Amelia Levine takes photo skills across country


“I have been interested in taking photos since the first time I held a camera,” senior Amelia Levine said excitedly, thinking back to when her passion for photography first began to unfold.

From snapping photos while on vacation, to taking both Photography 1 and Photography 2 at KO, Amelia has developed greatly as a photographer and has fallen deeper in love with the craft. This led to her selection for the impressive Rosoff Fellowship, where she was able to hone her photography skills for 12 days by taking part in National Geographic Student Expeditions in Yosemite and San Francisco.

Amelia worked with National Geographic photographers Ronan Donovan and Christian Murillo, as well as 16 other students, all of whom instantly clicked due to their love of photography. Although Amelia said she doesn’t have a set style, she usually gravitates towards close-up shots of objects or landscapes.

“It was really cool when they challenged us to all types of photography and I had to take a bunch of portrait shots, which was new to me,” Amelia said about the instructors on the trip. “My style is more artsy with interesting compositions. I hope to take photography in college, and I would love to make a job out of it.”

For the first three days of the trip, the students stayed in a hostel in San Francisco. “We went to a bunch of really cool places to take photos,” Amelia said. “We also woke up at 4 a.m. one of those mornings to take a sunrise photo and we stayed out until 12 a.m. taking sunset photos.”

After San Francisco, Amelia and the rest of the group traveled to Yosemite where they did a lot of hiking. “We went rock climbing, we swam in a little creek by our hostel, and we also took a course with a member of the Yosemite search and rescue team, and he taught us about all of his rescues,” Amelia said. Just as they did in San Francisco, the group woke up at 2:45 a.m. a few times in order to take sunrise shots and then went to bed at 2:00 a.m. to take sunset and star shots. After experiencing the wonder of Yosemite, the group returned to San Francisco once more and set up a pop up gallery for the public that displayed all of their impressive photos, which garnered great reactions.

Overall, Amelia thought the experience was amazing, even when she had to wake up at 3 a.m! “I learned so much about what settings to use and how to take long exposure shots and so much more photography stuff,” Amelia said. “It was such a fun experience, and I wish I could go back.”

Amelia said she recommends the National Geographic Student Expeditions workshops to all students – even those who are not that experienced in photography.

According to Amelia, the knowledge you gain from the program is what is most valuable. “Everyone wants to learn and it makes the environment so fun,” she said. “You do a lot of crazy things a tourist wouldn’t necessarily be able to do, which makes it totally worth the time.”