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Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Sophomore Sophia Kalugin reflects on her photojournalism experience.

Photojournalist comments on personal growth

Ever since junior high, I have always heard about The Feather and its benefits. After much prayer and consideration, I decided to follow in my sister’s footsteps and join the photojournalism team.

On the first day of school, the whole team gathered around and learned how to put a lens on a camera. Holding a camera in my hands for the first time, immediately made me feel relaxed.

The semester progressed and I was able to capture moments without any confusion or frustration. The process of editing photos was satisfying and the team was building strong friendships.

Many times I felt overwhelmed, but those moments became turning points. In one instance, I was scheduled to take pictures of The Movement, which was a gathering of churches all across Fresno at Peoples Church. Taking pictures of such a big event with lots of people intimidated me. I kept making simple mistakes and forgot to adjust the lighting. As the night progressed, I realized what a great opportunity had been presented to me and decided to take advantage of it. Some of my favorite pictures of the year were taken at that event.

As the first semester came to a close, the class was assigned a final. The final consisted of creating a portfolio of our favorite pictures we had taken. This assignment challenged and motivated me in many aspects. I was able to reflect on the progress I had made and push myself to do better. It also forced me to explore the element of editing, by changing my colored pictures into black and white.

Not only was I becoming more confident in taking pictures, but my writing improved quickly. I was able to create an entire photo post in one day compared to the three days it took at the beginning of the year. The Feather adviser, Greg Stobbe, pushed me past my boundaries and presented me with the task of writing articles. Although this added more stress to my daily amount of work, I grew confident in interviewing people and doing research.

The Feather took a group of about 30 people to New York City, to compete for the CSPA Gold Crown at Columbia University. I was filled with excitement as we boarded a plane and flew to The Big Apple. Seeing the huge city with its towering buildings and busy streets, made taking pictures more enjoyable. The exciting atmosphere created a whole new style of photography for me. It became easier to capture people’s emotions.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

Sophia Kalugin is also interested in choir, volleyball and soccer.

I was surrounded by other high school journalists like myself at the journalism convention. The week seemed to fly by, but our last full day there was very rewarding. I will never forget the anticipation the team felt as we waited to hear if all of our hard work had won us the Gold Crown. When the announcer revealed we had succeeded in accomplishing our goal, everyone erupted with emotion.

New York held many once in a lifetime opportunities that established growth in my photography skills. The staff and advisers were provided the chance to meet world renowned head shot photographer, Peter Hurley. Getting to see a professional photographer in action, who started from scratch, made me realize the heights I could achieve by starting on a solid platform like The Feather.

Journalism has shaped me into a more dedicated and harder worker than at the beginning of the year. The improvement I have made in my work ethic, photography, and writing has far exceeded my expectations.

I would like to thank Greg Stobbe and Kori Friesen who continuously pushed and encouraged me to do better and work harder. My goals would not have been achieved without them.

Below are some of my favorite images I have captured throughout the year.

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To read more End of the year reflections, read Sydney Belmonts article.

For more Feather photos, visit media, photos 2016-17.

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