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What I’ve Learned From Photography

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By: burgundy bug

Grey Alpaca at the Crescent Moon Ranch in Terrebonne, Ore.

Source: Grey Alpaca | Penelope Peru Photography

Much like writing, photography has been a prominent gateway for self expression throughout the majority of my life. It has equipped me with a new perspective of the world and given me the opportunity to share my experiences globally without peeping a single word.

A Bit of Context…

It’s been just over two years since I began my photography site, Penelope Peru Photography, but my love for the art began long before I knew how to build websites.

When I Started Dabbling in Photography

I couldn’t tell you very much about the first time I wrapped my little fingers around the lens of a camera, but it had to have been sometime before I began grade school.

My entire family, immediate, extended, and friends, had never been shy about taking photos. Growing up on the cusp of widespread photography, I vividly remember camera flashes overflowing out of the rooms during holidays and birthdays, the exchange of CDs with all the photos within the days following the event.

Although digital photography had really taken off during my childhood, I still had a deep fascination with physical photos. I adored pouring through photo albums for entire afternoons and excitedly went through stacks of pictures as they were developed.

When I was younger, I had my heart set on becoming a rock star later in life. Around the age of five, I began recording myself plucking away at an acoustic guitar and belting out “original songs.”

Amidst years of recording and editing home videos of loved ones, friends, pets, and myself throughout my childhood and early adolescence, I found myself drawn more towards photography and gradually distanced myself from videography.

As cell phones became smartphones, photography soon became even more accessible and even easier than ever before. With a high-quality camera on me at all times, I refused to hold back. I captured anything and everything that caught my eye, exhausting the memory on 32GB, 64GB, and 128GB iPhones over the years as if it were an accomplishment: a badge of honor to overload your phone with photos within a window frame of around two years.

My favorite subjects tended to have many leaves and branches, petals in all colors. When I wasn’t photographing the same plant from 10 different angles, I was standing at the base of my driveway with a lens aimed towards the sky, attempting to grab the most ‘gram worthy sunrise before the horizon faded into its signature hue of baby blue.

Bird silhouette over sunrise (not taken on an iPhone)

Source: Bird Silhouettes | Penelope Peru Photography

Going Professional

Bushkill Falls

Source: Bushkill Falls | Penelope Peru Photography

Just before I turned 17, I put a Sony A6300 that had been looking for a purpose to good use. I knew that I wanted to start up a new website before going into my freshman year of college that fall. I had tossed around the idea of a website for my comics, but illustration has always worked far better as a hobby for me. Whenever I had tried to pour my heart into art in the past, jumping into the idea of being an illustrator or animator with both feet, I’d quickly find myself burned out.

I began Penelope Peru Photography on July 13th, 2017. The website was up, running, and ready to host my images within a few hours.

Penelope Peru Photography has served as a platform for me to share my work with others, and somewhat doubled as the ultimate, personal, image database.

Whenever I’m looking for a particular photo I’ve taken since July 2017, I can simply search for it through my site or navigate the categories to find similar photos in an instant from any device anywhere in the world.

Of course, it’s not just a database for me. From the very start, I’ve always encouraged others to use as many of my photos as they like for free, all I ask is for a little credit as the photographer.

I stretched my legs with the Sony A6300 at local farms, restaurants, and other establishments. We’d tag and promote each other on social media, which was sort of a win-win for both of us: they could use my UHD photos to promote their establishment, and by using my photos, my website would be getting promoted, as well.

Photos taken in July 2017

Source: July 2017 | Penelope Peru Photography

In August 2017, my family and I threw caution to the wind and ventured to the opposite end of the country to catch a glimpse of the Total Solar Eclipse in Madras, Ore. Within our week stay, we crammed in as many hikes through national parks, waltzes through museums, and as much general sightseeing as possible. All the while, I was accompanied by my right-hand cam, the Sony A6300.

Photos taken in Central, Ore

Source: Oregon Highlights // August 2017 | Penelope Peru Photography

Following our return, I began my first semester. I also began photographing events for retailers at the King of Prussia Mall, including MCM and Philipp Plein.

Photos for MCM and Philipp Plein

Source: MCM and Philipp Plein | Penelope Peru Photography

In 2018, my camera served as the third wheel on many of XtaSeay and I’s adventures. We filled SD card after SD card with our signature car ride conversations, hiking, and precious moments spent hanging out on our bedroom floor during our days off together.

XtaSeay and Burgundy Bug’s Adventures Throughout 2018

Source: Team | Penelope Peru Photography

That year, I’d also dabble a bit more with freelance photography, often partnering on the jobs with XtaSeay. We photographed and videographed a few sports tournaments around the area, which always ended up giving us just enough cash to cover our butts when we needed it most.

The freelance jobs were fun but often exhausting. We’d spend over 10 hours a day behind a camera with little time to use the restroom or grab grub, swerving lenses around to keep with the players for an entire weekend or week.

Eventually, we settled into our current careers and haven’t freelanced as photographers or videographers much since then. However, my Sony A6300 still accompanies me on every event that I cover as a journalist.

Read: Introducing Herbology in King of Prussia

The Burgundy Zine

Naturally, my heart still belongs in nature. While I still do event photography from time to time, my favorite subjects will always be flowers, insects, trees, the sky, and our furry friends on four legs.

Nature and animal photography

Source: Animals and Nature | Penelope Peru Photography

What I’ve Learned From Photography

“One picture is worth ten thousand words.”

Fredrick R. Barnard

Photography has taught me how to express myself without weighing down the moment with words. It’s given me a new perspective of the world, constantly acutely aware that a slight change in angle can completely skew the story a photo tells in an entirely different direction.

It’s also been a way for me to connect with the world, sharing my point of view with others. Photography has given me an excuse to be in constant awe of our planet, much like a kid in a candy shop. It has encouraged me to go on wild adventures and will preserve those memories for generations to come.

There is never a time in which I feel more myself than behind a camera or with a pen and notepad in my hand.

Burgundy Bug

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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