Recapturing the Moment

Photography was woven into the fabric of my teenage life. It was the thread that led me to the blanket of graphic design, the career of my dreams. It was my way of capturing the world and creating tangible memories as a youngster, a creative outlet I used to express myself when I didn’t quite have the words to say how I felt.

Getting started

I bought my first camera my junior year of high school. I remember going to my local camera shop to weigh the pros and cons of Nikon versus Canon, discussing with the salespeople which camera to buy, what lenses to pair with it, and how to choose from the oodles of accessories to accompany the contraption. I settled on a Canon Rebel t3i and was jolted into the world of photography. It was a gateway to conversations, the sharing of memories, and a way for me to artfully capture my surroundings and my people. Photography allowed me to relive my past through photos I could carry along with me into my present. 

College and beyond

During college, photography allowed me to express myself, taking photos in the real world and bringing them into the darkroom to craft and create pieces of art. I received scholarships for photography throughout my high school and college years, ending my collegiate career just shy of a double major in graphic design and photography and settling on a major of graphic design with a minor in photography. 

Design dive

After college graduation, I dove into the world of design, hungry to hone my skills and perfect my craft. I spent my free time on design tutorials, locking in ways I could improve and build upon my abilities. Somewhere in that time, I lost my drive for photography. I put it in a box high up on a shelf to make room for my new bright and shiny dream of being a rockstar designer. Photography sat patiently on a shelf in my closet, collecting dust throughout the years as polished up on my typography and immersed myself in the realm of color theory. To this day, design is my love but as I moved further away from photography, I realized there was a piece of my creativity that wasn’t being tapped.

Back to basics (and how the heck this all relates to the PCT)

A few days before embarking on my PCT adventure, I bumped into a photography college classmate at a coffee shop. We chatted and caught up and he told me about his new mirrorless camera that he loved. He reminded me of my love for photography and how much I missed it. That day, I did some research, found a used, discounted mirrorless camera at a local camera shop and picked it up a day later. I decided not only would I be embarking on the PCT, the adventure I had been dreaming about for nearly a decade. I decided that I would also use this as an opportunity to step back from design and reclaim my photography roots, separated from the world solely by a lens to document as I went. 

Reweaving the fabric

I’m slowly weaving photography back into the fabric of my life during my trek on the PCT. It looks different than it did before. More conscious and aware. Slightly clunkier as I lean back into the world of ISO, aperture, and shutter speed. But it’s been an incredible experience getting back to the art form that started it all and rebooting my old skills on a new camera. It’s allowing me to see the trail in a new light, to capture incredible sights along the way and the humans that make this trail so special.

Ultralight and ultra-awesome

Of all the years I’ve been taking photos, this may be my favorite to date. This human, my brother, on this trail, my dream. I’m so thankful for this opportunity to step back to where it all began. To get a chance to get out in nature and play around with a gadget that helps me view the world in new and awesome ways. The trail has taught me so much in the span of a month. But one of its greatest gifts has been giving me the playground to use a piece of technology that forever changed my world. This camera is smaller, lighter, and complete with newer technology. But I’m coming at it with a new perspective and a sharper eye to capture moments, see people, and lock them into photos that will last a lifetime. 

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Comments 2

  • Andy : Apr 22nd

    Thanks for sharing your experiences Liz! Curious: what camera did you settle on? I struggle to stay light while feeding my photography addiction 🙂

    • Liz : Apr 22nd

      I ended up settling on a Fujifilm X100F. The quality is fantastic, the colors are magic, and I love the look and feel of the body that’s modeled after an old school film camera. There are definitely lighter and smaller options out there but compared to my DSLR, this one has been the perfect choice for me.


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