As I was growing up, I had an inexplicable adoration for taking photos on my mom's phone. They were blurry half the time and never really had a particular subject, but I found so much joy in every terrible photo. At some point in my flip phone photography career, I think my mom got tired of me clogging up all of her storage with useless pictures. So, she bought me a camera. It was red, had automatic settings, and it was my baby. I used it for years, it went everywhere with me. Looking back on it now, I think I should've named it. Too little too late, I guess.
The summer before my senior year of high school, I got an upgrade. It was a "graduation" gift that came before I had gotten anywhere near putting on a cap and gown. A Canon Rebel t5. My mom and I went to the store, picked it up, and my passion for photography only grew from there. Do you remember the way The Grinch's heart grew in "How The Grinch Stole Christmas"? Yeah, something like that.
A few weeks later, I decided I would email the coach of the football team at my school to see if I could take pictures for the season. There was never a girl on the field, and I wanted the opportunity to expand my portfolio. Long story short, as you can tell by the photo above, I was the photographer for the season. I researched and researched until my entire brain ran on only caffeine and sports photography settings. Friday night lights are the time where students come together, usually to freeze for two hours and cheer on the team. Or the band, or hanging out with friends, or whatever purpose being at the game served them. Friday night lights to me was a time where I got to do what I loved. From that season, I photographed the hockey team. I continued to do photos for both sports for the year afterward, as well.
I learned a lot in my two years of capturing the seasons of these two teams. The first being that being the only female on a field, or in a penalty box, surrounded by teenage boys and adult men - you are going to be underestimated. You will be seen as fragile. I learned a lot about being confident from these two years. I learned that sometimes, despite the opinions of others not mattering one bit, you have to show people that you're stronger than they believe. Similarly, I learned a lot about girl power in those two years. The future of sports photography is female if I have anything to say about it.
I also learned a lot about passion. I have never had so much adrenaline coursing through my body, or excitement in my body until I started photographing sports. Especially when it's hockey, which was already something I knew I loved. The warmth and joy I get from sports photography is one I never want to let go of. I am grateful to the coaches, the boys, the experiences, and the memories I have from the last two years of photographing high school sports. From all of that, I found something I adore more than I knew was physically possible. I found a passion I want to pursue for a very long time to come.