“Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” – John Muir
As an ex art major, I struggled to find a way to incorporate my love for aesthetics and design into my new-found natural resources degree. While I may not have the time to sit down and draw between my various field labs and recreation workshops, I have found time to invest in photography.
It all started when my friends and I would go on fun adventures at local parks and nature centers. There is always that one person belabored with the task of taking photos so we can recollect later on, and I ended up that person. I was afraid of becoming the person stuck behind the camera, never really being a part of the experience. Thankfully, I did not become that person. I actually was able to find a deep love and balance in nature photography.
My time outdoors has lent nature as a teacher about many things and my camera has been my textbook. The skills I learn behind the lens are carried back to the classroom when I am no longer surrounded by a peer of trees, but rather my partners in academic crime. These skills provide deeper insight about myself that I would have struggled to discover otherwise.
- Perspective – When you take pictures regularly, you learn your approach to situations, and when you look at photos that others in your community take, you see how much your approach varies. People can be given the setting, but come out with completely different shots. This applies to a variety of situations. If I’m working in a group, my teammates might have thought out the project from a different angle than I ever would have even considered. Understanding my perspective builds my communication skills to better present my ideas.
- Passion – The subject of your photos reveal what draws your eye. Going back over these photos and building portfolios provides insight as to what drives you and what your passions are. This awareness opens windows of opportunities, especially ones that branch out beyond your area of study. It also tells you where you lack and need to spend more time with. There are plenty of awesome things that Warnellians are involved in that I have great interest in, but have not spent time with simply because it is not a part of my major. Your passion and drive allows you to relate to others and build relationships. This is crucial in networking.
- Patience – Nature photography pushes your buttons. You cannot force a successful photo when in you’re in the field. You cannot force the sun to come back through the leaves to get the natural warmth and exposure you just had thirty seconds ago when you picked you shot. The wind does not die down just because you are fighting to a good macro/close-up and the animals do not understand vanity enough to stay immobile for you all day. Just like you cannot control what your peers’ goal and interests are or the speed in which results come. This practice of patience helps strengthen my respect for the diversity within the natural resources community.
These 3 P’s translate into my everyday life at Warnell and help make me a better student, but it is because of my home at Warnell that I started taking nature photography more seriously. This aspect of my life is just one of the many ways Warnell subtly brings someone to be more than their major.