Shutter Speed

I spent the drive to San Antonio for the Libertarian State Convention playing with shutter speed.

Focal Length

Apparently you can’t pick up a camera like the one my mother gave me and just start taking pictures. There
are things to learn and rules to follow and sometimes, if you learn enough, you can even break the rules. (That’s my favorite part!) So my husband James and I began establishing rules for my shooting in order to encourage my learning and increase my knowledge.

One of the things James did for me was to give me assignments and this first assignment was to limit my options for focal length. In fact up to this point I had only shot with my 55-200mm lens (the one that makes things that are far away look close upish and I long for something between a 200-400) but I had an 18 – 55mm lens (the one that allows you to take pictures of big things from close up) included with my gift that I hadn’t even touched. So today’s assignment was to use my 18 – 55mm only, attempting to maintain 18mm and OMG did I struggle!

I grabbed my gear and headed out on my own to scout locations for the day. I wandered around the town I have lived in for the last 20+ years exploring many of the places I might like to shoot.  I had been out to Butler Longhorn Museum a few times.  In fact, the first ever time I had been there was as a mail carrier when it was simply the home of a local banker. The place is beautiful and the grounds, set on the edge of Clear Creek, are simple and peaceful. So where else would I be happy capturing serenity for the day? I went back to the house and told my husband he would have to join me.

We wandered the grounds for a few hours and both of us explored our creative sides that day. There were many lessons learned and, for me, many new rules discovered, as well as broken. But I did learn a lot about my camera and of course every day shooting is a valuable experience. I believe we should always be searching for ways to expand our knowledge and explore this world. Don’t ever stop reaching for those fabulous AH HA moments.  Feel free to share yours with me and I will do my best to continue to share mine with you.


Something magical happens whenever I put the camera strap around my neck. At that moment it feels as though I have been given permission to play.  I’m more in tune with and focused on the world around me and all I am looking for is the beauty. If we could all see the world with this vision it would be a much happier place to live.

Once I had picked up my camera and reviewed the first images I captured on that wonderful weekend in Galveston there was no way I was putting it down. So I pick it up whenever I have a few moments and quite often that time is at home.  Wandering through the yard I have seen the splendor of such simple things as the shadows cast by my favorite tree, a lizard on the brick of the house and a sunflower my son found growing in the back yard plucked up and placed in the watering can he bought me for mother’s day.

I hope I have encouraged you to find your “camera strap.” Something that changes your perspective and allows you the vision of a world with boundless beauty and wonder. Now go play!

First Experiences

I received the gift of my camera in November of 2015 but I didn’t pick it up until February. I had been working 16 hour days for those four months and finally managed to schedule a long weekend getaway in Galveston, TX for Valentine’s Day with my wonderful husband James.

The night we arrived (since he is a Cannon Shooter and the camera my mother gifted me is a Nikon) James found a YouTube video that gave me some tips to set up my camera for the type of shooting I would be doing.  Then we had a pizza and got some sleep.

I was surprised by the anxiety I felt that morning. James helped me through that with a short test session in the room and then we set out to explore the island.  Over the weekend we visited the beach, Ashton Villa, The Strand, Fort Travis and took a ride on the Ferry.  Once it was over I was completely sold and I have been picking up my camera every chance I’ve had since then.

The Beginning

Although I’ve always looked for venues to express my creative side, photography seemed to be beyond my reach. Cameras are expensive and there is so much technical knowledge needed to operate them I never felt I could afford either the monetary cost or the brain power required. And besides, I had other creative outlets.  Namely the community theatre I spent years volunteering for that allowed me a wide range of opportunities to express this part of me. Also, my husband is a photographer so I was able to piggyback on his knowledge and creativity offering suggestions for styling, set design, and a different perspective during his shoots.

Cast & Crew of The Importance of Being Earnest at Clear Creek Community Theatre Copyright James Crossman Photography

But then we attended a week long photography retreat and on day 4, during a class on underwater photography, I discovered a passion for photography that I could no longer ignore. So upon our return home I expressed my desires to my mother who had long since put down her camera, in the hopes she would allow me to borrow her gear to learn with. (I was still terrified of the commitment.) A week later my mother showed up with the gift that would begin my journey into this fascinating new world for me where I continue to surprise myself by capturing the beauty I see around me.