Summer Youth Programs
From 2012-2017 I was staff photographer for Michigan Tech's Center For Pre-College Outreach. Most of the work I did was concentrated in the summertime during their annual Summer Youth Programs activities. SYP was my first time I tried 'real' photography not with a point and shoot camera. Here's how I got the job:
My wife, who worked at CPCO: "Hey Nathan, we need a photographer for SYP this summer. Use my camera and take some photos for us."
And that's how I got into professional photography. One part desperation, one part luck. The rest is history as they say, and for several summers I had the best job at SYP... at least that's what I told people. If the going got tough or the class got boring, it was my job to LEAVE and go find something better to do. After all, taking photos of bored kids at a science camp does nothing to show how awesome the experience really is. Fortunately, with a dozen different explorations going on each week, if one class was in a lull I could be almost certain another was engaging in mad scientist experiments somewhere else.
My Summer Youth Programs photography gig fit my adventure lifestyle perfectly. Every day I got to interact with fun participants, many of whom would remember me from year to year thanks to my painted toe nails (and eager demeanor). Quite often I'd get to explore a new place alongside the students. It was like I was at camp right there with them! I got to visit countless labs across campus, delve deep into the steam tunnels and other secret places, and learn tons of cool things along the way. Not to mention getting to go on hikes to natural places across the Keweenaw. Some highlights of my time with SYP definitely include exploring the turbine house at Prickett Dam, getting to go inside the anchor pylons at the Mackinac Bridge, and checking out a massive coal unloading facility in Superior, WI. My years with SYP were unrivaled for the amount of fun I had and set the stage for all of my photographic adventures.