house. I got some cute shots of Ani by the water but no wildlife at the reserve. There was an old cemetery right across the highway so I pulled in there as we left and low and behold I caught a stray goose. Ani scared him when she got out of the car but I managed to get some cool shots of him flying away so I had to thank her. This one was my favorite because I liked how you could see the horizon and the goose so clearly. It got lots of "oohs" and "aahs" in class last week. There was a white house showing directly below the goose which I found distracting. So I cloned the green of the trees and colored it in. I don't think I did a perfect job but no one has commented on it yet so I guess it worked.
The last one I just took this Saturday. It was a very rainy weekend and I was worried about what I was going to do about my pictures. I had planned to go to the farm but that fell through and it was so yucky that I decided not to got to the Earth Day festival either. So after a nice dinner out with Mike I drove myself down to the riverfront and caught not only a partial rainbow over the water but also a pretty nice sunset. My favorite rainbow shot was not as interesting as this one. I like the old bridge legs sticking out and the clouds look pretty interesting. I actually flipped it in GIMP which put the focal point on the right side which is my teacher's preferred composition. I don't really know if it matters but it was cool to play with to see how different it can look from the different perspective.
Thanks again to all who participated in the Spring Celebration!
9 hours ago