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  • Writer's pictureBetty Girardeau

I think I can. I Think I Can.

That's what the story of "The Little Engine That Could" tells us. I have never forgotten that story or its wonderful message. I even remember the pictures in the book that I had when I was a child. I must admit that there have been a lot of times in my life when I was more likely to say to myself "No, I can't". Thankfully, there is still a very strong side of me that argues that "Yes, you can." I don't remember when I first saw the amazing images of Alan Shapiro, but I knew from the first time that I saw them that I wanted to know how to do that. I even contacted Alan and asked. But, of course, and rightly so, he wasn't going to give away his secrets for free and I didn't know how or when I could take a workshop with him. But I started doing research on my own. My first efforts failed totally. Because of the pandemic this year, on-line photography webinars and photo courses have taken off, and, quite by accident because of another very different photo class, I started to learn how to create the sort of images that I had admired of Alan's. I have no idea whether or not what I stumbled on today, which allowed me to create the image above, is what Alan has been doing, but it is certainly close to what I have been wanting to create after seeing his work. Believe it or not, this was taken outside in daylight using a small aperture, a fairly fast shutter speed, and the use of the camera flash. The in camera image was still pretty "raw"and absolutely needed a bit of post processing tweaking, but less than one would have imagined. That is why I said that yesterday I quite by accident figured it out. What a revelation! I know I still have more to learn about this, but I am an excited "little engine" now telling myself "I think I can; I think I can." I love photography! There is never a dull moment if you let it carry you away. By the way, you really should check out Alan's awesome images, which you can do at And I am so excited because I am signed up to take an on-line class with him next Saturday.

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