Photography Student of the Month April 2015 – Amanda Bennett

Hello Photoion students and photography fans. It’s time for another interview with our Student of the Month.

Student of the Month is our way of recognizing and celebrating the talents of our students, and rewarding them with a £50 gift voucher to be redeemed against any of our courses.

This month’s winner is Amanda Bennett, who recently returned from a trip to Antartica. We sat down with her to learn more about it.

‘Firstly I’d like to say thank you!  I’m very happy and excited to have been chosen as student of the month.  It was the last thing I thought possible when I first met Photoion Photography School just over a year ago.

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I have always enjoyed taking photographs – generally of family and friends at events, to capture a mood or on holiday, sightseeing etc.   For some time I had wanted to improve my photography skills and learn more about taking photographs properly.  I had also always wanted to go Antarctica.

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So – once I booked my trip to Antarctica; I was spurred into action, as I knew I wanted to capture the wildlife, scenery & atmosphere of the “7thContinent” properly and do my best to return with some good images.  Firstly I bought a Canon EOS DSLR camera and then started looking into photography courses.   I certainly didn’t want to go all that way and only be able use the “automatic settings”!  I did both the Beginners and Advanced Courses with PhotoIon before going to Antarctica.  I love the passion and enthusiasm that Ion shares with his students.  It’s infectious!

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Not only did I learn to understand the commands & settings of the camera, and how to compose an image, but I also came away with a different “eye”, and now see things so differently.  Each course was both educational and fun.  I feel I was able to put all that I had learnt with Ion to good use whilst in Antarctica.

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Antarctica was a wonderful trip – the great white continent and one of the last true wilderness areas on earth. I know some people think it’s just a lot of snow & ice, and penguins! But each day brought something different –the grandeur of the landscape, mountains, glaciers, icebergs, different types of ice, and wildlife…

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photography-student-of-the-month-April-2015-12Adelie, Gentoo & Chin Strap Penguins – some swimming, others resting on beautiful blue ice flows, many nesting on land – some with eggs and some with newly hatched chicks.

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Leopard & Crabeater Seals hauled onto ice flows and whale watching – the excitement of seeing a Humpback Whale’s spout in the distance followed by the wonderful image of its fluke as it descends back down into the depths.

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It’s light for over 20 hours a day and never gets actually dark.  The “light” there is wonderful – particularly for photographers.  It’s quite disconcerting to start with – in the evenings you can think it’s about 7.30pm and then look at your watch to see that it’s actually 11.30pm.  Some days were beautiful, bright, and sunny, whilst others were overcast and cloudy – which certainly added to a “dark & moody” effect (with a bit of under exposure) in a place called the Iceberg Graveyard.

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The icebergs are amazing – some are almost the size of cathedrals.  They are carved and weathered in so many different ways – providing all sorts of shapes, sizes and textures.  Some have a beautiful turquoise blue to them in parts, both above and below the sea line.  I could continue to wax lyrical about this beautiful, un-spoilt part of the world all day.  One day I hope to return….

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Since returning from my incredible trip I have also done the Night Photography Workshop, and would like to continue to improve and expand my knowledge of photography by doing some other workshops. Wildlife and nature are still my passion and future trips I plan to do are Alaska, and the Galapagos Islands – armed with my camera of course!’