Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time to Focus

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[ Snapshot of Ethiopian countryside, taken with my phone.]  

When we went to Ethiopia in August I intentionally left my camera at home, content to use my phone as a means to snap pictures and record memories. I figured it would be far easier to carry and more convenient to use than my Nikon. And - as I expected - it was adequate. When we returned home I was pleased with my decision and confident I would opt for my phone the second time around, too.

A few weeks ago I was casually flipping through the recent issue of National Geographic, admiring the stunning photography. Oh, the pictures I saw! They told stories of other places and other people; of a world so diverse. Immediately, my mind wandered back to Africa - to all the images stored away in my head of a culture so different from my own.

That's when it hit me: I need to capture Ethiopia through photography.

The problem: I'm not a photographer.

The good news is that I have somewhat of a decent camera - I even took a class on how to use it. But that was a few years ago and whatever knowledge I once had has since slipped away. So I called my friend Lee Ann and asked if she wouldn't mind giving me a crash course in photography before I head to Africa.

We got together and started with the basics. Since then, I've been carefully following the lesson assignments she has given me; trying to become more comfortable with adjusting camera settings so that it seems like second nature by show time.

Elsa is old enough that she will always have memories of Ethiopia. But I don't want those memories to fade as years pass on. That's why I am doing this; that is why I have made it my mission to keep a photographic journal of the sights we see and experiences we have. One day, I hope to take Elsa back to Ethiopia - but until then, the pictures I take will be the link to her homeland; to the place where her mother and siblings live; to the land she has known and loved; to the corner of the world where she got her start in life.

I am not promising anything brilliant, but I am sure going to try. Wish me luck! 
And thank you Lee Ann for sharing your knowledge and time with me!!

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[Practice shot using Elisabeth as a model. I'll figure out how to use my camera yet!]

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