Photography Class – Franciscan Monastery

A lovely friend of mine gave me as a birthday gift a photography class put on by a company called the School of Creative Photography ( We spent several hours at a Franciscan monastery in northeast Washington, DC taking photos of the monastery and the surrounding grounds (who knew there was a Franciscan monastery in DC, let alone in northeast DC?).

I learned more in those few hours than I could have possibly imagined. And I had forgotten how fun this hobby is when you have the time to really think about light and composition and the settings on your camera (as opposed to yelling at people to stay still while you take their photograph and doing it in as much of a hurry as you can because they won’t stand still). Not that my family has any idea of whom I might be talking about.

I’ve put in a few of my favorite photos that I took during this class. I am also including a couple of “before Photoshop” and “after Photoshop” photos. Elliot and Brian, our two instructors, insist that using software is not cheating, but after looking at what our daughter could do with Photoshop, I am not convinced.

Franciscan monastery garden

Franciscan monastery garden



before shot:

a "before shot"

a “before ” shot

after Photoshop:

the "after" shot

the “after” shot

another “before” shot:

the "before" shot

the “before” shot

the “after” shot:

the "after" shot

the “after” shot

Anyway, I highly recommend taking a class from these guys—they are super nice and super knowledgeable. They’re really great also because if you want to be left alone, they leave you alone. But if you want help or advice from them, they are full of really helpful hints and instruction.

And thank you, Joanne, for the lovely birthday gift!

Review: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum

This Stephen Sondheim musical is currently playing at the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington, DC.  We took the entire family to see it on Friday night, and it was enthusiastically endorsed by everyone (even the 12 year old boy who was definitely not enthusiastic about going).  The humor is occasionally off-color, but most of the humor is a result of comedic slapstick and timing.  The characters even occasionally interact with the audience.  In one memorable scene, the main character is supposed to steal another character’s potion book out of his pocket but inadvertently fails to do so.  (This is not part of the play—he just goofed.)  The main character comes back on stage and promises to rehearse harder to get it right for the next performance.  And then starts laughing.  It was hilarious.

And in the climactic “death” scene, the main character ad libs the humor so successfully that every character onstage breaks character at some point during the scene because he or she can’t stop laughing.  Somehow, this made the scene even funnier.

All the actors are excellent, but Bruce Dow, who plays the main character, is without doubt the star of the show.  His comedic genius is what makes this production so successful.

At the end of the show, the audience is present to witness a (successful) proposal to one of the cast members.  It was a fitting end to a highly entertaining evening.  (Although I hope she doesn’t regret the costume she was wearing at the time of the proposal.)  J

We give the production four thumbs up!