This photo is one of my favorites if only for its sentimental value. Shot in 2002 on an old Pentax K-1000, as part of a high school photography class project, it represents one of my first intentional explorations of lighting, pattern, and depth of field. I set up a small makeshift studio in my childhood bedroom to photograph pheasant feathers, which I have always found captivating. Manipulating the light and pattern, I learned the basic controls of that elegantly simple SLR. Since I was shooting on film, I lacked the benefit of exif data or instant image review, so I kept a notebook to record the shutter speed and aperture for all of the images. Unwilling to shell out the extra cash for expedited film processing at the local Rite-Aid, I waited a week to get that film back. It was like Christmas. Going through those photographs and comparing depth of field and contrast for the different camera settings was such a valuable learning experience. I’ve always appreciated the medium, but that’s when I fell in love with it.