Monday, March 31, 2014

Passion's Call

Editor's note: In the following weeks, you will hear and see images from our students themselves: their thoughts and reflections on the course, their work, and the work of others. Come back often to see what is happening in the Lambton Digital Photography program.

Passion’s Call  by Spencer Drake

Some people go their whole lives never discovering what they are passionate about, but some lucky few discover their passion. I am one of the lucky ones. My passion is photography.

I actually discovered my passion a mere three years ago, and it was in quite the unconventional way. But before I tell you how I came about discovering it, let me tell you about what I thought I wanted to do while I was growing up.

From as far back as I can remember, I had always wanted to do something that dealt with wild animals. When I was very young, I wanted to be a naturalist, (some one who studies nature). Then, when I studied biology more, I wanted to be a Zoologist. As I prepared to apply to university, I decided I wanted to specialize in Animal behaviour. Unfortunately, I was not accepted into the programs I applied to, so I decided to work for a few years to save money and decide on what I wanted to do with my life. Not being accepted was a blessing in disguise because had I been accepted I would never have discovered my passion for photography.

The Jungnokwon Bamboo Garden in Damyang, South Korea has more bamboo than anywhere else in Korea. It had an enchantingly peaceful atmosphere with the sun filtering through the bamboo boughs high above, casting everything in an emerald light.  Photo by Spencer Drake 

It was quite a fluke that I discovered my passion for photography. After two years of working, I decided to pick up a point-and-shoot camera because it was on sale at my workplace. It broke within a week. So I returned it and tried again. Again, it broke within a week. So I returned it and decided to get a better quality camera. After extensive research, I decided to by a Nikon D3100. From the first time I pressed the shutter button and heard the satisfying click of the shutter, I knew this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and I was willing to pour my heart and soul into making it happen.

Ta Prohm, an ancient Buddhist temple and university, located in Angkor, just outside of Siem Reap, Cambodia. Ta Prohm has merged with the surrounding jungle. Giant trees, like this one, grow out of many of the temples.  Photo by Spencer Drake

I devoured any photography book and magazine I could get my hands on. After a few months of doing this, I realized that I needed formal training. I knew there was more information than I could find in books. I needed guidance. So I looked high and low at schools offering photography programs and came across Lambton College’s Digital Photography Program. It really caught my eye because not only was it going to be a brand new innovative program with small class sizes, but it was also going to have an illustrious photographer, Richard Beland, as program director.
Once I visited campus and talked to Don McCahill, one of the professors in the program, I was convinced that this was the program for me. I can say with 100% confidence that it was the best decision I have ever made.

Starting the course I knew that, being the first students ever, we would become very close with each other as well as the professors. I was right on both counts; not only do I consider my professors mentors not just teachers, but that we, as a class, have become a family, quirks and all.

Over the course of the last two years, I have learned an unbelievably vast amount about photography. My photographic skills have improved exponentially and I’ve had the amazing opportunity to travel to South Korea, Cambodia and Thailand with my brothers as well as to New York with my class. Because I learned so much about photography, I was able to produce high quality images that I am proud to call my own.

In Buddhist scripture, everyone has the potential to become a Buddha. This enlightened state of Buddhahood is when one becomes free from suffering and becomes the embodiment of loving-kindness, wisdom and compassion. These statues adorn the Buddhist temple on the island Koh Phayam in Thailand.  Photo by Spencer Drake

Thank you to every one of my teachers for not only teaching me invaluable skills but also for supporting me in my passion. Thanks to you, I am that much more prepared for the hard work ahead of me once I graduate. I will be forever grateful and will never forget all you’ve done for me.

Thank you for stopping by today. Here are some of my photos that I hope you enjoy.

If you wish to see more of my work or follow my personal blog (that I will be updating as often as I can) please check out my website,
If you’d like to follow me on social media, please check out the links to my social media on my website.

Emerging from the NYC subway for the first time, we were greeted by these towing glass monoliths. They made me feel small. It was captivating.  Photo by Spencer Drake

On the first day in New York we had dinner at the Raj Mahal Indian restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant our senses were bombarded with delicious smells wafting from the kitchen, Indian art adorning the walls and traditional music drifting through the restaurant. Upon further inspection we found that the music was coming from these two very traditional looking Indian men, who smiled at us kindly, making us feel welcome.  Photo by Spencer Drake

Our first shooting assignment in fourth term was to shoot a white egg on a white background. For one of our shots we had total creative freedom. I decided to crack an egg and light it solely with a green laser.  Photo by Spencer Drake 

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