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  • Writer's pictureWilson Haynes

How I got into Photography

In middle school I had messed around with an old Canon dslr my parents had, that we later thought to be a fake due to not having a serial number, but it still worked for me to take pictures of flowers and my dog, which is what summed up my photography when I was in middle school. 

With high school sports becoming the center focus of my life I unfortunately did not have time to continue with photography. It was not until the summer before freshman year of college while I was training for my first season as a collegiate athlete that I got back into it all.

That summer we were going on an Alaskan cruise, which at the time I was not stoked for because I was injured and couldn’t properly train while I was there. This small injury forced me to do something I hadn’t done since I started taking athletics seriously, and that was rest. 

That injury was actually a miracle, it gave me the opportunity to stop, look around and put focus on the more important things around me. This focus led me to do one thing that changed my life forever, pick up the camera. 

At the time the family camera was a Sony a6000, which at the time I did not think much of but went on to later learn it was raved about by professionals of all sorts. For its compact size but fast frame rate. In the end delivering a great wholistic package for one third of the size of a usual camera.

This also how I found out the difference between mirrorless and a dslr, but more on that later.

Though the camera was small in size it allowed me to connect to nature and the wildlife in such an immense way. It gave me the ability to freeze a moment so that it could be retained forever.

Moments are fleeting, but not as much when you’re shooting 12 frames per second! 

From that moment on during the trip it became imperative to me that I needed to experience as much of Alaska as I could and immerse myself in every photo opportunity as possible.

Fortunately my family was excited for this new found interest and jumped on board (no pun intended) and signed up for as many excursions as possible. Everything from seeing whales in British Columbia, flying in a helicopter over a glacier, and a hike with Packer Expeditions.


The hike  into the wilderness was my favorite not only because of the sights and the hike itself but because the people who were our guides. These guides were close in age to me, most in college, but instead of taking summer classes or working at their hometowns they came out to Alaska and were guides.

That was fascinating to me, it was at that moment that I realized there is no set path and we do not have to do a 9-5 and be forced to sit behind a desk. There were other times on the trip where my perception for life changed, but that was the most impactful. 

That trip was also the first time my photography was shared by other people. I had pictures from various excursions and I would send them to the companies and a few were kind enough to post them either on facebook or instagram which at the time I thought was the coolest thing ever. Seeing my name on a public account with a picture I took was very exciting. 

An even larger part of the trip was learning about the environment and the impact we have put on it with pollution and disregard for its well being. The cruise was fortunate enough to host a speaker every other night, Brent Nixon, who was a scientist and did work for National Geographic.

From the moment he started talking I was hooked, and I knew that I wanted to somehow be a part of the positive change that was needed to help the environment. 

So here I am almost two years later writing this, to whoever is reading, a little bit about my story.

If you have any questions, or thoughts of your own let me know! 

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