Hey there, everyone!

Young Harris College is always adding new, interesting classes for students to explore. My sophomore year, I decided to add a photography class as an elective—this ended up being one of the coolest classes I’ve taken at YHC. I’ve always been interested in photography. My junior year of high school I received a Canon Digital SLR camera for Christmas and loved snapping pictures with it and exploring all of its features. During my junior and senior year of high school, I was a member of the yearbook staff, so I had a lot of opportunities to take photos of sporting events and pictures of students and teachers for feature articles. This opportunity really sparked my interest in taking quality photos and, when I realized I had the opportunity to further pursue this interest at YHC, I jumped at it. 

My professor, Scott Dean, gave us different assignments each week highlighting a specific topic. For one assignment, Mr. Dean informed us of a bike race happening at a local park called “Track Rock Gap.” I went with another student from class and chose to stand on the side of a curve along the dirt trail to capture a unique angle. Tons of bikers came zooming by us and it was thrilling trying to capture action shots of the racers. I had never been to a bike race before so I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but it was so much fun. At first, I struggled with taking the photo at the right moment and with the right shutter speed so a lot of my pictures came out blurry. I adjusted both of these things and was able to get some pretty good pictures that embodied the totality of the race.

Another week, our assignment was to take pictures of anything that reminded us of Appalachia. I chose to go around the town of Young Harris and highlight a few local places. This project was during autumn, so I tried to get some quality photos of the leaves changing colors, pumpkins and other festive fall decorations. One of the photos I snapped was of the sun setting behind a hay bale in an open field. I turned in this photo along with a couple others that I felt best fulfilled the assignment. A few months later, Mr. Dean sent me an email saying the Center for Appalachian Studies and Community Engagement wanted to use my photo for a series of events they were planning to run in February and my photo would be on exhibit in the Goolsby Center for a week. I was extremely honored by this opportunity and immediately agreed to participate! It was exciting to see my photo displayed in a place that so many people pass by everyday. 

This class rekindled my interest in photography. I loved that a lot of the assignments, even though they had a specific theme each week, were left up to the student’s interpretation and allowed for creative freedom. Each day assignments were due, students were able to show off what they had captured that week and explain our perspective behind the camera. These moments make a liberal arts college like Young Harris so special! 

Until next week,