Snapshots from Downtown Springfield

You know what I’ve learned about DSLR cameras? They can take great photos, but only if you learn how to use them. I admit that I seriously thought if I could just save up enough to buy a nice camera, suddenly my photos would look amazing. Not true. My first few shots from my Canon Rebel were horrible.

Even with a high-quality camera, one must practice. And for me, that’s not just practicing with the manual settings on my camera. I want to get better at finding things to photograph, and photographing them in interesting ways. It doesn't come easy for me, but Steve Martin says that perseverance is an excellent substitute for talent. That’s pretty much my motto in life.

Lately I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with Jessica. She blogs at (More or Less) Jess, and not only is she incredibly nice and interesting, but the girl’s got talent. She’s got a great eye for photography, and she’s good with, um, the words? I think you know what I'm trying to say.

Anyway, my point is, I enjoy this lady. On Saturday, we both agreed we wanted to get some practice with our fancy cameras, so we went out walking around downtown Springfield. We talked ISO settings and white balance and such, and I finally had someone to photograph who didn’t make stupid faces at me! What a luxury.

As we made our way down Walnut Street, we discovered a new little used bookstore called BookMarx. Jessica picked up a few books and introduced me to the poetry of Billy Collins. She opened to a random page and I read "I Chop Some Parsley While Listening to Art Blakey's Version of Three Blind Mice." I liked it.

Jessica and I share a love for seedy looking alleys, the tops of old buildings, and colorful murals. The weather kept jumping back and forth between rainy/cold and hot/humid, so when I got too hot to think clearly we stopped for iced coffee. Just like Nancy Botwin, I need an iced coffee straw in my mouth at all times to help me focus.

Our route took us down through the square, to Founder's Park, and to the top of the College Station parking garage. Being on foot is such a great way to explore your city and discover things you never knew were there before. Did you know there are fitness classes on the square? There's also a new European-style cafe appropriately titled European Cafe on Park Central. I glanced in and saw delicious coffees and pastries on the menu, so I'll need to get in there soon. 311 and Kevin Nealon are coming to the Gillioz Theatre soon, and the mural across from the Gillioz has been painted over, which killed me a little. I must always look like a tourist when I go out walking, because there's so much all around me to take in. I highly recommend taking your camera for a walk.

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