How Photography Changed My Life

By Stefan Franke, senior

LEARNING TRANSFORMS US.

As a kid, I grew up going on trips to Disneyland and who knows where else, with a plastic, disposable, film camera from the Dollar Tree hanging around my neck. With not a clue in the world how the thing worked, I clicked the button as many times as it let me, and after returning from the trip, getting my pictures back in a white envelope from Costco 3-5 business days later. Times have changed a bit, and luckily I don’t have to wait as long to see the how pictures of my teddy bears look, or to see the all too common, “accidental picture of a foot with half a finger in the frame”. Not that that’s what I’m taking pictures of at 17 years of age anyways. Fast forward a few years, and I’m sitting on the couch looking at computer screen, ordering a $500 Canon Rebel SL1 camera, with still, little to no idea how they work, or how big of an impact this thing is going to have on me.

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After about a year of owning it, and buying a new lens, I am a firm believer that photography is something everyone should learn or try at some point in life. And no, I don’t mean taking a picture with your phone and posting it on Twitter, or taking a selfie in your bathroom mirror. I mean real photography, as in “Shutter Speed” and “ISO” and “Aperture”. Sure, big, foreign words if you’ve never touched a camera, but it really is easier than it seems. Your phone has the same settings when you take that selfie, the only difference is you don’t have to change any of it. All you have to do is click the button. And that’s just what is so amazing about photography: it’s as easy as the click of a button, and you can create something amazing. Sure, anyone can take a picture, but not everyone is a photographer. But at the same time, anyone who has taken picture, is already on their way to becoming a photographer. Now, onto the part about how photography has changed my life. Knowing how to use manual settings on a camera isn’t exactly something you would put on a resume, but it’s more than just knowing how to change a few numbers to make a cloud look cool so you can post it on Facebook. For me, photography is an excuse to get out of the house, and to go see the world. Sure, you can take an array of interesting pictures from the comfort of your own home, but what’s the fun in that? Have you been wanting to go to the mountain, or the beach, or to a cool park downtown, but haven’t had a reason to make time to go by yourself? Grab a camera, and suddenly you’ll find yourself making time to visit tons of new places you have never been to, meeting tons of awesome new people, and taking amazing pictures.

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Also, photography has taught me a huge lesson: Not everyone sees things the same. Life is all about perspective, and the way you view things. Some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken are of the most common things, but if you add some sort of cool twist, like different lighting, or taking the picture from way above, or from way down low to the ground, it suddenly looks incredibly cool. I’m no professional photographer, but learning to use different perspectives can make your pictures a lot more interesting, and also, stopping to take a second and look at things from a different viewpoint can help you a lot in life as well. So next time you’re sitting at home, bored, pick up a camera. Who knows where it’ll take you, or what you’ll learn. Below is a picture I took myself, using a piece of string, and a couple different colored finger lights that a majority of households with younger kids most likely have. And with only simple, everyday stuff that most people probably have or can easily get, you can take an awesome picture in a matter of seconds. What do you have in your home that you think could make a cool picture? Try it out! With the convenience of digital cameras, if it doesn’t look how you want, you can always delete it and try again.

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