STEP Oregon trip reflection – Gabbie Paige

  1. My STEP Signature Project involved attending a photography workshop in Oregon and Washington led by professional photographer Tony Small. The workshop spanned seven days and included activities such as hiking and taking photographs at various natural attractions. The goal was to learn photography principles and practices, develop photography skills, and create a portfolio showcasing the progress made during the workshop.
  2. Throughout the completion of my STEP Project, my understanding of myself, my assumptions, and my view of the world underwent a significant transformation. Prior to the project, I had always considered my creativity as something enjoyable but not necessarily worth investing in or pursuing seriously. However, engaging in this artistic endeavor allowed me to realize the importance of pursuing activities that bring me joy and fulfillment, regardless of their practicality or external validation. I discovered that being able to express my creativity through photography brought me a deep sense of satisfaction and self-discovery.
  3. Several key aspects of my experiences during the STEP Signature Project contributed to the transformative change mentioned above. The transformative change I experienced during my STEP Signature Project was influenced by several key aspects of my experiences. Firstly, the guidance and mentorship provided by Tony Small, played a crucial role in expanding my photography skills and knowledge. Interacting with someone who has extensive experience and expertise in the field allowed me to gain valuable insights and techniques that I could apply to my own photography. Tony’s feedback and guidance helped me refine my artistic vision, improve my technical abilities, and explore new creative possibilities. In addition to the mentorship, the interactions and relationships I formed with other participants in the workshop were instrumental in my transformation. Collaborating and learning from my peers allowed me to broaden my perspectives and learn from their unique approaches and experiences. Through group discussions, critiques, and shared experiences, we created a supportive and inspiring environment that encouraged personal growth and exploration. The hands-on learning experience, including hiking and exploring natural attractions, provided a conducive environment for personal growth. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to adapt to unfamiliar settings and capture the essence of the surroundings through my photographs. The process of exploring new landscapes, observing intricate details, and finding unique angles or perspectives heightened my awareness of the beauty and intricacy of the natural world. Moreover, the challenges I encountered during the project, such as unfavorable weather conditions or technical difficulties, played a significant role in my transformation. These obstacles required me to be adaptable, resourceful, and resilient. Overcoming these challenges not only improved my photography skills but also instilled in me a sense of confidence and belief in my ability to overcome obstacles in other areas of my life. I learned to embrace imperfections and find creative solutions, leading to personal growth and a greater sense of self-reliance. These experiences helped me develop self-reliance, problem-solving skills, and resilience in the face of challenges. The combination of mentorship, collaboration, and experiential learning opportunities shaped my transformation throughout the project. 



4. The change and transformation I experienced during my STEP Signature Project hold significant value in my life. Firstly, embracing and nurturing my creativity has allowed me to develop a fulfilling and meaningful outlet for self-expression. It has taught me the importance of pursuing passions and hobbies that bring me joy, even if they may not align with expectations or practicality. Furthermore, the skills and knowledge gained through this project are transferable to various aspects of my academic, personal, and professional goals. Understanding photography principles and practices can benefit me in any field I choose to pursue. It has enhanced my visual literacy, attention to detail, and ability to communicate through visual mediums. Additionally, the project helped me build social connections and expand my professional network, which can be invaluable for future collaborations, opportunities, and support. Ultimately, this program provided me with a stronger sense of purpose and direction. It has reinforced my commitment to embracing new experiences and seeking personal growth. By recognizing the significance of pursuing passions and embracing creativity, I can better navigate my academic journey, personal development, and future professional endeavors with a sense of fulfillment and authenticity. 

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