Photo Story: I'm Looking at You

Posted By Jason Barnette on June 27, 2016

When I picked up my first 35mm film camera with the purpose of learning photography I had a lot of fun. I would carry that little camera along with a few rolls of film with me to class, to the beach, and every where I went with my friends. Everything was a potential photographic subject to me. Park benches, lamp posts, water fountains, birds on a wire, and squirrels.

Then I became one of those people who turned a hobby into a career. I always counted myself lucky to be able to do something for a living that I really enjoyed. People were envious of me. It was a good life!

But then I found myself becoming bogged down by the business of photography. Clients wanted more and more photos while offering me less time to capture them. They were paying less, and the free photo requests were now a daily thing. I quickly lost my passion for photography, looking at it now as just a paycheck to pay the bills.

Because of circumstances vastly beyond my control, I ended up taking nearly 8 months off from photography. It was by far the longest I had gone without holding a camera since I began my career in 2009. Slowly but surely the circumstances began to change in my favor, and I once again found myself heading out the door with a ridiculously heavy bag on my back and a desire to capture a stunning photograph.

In mid-June 2016 I took a trip to Virginia to help my brother pack up his house and move. I had once again returned to the practice of taking my camera gear with me every where I went, even if I had no real intention of shooting photos. Always prepared because you just never know.

On the morning of the last day I had to run out for a few minutes to grab a few last-minute items for my brother to clean his house. On my way back up his dirt and gravel driveway I noticed a small turtle on the edge of the road. I quickly parked the car, grabbed my camera bag, and marched off down the driveway.

Fifteen minutes later I returned with this photo of the small turtle looking directly at me. He wouldn't come out of his shell while I was standing over him, so I had to lay on the ground, get comfy, and patiently wait for him to slowly stick his head out. He was curious about the large macro lens I was inching closer to his face. But his curiosity and my patience worked in tandem that day to create this photo.

After that day I regained my passion for photography and remembered the biggest rule for capturing stunning photos: just have fun. If you don't have fun, photography begins to feel like a task. Sure, it is still entirely possible to churn out great photographs even if you feel like it's a task and you only do it for the paycheck.

But why would I want to do that? I'm a travel photographer. This is what I do. I wanna have fun!

If you enjoy the photo, be sure to click here to purchase a print of this magnificent little turtle.

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