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Blake Deffenbacher | The Feather Online

Blake Deffenbacher, ’20, reflects on his first year as a Feather photojournalist.

At the beginning of this school year, I entered The Feather with no idea of what the year would hold. I was a mediocre photographer and not a great writer, but I had a desire to work hard to better myself so that I could better the team.

I can remember walking into the lab on the first day of school, I was greeted by a few people who intimidated me beyond belief, Greg Stobbe, Kori Friesen, Kaylie Clem and Julia Fikse. I knew how great these people were at what they did, and I never thought that I would be able to measure up to their skills.

Stobbe gathered us around a table and gave us a talk, setting the mood for the rest of the year. He told us that The Feather had done great things, that we would do great things this year and that not all of us would make it through the whole year.

When he told us that not all of us would make it through the year, I had to wonder if that would be me. I hadn’t ever seen myself as a quitter, but from how my job was described, I had to question how much work it would really take. Through that, my goal was to make it through the whole year. No matter what I had to do to make it, I was going to do it. That goal became my motivation, what kept me working hard through the toughest days of the school year.

Julia Fikse | The Feather Online

As a sophomore, Deffenbacher joined The Feather as a photojournalist. He reflects on his increased comfort behind a camera.

This year, my photography skills have grown beyond measure. The biggest factor that has made me a better photographer is comfort. I know that I am comfortable to go to any setting with any lighting or surroundings and take a photo that is worth publishing and showing off. My comfort as a photographer has only grown from countless hours of practice in many varieties of conditions.

Through photojournalism, I have been given numerous opportunities to take photos in all different settings. Whether it be a fast paced football game in the dark of the night, a portrait shoot in the most awkward lighting of the day or trying to show off a vocalist in the changing lights of worship chapel, I am certain that I can quickly adjust my settings to take the best photo possible.

With the skills that I’ve learned in The Feather, I have been able to market myself professionally as a photographer in the community. This year, I’ve been able to take photos at weddings, proposals and for families. These gigs have given me a lot of extra experience with my photo abilities along with some extra cash. More than just taking photos of my clients, I enjoy being able to create friendships and share with them some of their most cherished moments.

Besides portrait photography, I have been able to use my photo skills in nature for landscapes. I have always loved nature and spending time outside, being able to use my passions for nature and photography together makes spending time outdoors much more enjoyable. My landscapes have gotten me a lot of publicity on social media, most notably being featured on the KMPH Fox 26 instagram.

Several events this year have helped me to grow significantly as a photographer and writer, but one stands out more than the rest.

Blake Deffenbacher | The Feather Online

Deffenbacher sees growth in his photography and writing skills throughout the school year.

Recently, I was able to travel to New York with the school choir to sing in Carnegie Hall. Although I was going as a choir student, I also took the responsibility of being the Feather photographer. Each day, I was in charge of taking photos of every place we went, posting on Instagram and Twitter then going back to the hotel at night and writing a day wrap up article. Although it was a lot of work each day, the satisfaction that I got from pressing publish each night was like none other.

Another time that helped me grow as a photographer lasted over several months during the fall sports season. During that time, I was the only photojournalist who wasn’t on a sports team. Because of that, I ended up taking photos at all of the home volleyball and football games. Looking back, as a new photographer at that time, a lot of my photos were pretty bad and my captions halfway made sense. But through all of those games, I got to practice over and over again bettering my talents.

Looking forward, I see myself using my photo and video skills to pick up some extra money for a long time. I now have a portfolio that I can market myself as a professional with, I know that I will be able to continue to use that to get a lot of gigs this summer. Also, this summer, I am looking at continuing to work with my church to make our social media and website more appealing to the public. It’s a job that I’ve done for a while and that I enjoy a lot.

Feather Staff | The Feather Online

Photojournalists (left to right), Kaylie Clem, ’19, Julia Fikse, ’19, and Blake Deffenbacher, ’20, work as a team on a day to day basis.

Incoming photojournalists, the future is bright. This year, The Feather has been extremely successful; let it be an example for the next few years. There will be rough days, weeks, years, nobody is perfect, and we will make mistakes. However, I urge you not to give up. Keep fighting through the rough times and never forget what you’re representing. Through The Feather, you are representing Fresno Christian, and through Fresno Christian, you are representing God and the future generation of believers, make them proud.

In the words of adviser Stobbe, “You got this!” Never forget that!

To see more photojournalist reflections, read “End of year reflection: Kaylie Clem”.

To see reflections from the senior class, read “Senior Reflection: Matthew Sue”.

The slideshow below shows photos from throughout the year, displaying my photography skills in a variety of settings:

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