One Week of Classes Down

September 10, 2016

   SYLLABUS WEEK!  That is usually something that everyone will get extremely excited for, at U of I. In Florence, it isn’t a thing here.  Most of my classes are over two hours long because they only meet once a week.  The teacher covered the syllabus in about 20 minutes and then we moved right into the first lesson.  Although I hate being in class for so long, I do feel it is more beneficial to the students. The way class works here is a professor teaches us for the first hour, then the second hour, an exercise is presented so you can apply what you learned. I am the type of person that needs to learn by doing, not just listening, so this is something that I have enjoyed and learned a lot during my first week of classes.

   For example,  I will show you some of the stuff that I have done in my two photography classes so far.  One class is Introduction to Digital Photography, and the other is Food Design, Styling, and Photography.  In both classes, we learned some basic manual settings on the camera.  The manual function used to be the most horrifying feature on a camera to me and now, I can’t imagine taking another picture on auto-focus.  In the digital photography class, we also learned about shutter speeds and exposure to light.


In this picture, the man on the scooter was going about 20 mph, and I was standing on the curb, but because of my use of the techniques I just learned, I was able to have it seem as if I almost froze him in time by using a fast shutter speed.   If I had turned it faster, he would have been entirely clear.

   Another skill I learned with shutter speed was to make the shutter go really slow to get an entirely different effect.  In this picture below, the lens was open for so long that the cars just became a blur.   This shot is more comparable to what the eye sees if you stay focused on a focal point that’s in the distance and a car passes by you in the foreground

   This picture is still a little blurry in the background since I was not using a tripod.   There was a possibility that I was moving, which causes the blurred background, but I’m still very proud of it. To think I took both these pictures on the same camera, the same way, with just different camera settings, is pretty crazy.

This guy was another fun shot to take.  It took a slow shutter speed just like the one above, but I moved with him as he passed by me to try and make him come out more clear.  The only way this shot would work correctly is if I moved the camera at his same speed.  For it being one of my first shots with the new skill, I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

My Food Photography is also cool because I am learning different ways to capture peoples’ interactions with food and the foods texture.  Here are a few examples from the Central Market:  you will notice that the coloring on these photos is true to actuality.  There were fluorescent lights on in the market and from experience, it would discolor the pictures. With a few edits and filters, they turned out great.  It is also pretty easy to notice the focal point of each picture, which was another skill my teacher was trying to teach us.

I have been learning so much in this city, and it has only been a week.  I have also gotten a lot better at making sure I am going to the grocery store, Conad, so that I can eat all three meals at home.  It is pretty insane how cheap the groceries are here.  For a bottle of wine (cheap wine might I add), a liter of Lipton Ice Tea, a carton of grapes, a bag of fresh pasta, pasta sauce, three chicken breasts (not as big as they are at home), and zucchini, I only spent 22 euro.  I enjoy cooking, but it is a little more difficult here because I don’t have everything that we use at home, but I am adjusting.  Hopefully, I can take one of the cooking lessons that are offered at the Central Market to learn a little more about the local Italian ways of the kitchen.

Missing everyone at home and I enjoy all of the texts and FaceTimes from those of you who have reached out.  I’ll be in touch in a couple of days to write about my memorable trip to Viareggio that I took today.  Check back soon.


  • Julie Harrigan

    September 10, 2016 at 11:28 pm

    Beautiful pics Megan! Soak it all in! 14 weeks goes fast! Love you!

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