How to learn your DSLR camera’s potential

My first blog was born from a regular column in an English magazine on Mallorca, more than seven years ago. When the magazine closed down, a friend suggested that I continue writing about my life on a Mallorcan finca in a blog.

Writing is my main passion, but I quickly realized that a blog also needs photos to give it increased eye-appeal. I’ve had a DSLR camera (Nikon) for ten years, but always used it in the automatic setting, as that was the only one I understood.

So when I heard about a course, run by Mallorca-based German photographer Diana Hirsch (, that would teach me to understand my camera and its functions, I signed up.

Diana runs separate courses in Spanish (castellano), English, and German, on a regular basis. Student numbers are kept small, so Diana has plenty of time for individual help. In August, when I was on the beginners’ course, there was only one other participant: a guy from London who was here on holiday.

The course took place over three days. It began with a brief introduction to the history of photography and how a camera works. Diana is passionate about her subject, and is a teacher with plenty of patience too. The time flew by and I was amazed how much I discovered about my camera’s functions.

The first two days were mainly spent in the classroom (a meeting room at the Nixe Palace Hotel), although we did go outside to practise some of what we had learnt. On the third day of the beginners’ course, Diana takes her students out to take photos.

My third day began before the sun had risen. We went to take sunrise photos of an old Mallorcan windmill. Then off we went to Sineu to take photos around the weekly market, with Diana on hand to offer advice and help, if needed.

At the end of the morning we headed to the large local restaurant Moli d’en Pau, where we reviewed our photos on Diana’s laptop. She also gave us a very brief introduction to Adobe Lightroom.

Within three days I had gone from taking  photos with my camera in automatic mode to using the manual setting. I knew about exposure time,  aperture, and ISO  controls. I knew that I had found a new hobby and passion – and not just a way to improve my blog posts.

Photo course exercises  (1 of 1)-94


Architectural detail in Sineu

Architectural detail in Sineu


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