When I was 7 years old, my dad gave me his old point-and-shoot camera, a boxy, black rectangle that held the power to capture memories and freeze them forever. It wasn’t fancy or g
As a kid, I felt so grown up having my own camera. I still remember my Memere assigning jobs to my cousins and me at one of our family reunions, and I was given the important title of “Official Reunion Photographer.” She bestowed a disposable Kodak camera upon me and told me that my mission was to capture those fun “behind the scenes” pictures… my first venture into lifestyle photography.
My senior year of high school, I got my first digital camera for Christmas. I remember the thrill of holding the box in my hands, feeling like a whole new world of possibilities was opening to me: I could see each photo immediately on the screen after taking it! I could take as many photos as I wanted! (At least, as many as my SD card could hold. 😉) And, oh… the creative shooting options: black and white, sepia, macro… they made my teenage heart go pitter-patter. It was love a first shutter-click.
That little camera served me well for years, and I learned so many things about photography from our time together. It was also the camera that made me completely fall in love with photography…
One summer afternoon, when my family was staying in Hancock, MA, I ventured out to an old cemetery down the road to take pictures. (I liked being *artsy* 😊). As I walked down the road, my shoes crunching on the gravel, I heard a bee buzzing in a patch of wildflowers. I stopped to watch it for a few minutes, and then I wondered… could I get a picture of it?
I clicked the dial to the macro setting and squatted down so my insect subject was at eye level. Slowly, I inched my camera as close as I dared to the bee, then held my breath as I pressed the shutter button down halfway. Click. Click. Click.
I checked the postage stamp-sized LCD screen, and it looked like I’d gotten a decent shot, so I didn’t push my luck and continue to test the bee’s tolerance for my intrusion.
When I arrived back at the house after my little excursion, I fired up my laptop to transfer the photos from my card. As I clicked through the photos, I stopped when I got to the one of the bee. I’m fairly certain that I audibly gasped. Was it possible? Could I have taken this photo?!?
It looked like something you would see in a nature magazine: a bee perched on top of a bright yellow wildflower, its wings still and translucent, its head bent in concentration as its tongue dipped into the center of one of the flowers, the background blurred beautifully to bring the attention to the subject. This was my photo! I really had done it!
I think you probably could have seen the pride radiating from as I ran upstairs with my laptop to share it with my family. That moment of pride, that perfect photo that happened because I took a risk… it was the crowning achievement of my amateur photography career, and it encouraged me to continue trying new things and stretching myself creatively.
Even to this day, I still feel that same overwhelming sense of awe when I look at that photo, and I honestly believe that it captures the moment that I fell head over heels in love with photography.
Part I – What I Learned about Photography from My First Point and Shoot Camera
Part II – What I Learned about Storytelling through Photography on My First Trip Abroad
Part III – What My Photography Journey has Taught Me about Perfectionism and Taking Risks
Part IV – The (Last) Last Day of School