You know that one thing you've probably used most of your life, but you don't know how to use the object to its full potential? That how I was growing up with a camera. I love taking photos of everything ever since I was a little kid. I constantly had a camera with me, even if it was a family vacation to Branson, Missouri and I had a cheap disposable camera in my hand, I love taking photos.
Now living in the digital age with a digital camera is great. I bought my first digital camera when I was about 10 and it was absolutely wonderful!! It gave me more rein to take more photos and better my skill as a photographer.
I entered my photos in 4-H and Open Class at my county fair and even sent some to the State Fair. It was great getting feedback on my work as a photographer but I never photographed much out of auto mode on my camera.
When I was younger i would take a photo of an object, and then I would turn the dial on top of my camera to the next setting, not knowing what it meant, and I would take another photo. That is about as much of experimenting outside of auto mode on my camera until I came to K-State and took a photography class called Imagery in Agriculture.
This class was recommended by my adviser who I admire very much and the class subject really sparked my interest. I got to learn the different composition rules for photography and actually learn how to shoot in manual mode.
Every week my class would go out in the world, rain or shine, and take photos with a particular assignment in mind. I loved having the rules of an assignment but still being allowed to be creative and different from my classmates.
The photos we took were not just for our use but would be used in other publications and websites for the locations we took.
With these photo trips, I got to see more of the Manhattan Community I lived in and some more in-depth things of the research units, and greenhouses at K-State. Also photographing different events K-State had hosted during the semester as well, like the Little American Royal during Open House weekend.
Also, learning to take headshots of our classmates that we could actually use in portfolios and LinkedIn websites was also extremely helpful to know.
We also had photo challenges that we had to complete during the semester to expand our views and push the limits on our abilities as photographers. Everything from photographing objects that start with each letter of the alphabet to photographing everything of the same color.
Over spring break my class actually took a four-day photo trip to Elmdale, Kansas and traveled that region for the duration of our stay. This really exposed me to a variety of environments, we took photos at a local man's old car collection/ scrapyard, went to wildlife areas, prairie preserves where we saw bison, historic towns, event centers, art galleries, and to top it all off a waterfall!!
My experience with this class was truly rewarding, getting to learn how to actually utilize my camera and all the settings on it so I could make a photo as beautiful as possible without fixing it on a computer.
I'm also able to take the skills I learned from both my camera and composition rules and advise people on their picture taking. Explaining to them why their picture turned out blurry because their shutter speed was really slow and it implied motion, to adjusting the ISO on their camera to the correct setting for the lighting in the area.
Because of this class, I have definitely started analyzing my photos and photo-taking abilities WAY more. I take more photos than ever and try to get the most interesting photo out of my subject. I've gone out into the pasture with my parents' cows and just sat for hours taking photos of them.
Looking at life through a camera is extremely fun for me, I not only want to capture the beautiful moment in a photo, but also give the viewer a different perspective on that object. A picture is worth a thousand words and I want to make every word count.
All of the pictures I've taken have made the story of my evolution as a photographer. They also include a really funny story of the awkward position I was in to take that photo or the beautiful waterfall that was hidden in the trees.
At the end of the semester, we had a photo gallery presenting a portfolio of our best pictures from the semester. It was insanely hard to pick my favorite photos because it's like choosing your favorite child, but it was also really fun to look back at all the places I had traveled and the things I had seen. I was able to create my own watermark and add it to my photos, which was really fun to learn and be creative about for my futures adventures as a photographer.
We chose our best photo from the entire semester, with help from fellow classmates, and will make a calendar of our entire class' best photos and our photos will be blown up on canvas and hung around our department floor, both Ag Communications and Ag Education locations.
My advice for anyone in love with a craft, whether it be photography or whatever, keep excelling at it, continue learning about it. One day you could make a career out of it, or just have some really good pictures from your family vacation.
This class really helped me gain a different perspective about photography that has changed my mindset when taking photos, I'm extremely thankful for my adviser for telling me about this class and for teaching me so much. And all the great memories I made with my classmates.
My goals for the future after taking this class are to continue to expand and sharpen my abilities as a photographer. Even if the people viewing my photographs are just me.