If you ever wondered what it's like to grow up at a summer camp, I am the perfect person to ask. Being the daughter of Susie and Steve, I have spent practically every summer of my existence tucked away in the mountains of North Carolina at Camp Spring Creek. When Camp Spring Creek was founded, I was only five years old and the campers seemed like giants to me. Since then, I have filled the role as camper, dishwasher, kitchen helper, art assistant, typing teacher, and--as of two summers ago--photographer.
When I am taking photos at camp, it is important for me to capture the moments that will be remembered in the campers' minds forever. I find it important to capture the friendships that are formed, confidence that is built, and learning that is inspired. I look for the secret moments of an older camper helping a younger camper cross the creek, or teammates cheering each other on during a relay race in swimming. These moments, along with composition and lighting, are what make great photos.
When thinking back to the photos that I have taken this previous summer, one in particular comes to mind as one of my favorites. It is a picture of a fourth-year camper who, for the first time that year, decided she would give wakeboarding a try in Lake James. After getting up on the wakeboard for a few seconds, her confidence soared to the sky and I am so happy that I was able to capture that moment she will remember for the rest of her life. This photo is an example of how photography requires the photographer to be in the right place at the right time. As always, even with thousands of photos from the summer, there are always so many moments that were never captured on camera. That is one of my favorite parts about being the photographer at camp. In a way, I get to choose what parts of camp get displayed to the whole world, and which moments will be locked away in the camper’s minds.
Photography is a medium that is constantly changing, and there are always new things to learn. During my recent trip to the Netherlands, I got to spend some quality time with my aunt, who is also a photographer, learning tips and tricks as well as learning the different effects of using portable reflectors. As well as spending time with my aunt, I was able to learn a few tricks using Photoshop with my uncle, who is a graphic designer. Experimentation has also been a great tool to help me develop my “style.” This past fall, I launched my own photography business as a way for me to practice and gain experience in the photography field. Business has slowed down during the cold winter, but I already have a session scheduled for the spring. I am excited for another summer doing what I love in a place that I love. Camp Spring Creek is where my heart is, and I am so excited to give back to this organization that has filled my summers with adventure and friendships since I was five.