Through the years, photography has developed into a passion for me. As I shared in the My Story section, I began taking pictures around middle school. I loved taking my film to the developers and returning with hard-evidence of the stories that I shared with my friends and family. Photography was a way to preserve those memories so that I could look back and remember.
When my film camera died, I upgraded to a digital camera that had control of the settings. My brother was right beside me as he showed me the various settings and patiently explained how each one worked. Through lots of practice and lots of okay pictures and a high school photography class, I began to get the hang of it.
Through college, I had opportunities to practice with DSLR cameras because I could check them out from my college library just like I could check-out a book. I checked them out for special memory-making moments like Pancake House, where my Christian fellowship baked thousands of pancakes for the students on the last day of classes, or for graduation portraits of my friends.
However, I often (usually after a stressful week) would grab my camera (or check one out) and go on photo walks. A photo walk is where you take your camera and take pictures of the beauty that you run across. For me, this was often flowers, animals, and other natural spaces. As I came face-to-face with the little details, I thanked God for His beautiful creation. Through those walks, I learned more about who God is and the peace that He gives.
On December 31, 2016, I decided that a good goal for 2017 was to take a photo a day. I had seen other photographers do this, and I thought that this year would be a great year to do just that. I have had so much fun finding things or people to take photos of everyday. No matter what kind of day I have had, I find something to photograph.
It has allowed me to explore places so that I am not taking that same flower picture again and again. It has allowed me something completely unrelated to teaching. And it has better taught me my camera.
For me, each photo has a memory and a story attached. The smell of summer rain after a major thunderstorm. The laughter of my family. The bird that posed for me and sang me an entire aria. A memorable walk. A rainbow when I needed one. The day someone called me a professional photographer.
I realized from creating this 2017 album how much I enjoy photography, and I realized that I want to be able to share these memories and stories with others.
The beauty of nature and travel photography is that the story varies for different people. When I see a picture of a fire, I think of my summers spent at Triple R Ranch as a camp counselor creating sticky s'mores. Someone else might look at it and think of the family weekends spent sleeping in a tent. Someone else might look at it and see the power and fury that the fire contains. However, whatever story the image reveals to you, it means something to you.
The stories and the memories created from photographs are worth telling; that's why photography.
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What about you?