March 19, 2010

Photography course

On Wednesday I started a photography course focusing on vacation photography. I was midway through the class before I realized that in anticipation of the course I had spent more time thinking about the fact that it would be in Dutch than about who else would be in the class, what I should take with me, or, most importantly, what form the classes would take. Instead I worried over the idea of having to speak Dutch in front of strangers. But in the end it all went ok. And if I removed the foreign language element from the class, I really enjoyed it.

I didn’t set out to take classes specifically on vacation photography. It’s just that the basic photography classes had already started and were more expensive anyway. Plus I figure that what we learn in this course could be applied to photography in general. And I certainly wouldn’t mind improving my holiday photos. The class turned out to be small, only 7 of us, only one of which is a guy (a rather poncy-looking Leiden student type, but relatively ok as those types go). None of us are very experienced with photography and our interests and experiences vary. One girl admitted that she isn't really that into photography, but she is trying new things, so she signed up for the class. The SLR she brought with her was borrowed from a neighbor. Still, she seemed enthusiastic.

Learning depends so much on the teacher and fortunately we have a good one. At least I quite like him so far. He seems to have a broad interest in different types of photography and quite a lot of experience in it. He has an enthusiastic presentation style and a good sense of humor, so I think we all felt pretty comfortable with each other by the end of the first class. Which was spent going over the very basics of photography and the elements that make up every photo. It’s not completely new for me, but I did learn some things which are useful. I even came up with the answer to a question at one point, in fairly correct Dutch, which was my big achievement of the evening.

We left the class with two assignments: to bring in some photos (not taken by us) which we find good or interesting, and, a bit contradictory for a course in vacation photography, to take photos in our home. I walked home happy about the class and our assignments, and feeling pretty proud of myself for being able to follow the Dutch so well, that I’m finally at that level of being able to understand. Speaking is a whole other matter, but that’s ok. I’m already very much looking forward to our next class.

March 15, 2010

Minolta photos

Nearly a year ago I finished off a roll of photos on my old Minolta SLR camera. They are mostly taken around Leiden, a lot of the same places I've photographed with my digital camera, but these have a nice 70's look to them. I had them printed after I finished the roll, but it's taken me this long to get them online (oops). You can check them out here.

In anticipation of spring (fingers crossed it does arrive), and of starting my photography class on Wednesday, I just loaded my camera with a new roll of film. Hopefully with this roll I'll take some photos that are a bit more interesting than these.

March 14, 2010

Ze lentekriebels

It's been a long few weeks. I guess most of it can be chalked up to two things: winter dragging itself out, and me not having much going on. After a fairly busy January, I was happy to see some empty weeks in February, but instead of being productive, I sank further into the laziness I've had all winter and just ended up disappointed with myself. And bored. Very, very bored. Bored at work and bored at home. This feeling has been going on since early February, only broken up by occasional moments of hyperactivity. I think I have been spending too much time at home (for which I have no one to blame but myself) and the spring fever/cabin fever is building.

Lentekriebels is such a good word for how I feel because I do feel itchy and jumpy inside and wishing for something to happen. I've been thinking about home a lot and wishing I was back there with a car and I could just jump in and drive and drive and then get somewhere beautiful and walk and walk or just stare at the nature. I'm feeling so suffocated by the lack of nature and space here. Though I also very much miss just having weather warm enough to jump on my bike and go somewhere. That'd be something at least. I end up in these weird manic/tired moods where I have bursts of energy, but feeling like I have nowhere to direct them. They say by the end of this week we should be firmly into double digit temperatures, finally, and it's less than a month until I go on holiday, finally. Hopefully this period will be over soon.

March 6, 2010

Things recently said

- I was telling someone at work that I used a tanning bed for the first time, but I couldn't relax because I was worried about getting burned. She said "Well, you do have rather fair skin." Oh, that stung. I have lost whatever olive tone I might have had. I blame this sun-forsaken country.

- When telling a friend that I'm sometimes tempted by the idea of just going back to the States because it would be so much easier, without all of the visa worries, she said "No, you can't give up all your plans for going to Australia." It was reassuring in many ways.

- Friend: "What are your plans for the weekend?"
Me, bored: "Nothin'...."
Friend: "Wanna come over tomorrow afternoon and eat chocolate cake?"