A few weeks ago in Whitehorse, Canada I found myself standing in front of a Little Free Library awkwardly babbling at a camera. We’ve all been there. Someone hits record and suddenly you feel very uncomfortable. Thoughts jumble in your brain and words get lost on the way to your tongue. This isn’t a position I particularly enjoy, except I’d done it to myself, and I’m even letting you watch the footage. Let me explain.
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When I started blogging I had no idea there was so much more than writing that goes into bringing you, the reader, great content. I mean, sure, I could have a wall of text with no visuals on a blog page with no special formatting and it would be fine, but not great. Wouldn’t you much rather have a few photos or even videos interspersed on a visually appealing page?
Over the last three years, in pursuit of bettering this blog, I’ve taken online courses in travel writing, story telling, basic computer coding, social media marketing, and photography. Through Mike Sowden’s Storytelling for Bloggers course and Travel Blog Success (Now Superstar Blogging) I’ve improved my writing skills and understand in theory better ways to market myself. (Though if you could just comment down below and share this post with a friend, that would be super helpful! /shameless plug) I’ve managed to tweak post formats with coding skills learned through Free Code Camp. Now I’m working on bringing you better visuals.
If you read my post 8 Books by Travel Writers to Help You Dream, Plan, and Go!, you may remember I’ve been zealously prepping for TravelCon. This has included both consuming and creating content. In an attempt to familiarize myself with the content of each scheduled presenter I’ve filled my kindle with e-books, my driving time with audio books and podcasts, spent spare moments reading blog posts, and my evenings watching YouTube vlogs (video blogs). All of this content has simultaneously inspired me to improve my own content. Back in December I started Superstar Blogging’s photography course Capture the World: A Guide to Travel Photography (now Travel Photography Course with Laurence Norah) because I was determined to get out of ‘Auto’ and bring you better than iPhone images. I borrowed a big camera, and promptly left it at home. TravelCon was the perfect excuse to start again, as well as purchase my very own camera, one that’s a size I’ll actually carry with me.
*If you’re curious which camera I chose, check out the end of the post.
Check out the progress I’ve made so far with my new camera and photography skills:
I’ve learned about depth of field, shutter speed, focus, HDR, and rules of composition.
As my TravelCon prep continued I picked a few YouTube videos from each of the scheduled vlogging speakers to watch. And… then a few more… and now I’m fully subscribed to the channels of Hey Nadine, Hopscotch the Globe, The Vagabrothers, and Kara & Nate.
Vlogging was never something I intended to do. I hate the way my voice sounds when played back to me. Who’s with me on this one? Inspired by these vloggers, however, I made a goal of gaining a basic understanding of the filming and editing processes and the YouTube platform about which they’ll all be talking at the conference. Now that I’ve finally made it a habit to grab the camera when I leave the house for a possibly photogenic outing, and I’ve gotten more comfortable behind the camera, all that was left was to turn it on myself.
So in the name of TravelCon prep, here is the footage I promised. Enjoy!
How’d I do?
The hardest part of the photography course was trying to decide which camera to buy. I had to honestly answer:
- What size camera will I actually carry with me?
- What is it I’ll be using the camera for most?
- How much am I willing to pay to start a new hobby?
After doing my research, which included this article from Young Adventuress, and this one from Hopscotch the Globe, I finally settled on the Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II. It’s small and light enough to fit in a purse, so I won’t leave it in my room. What really sold me, however, is the flip-up screen. It’s the perfect camera for a beginner to learn to get out of Auto, and it’s also a good beginner vlogging camera. I decided the price point was worth it because I could begin learning two skills with one small camera.