The first time that I remember “being a photographer” was on a trip to Alaska, with my grandparents, when I was 12 years old. I had a simple point and shoot (film) camera with me while we drove from Anchorage to Denali (and took a bus tour through a bit of Denali National park) to Fairbanks, and then back to Anchorage via Delta Junction and Paxson.
This was after spending the first week of that trip with my cousins in McGrath, a town only accessible by plane. The entire experience was incredible and life-changing.
I remember, with that point and shoot, that all I wanted to do was roam, see everything we could, and photograph everything I could. And yeah, the Alaskan landscape will do that to you.
That school year, my Freshman year of high school, I enrolled in a Photography class as an elective. I learned to roll, develop, and print my own film. I learned photography basics about exposure and composition and storytelling for photojournalism.
I also “borrowed” my grandpa’s Pentax ME Super (SLR) which didn’t leave my side/bag throughout the rest of high school. I still have it, 25+ years later.
I’m currently rereading two books: 1) Bryan Peterson’s Understanding Exposure and, 2.) On Being a Photographer: A Practical Guide, by David Hurn. They’re two of my favorite photography books and I believe they’ll help ground me with this hobby.
I want to get my mindset back to that Alaska trip, and back to how I worked in that photography class. I want to focus on fundamentals and get really good with them. And I just want to get out there and photograph without worry, without self-consciousness, and with passion.