Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado by Grayson Gregory
Two professional photographers give their insight on photography
Story by Camryn Sturgill - Features Editor
Grayson Gregory, a senior at the University of Tennessee, is a self-taught photographer. Gregory says he has always enjoyed taking pictures and making videos with his family, but his knack for photography did not turn into a hobby until 2017, when he bought a professional camera.
“There was nothing that specifically got me into photography or cameras in general,” Gregory said. Over time, I just had a desire to capture moments of my life at a higher quality than I had before. Something about the whole creative process was just extremely entertaining to me and it still is.”
Although Gregory experiments with many different types of photography, he mostly enjoys taking landscapes.
“I usually like to be outside taking pictures and videos in nature. I get such a desire to go out and see the world from nature photos, especially in the mountains. I don’t hate doing portraits or more professional photos, but it definitely doesn’t bring very much excitement to me,” Gregory said.
Gregory now uses a Sony A7-III to capture his masterpieces. The Sony A7-III is a professional camera often used by travel photographers because of its compact size.
Gregory enjoys taking photos and videos when he travels. He said his best memories and photos are from a trip he took with friends in August 2019. They visited the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado where they looked up at the tallest dune and decided they would not leave until they made it to the top.
“It took so much longer than we thought, and I felt like just falling over and passing out,” Gregory said.We eventually made it to the top and the wind was blowing insanely hard, like seriously hard. We were there for a long time and watched the sunset there, which was incredible. The whole trip was amazing for us and it was definitely the best trip I’ve taken so far.”
Gregory credits his friends and family for supporting his photography and video skills in a way that builds him up and allows him to make more creative decisions.
As far as inspiration goes, Gregory named Ryan Resatka, Garrett King, Josiah Gordon, Stevin Tuchiwsky and Daniel Ernst as people who have insired him.
Gregory does not consider himself to be a professional photographer, but others may disagree when looking at his work. Either way, Gregory remains humble and admits that he still has a lot to learn.
Gregory’s advice to those who are interested in photography is lighthearted, yet motivational.
“Just get out there and do it,” Gregory said. “No matter what you use for your camera, just go take some pictures. Nobody picks up a camera and is a pro from the start. It takes some time and the only way to really do that is by taking a lot of pictures or videos.”
At the other end of the table, some people decide to take their love for photography to the next level and turn it into a career. Kenneth Beachler has done just that.
Beachler is a professional photographer as well as Rose State’s official photographer, he also went to Rose State. He has been in the photography field for 26 years. Beachler attended a vocational school for photography and eventually graduated from the graphic design program at University of Central Oklahoma in the Beachler’s job as a photographer has opened the door for many opportunities.
“Photography has afforded me travel to places I may have not had a chance to go,” he said. “For instance, I was flown to Hawaii to photograph a wedding. Also, I’ve been able to photograph people like Lewis Black, Martina McBride, Rex Linn, Shirley Jones, Anthony Bourdain, Brian Regan, and more.”
Beachler uses a Nikon D810 DSLR camera at work, but for his personal projects he uses a Nikon D7500.
“I used to use Canon DSLRs. I switched because using Nikon cameras over the last 11 years with Rose State has made them more comfortable to me. Canon and other brands are great, I just simply feel at home with Nikon now,” Beachler said.
Throughout Beachler’s 26 years of experience, he has learned many useful tips and wanted to give a bit of advice to beginners.
“Have fun,” he said. “Utilize your own personal imagination and creativity, and then learn how to make that image in your mind coalesce through traditional or digital means. You’ll have fun, learn more about the craft, and have a final image that is uniquely you.”