Camera course – week 1

You guys, I’m pretty excited to tell you I’ve completed week 1 of Mastering Your DSLR, an on-line camera course through A Beautiful Mess. I say camera course rather than photography course because it’s really to help beginners like me figure out how to use their cameras properly….like taking it off of automatic!
blossomsI have to say I was a bit nervous but am so glad I took the plunge. In this first week I’ve learned how to manually set the shutter speed and seen through practice how that impacts photos. Each week consists of a lesson, mini lesson and ends with a creative assignment. There are lots of materials including pdf downloads, videos, a class forum and photo gallery for support.
flagsI’m a total advocate of life-long learning and am so happy to be picking up a new skill that I hope will lead to another lasting hobby. The learning curve is pretty big but I’m pretty sure I’ll get there – one week at a time.
fountainHere are my four favourite shots this week. The lesson centred around shutter speeds (slow), capturing movement (the flags) and water (a fountain and pond). The blossom shot is a wildcard! As an interesting aside, taking photos at a fountain was one of the creative assignment suggestions – turns out there are 6 within walking distance of my home. I never realized that until now. See?….learning new stuff is fun!
pond waterFor now the focus is on getting comfortable with the camera, not on creativity. That’ll come, right?! What about you – is anyone picking up a new hobby or trying something new? Spring seems like a great time for fresh starts!

Vintage carry-on bag – thrift find

You know how they say you find love when you stop looking for it? Well, that happened to me this week. In the form of a vintage carry-on bag at the local thrift shop, in beautiful deep red. I was smitten at first sight!
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comThe back story is this – I bought myself a camera for Christmas and am finally getting over my intimidation and learning to use it. Cameras lead to other stuff, like additional lenses, maybe a tripod and definitely a notebook in my case. I have a little canvas camera tote that holds just the minimum essentials. So I did some on-line window (or is that screen) shopping for a bag big enough for all the gear but still a bit stylish. Like the purse-style bags. Oh, they’re so nice and come in gorgeous colors with padded pockets and everything a girl could hope for. However, the price tags stopped me in my tracks. Most are in the $200 range, ouch. I put that dream aside for now.
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comWhile out for a walk in my neighbourhood, I stopped to mail a parcel, get a latte and wandered into the thrift shop….since I was right there. That’s when I spotted this vintage vinyl carry-on bag and did a little internal squeal. It’s in near new condition with side pockets, a zippered inside pocket, solid bottom and lots of room for gear. Then I found what became the absolute selling feature – snaps on each strap which make them adjustable to 3 different lengths, including on the shoulder.
Vintage find at www.nestinthewest.comI cleaned it up with mild dish soap and a toothbrush and love it. I’ll add some interior padding so I can safely use this as my beginner camera bag. Then it might get additional lives if I decide to become an Air Canada flight attendant or someone who goes bowling. Until then I’ll enjoy my “new” $3 camera bag!

Turkey meatloaf muffins

Turkey muffins www.nestinthewest.comYup, this vegetarian is gonna talk turkey! I’ve been getting more exercise and eating cleaner, which makes me realize I’m struggling to get the protein I need. I eat the same few standbys over and over again, and well, it’s just time for a change. So I’ve added lean turkey to my meal plans and love it! Mostly I’ve been roasting breast filets but when I spotted a deal on ground turkey I bought it knowing a recipe would follow.

Enter the turkey meatloaf muffin. Am I the last one to hear about these protein packed nuggets? After seeing them on a couple of websites and chatting about them at work, I made a batch. Yummy goodness! Now I make a batch each week so they’re on hand for quick snacks or power lunches. Here’s a starter recipe, but feel free to toss in your favourite flavours too.

Turkey meatloaf muffins – makes 12

1 lb lean ground turkey
2 eggs
1 cup oatmeal
2 carrots
2 stalks of celery
1 small onion
1-2 tsp vegetable seasoning
Preheat oven to 375F degrees and spray a muffin tin with olive or vegetable oil. Slightly beat the eggs in a large bowl then add the turkey and oatmeal. Chop the veggies or run them through a food processor then add them and the seasonings to the turkey mixture. Stir together until all ingredients are well combined. Spoon into muffin tin, about 3/4 full and bake for 30-40 minutes until muffin tops are golden brown and sides have pulled away from the pan.
Turkey muffins www.nestinthewest.comTurkey muffins www.nestinthewest.comI keep these sealed in the fridge and take a couple out at a time. It’s so much easier to eat healthy when good choices are handy. Give them a try hot or cold for a tasty bite with lots of lean protein. And now I think I’ve become a ‘flexiatarian’!