The End

Oof, okay. Everything I am about to say is so cringey and cliche, but what can you do? It felt like just a couple days ago that this media class started. Our first assignment was to read the last posts of the previous HSI scholars. I was still so skeptical then. I didn’t think I’d be sad to leave, I didn’t think I’d make all of these beautiful friends, I didn’t think I’d miss pulling weeds everyday at acres, I didn’t think I would grow and change, I didn’t think I’d leave a different person. It seemed like so much, too much to happen in just these three weeks. But all of that has happened, and so so much more. In the beginning I was still so uneasy, I desperately wanted to go home and I wondered if I had made a mistake by signing up. But after a few days, a few new friends, a few new experiences and uncomfortable situations, I really warmed up to the camp and the 6th floor of Downey Hall started feeling like home.

Looking back on my time here, one of my favorite nights was definitely bowling. This is when the group we call Dilly Dilly (me, Maya, Kai, Meg, Tal, Hannah 2, and Caleb) was founded. Bowling usually is a very stressful experience for me because I get very frustrated with inconsistency, and seeing that I went from a strike to a gutter ball to a spare to a single pin, inconsistency was quite consistent. But once I started letting go and not caring about not messing up, I had the time of my life (which is what I had to do at this camp to start having more fun). The music was BUMPIN and so we were getting down just living life. It was definitely a night I will always remember. Another banger of a night was laser tag (I don’t know why all of the best times occur in a sweaty and crowded place lit with black light). Again, it was a large source of frustration due to my lack of coordination and unreasonable need to be perfect at everything the first time. But it was so fun, I spent at least an hour and a half playing laser tag even though I never improved and had to be carried by my teammates every time (except the one time that earth wind and fire played and I carried my team). Outside of the laser tag place there was this most ghetto mini golf course that was an absolute hoot. ‘Twas a great night.

Though those nights were amazing and stood out, I think my favorite day is the last Sunday we spent here. It was an overcast family day so a lot of kids were gone, so the fishbowl was pretty empty. It had very calm vibes. My friends and I sat at the PC desk chilling with Mariah and Meghan. I did water color memes (Mike Wasowski primarily, I love Lil’ Zucc) and we played cards. Some of us got coffee at turtle rock and just talked. It seems honestly pretty boring and irrelevant but (here comes the cliche, watch out) the most important moments are the ones that don’t stand out. There is beauty in the mundane. Sure, I had some pretty jam packed fun days here at HSI, but nothing can beat the days that I did nothing. Little moments in the fishbowl, walks to class, car rides, they will always beat the days at Denver, the field trips, and the planned activities.

But obviously, the best part of HSI isn’t the things we did, it’s the people we met. I’m so ready to be home, but I dread the moment I have to say goodbye to all of my friends. Of course we will talk all the time, but for three weeks these guys have been my family. It’s big step to take: every single moment together to hardly any at all. I’m so glad I came here to make these lifelong pals and even though it will be so hard to leave, I know that we will always be there for each other. My friends have taught me a lot. They made me laugh and cry and smile. They made HSI more than a summer camp, they made it a life changing experience. 

Generation Like

In class today we watched a movie about media consumerism and social media marketing. It talked a lot about how companies use the consumers to advertise. The audience members are the ones to promote the brands.

The movie specifically targeted teenagers, or what they called “generation like,” but I think it can be argued that adults and the older generation are more ignorant about the way the media works. I, like most teens, am aware of how the companies use social media and the consumers to advertise. I don’t typically share or like pictures on Facebook or retweet things, I tend to stay away from that stuff, mostly because I am not too emotionally invested in products. I primarily use social media to talk to my friends and entertain myself with memes. However there are some teens, and even adults that advertise and promote companies because they receive validation as a form of payment. I prefer to seek validation in other more genuine ways, from friends and family and honest rewards.  think a lot of the controversy from this topic comes from the pervasiveness of Facebook, but my main social media platforms are Snap chat and Instagram. There have been times when I have been skeptical of the legitimacy of the explore page on Instagram. It takes the data of posts you’ve liked and the people you follow to formulates posts for you to look at. But for the most part, the culture of media consumerism does not bother me.

A lot of people, primarily adults that find out about the inner workings of social media marketing believe that the profession is unethical. They feel that companies are trying to control the audience to do free labor, however all promoting that comes from consumers is completely optional and voluntary. Those that retweet a company’s tweet or like a page on Facebook are doing so out of their own free will, and some even feel they receive fair payment, whether it be validation, satisfaction, or entertainment. The companies are using fair concepts of psychology and sociology to successfully advertise themselves and gain more money.  Therefore, the practice of integrating advertising into social media does not clash with my morale views.  

The main objective of this class and media literacy in general is to make the members of society more aware of the inner workings of the media. Now that I am more aware of what happens on social media, I can make the decision on whether or not I want to change how I use it. I do not wish to change how I use social media because media consumerism does not offend or irritate me.








The Snowy’s

Yesterday our class took a trip to the Snowy Range Mountains. I was very tired on the way there but as soon as we stepped out I woke right up because of the cold. It was actually pretty wack, like it went from summer to winter in .2 seconds and I was trippin’.  Anyway, I loved it in the Snowy’s. George and I walked down to a cool bridge (and got to pet a pupper on the way) that had an awesome view of the rocky river and the mountains. We also explored around the lake and very nearly fell in. We ate lunch and I concluded the field trip in the best way possible: purchasing a super legit pair of sheep socks (shout out to Kristen for paying for them). Here are some pictures from the trip.


I love the way this photo captured the movement of the water over the rocks.
This is a closeup of a little stream we found on our way back to the lake. I like how the light reflects on the water and the bright green color and soft texture of the moss.
I love the contrast between the ground and the two flowers here. They contrast in shape and texture and color.
This photo is probably my favorite from the day because I love how it focuses on the wood from the bridge and that the background is so pretty.
This is from the same place as the picture above, except the background is now the focus. I like the difference between them, it shows how powerful the creative device of focus is.
As I’ve said before, I love how photos capture the movement of water and this photo is no exception. I like the bright colors of the greenery and the various textures.
As we were walking toward the bridge, I looked up and saw this beautiful slope of small plants and scattered rocks. It was so serene, I couldn’t help but stop to take a picture.
I like this over head view of the river and how the use of focus creates depth.
This closeup shot is neat because of the way the light hits the wildlife to create shadows and vibrant colors.
This is a BTS shot of George getting down and dirty for the sake of photography. Mad props, George.


The Conservatory

As strong as my aversion to being basic is, I love succulents. They are the most aesthetic and adorable plants that on Earth. So naturally, I loved our trip to the conservatory. I very much enjoyed the humidity and all of the natural lighting, it made for some pretty good photos.

I really liked the contrast in shape and texture between these two different leaves.
I fell in love with this corner in the conservatory, I loved the lighting and the cool colors.
Here is a photo from the same area as the one above. I love how the depth makes it have a jungle feel.
Yet again, another picture from the “jungley” corner. I couldn’t decide between all three so I just included them all. I like this one because it kind of frames the plants that are hanging and looks really cool.
Considering how much I love succulents, I only got one or two good pictures of them. But here, I love the colors and the textures. I didn’t edit it at all so I think that makes the photo even more neat.
I liked this photo of the succulent room because of the light haze in the air and the lighting. There’s so many different textures and colors and things to look at.

Thoughts on Media

Today in class we discussed the importance of media literacy, and what that means. The media is somewhat of an entity, with the power to influence the lives of those who are exposed to it. The media can affect the way someone views a gender, race, organization, or any sort of societal grouping of people. Media literacy is the concept of understanding the effects of media on society and becoming aware of what media really is.

The media is a very powerful tool. It can be very beneficial and expose people to new ways of thought, similar to how my generation is exposed to more diversity and is more accepting than older generations. We are part of a growing online culture that makes diversity more accessible, making us more comfortable with difference and change. However, media can also be used, inadvertently or not, to give false impressions and create generalized statements about groups of people. The media doesn’t feature the average events and people of society, it advertises the rare occurrences, and in that action, consumers associate the whole group with one individuals actions. For example, if the news spotlights one black person committing a crime, it is very easy for people to forcefully assimilate all black people with criminal activity. Another example of this is body image. Magazines and movies emphasize the perfect/ideal bodies, but that indirectly creates unrealistic and unnecessary expectations in society.

Each morning, usually as soon as I wake up, I send streaks on snapchat. I never really have understood the reason for sending streaks, but I didn’t question it. Society created the “streaks” culture all on its own, snapchat’s streak icon itself provoked people to organize the system. Another one of my daily media routines is to look at memes on instagram. There are numerous effects that meme culture has on society. One might argue that it is very beneficial, it brings the consumers closer through “inside jokes on the internet.” But it can also be argued that controversial memes that are related to things such as school shootings or rape can desensitize the viewers to the very serious and prevalent issues. The funny videos and pictures and videos seem to belittle the meaning of many real life problems. However, I personally believe that a lot of the what some would say are the “insensitive” memes are more so mocking the close-minded culture that can lead to the misunderstandings of (and in some cases the causes of) these issues. I support the consumption of memes in my media diet. It uses satire and a general greater understanding of the world and its events to make people more aware and connected, all while being funny and enjoyable.

Media effects people, whether is it indirectly or direct exposure; it influences our day to day lives. Everyone is a consumer of some type of media whether it be the news, a TV show, or music. And its important for people to consider the effects it has on them. Self awareness is very important, and I think the main purpose of learning about media literacy is to simply be less ignorant. One doesn’t necessarily need to change their media habits, but as long as they know how they are being influenced, it will lead to a smarter and overall better society.

Cheyenne: Wyoming Tribune Eagle & Downtown

Yesterday our class took a trip to Cheyenne to explore the Wyoming Tribune Eagle and eat lunch downtown. It was interesting to see the way the newspaper industry functions and the many different things that go down before you get your paper in the morning. I liked listening to the reporters talk about what they do and why. It made me consider exploring journalism further and possibly becoming a reporter. As we took the tour, we took pictures of things we found interesting, and again downtown when we ate lunch.

This is an interesting photo of a leaf with light shining through it. This uses the creative devices of leading lines, contrast, and color.
I really love this picture of the light on the ceiling. I focused on the light source so the surroundings completely blackened out and resulted in this intriguing image. It uses the rule of thirds, leading lines, and contrast.
I took this picture of a cord on the floor right next to the window because the natural lighting was gorgeous and I loved the colors it made. This shows balance and background.
This image was taken downtown before we ate lunch. I loved the silhouette of the trees and the building, as well as the reflection of the sky on the windows. This picture uses balance and color.
I enjoy this picture of a weed on the side of the road because it is a satisfying combination of elements, using balance to please the eye.
This is a picture of a wall at depot square. I love the colors and symmetry but most of all, I love the texture.
This is a photo of the windows on a building downtown. I love the contrast in colors, the orange and blue, and I loved how the shapes balanced each other


Yesterday our class took a trip to Vedauwoo to take pictures and hike. Though I didn’t climb all too much, I still had a very fun time and took some pretty neat photos. Enjoy!

This is a panoramic shot of one of the peaks. It’s a very pretty overlook of the area and it shows the diversity of the landscape.  I used the creative device of viewpoint to capture this because I had to climb and position myself just right.
I absolutely love this photo. The tree twists ominously into the stormy sky creating depth and contrast between the harsh bark of the tree and the fluffy texture of the clouds.
This picture is very simple, but I still love how it turned out. The rule of thirds that this photo follows gives it a highly satisfying and orderly feel.
I thought that this scene was very neat because of the folding/layered effect the rock has. I think that it exhibits symmetry/rule of thirds and interesting texture.
This picture is simply two boulders and the various foliage in between, but the use of framing and depth makes it appear as so much more.
This closeup of a twig and the rocks (and some other twigs and rocks) has a very light and happy vibe to it because of the fun colors and use of focus/depth.
This picture of the moss (I don’t really know what it is, but it’s orange) on the rock shows a really interesting texture and cool colors.
I love the severity of fallen tree’s shadow on the sky, showing a lot of contrast. This photo also shows the rule of thirds because the trees both run along a third line.
I very much like this photo because the colors and overall feel is very different to the rest of the photos. The daintiness of the flowers and the soft purple of the petals shows the use of color and establishment of size (I couldn’t get the camera to focus like I wanted because the wind was blowing them everywhere, but you get the idea).
This is one of my favorite photos from Vedauwoo. I love the intensity of the colors and the contrast in shapes. I think this picture shows a lot of depth and contrast in textures, similar to how Vewdauwoo shows depth and contrast in its whole landscape.

Of the five days spent at HSI, exploring Vedauwoo has probably been my favorite experience. The weather was absolutely perfect (overcast with a strong strong breeze) and it felt so serene. My favorite moment was when I found a large rock that overlooked all of the other large rocks (there are a lot of large rocks) and I just sat there, looking around and listening. It was honestly so beautiful. I would absolutely love to visit Vedauwoo again!

Photography Day 1: Perspective

Today we took our first “field trip” outside the building. We had discussed different concepts of photography and I tried to utilize them in these photos.

This photo was taken right outside the geology building. I think it exhibits the rule of thirds and it uses color to draw your eyes to the focal point.

This photo is just some rocks and pine cones, but I used depth and contrast from the fence above to make it appear more intriguing.

I really liked the contrast of color in this photo. There is both symmetry in where the bucket is place and asymmetry in its contents,.

I found this photo of the bike rack just very neat and interesting. I used leading lines to guide your gaze to the center, also creating depth by setting the focus in the background

This photo is really cool, it looks like the reflection on a lake, but its just a small puddle. This picture is the perfect example of balance of elements in a photo. It is very satisfying and symmetrical.

This is just a photo of the same puddle from above but from a different angle. The picture above is an example of view point, meaning that different angles/perspectives result in different products.

Today I learned about the core concepts of photography. We analyzed cool photos and broke down why they were appealing, using our knew knowledge. I also learned that lighting manipulates what kind of photo you’re going to get, and that it’s very difficult to take good pictures with bad lighting. Through out the day, I took some pictures that were just very very sub-par, but I now know that if I’m stuck in one spot, I just need to shift my perspective.

HSI: The Start of Something New

Hello, my name is Hannah Linford, and I will be a junior at Evanston High School this fall. But right now, I am a long way from home. I am at the UW The High School Institute in Laramie, taking my first class of the hectic three weeks to come. It’s still somewhat surreal, I am going to spend the next 19 days of my summer with people I’ve never met doing things I’ve never done. I heard of HSI from my friend (essentially big sis) Maggie. She attended the institute in 2016 and came back a changed person. She said that it was the best experience of her life. So me being me (not satisfied with proficiency and jumping at any opportunity to prove myself), I applied as soon as I could.

Now I’m not sure if I was in denial or maybe just oblivious to my uncomfortable and awkward nature, but I am not going to lie; it has been a lot harder letting go and opening up than I thought. I like to think of myself as an outgoing, very social person, and in a way I definitely am. But it takes me quite a while to feel comfortable in my surroundings (unless I’ve got a friend, like Maya and Kai, my best buds and fellow scholars). I think the hardest part of these two days (literally only two days) has been relaxing and not worrying about my friends back home. I left in kind of an inopportune time. A lot of stuff is going down with my friends and I’m so anxious about not being there to help and fix things. But I’m doing my best to just relax and have fun here.

While I’m here at HSI I really hope to learn how to talk to new people and feel okay with trying new things. I find it very easy to make people laugh, but that’s only because I utilize my cringe and awkwardness to provide comic relief (but that’s really just a defense mechanism). I’d very much like to become a more comfortable and socially apt person in new environments, capable of having genuine conversations with new friends. I also hope to discover more about myself and why I am the way I am (that’s the feat of the century, if you ask me). I expect to explore the possibility of attending UW and understanding more what college is like.

Though I am nervous, somewhat overwhelmed, and still feeling much discomfort at the thought of new experiences, I am very excited to expose myself and blossom into a new person, hopefully one that can maintain a conversation for longer than ten seconds before making a dad joke.