In mid-2011, I decided that I wanted to learn a little more about taking photographs. I had a point and shoot camera and generally took snapshots. After taking a short two-session course in which I learned nothing, a friend and I visited the Nashville Photo Club. There were at least 75 people in attendance at the monthly meeting and I heard terms like F-stop and depth of field. During the guest speaker’s presentation, he mentioned using F11 and a shutter speed of 1/30 of a second. My thought was I never want to know this much about photography. But, I continued to go to meetings and just believed that many of the members of the club were professional photographers who wanted to share experiences and photos.

Then I learned about a 14-week course to be given by a long-time member at his home two hours a week covering all aspects of photography including assignments and some live shoots. I signed up and started to learn that F-stop was really not a dirty word! That December I received a gift of a Pentax DSLR camera. Between the course, which I took a second time the following year, and my new camera, I became more interested and excited about photography.

In 2013, I began to look into photography tours and went to the Palouse (in Washington and Idaho) on a trip organized by a Photo Travel Company with about seven other people, all experienced photographers, some professional and others amateurs. I learned a lot shooting next to others and seeing how their photos differed from mine even though we were standing in just about the same spots. I also learned about Lightroom and other photo editing software.

When I got back home, I bought Lightroom and other editing software and really immersed myself into photography. I gravitated toward macro photography taking photos of flowers, especially inside my house where I did not have to deal with wind or other distracting issues. Then, I learned other editing techniques and loved both the photo taking and the post processing.

I became more active in the Nashville Photography Club and attended numerous activities and shoots learning from each one. One day I went, with a photographer friend, to downtown Nashville intending to photograph the city skyline from the Pedestrian Bridge, but we got there early and came upon an event with live music, food, and fun just near the bridge. There were children and families enjoying the event. I got intrigued by a few of the kids in costumes or unusual outfits and started taking photos of them. One little girl kept wanting to pose for me again and again. That was my first experience photographing people. I loved it.

When I won a photo of the month contest in the NPC, I realized that I was truly becoming a photographer. I offered my services and became the webmaster of the NPC, trying to be more involved with this great organization.

In July 2015, I went to Cambodia on a photography trip that was a life-changing experience because of the people and culture, and because of the amazing photographic learning from the four other travelers as well as the talented tour leader.

I realize that there are many aspects and types of photography and that I keep broadening my experiences and interests. I will continue to be involved in whatever adventures I find and continue to learn and share in photography. One final note… More recently, I went to the Wilson County Fair and met a few friends there. We had a blast. I realized that for me witnessing events and locations while photographing them, makes everything more interesting and more fun for me.

Be sure to visit my posts from when I was Mission Photographer for three cleft lip and cleft palate missions run by Alliance for Smiles in Bangladesh, China, and Myanmar. It has been so gratifying to use my newfound skills (and hobby) to help people around the world.

I hope you enjoy my photos, my travels, and my explanations.

Shelly Rosenberg