I recently graduated from UCLA with a BA in Literature, and upon graduation I was under the impression that I had pretty decent experience in the world of story telling. I write in my free time, but I didn’t concentrate on creative writing in college; rather, I spent my time reading everything I could get my hands on and getting lost other people’s stories. I made lists of my favorite words (bassoon! jollification! vicissitude!) and favorite complex sentences (“The heaventree of stars hung with humid nightblue fruit.”). I soaked my world with the delightful freshness of free and happy words, and upon graduation I decided to apply to a Masters program in England (to study more literature, surprise?).
This past May I met up with a friend of mine in London and we took a train two hours north to York to check out the school. I had just bought my Canon Rebel T3i and has anxious about taking my beautiful new camera with me (especially since I had no idea how to use it!), so I brought my iPhone and set it on “airplane mode” for the week I was gone. During that week, I took about two hundred pictures on that iPhone. Since we were only there for a week and wanted to pack in everything we possibly could, I didn’t have much time to sit with a pen and paper and journal my experiences. The fastest and best way to capture the memories was to take pictures.
I have never been very good at photography, but I knew that I wanted to capture the little moments of the trip – things like falling asleep on the train to York because I was so tired after the eleven hour flight. Or the tea vendor at Borough Market. Or the tiny, slanted old building from 1486, my first Mars bar, or the hour or so we spent sitting in Covent Garden resting our tired feet watching the London fashionable elite walk by. I got pictures of the important buildings and places we saw too, but it was the little moments I captured that now mean the most to me. If I had stopped and written down what I did during the day, I probably would have recorded what museums we saw, what Tube tracks we took, and what I ate. I would have never recorded trying York’s famous granola and yogurt or the back alley way the cab driver sent us to get to the train station from our B&B, or how happily shocked we were to round a corner one day in York to find twenty dancers dressed up and dancing to folk music in the middle of the street.
On this trip, I learned how valuable keeping a camera on hand can be if you have an eye out for the little private moments, and how those little moments captured can become the most precious ones.
And that is why I want to advance from using my iPhone (ha!) to learning how to use my Canon Rebel T3i. I don’t know if this goal entails looking up tutorials on YouTube or taking an online class or enrolling in a community college photography class…but I know I want to know how to use it like a professional. I want to learn how to make the best parts of the little moments stand out.