The first step on this journey of mine began with buying a digital SLR camera and learning how to use it.  I had been using the old student grade Pentax K1000 film camera.   I figured there would be quite a learning curve to this new camera of mine.  Being a practical man, I decided to find a class to take.  I settled on an online class taught by local wedding photographer Diana Elizebeth Steffen.  Having just retired and basically went from doing something, a lot of something as a matter of fact, to doing nothing, I was really looking forward to taking this class in October.

About a week or two before class was to start, I got a notice from Creative Groove, the company that sponsers the class, informing me that the class had been cancelled.  Aw, man!  I felt like Christmas had just been cancelled.  I felt like I was adrift on a raft and Wilson was floating away.  But a week later, Creative Groove let me know that they had reconsidered and that Christmas was on and Wilson was ok and, oh by the way, the class is back on.

I really enjoyed the class.  I was learning new information, so much that I often thought about this statement “the more I know, the more I realize I don’t know.”  Basically the process for the class was an online session, then a week to shoot the assignments, upload the best shots and get feedback.  I was happily going about my assigned tasks when Diana posted the following suggestion “go outside and take your pictures.”  Up to that point, I hadn’t left my house.  I was shooting everything inside using window light or the light from the chandelier.  I also pretty much limited my shooting to flowers and cats.  I might have thought I was doing a good job, but it was pretty dull and ordinary.

I knew Diana was right.  I needed to get out and start photographing people.  After all, as a wedding/event photographer, I wouldl be expected to take pictures of people, so I might as well get used to it.  My friend Dave’s son was celebrating his 5th birthday.  The party was being held at a local park.  I asked Dave if I  could come and shoot the party for my class project.  He said yes and my first ever “event photography” session took place.

I found out a few things that day.  Always bring some sort of bubble making device to a kids party.  There is an opportunity for some great pictures using the bubbles. I  also learned  that feeding the ducks at the park is forbidden. I love feeding ducks and was very dissappointed.  But the most important thing I learned from this session is that I have a lot of work to do to get to the level of photography I desire for myself.  The old saying is correct.  Having a fancy camera does not make one a great photographer.

In my first post I talked about the “theys” that are having a positive impact on ny fledgeling career.  Diana Elizabeh Steffen is one of the “theys”.  I enjoyed her class and am taking two more classes from her.  She is knowledgable, engaging, and very passionate about her subject and her profession.  She is above all a great photographer.  Thank you, Diana, for all your help.  I look forward to your next class July 9th.

To see some of her amazing photographs, or perhaps you are planning on getting married, check out her website at  If you want to take a class from Diana, or see other class offerings, go to


3 thoughts on “TRY GETTING OUTSIDE


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