Sunday, August 23, 2015

Living With History

My husband and I took a Beginner Digital Photography class yesterday at our local community college.  I've taken pictures with a digital camera for about five years now, but it's a point and shoot camera.  I was very comfortable with the point and shoot (too comfortable in fact); I felt like I could take some pretty good pictures with it, but they were never going to be as good as the photos Mr. Forest Manor takes with his DSLR camera.  I mentioned recently that Mr. FM got a new, even better DSLR camera, so I've decided that now is the time for me to learn to use his older camera.

My first pictures won't win any photography awards, but they weren't disasters either.

I learned several things in the class yesterday, but the best thing the class did for me was to alleviate my fear of the DSLR camera.  My husband had suggested several times that I use his Canon Rebel T2i, but I always politely refused.  Inside I was thinking, "No way!"  That camera just sat there and mocked me because I was totally intimidated by it.  ;)  Now I'm determined to use it as often as I can.

1844 John Siewers House, Old Salem, N.C

These photos were taken during the time known as the "golden hour" when it's still light out, but the sun has a much softer quality than the glaring harshness you get during the earlier hours of the day.  It was a good time for me to practice.

We parked across the street from the house above and decided to take some pictures there because they have a nice garden that you can see from the street.  We were just starting to photograph when a couple walked up the sidewalk towards us.  The man went up the steps into the house, but the lady approached us and said "Hello". She and her husband live in the house, and we started talking about the house and garden.  She requested I post a picture to her Facebook page, and I was happy to oblige.

Hal's Photo

You can see the Facebook address above on the garden gate.  Flora Ann Bynum was the previous owner, and you can read about her contributions to the gardens at Old Salem Here.  The current owners spent about four years renovating and repairing the house after they purchased it, and now they're ready to begin bringing the garden back to its original beauty.  Below are some pictures that Hal and I took of the garden.

At the left of the fence, you can see pink Phlox, and to the right of that are pink "Four O'Clocks."  The lush vine growing over the fence is Carolina Jasmine (not in bloom at the moment).

 Hal took this close-up of the Mirabilis, commonly known as Four O'Clocks and Marvel of Peru.  Aren't they pretty?  The owner told me she brought these seeds from the garden gift shop at Monticello, which means they're period appropriate for Old Salem.

I took the previous two photos.  If you look through the split rail fence here, you can see part of the stone foundation of the barn.

Hal's Photo

I was pretty pleased with my practice shots since none of them were disasters.  This camera is much heavier than the point and shoot I've been accustomed to using.  Because the class instructor demonstrated the proper stance and way to hold the camera, my photos didn't even blur.  I was amazed!

The next six garden photos were taken by Hal.

After visiting with the owner of this house and garden, it really struck me for the first time what a privilege and responsibility it is to live in a historic home like this. In a sense, you are a caretaker for future generations who will someday live in the house.  I love Old Salem and the way that history is so very present here, and never more so I think, than this time of day.  I didn't get the home owner's name, but I do appreciate her letting us photograph her home and garden.  I look forward to seeing the re-birth of Flora Ann's garden.

 The collage is made up of photos taken by me yesterday.  I'm joining Judith at Lavender Cottage for Mosaic Monday.  Thanks so very much for visiting and reading -- I appreciate you all so much!!  I hope you have a great week!



  1. Hi Denise! Oh, congratulations on your hubby's camera! I think you did a beautiful job with it. I remember when I got mine a few years ago and just holding it in my hand scared me! :) Your hubby takes nice snaps too! What a lovely place to photograph too. Hope you're doing well.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  2. This house must have a lot of history. Thanks very sharp and clear photo's.

  3. Enjoy your new camera Denise, I'm sure you'll have fun with it:@)

  4. Very nice photos. It's amazing the even small tips you can learn in a class that help with your skills. But I thought you already took good pics! But what fun to take a class together!

  5. Great photos Denise...
    I had reason to be uptown last week so as a treat to myself I drove around old salem.. I'll go back late in the fall season to see all the decorations they'll be putting up.
    Its nice to live so close to such a beautiful historical district.

  6. What great photos, Denise, and how nice that you and Hal took a class together! What a gorgoues, historical property you were able to practice your skills at. I certainly admire the photos and both of you. I'm happy that you're not intimated any more. Wish you lived close and you could give me some lessons!!
    Enjoy your week!

  7. Hi Denise. You did a great job with your husband's old camera. It's wonderful how a little instruction can help give confidence.
    The old house was a great subject for your photos. Both you and Hal showed off the property well.

  8. Well done! You have some very nice photos. I agree, it is different using Ron's camera that is heavier and my iPhone. I do think though that he has more options and that makes it nice. Thank you for your tour! Have a wonderful week!

  9. Well you are a quick learner...these are beautiful.

  10. Good for you for taking that class and then going forward to try out the camera. I really should take a class! Very nice photos!

  11. Denise your photos came out very well for a first time DSLR user! Don't be afraid of te camera--just experiment and have fun--the photos you don't like can always be deleted, and it the meantime you will find your photography gets better and better!

  12. Lovely photos all, of a beautiful garden! Don't be intimidated by using a different camera. Just get out and use it! Practice is the only way to improve! Just have fun!

  13. You did well with the Canon Rebel Denise and I know what you mean as to how easy it is to just pick up the point and shoot. The Canon DSLR I took to Ireland last year was very heavy and quite frankly beyond my capabilities. It jammed last summer and was going to be a minimum of $500 to fix so I decided to go with a new Rebel myself and love it. Smaller, lighter and newer technology. :-) Since I purchased an iPhone that has an excellent camera, I use it in place of my Canon point and shoot and can often fit the Rebel in my purse if it's big enough.
    Check out a BlackRapid strap where the camera hangs by your hip and not weighing you down around your neck - wish I had bought one of them years ago.
    Thanks for linking to Mosaic Monday, good luck with your photo practice.

  14. Looks fabulous to me, Denise! Well done!

  15. You will love the upgrade in the camera and you will get better and bette. The photos already are brilliant with color and nicely composed. Bravo.

  16. Denise, I loved this post!! You live in a very pretty and charming neighbourhood, and aside from its historical significance, it must feel so amazing to wander and explore its beautifully enchanting homes and gardens. Your husband's photos, as well as your own are all lovely. I especially like the one of the fence - dreamy!

    I have been using my Sony Cybershot, a Point & Shoot, for more than 10 years, and I will keep on using it until I can afford a DSLR, as well as conjure up the courage to take the next, logical step, as you did!

    Happy weekend!




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