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Learn by doing with point-and-shoot cameras

Created date

April 26th, 2010

Marie Cook isn t a professional photographer. She doesn t even use Photoshop to correct color and clarity. But she does turn out heartwarming photographs of friends and family that bring smiles to their faces. She s proof that learning the art of photography doesn t have to be overwhelming or expensive. When digital cameras started coming out is when I started getting more into photography, says Cook, who is now on her fourth or fifth camera. It s just so amazing what they can do. You don t have to know much; they do everything for you.

The equipment

Cook, who lives atSeabrook, uses a Sony Cyber- shot 12 megapixel digital camera. It s a small, lightweight digital camera that costs around $150. It has great zoom power and stabilization for a shaky hand as well as fun features like a smile finder that automatically focuses on a subject s smile. I m just a point-andshoot person, she says. I learned by hit or miss, reading manuals, and taking a class at Seabrook on the basics of digital photography. I did a lot of wrong things at first, but you learn by those mistakes. Once she s taken them, Cook stores her photographs on an external hard drive. Using her own Canon photo printer, she creates prints that she gives as gifts to friends and family.

The muse

Like many amateur photographers, Cook simply enjoys taking photographs of the people around her, including her two sisters, Pat Hann and Michaele Beadle, who also live atSeabrook. I have a lot of friends here atSeabrook, so I take pictures when we go on trips or out to dinner or a show, and then I give them photos to remind them of our evening together, Cook says. She includes the date on every snapshot. [Marie] really has done a fabulous job with her pictures, Hann says. She ll come to dinner and hand out pictures to everyone. Everybody loves getting pictures of themselves.

Gift idea

Another way Cook gifts her photographs is by making a birthday picture book. She has nine grandchildren, who live all across the country. When she visits them, she photographs her family members. The 15- to 16- page picture book contains recent photographs of family members accompanied by birthday greetings to the recipient. That way, they can all keep tabs on each other. They all say it s their favorite birthday gift, and they look forward to it every year, Cook says. She prints and binds the books for a homemade project that comes from the heart and that anyone with a point-and-shoot camera can do.