Clicks Gone Wild offers two exciting options to learn how to get the most out of your digital camera. We have our popular
Clicks in Your Home Program or One-on-One instruction of our beginner, intermediate and advanced level courses which are taught throughout Arnprior, Renfrew and the surrounding area. More information about us and our courses can be found in the links above. Send us an e-mail at clicksgonewild (at) gmail (dot) com to book your course with Clicks.

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Winter Private Tutoring Special!

Book a private tutoring session for any course with either Rhonda or Gemma for a winter date and save $10 off of each course.  :)  We have availability during the week, daytime or evening, and limited weekend availability.  This special is for all new bookings for dates in January, February or March.  Please email for availability.  Until we see you, don't let a little snow and cold stop you from documenting your everyday life!

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Making Buns... A Step-By-Step Photographic Journey

The other day, I was flipping through a cookbook when I saw some recipes for breads and buns, and I thought to myself....Nah!  Then I flipped one more page and there was a recipe simply titled "Rolls", submitted by Marcella Hodgins, my grandmother, and I just knew that I was supposed to bake those rolls. My grandmother passed away when I was tiny, so unfortunately, I never saw her in her kitchen and I never got to taste her delicious rolls.

A quick trip to the grocery store to buy some ingredients I don't stock in my pantry, accompanied by a little advice from a kind lady at the same store, "Knead those rolls!", and I was off to try to make something I had never made before. Here's the photographic and not-as-easy-as-I-thought-it-would-be journey, with instructions on how to make your own rolls.  :)

Above is what I needed.  In my skim-milk household, there was no homo milk in sight, but I knew my grandmother would have used fresh milk that was far from skim.

2 cups milk, warmed but not boiling hot
1/2 cup shortening
3 tsp. salt
1 cup potato water (I'll get to that.)
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 packages regular yeast
4-5 cups flour
1 cup lukewarm water

Potato water, supposedly a key ingredient, was the first thing on my to-do list. So I peeled and boiled about eight potatoes.  Unfortunately, when the potatoes were ready, I drained the water down the sink, as that's what I always do.  First error! So I added some more water and boiled them to very-well-done potatoes and soldiered on with my potato water.

I can honestly say that I didn't have any shortening in my pantry, but here it is and the big question is, how long does it now last?  One tip I got was to make sure that all the shortening melts in the next step.

Add shortening, salt and potato water to warm milk.  

Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water to which 2 teaspoons of sugar were added.  Leave for 10 minutes.  

Reading ahead in the recipe, I realized that as a beginner bun maker, I would definitely need some clarification on the next steps of the recipe, so I used my 10 minutes to make an emergency call to the woman who put together this collection of recipes in the first place.  She also happens to be a family friend, a former farm neighbour, my high school home economics teacher, and most importantly, my godmother!  

My questions for Eleanor consisted of, "How long do I let the dough rise?" and "How much do I knead it?" The answers were to let it rise until it about doubles in size and not very much at all.  She also shared a few tips.  For example, at this time of year, when the air is still cool, someone walking in the front door and sending a draft into the kitchen could disturb the rising of the dough.  She told me to heat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit, and then turn it off.  Cover the dough with greased wax paper and let it rise in the oven. So that is exactly what I did.  

Mix eggs and sugar to milk mixture.  Add yeast and stir before adding enough flour(4 to 5 cups) to make a soft dough.  Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover and let rise.  

Note the time.  It's almost an hour after I started boiling the potatoes and I am now just ready to let the dough rise.  This roll making sure does require a lot of time and patience!  :)  And this is what happened to the dough:  

I'm not even sure it's supposed to look like this, but then again, I am just thankful it rose.  Once I turned it out onto a floured surface, I really knew that this was DEFINITELY not what it was supposed to look like. How could I even knead this runny dough?  I probably should have added more flour.  :) 

Knead and shape into balls and place on cookie sheets or muffin tins.  Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and brush butter over the top.   

And out they came!  

I won't be winning a roll ribbon at a fair any time soon.  My rolls are not as high as they could be and I would agree with people's description of roll-making as being "finicky", BUT my rolls were tasty and my whole family gobbled them down. My youngest even told me that I was a "sweet mom", so they must have passed the test.  :)

This was the first time that I attempted to photograph a recipe from start to finish and I would encourage any of you to try the same.  Photographing such sequential steps is unlike how I normally approach photography. Usually, I'm grabbing the camera for only a moment or two, or when the light is just right, or when I'm feeling inspired or love the look of something I see.  But I really do see the value in trying to photograph a set of steps.  It's a great way to practice your photography skills as you're forced to get each shot "just right" to you before you move on to the next step.  

Looking for a few tips?  Earlier in the day, I had a little less light in my kitchen, so I used a higher ISO than later in the day, as well as an open aperture.  I found it helpful to have a high step stool on hand so I could shoot from above, getting the counter as my backdrop and eliminating some of my kitchen mess from the pictures.  For the image of my hand greasing the blue bowl, I had to shoot one-handed, and need a nice high shutter speed to eliminate shake.  And when my hands got too messy to shoot, I enlisted the help of my husband, who was more than willing to help with the promise of fresh rolls.

Nice buns baby!

Happy Baking,

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Flash Sale: One-on-one Learning!

Looking for the perfect last-minute Christmas gift for the photography-lover in your life??  The Clicks elves are offering incredible savings on our popular beginner and intermediate series of courses!!

Book a January or February session time with one of the Clicks experts before the end of this year, and receive a $15 discount off the cost of Focus on the Features, Focus on the Frame or Step it Up, Shutterbug.  This is our one and only sale for 2013.  :)

Private tutoring is the most convenient way to enjoy and learn the tips and techniques shared in the Clicks courses.  There are many benefits including flexible scheduling for a two-hour block that works perfectly for you, the time to ask your own questions, and individualized help with your particular camera.  Each course is two hours in length, so one of us is all yours for that block of time.

With this promotion, you save $15, so choose your course:
  • Focus On The Features, beginner - reg. $75 taught privately, now $60 for a limited time
  • Focus On The Frame, beginner - reg. $75 taught privately, now $60 for a limited time
  • Step It Up, Shutterbug, intermediate - reg. $100 taught privately, now $85 for a limited time
  • OR you can pre-purchase all three sessions for $200 (a total of $50 in savings!).  You will be able to book each course with either Gemma or Rhonda and learn at your own pace.
*** Please note, for 2013, and moving forward into 2014, Clicks Gone Wild will only be instructing our courses in group gatherings through our Clicks In Your Home program, or in a one-on-one format.  We will offer the occasional public session of our most advanced course only, The Magic of Manual Mode (which we are teaching on Saturday, Jan. 11th starting at 10 a.m. - there only two spots remaining). Keep updated on our Facebook page to see any other news or future dates offered for Magic. 

If you are interested in taking our beginner or intermediate courses, this is the perfect way to do them and save!  *Discounts are only available for those who book and arrange payment before December 31, 2013.*

For a detailed list of what is taught in each course, please see here.  To book your very own one-on-one session or sign up for the Magic of Manual Mode on January 11, please send us an e-mail to clicksgonewild@gmail.com

We look forward to helping you learn more about your camera and photography, whatever your level of current understanding!

  • Happy Holidays!!

Monday, April 22, 2013

What is Kickstart Your Clicks For Spring?

We realize that most people don't take as many pictures in the cold months as they do during the warm ones.  And so after a long winter, what most of us need is a little inspiration and motivation to get going in the Spring.  This is the perfect time of year to get back into the groove of taking pictures, especially in the great outdoors.

We have developed a month-long, online course for May that will help inspire you to not only get shooting again, but also, to try taking images that you would not normally take, and to get your creativity flowing!  The course is aptly called "Kickstart Your Clicks For Spring," and the cost is $25.

Is the course strictly online and what do I need to take it?

Yes, this is an online course, which means you can participate from wherever you are.  It will occur in a private Facebook group, so anything you share will only be seen by the other registrants in the course.  You require a Facebook account to be added to the group.  Anyone who owns a digital camera (point and shoot or dSLR) and is interested in photography (beginner to advanced) can take this course, as the focus of the month will be on inspiration, creativity, and the content of your images.  There is no judgement of your skill level.  Clicks always creates a welcoming environment that supports your learning, wherever you are at.

How much of a time commitment will I need to make?

You can spend as little or as much time on this experience as you want!  If you only have time to check the group every few days to read the information shared and try out a few challenges, without posting images, you are more than welcome to join and participate quietly while being inspired.  If you have the time and energy to follow along everyday, post your images from challenges, and comment on other participants' questions and posts, go for it!  The more activity there is in the group, the more everyone will take away from it.

We are currently organizing one (maybe two!) optional outings for the participants in this course, to help inspire and practice photography.   Any outings will occur in May, and we will let you know the dates as soon as we can so you can plan to attend if you want to or are able, but there is no pressure to do so.

What will happen during this course?

Either Gemma or Rhonda will post something in the group daily, whether it be a small photography challenge for you to attempt, a photography tip, or an inspirational image or anecdote.  There will be four main themes and we will spend approximately one week on each.  Remember, this course is intended to help you kickstart YOUR clicks, so this is a month about you.  The themes are:  The New You, You and Me (there is Mother's Day tucked in there!), Colourful You, and Sentimental You.  We know that there will be a lot of comments, discussions, and questions in the group.  All of the participants in the course are encouraged to connect with each other, answer questions when you can, and post as much as you would like.  Either Rhonda or Gemma will check the group once daily to help encourage and guide discussions.

How do I register?

Send us an email at clicksgonewild@gmail.com and we will send you registration details.  The last date to register for this course is  April 30th, as you won't want to miss the start on May 1st.  We will add everyone to the Facebook group when the course begins.

Those of you who have taken courses with us before know that we are passionate about photography and love sharing with others.  We came up with this concept to reconnect with some former students, learn from new students, and also to push our own creativity, as well as yours!  We are as excited about this inspirational month, and the opportunity to create and connect, as you are!

Rhonda and Gemma

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kick Start Your Clicks in May - An Inspirational Month with Clicks Gone Wild!

Join Clicks Gone Wild (professional photographers Rhonda McMaster and Gemma Robillard) on an exclusive month-long, inspirational journey.  This is for anyone, anywhere!

Sign up to participate as much or as little as you want, in a private online group, with other photography-loving people.  Any skill level is welcome as we focus on creativity and the actual content of your images.  We will inspire you to get going with daily tips, images, anecdotes, or small challenges, that will help you out of the cold-weather rut and kick start YOUR clicks for Spring!

Take time to focus on YOU with our weekly themes of:
  • The New You
  • You and Me
  • Colourful You
  • Sentimental You
Intrigued?  Join us on this adventure by registering at clicksgonewild@gmail.com.

What this month includes:
  • an invitation to a private, temporary Facebook group
  • a daily post or posts from Rhonda or Gemma, that tie into the above four themes, including inspirational images and stories, photography challenges, and photography tips
  • the opportunity to share your images with others for support and comments
  • networking opportunities with other photography-loving people
  • the opportunity to be part of a group driven by creativity and inspiration
  • gentle nudges to push you out of your comfort zone and get new and fresh images
  • the month should result in a series of images you love and motivation to continue clicking into the beautiful weather
  • and surprises for participants throughout the month!

The cost to join us is $25.

And because Gemma and Rhonda love to give back, and registration starts in April (Cancer Awareness Month), Clicks Gone Wild will donate $5 from every confirmed registration in the first two days of registration to the Canadian Cancer Society.

If you would like to gift yourself with "Kick Start Your Clicks" and help others at the same time, register starting today, Thursday, April 18th, up until Friday, April 19th at midnight.  Deadline for all other registrations is Tuesday, April 30th, the day before "Kick Start Your Clicks" begins.

Don't miss this!  We're going to have a lot of fun!
Rhonda & Gemma

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Sunny Sunday Shutterbug Moment...

While making my morning coffee today, I glanced over at our dining room table to notice the gorgeous morning light streaming in on the small bouquet of flowers sitting there.  It was creating a natural spotlight on the beautiful pink gerbera daisy in the centre.  The light in these types of scenes always stops me in my tracks!! 

I also couldn’t help but think of how so many of the principals of our Step It Up, Shutterbug! course come into play for this one scene – White Balance, Metering Modes, Adjusting Aperture, Colour in Photography and Exposure Compensation.  Immediately I ran over to my desk and grabbed my camera to share the beauty of the moment with you all and let you know that you can learn about all of these topics this week!!  J
With my fancy-dancy dSLR, here’s how my camera interpreted the scene in Automatic Mode (“the green box”):
Automatic Mode
Can I just be honest here, my photo-loving people??  These are not the beautiful flowers I saw in that kiss of sunlight.  L  This is way too dark and this camera (or any camera, for that matter) can do so much better when I take control of a few of the settings and use my equipment to its fullest capabilities. 

So knowing what to do in this scenario, I turned the dial over to one of the semi-manual modes and adjusted a few settings that would account for that brighter area over the daisy and the window in the background, fix the slight bluish colour, and my focal area (because I wanted the attention on the centre of the flower, not the front edge of the petals).

Aperture Priority Mode
Ahh, that's much better exposure-wise.  But I used a small aperture here and you can see so much detail in the background (hello top of the electrical plug); my initial vision was that I was going for something a little more soft.
Yes!  That's it!
All I did was dial in a different aperture setting and voila!! It’s exactly what I was intending to achieve with my camera in this situation.  Creating a blurry background brings the viewer's attention in to the centre of the pretty bloom – what an improvement compared to the first two shots, isn’t it?? 
Okay, I hear you... this may all sound a little tricky to figure out on your own, but it’s not hard to achieve these results yourself with your dSLR.  Active kids, landscapes… you name it, we’ll help you get there with a combination of our illustrative examples and hands-on learning.  As we tell our students all of the time, it just takes a little practice and the desire to take better photographs.
Rhonda and I can’t wait to share this exciting information with the fine shutterbuggin’ folks already enrolled for this Wednesday evening’s class.  And don’t fret – there are still a few seats left!!  E-mail us at clicksgonewild@gmail.com for more information and registration details.
Wishing everyone a Fantastic Family Day Weekend,

** If you are ready to take the your dSLR skills to the next level, a comprehensive half-day course on using Manual Mode is set for March.  We cover a lot of the same content as Shutterbug, plus more, and discuss composition and editing. **