I stood behind the Lenspiration table, watching people trickle past my booth. Maybe I was grabbing a bite to eat. Maybe I was actually sitting down, giving my feet a much needed rest. Being almost 5 years ago, I forget the details exactly.
But I do remember when a man meandered past, observing the banners around me, just like a thousand people before him. Evidently, something caught his attention. He stopped. The trigger for the initiation of a conversation.
“Anyone in your family enjoy taking pictures?” I asked.
I’ve had countless conversations with folks at homeschool conventions over the years. But this was a conversation I would remember. It was a delightful surprise to hear that the man was from New Zealand. I had never heard of HSNZ, Home Schooling New Zealand, before. He was in the States gathering program information to recommend to folks back home. We had an enjoyable conversation! We exchanged contact information, and he moved on to the next booth.
I’ve learned not to get my hopes up after conversations like this. I do my best to accurately advertise the photography training I offer, but then I let folks decide for themselves if Lenspiration is something for them or not. There are a lot of connections made at conventions that never actually lead anywhere.
But 2 years later, someone from New Zealand signed up for the Lenspiration Membership.
“I wonder if there’s any connection,” I thought.
A total of four New Zealanders have been a part of Lenspiration now. The most recent one being Laura. And when she earned the title of “Lenspiration’s Featured Photographer” on the webinar last week, I couldn’t resist the urge to ask how she heard about Lenspiration.
“I homeschool through a Christian homeschooling organization here in NZ,” she replied.
No way! That conversation, in 2018? Could it be?
“And they had Lenspiration as a suggested photography course! It hadn’t been set up as a HSNZ course, but they thought it looked good and were willing for anyone who wanted to, to give it a go!”
Well, I guess you never know what might happen from one little conversation!
Laura has been a Lenspiration Member since June last year. “My favourite thing [about Lenspiration] is probably the monthly assignments,” she said. The monthly Shoot-to-Serve Photo Assignments give photographers the oppoturnity to gain real-life experience shooting for the real needs of real publishers. One of the photos Laura submitted for the latest assignment is in the top 10 of the 69 photos sent in by our contestants. She was able to capture a picture of joy in receiving a letter, just what the publisher was looking for.
When asked about something specific she has learned since becoming a member, Laura replied: “Not sure! Probably learning (and still learning) how to control my camera better. Probably most of what I know about taking photos and editing I learned from the Lenspiration website. [Below is a] photo I took very soon after I got my camera…consequently before I started Lenspiration lol!”
“Not all my pictures are really that wonderful…like a photo that I really like of a chicken, but the focus was on the chicken wire instead of the chicken’s eye! So sad!!”
But Laura is pushing through, and sent some of her favorite photos for us to enjoy! “An apple blossom, a kowhai flower, [and] a lake near-ish us.”
Laura’s photos remind me of some pictures I took when I first started exploring the world of digital photography. Here’s a photo of blossoms that I think is the 199th photo I ever took with my first DSLR camera.
I also had trouble with proper focusing, as you can see here in my 146th photo.
But not every photo has to be amazing. The fact that not ALL my photos are amazing is evidence that I’m reaching outside of my comfort zone and trying new things! So keep learning, Laura! Keep exploring your camera and growing in your confidence and skill. I am excited to have you participating in the assignments and look forward to seeing more of your photos in the future!
Congratulations Laura! Your pictures are lovely.