Photography.

To some people, photography is just a perfect shot of you and your friends or a quick snap of the sunset that you saw from your window. But to me, photography is so much more.

I was always fascinated with photography, even though I had no real idea of what it was. I just knew that my parents and grandparents took so many photos of anything and everything, all the time. There's no shortage of pictures of my sister and me on every holiday, or birthday; you name the day, there's probably a photo from that day.

I first started doing my own version of photography when I was around 11 or 12 years old. I received my first camera from my parents for Christmas, and it was a digital point-and-shoot camera. I was thrilled to bits. I could take any photos at any time, and of anything that I wanted to. And it was a nice quality (for 2011), far better than my sliding keyboard cell phone. Every now and then, I look back on some of the photos and laugh at what I really thought photography was.

After my first camera, I realized how much I enjoyed capturing things, from sunsets to my dogs to flowers outside. Every few years brought me more opportunity to access better camera quality. After I got my first iPhone, I was thrilled to bits with the latest camera features. Each year I would scoff at the last year's quality, disappointed with grainy, blurry, or angled photos.

Photography is an artistic outlet that to me, seems the most attainable and important to me. I felt like it was an artistic outlet that was the most right for me. I was never good at painting, drawing, etc., and I never really pursued dancing, acting, or singing (because I thought I was "too late" at age 13). So for me, photography was the easiest way for me to create visible art for myself and those around me. It brings me so much joy to capture people, animals, nature, etc.

Today, I take photography more seriously and have a much higher quality camera, but the vision and passion are both there. I tend to gravitate towards capturing landscapes and nature scenes, but I have been going out of my comfort zone more and more by doing portraits of people. I may still be particular with quality, angles, and lighting, but nonetheless, it all brings me the same joy almost a decade later.