Every year for the past 17 years I’ve made the trek up Highway 50 into the mountains to the place I, and many others, call home. It’s a simple grouping of cabins where I learned who I was as a teen; where lifelong friends were made over the years; where the smell of mountain misery is pungent and overwhelming in the best way possible. The trees echo with beautiful music and the sunshine lights up the art rooms and camera lenses that act as a catalyst to capture our creations. I’ve been going to Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp for more than half my life and I can’t tell you how lucky I feel to be a part of it.
After being a camper I transitioned quickly into being a cabin counselor. After 7 years of playing that role, I was able to secure myself a spot on the INCREDIBLE photography staff. With digital photography making its debut and film photography going strong I got thrust into the role of Digital Slideshow teacher and I’ve loved it from the beginning. Each year I’m presented with a new batch of amazing kids I’m supposed to help learn how to capture the week and create a slideshow/yearbook of our experience. It’s stressful, it’s detail-oriented, it pushes their creativity to new levels, and (somehow) every year’s show is wonderful and completely unique.
This year I was given 4 kids that absolutely blew my mind. Their creativity and dedication reached levels I hadn’t considered particularly possible in such a short amount of time. They rocked everything from low light photos, action shots, stunning portraits, and working candids. Needless to say, I’m immensely impressed. Beyond their photo skills, I was able to really get to know these kids as people and, I’ve got to admit, my hope for the future has been fully restored. There was no lack of love, kindness, creative thinking, empathy, compassion, and joy from them. I was grounded by them and honestly brought to tears at the end of the week by how lovely they all were and how much I know I’ll miss them in the coming year. They said thank you to me at the end of the week but honestly, I should be thanking them for such an enlightening experience.
I’ve gone and chosen my favorite shots by my group to share with you. There were literally HUNDREDS of amazing images, but these ones stuck out to me as the photos they spent time and energy composing and perfecting. They applied some complex camera skills (shot all in manual btw) to capture these photos and I’m glowing with pride over how fabulous they are. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. <3
Capturing motion is, by far, one of the hardest skills we learn as photographers. Having good timing isn’t innate, it’s very much a learned skill. I’m blown away by how much my kids picked up in a matter of days!
Capturing the essence of other students learning at camp is CHALLENGING. How do we create magic based off of other people’s intensity? My kids did a great job at creating perspectives that truly show all angles and emotions of the programs we run here at camp. These photos represent so much!
This was by far my favorite part of the class to teach. Teaching the kids how to take kick a** portraits using posing prompts and natural moments/light was a joy and (not surprisingly) they were AMAZING at it. I adore these intimate photos they created almost as much as I adore my students themselves!
If you’re impressed (which I KNOW you are!) and you’re interested in supporting these kids experiences at camp, consider heading to the Sugarloaf Station Foundation website and making a scholarship donation. Nearly 25% of our kids are only able to attend camp based on the generous donations of art lovers in the community. We would love to help even more kids expand their arts education and enjoy the beauty of camp year after year.
CHEERS TO ANOTHER PERFECT YEAR AT SUGARLOAF FINE ARTS CAMP!
(PS- Huge thanks to my friend Russ Levi for allowing me to borrow the pixel stick, the prisms, and all the other fun trinkets. We had a great time experimenting!)