Thursday, April 9, 2009

Back to School

For three hours each Wednesday night in April I get to be a student again. I am enough of a nerd that I actually got a few tears in my eyes when I walked onto the U.T. campus for the first time in years last Wednesday. I adored my time in undergrad. I met JP my first night there and walking around campus brings back so many wonderful memories of falling in love, finding myself, and having a ridiculous amount of fun in the process. It's a huge school and you have to take responsibility for your own happiness, and I did- between the swim team, my little honors program (Plan II for those who know UT), being an orientation advisor, being involved in numerous clubs and honors societies, and making friends with professors (one of whom I'm having lunch with next week), I had an absolute blast during my 3.5 years there. I heard some undergrads talking about how many days left to graduation and I wanted to yell at them "No, don't go! don't leave this magical place! The real world is so much harder." I love everything about my life right now, but I'd go back to undergrad again in a heartbeat if it was possible. I actually feel that way about elementary, middle, and high school too. Why did I want to grow up so fast?

This view is my particular favorite. The life sciences library is in this tower and I spent way too many hours in its quiet, beautiful rooms trying to master organic chemistry. My failure to ever understand the voodoo 3-D movement of hydrogen molecules is one of the many reasons I'm now a lawyer.

It is beautiful though isn't it?

I'm enjoying my photography class. I hate missing Landon's bedtime on those evenings but I keep telling myself that it's only four classes, that I never miss bedtime normally, and he is happy at home playing with his beloved Dada. And I'm so excited to be a student again. I have a shiny new spiral notebook and it sent a little thrill down my spine to write the name of the class and date on the first page and commence taking notes.

Unfortunately my professor is more of a "learn by doing" kind of guy. I appreciate this as it doesn't matter if you know the name of what you're adjusting out in the field as long as you know how and when to adjust it. That said, I learn better by definition. I need to know what ISO is first and then I can go about playing with it. The first class my brain was freaking out because even though I now knew how to adjust the light meter I didn't know the name or definition of what I was adjusting and my brain kept yelling HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WORK LIKE THIS? It was a challenge, but we're getting through.

Yesterdays class was entirely outside in the Main Mall. For those who don't know UT, it's a beautiful section of campus in front of the Main Building and Tower, with three white stone, red roofed buildings down each side, enormous trees lining the paths in front of the buildings, and a grassy area in the middle. There's a big fountain at the bottom and a perfect view of the Texas capitol building. It's a great place for pictures. I learned a lot and my crowning achievement was this late-dusk shot capturing the cobalt blue of the sky. This picture is straight from the camera with no finishing or adjusting. I love it, though using a tripod would have made it clearer (and straighter).

It brings back so many happy memories that it's momentarily replaced Landon as my desktop wallpaper (don't worry, he still surrounds me in picture form in my office). I look forward to learning enough to take better pictures by the time the class ends- next time we've even been promised we'll be able to take notes!


  1. Great shot LL! I'm so proud of you for taking this class. I might have to follow in your footsteps when I get a new camera (I still have my dad's 1980 film-loading Canon AE-1). Love it, but not as easy to play with different techniques as a digital would be. Then we should take a day and wander around town with our cameras...those are my favorite days.

  2. I think it's so cool that you're taking this class! You and Cee inspired my husband and me to get a new camera (he had been wanting one for a while), but we haven't had the chance to learn any tricks yet.
    The pictures already look great and I hope you really like the class.

  3. Aww this makes me nostalgic! I too am a UT undergrad & am about to finish up law school. Hopefully I'll make it back to Austin soon. Great Pictures!

  4. That is so cool--love that night picture!

    I LAUGHED so hard at your description of organic chemistry, because I was pre-med for a while, too, and that's what killed me. My professor told me "you just have to learn what kinds of molecules the electrons are drawn to," and I said--that is that. I am not ever going to get inside the non-existent brain of an electron. And off to the English department I went. . .

  5. yes those are amaaaazing pics!!! ahh im so jealous you get to learn on a gorgeous campus like UT!!! =p

    i would do the same thing-go back to Texas in a heartbeat..*sigh* what kind of photography do you think you will focus on (landscape,action etc)

  6. I totally know what you mean!!! I loved my undergrad and I'd go back in a heartbeat as well, and I also had many long nights trying to figure out how all those darn organic molecules fit together in crazy long chemical reactions, I never did figure it out!

    Great photos by the way :)

  7. I agree with you on the learn-by-definition thing. I always need to know WHAT I'm learning and WHY I'm learning it, then I can figure out how to do it. That said, I'm jealous that you're back on campus.

  8. i had the same wonderful experience at my undergrad and i would give almost anything to relive one day there! sigh... great pics! good luck with class!