I can still remember that day like it was yesterday. The sun was just beginning to rise and peak through the tall pine trees into the windows of our cabin. As my family lay in their beds sleeping, I quietly slipped on my shoes and stepped out onto the front porch, camera in hand.
The camera I was holding wasn’t mine, but my brother’s expensive Nikon camera. And the cabin we were in wasn’t our home, but a small cabin we’ve been renting during the summers ever since I was little. This beautiful place is known to its residents as “Hidden Paradise.” To everyone else, it’s known as Long Pine, Nebraska, population 305.
That morning wasn’t like any other morning. It was a morning that I would be introduced to something I would immediately fall in love with.
As I went for a walk around this “Hidden Paradise,” I began to feel inspired. I found myself taking picture after picture and noticing the little details of nature that I had overlooked for so long. When I looked through the lens, I was excited by the idea of capturing something that was there and gone in a split second, but forever remained in a photograph.
Before this particular walk around ‘paradise’, I had never experienced a hobby like this that I could truly fall in love with. It was as if something suddenly “clicked” inside of me and my creative side was unleashed. I was shooting from different angles, running, tip-toeing, kneeling, climbing, laying on the ground, anything to get that perfect shot.
Hours had passed before I came back to the cabin where my family waited, wondering where the camera and I had gone. Excitement overcame me as I shared each picture on the small screen of the camera with my brother who shared the same passion.
I like to compare my love for photography to that “love at first sight” feeling so many couples experience when meeting their significant others for the first time. I experienced something new and it just felt right.
That day was over seven years ago and my life was forever changed.
For Christmas that year I received a Nikon D40 from my parents. I continued to develop my creative eye through practice by photographing different objects in nature. One day all of that changed when my best friend asked if I could take her senior pictures. I loved the idea, but had never photographed people before. Little did I know I was about to fall in love all over again.
After school one day, we went out into the country and started taking pictures. Neither of us knew what we were doing, but by the end of the day, I knew I had found a new hobby that I loved even more. Portrait photography.
I went home that night and posted the photos on Facebook or Myspace, whichever was in at the time. I couldn’t believe the positive feedback I received about the photos. Eventually, people were offering to pay me to take their senior photos, family photos, and more.
After I graduated high school, I went to a community college where I received an Associate’s Degree in Commercial Photography. All the while, I continued to develop my skills of shooting portraits and eventually started my own business known as Hanna Jorgensen Photography.
It’s strange how one day can change everything. For me, that day I spent in Hidden Paradise changed the way I look at everything.
I can still remember that day like it was yesterday. I quietly slipped on my shoes and stepped out onto the front porch, camera in hand.
Check out more photos on my Facebook page.