I can't believe it has been a year since I purchased my first DSLR and began my journey to become a professional photographer. I remember as a child wanting to become a photographer for National Geographic, but time passed and life happened. When I was in my mid 20s I bought a little Canon Elan and took a few pictures but I really couldn't afford film and processing and when Kodak lost my best negatives I shelved it and went back to the daily grind. But I kept on finding ways to get into the natural world and to take mental pictures. It wasn't until the past few years that some people rekindled my interest.
First, my brother Aaron kept traveling around the world and taking beautiful photographs which began to spark my desire again. Then, as part of my counseling degree requirements, I attended the Conservation Psychology conference where Molly Steinwald gave a presentation on nearby nature photography. I was taken by the stunning simplicity of her work and her passion for the planet. When I returned home I saw I Facebook post by a West Virginia photographer, Ed Rehbein. He was offering free prints to those who could not afford to purchase them. I was stunned at this beautiful gesture and requested a beautiful photograph of Dolly Sod's, one of the beautiful places in West Virginia. That 8*10 hangs in my living room and reminds me of the quest to share the beauty all around me. A year went by and I finished my master's degree, my children's health continued to improve and I decided I could take some time to pursue a passion. Then I watched a documentary called Monk with a Camera and...
... I just did it. I made a decision that I was going to spend money I didn't have and buy a used Canon off Ebay for $220. I got it and immediately started reading, watching Youtube videos, and studying composition. There was so much to learn and I really had no idea what I was doing but everyday I got out and shot. My kids were great as I would often drag the along; my daughter sitting holding my lens cap or my son patiently waiting for me to let him have a turn with the camera. I loved getting outdoors and finding my center.
The camera has taught me so much. It has taught me to slow down, to be more patient with myself and with the world. It has taught me to look at things in new ways. It has taught me that I am at my best when I become part of something rather than just observing it. It has taught me that I can be an artist (I really hope my evil grade school art teacher reads this). It has helped me to get outside and make time for myself again. It has brought back passion and energized me.
I am well on my way to realizing my dream and I continue to be inspired by the beautiful people and planet that surround me. My parents are always so encouraging, my daughter and my son are wonderfully patient and inspiring, and my partner, Leslie helps me believe in myself and acts as my muse. I hope you join me on my journey and check back on my blog frequently as I continue to bring beauty to light.
Here is the very first photograph I was proud of. Audra WV