"Yes, yes, but what does this have to do with a photography lesson?" I hear you ask. Well, it was through one of these websites that I found said lesson, and that's part of what I loved about it.
Arribaa is a relatively new Aussie start up which brings locals and travellers together to experience new things. It has a similar concept to Guidehop and Vayable, in that it allows locals in the know to create experiences and offer them through the site.
It's a wonderful idea, and when I first went onto Arribaa I was struck by how many of the experiences I wanted to do.
Should I start with a Graffiti Walk with Sydney street artist Davey (also known as Teazer), get a history lesson as I walked around Middle Head, enjoy a taste sensation on a Flavour Tripping experience or work on a more stylish swim stroke?
There's already more than 30 experiences in Sydney to choose from on Arribaa and that list is growing, and with prices ranging from $3 to $270, there's something for every budget.
In the end, I decided to start off with a beginners photography lesson which promised to teach me tips and tricks for taking beautiful photos, and help get SLR cameras out of "auto" mode.
After booking through the site, our host Tasha got in touch to say g'day, and to get a feel for how much I already knew how to do with my camera. As well as offering to teach the basics, depending on my level of skill Tasha could share more tips and take it further. But for me, it was a baby steps lesson.
The sort of lesson that could get me from taking a photo like this...
To one more like this...
Which is a good thing to know.
Tasha was absolutely lovely, patient, and made things easy to understand. After meeting at a pub for a quick chat and to get to know where everyone was at, we headed over to the bridge over Darling Harbour and started to snap away.
For me, it was fun to play with shutter speed and create ghosty people, and having the lesson as the sun went down was perfect for learning how to adjust to fading light.
The lessons take around 60 to 75 minutes, and are a great way to build confidence and bond with your camera. And it's definitely something I'd like to do again down the road so I can keep on developing.
I'll also be sure to try out some of the other Arribaa experiences and get to see my city through new eyes.
The whole idea behind Arribaa is one I love. The only downside for me is that you have to sign in with a Facebook account, and I'm not a fan of websites that insist on someone being on Facebook (there are those who prefer not to, and until very recently, I was one of those people).
But considering that's the only downside I can think of, they're onto a winner!
To browse and book experiences, or offer your own tour, check out the Arribaa website.
And if you like the sound of the Social Media and Philosophy Course, there's another one starting soon so snap up a spot.
Amanda Woods was invited to take part in an experience by Arribaa