My car pulled up to that same apartment at College Square where I moved in with my blonde-haired friend.  Days later, I began my first semester at Hawkeye Community College.  If we’re being honest, my first semester wasn’t as full of the magic I was hoping for.  Instead, it was full of 19 credits of general education classes in attempts to finish up my degree that I had started at Dordt College.  I went from class to class and spent my evenings reading and writing speeches and papers.  But whenever I had the chance, I went to visit that blonde-haired roommate of mine in the basement of Blackhawk Hall to peek in at all the magic.  And every once in awhile I would go on an assignment with that roommate of mine and just be fascinated with every part of it.

Summer came, and I headed home to work at a local greenhouse/nursery.  The highlight of my summer was going to Romania on a service project that was a life-changing experience that I would hope to share with you some other time.  I came home from that trip a changed person and developed deep friendships.  The last half of my summer was spent with those friends, growing in my faith and learning so much about myself.  To say the goodbyes at the end of that summer were hard would be such an understatement.  With as excited as I was to start my photography courses, tears blurred my vision as I headed down Highway 3 this time.

I remember the first day of photography school like it was yesterday.  My first class, Fundamentals of Photography, was held at 8:00am in the back corner classroom.  My professor wore a blue shirt and stood not much more that 5 feet tall in front of the classroom.  Our first assignment was to go around the room and share why we were there.  Most stories went something like this, “I have loved photography my whole life.  My parents bought me my first camera when I was 6 months old, and I have been in love with it ever since.”  Obviously I am exaggerating but I remember thinking…how am I going to tell my story.  It was going to sound something like this, “Well I thought I was gonna be a doctor, but then got my senior pictures done and thought that looked like fun, so here I am.”  Because to be honest at this point, I wasn’t really sure why I was siting in this chair, besides that the decision felt right.  I knew I had been called to this place, but for what, I had yet to discover.

Can I just tell you what I discovered over the next two years?  I wish there were words to describe it.  Yes, they were full of long photo sessions in the freezing temperatures.  Yes, my hands constantly smelled like developer from the darkroom.  Yes, hours of my life were lost in getting the color JUST right on my prints.  Yes, my biceps grew from dragging equipment from assignment to assignment.  Yes, I formed the deepest friendships.  But it was SO much more than that.  I remember when my mom called, I would tell her that I knew that I knew that I knew God had made me to be a photographer.  And the reason I knew this was because I had never felt more alive than I did behind a camera.  So as much as I loved those math and science classes, it was nothing in comparison to what I felt in my new classes.  I can’t even begin to share everything I learned.  I photographed everything from cereal boxes to football games to flowers to brides and grooms.  I loved every SINGLE moment of it.  So thanks to photography school, not only did I receive the best education, but I had received my calling.  A calling I am so blessed to live out every single day of my life.

As for that blonde-haired friend/roommate of mine…her name is Joni.  To try and sum up our friendship in a sentence would be impossible.  The best I can do is…Joni is one of the best things that happened to me in life.  She has become one of my nearest and dearest friends!

Here are just a few of the images I created while in school.  And of course a few images of that blonde haired friend!


Creatyd Blog - Northwest Iowa Photographer

Creatyd Blog - Northwest Iowa Photographer