Right through DUKES WEEK 2013, we’re highlighting the awesome efforts of 5 Feature Participants.


15 year old Sheridan H from Viewbank College is a Bronze Participant with an eye for detail and a passion for photography. She shows us what chasing the perfect picture is like from the other side of the lens.


How did you get involved in The Duke of Ed?

I came across this award as a Year 9 elective and it looked interesting so I looked more into it and asked a couple of people about it and they seriously recommended it. I am so glad I was given the opportunity to do this Award.


What inspired you to be part of it?

I really wanted to get more involved and learn new things – this Award was the perfect way to do that. I was able to give back to an important place in my life and work with kids, which I really enjoy. I also got to learn about photography and more about teamwork and the outdoors.


What first sparked your interest in photography and how did you get involved?

Just the fact that you can capture your favourite moment or a beautiful scene just amazes me. I can relive my favourite memories and it gives me the opportunity to get really creative. Once you’ve taken the picture you can do so much more with it – improve it or add other special effects.


Is there a particular aspect of photography that you enjoy the most?

I would have to say the places I’ve had the opportunity to visit with my Assessor – Bec have just been amazing. I would never usually be able to go to half of these places but it’s given me a glimpse of what is out there to see and capture and I can’t wait to see more.


Please describe what a typical project involves for you.

A typical project for me starts off with me thinking about what kind of shot I want. Sometimes I get to select which location I am going to travel to but since that is not always the case, I try to keep an open mind and find the shot I want wherever I go to. It can sometimes take a very long time to capture an image that I’m satisfied with so I end up with lots of deleted photos at the end but it’s worth it.

My editing process is very much just playing around with the different effect until I find one that looks good. I am still getting used to the program so even though this may take a while, I find it works the best. Later on, my Assessor has agreed to teach me to present my images in an album but in the meantime, I like to make computer presentations, collages or movies on my laptop.


What is it about the process of photography that drives your passion?

Seeing the end products that turn out so well and the opportunities I get to see amazing places and keep the memories. You get to see the world in a whole new way.


What are the biggest challenges?

Capturing a really good photo to begin with. In a typical trip, only a couple of the hundreds of photos captured turn out the way I want. It’s tricky with all of the different elements to consider but I like a challenge so I keep trying.

The other challenge is keeping the sessions regular enough. Organising times that work for both my Assessor and myself is harder than I thought. We are working it out and it just means there are some times where I do photography a couple of times in a row, which works out well because I really enjoy it.


How does your involvement make you feel?

Being involved makes me feel awesome! I get to go out into the community, meet new people and really make a difference. Some differences bigger than others but it is still very rewarding. Seeing the kids’ faces light up every week at Rosanna Golf Links PS when I arrive is just priceless. It makes me feel like I belong and that I’m actually making a difference to people. And learning photography gives me another skill I can pass on to someone else with the same passions as myself.


Do you have any standout moments, unique things or surprises you’ve encountered whilst doing photography for your Skill?

There are a few actually. I think definitely the standout moment so far during my skill was visiting the city and walking along the Swanston Street Bridge to take shots around the area. It was night time and the lights and the view was just breath taking. Leaning against the bridge with the wind rushing onto my face just made me feel free, I didn’t have a care in the world. I stood there for hours taking in the remarkable sights and capturing them all. Later on, we just sat on the footpath underneath the bridge, watching the boats pass by and taking shots of the buildings from different positions.

I have learnt a very cool and unique thing in Photography. I recently attended a Creative Arts camp with the Salvation Army called TCAC. I absolutely loved it! I was able to select two electives to participate in and photography was being offered so of course I picked that. One of the skills we were taught was so cool! We learnt how to adjust the shutter speed of the camera so we could use torches to write or draw anything we wanted and the camera would pick up the light and it would come out in the photo. We spent ages amusing ourselves with writing and drawing.


If you could photograph anything, what would be your ultimate project? 

That is a very good question; I had to really think about that. I’d really like to travel and see what the whole world has to offer. I’d probably create a scrapbook or a movie about a round the world trip. I could learn so much about other places and see all that is out there. I’ve heard about all these amazing places some of my family and friends have been to but I’ve never really gone anywhere far out of Victoria. I’ve also had thoughts recently about traveling to developing countries when I’m older. I know a few young leaders at the Salvos who have recently undergone a trip to Africa to volunteer with the kids. That sounds like such a big opportunity and that’s what I reckon I want to do someday. Just see the world.


Has participating in The Duke of Ed changed you as a person?

Definitely! I would not change a thing. It has given me the best opportunities to learn new things and give back to the place that has had a huge impact on my life so far. I am so excited to go into the outdoors this semester and do so many exciting things outdoors that I wouldn’t normally do. It has made me feel so much compassion as I hear about my classmates’ experiences and I get to meet some amazing new people. It has challenged me quite a bit but I kept trying and it has given me so much confidence, happiness and a real sense of achievement. I definitely would like to continue with this Award, it is worth every minute.


If you could encourage other young people to ‘Get up, get out and live the dream’, what would you say?

Do it! Don’t have any regrets, you will find out things about yourself that you never knew before and you will learn so much. Don’t have second thoughts – just get up and get out there, it is so worth it. Make the most of every opportunity you get because they don’t always come again. You can do anything you set your mind to. You won’t regret it.


Is there anything we’ve missed that you’d like to share?

I have advice for anyone looking to undertake the Award:

When you are looking for a place to do your Community Service at, try not to do what everyone else is doing. Find somewhere you are really passionate about and just go for it! It doesn’t matter what others think, it’s not them doing the Award, it’s you. You will get so much out of it and enjoy it so much. Same with any other components of the Award. Just go for it.


Thank you, Sheridan – for getting up, getting out and living the dream for DW2013!

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