In the thirty plus years that I’ve been a photographer and often mentor of the craft, I’ve seen many ‘students’ with fine potential for becoming a technically skilled pro. However it’s been a very rare occurrence that a young photographer has captured my full attention with such interest. I first ‘met’ Tracie at Greeting Card Universe and enjoyed seeing her photos come to life on greeting cards. We connected through her Greetings and Gifts Resource Center on Facebook and Twitter which is where I was given the opportunity to visit her 365-Day Photography Challenge.
I stopped by her challenge page expecting to browse through quickly and was truly impressed, not only with the quality this young photographer was able to present, but her gifted eye for composition, balance and subject selection. I now look forward to Tracie’s daily tweet letting me know that today’s photo is up for viewing and felt she would be the perfect person to have as my guest today. Tracie’s journey has not only inspired me to find the time soon for my own photo-a-day challenge, but she sparked my curiosity and I wanted to know more about her experience…so I interviewed her!
Doreen: Tell me about you and photography. How long have you been shooting? What do you shoot with? What is your Photography background?
Tracie:“I’ve had a love of photography since I was a youth. My parents bought me a 110 camera when we went on vacation one year to New Mexico. I remember taking a photograph of train tracks with big yellow flowers in the foreground and a red mountain behind. Once it was developed, I fell in love with it. But film was expensive, and so my photography got shoved to the wayside. Then in 2007, my husband surprised me with a digital compact camera. I went on a photo-taking frenzy. I upgraded three times after that to ‘better’ cameras, but the image quality just wasn’t improving. Finally, in February of this year, he surprised me with a Canon Rebel T2i—my first d-SLR.”
Doreen: Why did you choose to accept the 365-day photo challenge? Where did you get the idea?
Tracie:“After I got my camera, it became apparent that it wasn’t my cameras causing my poor quality photos—it was the photographer! I started reading every book and watching every video I could get my hands on. That was a great way to learn the ‘lingo’, but it just wasn’t doing much to improve my skill. That’s when a photographer I admire suggested a 365-day challenge. She said it was a great way learn about your camera and improve your photography—she was right. Every day I learn something new, and now I’m finally at a point where I can recognize flaws in the photos I used to think were perfect.”
Doreen: What three things have you already learned about yourself while trying to stay true to this challenge?
Tracie:The number one thing I’ve discovered about myself since I started this challenge is, despite obstacles, if I put my mind to it I can stick to something and finish it. I’ve also learned to see the world around me in a new light. There is beauty in everything around us. We just have to keep our eyes open to see it. This challenge has made me realize that even though I am a shy person by nature, I can reach outside my comfort zone to ‘get the shot’ and be glad I did.
Doreen: What three things have you already learned about photography 75+ days into your journey?
Tracie:Doing this challenge has taught me so much about photography I never would have given a thought about otherwise. I think the number one thing I’ve learned is that the camera does not see light and color the way our eyes do. You have to predict what your camera sees and adjust your settings manually. I’ve also learned to watch for my shadow. The best way to ruin a great photo is to have a silhouette of your ponytail in the middle of the frame. And last, but not least, if you are going lay on your belly in the woods to get an up-close shot of a Trillium, check yourself for ticks—Trust me, you do not want to get bit by one of them!
Doreen: Where does the inspiration for the day’s photo come from?
Tracie:I’m often surprised where the photos for my challenge come from. There are times I set up a shot, but out of nowhere something will happen that will turn a static photo into a precious memory. For example, on day 69 I was uploading a still life I took when my children came rushing into the house with a beautiful blue feather, shouting, “Mom, we’ve got your photo for today!” The excitement on their faces was worth the change in direction.
Doreen: To date, what is your favorite challenge photograph?
Tracie:I think my favorite photograph is day 24. My firstborn son is cradling one of my mother’s favorite flowers in his hands. It made me teary to realize just how much he had grown.
Doreen: On day 365 of this journey, what do you hope to walk away with?
Tracie: When I started this challenge I had no idea where it would lead me, but in just the few short months since I’ve started, I’ve gained confidence in myself and have been able to put my new-found skills to use making greeting cards that just might touch someone’s life in the way my photos have touched me. I hope to come away with a sense of accomplishment and a portfolio I can be proud of. By day 365 I hope to have gained enough skill to take a family portrait my children can treasure years from now.
Thank you agreeing to share your journey with us Tracie! I know all of you want to visit her challenge, you can do that here: Photography TK Designs: 365-Day Challenge Don’t forget to stop by and visit Tracie’s lovely Greeting Card Store which is filling up with more designs every day!