Growing up, I was involved with a lot of different hobbies; from playing competitive soccer year-round to taking guitar lessons weekly. Yet I only participated in those activities because I happened to be half-decent at them, not because I was truly passionate about them.
It was during my sophomore year of high school that I really began to doubt what I was doing and the reason why. At the time, I just wanted to find something I could be both passionate about and good at, not just an after school activity but something I could retain for life. That's when I stumbled upon photography, hoping that this time it'd be different.
When I first started with photography, I would go on all of these crazy adventures whenever I had time to spare, taking photos of literally anything and everything. I earned money through client photoshoots and had some of my work featured in the local news. I even watched hundreds of hours of YouTube videos trying to better my photography skills.
At this point, I was three years deep into photography and headed off to Washington State University (WSU) to persue a degree in Computer Hardware Engineering.
Now... WSU and the surrounding Pullman area don't exactly stand out as an instant "photographic opportunity" (with the endless rolling hills going for miles in every direction and the tiny downtown area), but I decided to bring my camera to college anyways.
With a few months of my freshman year behind me, my camera had essentially not moved from its spot on my desk. I began getting disheartened because I couldn't seem to find anything remotely interesting to take photos of, and my inner creativity was at all an all time low.
It was then that I asked myself, "Why do I even enjoy photography in the first place"?
I didn't know the answer. I thought back to when I was in high school and had all the free time in the world to do photography or anything else for that matter. I still couldn't really think of why I liked doing photography other than the fact that I was good at it.
That was the moment when I quit photography.
I realized I had no real reason to be doing it and it felt like there was nowhere interesting to practice it.
Or so I'd thought...
Three years later, I'd switched major to Construction Management (CM) and had started to build a strong foundation for my career.
This change had been at the cost of my sanity though, as all my free time had essentially gone out the window and into the hands of the CM program. In the attempt to stay sane, I would pick up new creative outlets for a few months, lose interest, and then abandon them. It was my high school struggle of trying to find a long term hobby that I could be passionate about all over again.
But then, seemingly out of nowhere, I had an epiphany and I knew I had to get back into photography. It was at that point I knew it was my passion and not just a pointless hobby to kill some time. I remembered why I truly LOVED photography.
To me, it isn't just about taking cool photos. To me, it is so much more than that...
Photography is about adventure.
It's about standing in the rain for HOURS trying to get just one good shot of a lightning storm that's passing through town at three in the morning.
Photography is about driving somewhere.
It's about asking friends to come along on a crazy-ass road trip with only a moments notice on a school night, to somewhere we found via Google Maps that is WAY outside of town, just because there might be a small chance of seeing stars in the clear night sky.
Photography is about people.
It's about meeting random strangers on hiking trails and sending them their picture you took of them over Facebook while keeping in touch to this day.
Photography is about getting my mind off of things.
It's about being a stress reliever and a way to engage my mind in a creative way that doesn't feel like work.
These are just a few of the many reasons why I love photography and why I am excited to be back.
I get now that it's not about being the best. It's about taking photos of things you truly find interesting and finding opportunity wherever you are, even if you happen to be in the middle of a wheat field.
This time around, I'm embracing this passion of mine for life.
-All images used in this blog are creative commons licensed from www.pixabay.com.