I had never taken any photography classes before and, wanting to improve my skills both in technique and composition, I signed up for a SLR class at a local community college. In my first class, we were given 10 minutes to run outside and take photos of circles. It made me see my surroundings in a completely different way -- and made my eye pick up details in the landscape that I had never considered previously.

The class also served as an exercise to move away from the safety of automatic settings. I've used my DSLR on manual settings before, but it was the first time that I also incorporated manual focus. It brought back fond memories of my SLR camera from years past; an Asiahi Pentax Spotmatic which I still own but have not picked up since my now husband bought me my Sony DSLR for Christmas in 2007.