Duke of Edinburgh's Award

Creative Pursuits for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

As part of my Duke of Edinburgh’s Award skills section, I have been exploring photography and emailing all of my photos to the head of art, Ms Bishop. I’ve always been interested in photography, and I’ve slowly been getting better cameras over the years. It’s safe to say I wouldn’t be achieving much with the bright pink toy camera I had at the age of 7, but it’s all about progress.

I’m quite proudly one of those people who takes their camera almost everywhere they go, which has been incredibly useful during a challenge where I have to practice my skill for at least one hour a week. Whether it’s my local park, the beach on a trip away, the London skyline, or my own street, I try to make the most of everything around me and transfer that to my photography.

As well as photography, the Duke of Edinburgh award has given me an opportunity to explore something else I’ve always wanted to do: cinematography. I went to New York in August and recently decided to make a short video of my trip. While I hadn’t gone there with the intention of making a video, I had recorded some clips, so I pieced together what I had and added music. I simply used the ‘You’re the director’ feature that comes with my laptop – it’s a very basic editing program that allows you to trim clips, edit them together, and then add music. I was pleasantly surprised with the result, and how much I’d enjoyed the process.

So, when I went to Frankfurt in February for my German exchange, I knew I wanted to make a video. However, because I’d gone there with the intention to create a video, I ended up returning with 30 minutes of raw footage. Thankfully it ended up being around 9 minutes long! It was a pain to cut around, and finding music long enough was a lot more stressful than you might think, but I loved it. Filming and editing videos is a great way to learn more about the style of your photography, which shots work best together, and improve your compositional skills. Besides the creative side of things, it’s also a great way to test your patience; every time my laptop crashed I learnt more and more about how terrible I am at staying calm through technical difficulties. But the end result was something I’m very proud of, so every minute was worth it.

         Overall, the Duke of Edinburgh award has allowed me to explore my creative side and pursue a passion I never even knew I had. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not the most creative person, but photography is my favourite hobby, and being rewarded for doing something I love isn’t something I’d turn down. There are two morals to this story: if you ever get the opportunity to do the Duke of Edinburgh award, take it (but only if you also like walking in the countryside for 6 hours in one day!) and, even if you think you don’t, you do have a creative side. Finding a new passion can be as easy as just getting bored and messing around on your laptop one afternoon. All too often we get caught up with what we ‘need’ to do, and never do anything just for fun. So I encourage you to take ten minutes out of your day to do that one thing that you’ve ‘just never got round to starting’. It could greatly improve your life, and you could learn a lot about yourself and your talents in the process.

 By Sam, year 9