About a week and a half ago I received a snail mail letter from a somewhat local high school girl inquiring if I would be willing to let her “job shadow” with me. Andrea (name changed to protect the innocent, lol) is a senior, and this was one of her required projects for her to graduate. If I recall correctly, it was for a generic “life skills” class, but don’t quote me on that. She mentioned in her letter that she was interested in landscape and wildlife photography only, no people… wow, right up my alley!… and that she was unable to find many landscape photographers in Iowa. She desires to go to college primarily for photography, get a good job with a publication of some kind, and eventually be a self-employed photographer. I can understand that.
Andrea and I communicated via email for several days, and agreed to meet on a Saturday morning, just this past weekend. This was actually the first time I had been out since my surgery, and was excited to go just for that reason alone. She lives a little over an hour away and Missy and I went down to her area. I did a little internet research and she did a little reconnaissance for our meeting.
We met at a park nearby that was on the river. It was both chilly, windy, and the river had been flooding due to recent excessive storms. I wasn’t sure if we’d really get anything as far as great photos, but to me the important thing here was the educational opportunity. I do not consider myself to be a great teacher, but I do my best and felt that the bigger aspect here was the educational opportunity, not as much getting a great photo. How to do something, which she could take with her later on, was more important in my mind.
I took all my gear so that I could show her a variety of lenses so that she could get a feel for what’s available and what she might want to focus on (no pun intended). Her school will provide her a camera, but I suggested she’d still want to get her own. Photography isn’t a cheap endeavor, but it doesn’t have to break you in the beginning, either. A good used body and a good used versatile zoom lens can get you started nicely. (Oh, and a good tripod, probably the most important piece of equipment outside the bode and lens.)
It was the four of us, me, Missy, Andrea, and Andrea’s mother. Andrea and I walked and talked a lot, had some very nice conversations about photography and ancillary topics. While this was going on Missy and Andrea’s mother got along famously, I thought they might become best friends. lol We then went to lunch and talked about some of the business aspects of landscape photography. I was up front with Andrea that I was a part-time photographer, so my experience would be “small time”, but I have been a full-time businessman in my time, too, so I’m not totally inexperienced in this matter.
Like I mentioned previously, we didn’t get many “keepers”, but this photo here is one that we did get that I find to be pretty good. I shot this one up through some backlit trees. It was very windy at this point, so I had to use a fast shutter speed to compensate. It’s not perfect, I’d like the sky to be more blue, but it’s still pretty good.
All in all, it was a good morning. I know that Missy and I had a fun time. The four of us got along well, and I hope I was able to teach Andrea something worthwhile.