Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Beginning: Part 5

As hours turned into days, and days turned into weeks, next thing I knew, I had gone through my first month at Disney! those days were filled with meeting some amazing new people at work as well as outside of work. They were from places such as the East coast, Midwest, South, West coast, Europe, South America, Australia, Canada, China, and Japan, it was insane and overwhelming to meet people from sooo many different backgrounds all within a month! Looks like I have lots of places to visit now, and my master traveling plan is under way, Muwahahaha!

Anyways, within the month I was there I had discovered what a "magical moment" was first hand and of course always having amazing photo adventures with some great people on my off days, but time was going by way to fast, only 4 months left?? how could Disney tease college program students like this. I clearly remember one of my roommates telling me on one of my first days there, "after every month time gets a little faster when your in this program" and man was Nick right! I already had a couple hundred pictures taken and that's a lot from a guy who hasn't owned a camera since his Italy incident. 

Through out all this chaos I noticed something during my first month in Florida that was kind of odd... every time I went to the parks I always had to have my camera with me. Whenever I didn't, I felt this strange overwhelming feeling that I was missing something, something to document my experience there that I didn't ever want to forget, so I always tried having my camera with me at all times :) 

Over sometime though I became unsatisfied with JUST bringing my camera and taking pictures, I always saw that one family with the Dad or Mom who had the huge camera and external flash rolling around getting their neck all sore. Now I'm not saying I wanted to have my neck all sore lugging around a huge camera, and I'm not saying I want to keep up with the joneses but I wanted to compete with them, challenge my picture taking to get better and not just have it in Auto or Aperture...

So I began doing my research and learning, studying about cameras and what not, and I found out over a period of time that I had outgrown my camera, I had pretty much used it to its capability and needed something better, or atleast a camera with a flash aid, because my camera lacked it, so at night my camera turned into a disco flashing strobe to find out where the subject of the picture was.... not ideal

When I began looking for camera deals, I had learned that the best entry level Digital SLR was this one by Nikon at the time. Now I don't consider my self to be a pro or anything, and I didn't really know much about cameras and iso, aperture, and shooting in manual, but I looked up reviews for both Nikon and Canon since those seemed to have been the two top dogs in photography for the majority. and after sometime, I found that the new Nikon D3100 was my best bet, it had all these great reviews and I decided why not! but there was a small problem..... I had almost no money.... see Disney has this was of sucking people up of their money, sure it's a paid internship but when they give you 20% and 50% off all merchandise, you kind of take advantage of it sadly. 

So what did I have to do you may ask? well after surprising my parents when I came home for a visit on thanksgiving I had asked the greatest dad in the whole wide world for a small loan of 700$ (sucking up much?)....yea after some wheeling and dealing I had convinced my parents to get me the Nikon as my Christmas gift and it was on a loan basis, so its a win/win situation for them and me! 

By the end of my amazing mini vacation away from my vacation with my family, I was on my way back to my other home, only this time with a new Nikon SLR, and I was ready to compete with those Moms and Dads! and of course get some even better pictures ;)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Beginning: Part 4

By the morning my Dad had taken the early flight to Puerto Rico to visit my family and it was official, I was on my own. Driving back after dropping him off, blasting the air conditioning I was thinking about what I might be in store for over the next few months. I didn't know anyone down in Florida, it was definitely a scary feeling, but I managed.

After attending orientation, the welcome party, finding out I'd be working at Epcot (Experimental prototype community of tomorrow, had to say that) getting my "costume" and getting food at Walmart, and getting situated in my apartment, I needed to meet lots of new people ASAP! so I get to know all my roommates, and ask them, wheres a good place to meet all the new college program people, sure enough next thing I know we're heading to the pool, and atleast 50+ people are there, talking, getting to know each other, with their majors where they're from obviously looking at whose attractive and whose not. It's a college program, what do you expect?

Welcome party with Mickey stealing sun glasses

within the first week of my stay I had met a couple girls, Heidi and Heather both from Oklahoma who invited me to this club in Orlando, now I'm not much of a clubber but I did it, to step out of my comfort zone.... well farther than the 1,000+ miles out of my comfort already. I decided to bring my camera because, why not remember all of this Ill look back on! So when I get to their apartment I meet thier roommates, ones from New Mexico, Ashley, another is from Illinois, Carolyn AND happened to be going to Illinois State, what were the chances! I now officially believe in the saying "small world" and not the ride ;)

Heather, Carolyn, and Heidi :)

what was weird though was that I had randomly added this girl who I thought was a photographer on facebook and was doing the college program, now I'm thinking after wards that I would probably never even meet this girl. Sure enough after I walk in to their apartment I see this cute girl all bundled up on the sofa with Ashley next to her. "I like your camera" was what she said after she introduced herself and it didn't dawn till after I talk to Heather, Heidi, and Carolyn for a little that that was the photographer! Small World X2?

I excused myself and went over there and asked her, "I DO NOT want to be a creep but am I friends with you on faceboook?" she looked me up and sure enough we were! although she isn't really a photographer or anything, or so she says (I still think she is) we began talking about pictures and how I haven't been here since I was a kid and didn't know where anything was around here. As soon as I say that her eyes beamed saying that she would take me to every park and ride everything, eat everything! I was too excited and told her that as long as I get to take pictures at every park :)

her response? "of course! it'll be a photo adventure" thanks Leah Macri, for deciding we would be photo adventure buddies :) let the photo Adventures begin! 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Beginning: Part 3

1,176 Miles, and roughly 20 hours of driving to the sunshine state, need I say more?

I've personally never gone on a road trip before, this being my first time with my dad I was very excited but nervous at the same time. Excited for going on a adventure, taking pictures, seeing places I've never seen before, and just experience something new for a change. I was nervous though, nervous I'd get pulled over for speeding, run out of gas, and get murdered by some crazy serial killer from the movies (ridiculous, right?). With all these things running through my head we left and I definitely made sure I had my Ipod fully charged ;)

we made it to Southern Indiana and pulled over to go eat at Denny's. My dad and I were talking about time zones and how we already had to change our time from central to eastern time which I thought was pretty crazy, also the fact that for only traveling a couple hundred miles southeast I already noticed some southern accents coming out from some people I spoke to. plus customs were changing like when my dad asked for coffee and creamer they gave him a little miniature pitcher of creamer rather than the little packages of it!

After Indiana, the Hills of Kentucky and Tennessee caught my attention, something I had never seen before was how beautiful the states south of Illinois could be, so I had to practice with my camera and took a couple pictures.
Hills of Tennessee

Finally by night fall we made it through Georgia and slept at some truck stop. Now keep in mind my dad and I are two 6ft guys in a very small 2006 Hyundai that's packed to its capacity with my belongings, along with my dads. We were uncomfortable on our breaks with little to no sleep :'( very depressing. by morning we made it to Florida, barely awake, and we both looked like Tom Hanks from Cast away with our Beards, or five o' clock shadows.

Once I got checked in at the welcome center and got my keys to the apartment, I found out I would be staying at Chatham Square (one of the housing complexes). Once we got to the door, there were some cars there but not a lot, people were slowly making their way to each others apartments. When I knocked on mine I was freaking out, nervous, gitters, sweating with the Florida heat, and didn't know what to do but smile out of being nervous. this guy with blond hair opens the door with his blue hat, shirt and shorts on, and I tell him "I think this is my new place?...." he responds "hay what's up, well come on in, my names Michael", with a southern accent. I was thinking in my head "OMG he's from the south, this is SOOO COOOL".

so we start talking and I get to know him and another roommate by the name of Justin. Now Justin is this tall 6'2" guy with a Bears football jersey on and after talking to him, he seemed just like any other guy from the Chicago land area. He was from Indiana, border line to Chicago. After talking to them and settling in I decided to room with Michael, the southern kid from Tifton, Georgia, because I wanted to try something different, and who would've thought a kid from Schiller Park, Illinois would be rooming with a kid from Southern Georgia by the name of Michael Kent Butler? not meee.

The night fall of my check in, I drop off my dad at a hotel since there are no over night stays at the housing complexes. By morning my dad would be catching a flight to Puerto Rico to visit family. highlight of my night though? my face hitting my pillows as I knock out and recover from that drive.

Little did I know, what the next couple months would have in store for me